CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WMBD) — Bringing the squared circle right here to central Illinois.
WWE’s Saturday Night’s Main Event heads to Champaign in June.
“It’s all your favorite SmackDown Superstars,” WWE Superstar Natalya told WMBD. “I’m excited, and I’ll be there!”
WMBD’s Matt Sheehan spoke with WWE Superstar Natalya about all the action you can expect, and the road to WrestleMania.
Superstars are gearing up for the “Show of Shows” in nearly two weeks.
“It’s April 2nd and April 3rd,” Natalya said. “Two nights, Dallas, Texas. We’re expecting over 200,000 people across both nights,” Natalya said. “We’re the best entertainment company in the world so we’re always going to bring the best.”
WWE’s gone through some major setbacks for WrestleMania over the last few years.
In 2020, the show was completely virtual, with no fans in the stands due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
One of the most decorated Superstars on the roster is Natalya, or Natalie Neidhart.
She tells Sheehan the change from one night to two nights, has been a huge change for Superstars.
“All the WWE Superstars want to get on the show. But it’s hard to do a show that’s 8 hours long. It’s hard to keep anybody’s interest for that long,” Natalya said. “So what’s really cool is that we’ve done it across two nights to make it an extended event.”
At WrestleMania weekend in 2019, Natalya had a very tough and memorable night at the Hall of Fame Ceremony.
Sheehan was there at the event in New York City where Natalya and her uncle Brett Hart were attacked by someone in the audience.
“I’ll never forget that one, and I laugh about it now, but we got attacked on stage,” Natalya said. “I can only laugh, because it’s not funny, but anything and everything can happen.”
Natalie opened up about what that attack was like for her.
“It was really scary, actually. My uncle was starting to speak about my dad. I know that my dad meant so much to my uncle. They were best friends. My dad wasn’t there to speak or accept the award, so when you’re honoring somebody’s life after they’re gone, it’s very emotional,” Natalya said. “For us, we were just trying to honor my dad’s life and give him an incredible send off.”
Natalya said it caught them off guard but it didn’t stop them.
“I say this with complete conviction, just like our fans in WWE, just like the superstars in WWE, and the company. We were resilient. Brett and I got knocked down, we got right back up, and we kept going,” Natalya said.”
Natalya also shared a heartfelt message on Twitter about the recent passing of Scott Hall.
“Scott Hall was somebody that blazed an incredible trail. He was truly one of the greats. He truly helped change the industry and made everything edgier and cooler,” Natalya said. “He was also very talented in the ring. I know Brett Hart, who is one of the most gifted WWE Superstars, a mat technician, posted on Instagram that Scott was one of his favorite people to work with. He had so many incredible matches with Scott and he was such a hard worker. The wrestling community all comes together, we’re all coming together for Scott Hall. We’re also coming together to celebrate Scott’s life, legacy, and the great memories he left us with. WWE really wanted to make sure people remembered him. It’s so comforting for the families when you can shed this really positive light on a person that did so much and left so much of an impact. Scott has so many people waiting for him on the other side, like my dad, that are going to welcome him with open arms. We know he’s in a better place and that he’s in peace.”
Now it’s time for Natalya to WrestleMania, where she thinks she’s found her tag team partner.
Natalya said if she gets on the card for this WrestleMania, it will be her 10th Show of Shows.
“Shayna Baszler is a 2-time Women’s tag team champion, 2-time NXT women’s champion, a pioneer in women’s MMA. She’s so talented and she is so talented and inspiring to work with. I’m looking forward to hopefully winning tag team gold with Shayna if we can get ourselves in that WrestleMania match,” Natalya said.
Natalya said her dream match would be against Sasha Banks.
“I would really love to have a lengthy match with Sasha Banks. I think she is one of the most talented female wrestlers in the world. I think she’s so passionate about this, so to have a match with anybody right now, I’d say Sasha Banks. A really good, long match for a championship,” Natalya said. “Sasha brings out the best in her opponents and it inspires me to be better. I like to think I bring out the best in my opponents, but you bring two people in the same ring together with that passion, you’re going to get magic. It’s like Brett Hart versus Steve Austin.”
Natalya said WWE Superstars aren’t just wrestlers, but they’re also global ambassadors.
“I’m so proud to be a woman in WWE where we are bringing more visibility to women across the entire world,” Natalya said. “Not just the community outreach programs that we do, but we were just in Saudi Arabia and we had an unprecedented 3 women’s matches on the show. We had the first billboard of women on the billboard in Saudi Arabia in Jeddah. Women hadn’t had that opportunity before.”
Natalya’s interview aired on WMBD This Morning and Good Day Central Illinois on Monday, March 21.
You can watch the full interview below.