It shocked many when Natalya won the #1 contender’s match on Smackdown Live to move on to face Naomi this month for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam. It seemed they were building Charlotte into a monster face character and she seemed poised to take her spot at the top of the Blue Brand like she had on the Red. But Natalya heading to SummerSlam in a title match is ideal for both family tradition and the WWE.
It’s well documented that Natalya is the daughter of WWE Legend Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and part of Canada (and pro wrestling)’s royal family, The Harts. SummerSlam has been the event that has seen the Hart family have some of their biggest moments in the industry. Belts have been won or defended by her uncles and father. And as she heads into SummerSlam for her first ever title shot at the summer classic, this could be the year that Natalya joins her family in a Hart summer tradition: walking out of SummerSlam as a WWE Champion.
THE HARTS AT SUMMERSLAM
The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart) def. Demolition (Crush & Smash) to become new WWF World Tag Team Champions.
It was the swan song for the original Hart Foundation – Bret was on the verge of starting his singles career – but they picked up a huge win over Demolition (with Crush filling in for a wounded Ax) in a Best 2-out-of-3 Falls Match to win their second Tag Team titles, cementing their legacy as one of the 1980’s best tag teams.
Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart defeats Mr. Perfect to win his first Intercontinental Championship.
One year after securing his final tag team gold with Anvil, the Hitman made his singles arrival in an all-time classic that pitched to technically sound and gifted storytellers together in one of both men’s best matches of their career.
The British Bulldog defeats Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship in Wembley, England
Easily the greatest singles match of Davey Boy Smith and another essential match for Bret Hart’s resume, this main event showed that the Intercontinental Championship was every bit as amazing as the World title. The title may have changed hands, but it remained in the family.
Bret Hart retains his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Owen Hart in a Steel Cage Match.
It often gets overshadowed by their near perfect opener from WrestleMania X, but the brothers were just as good in this clash that took place inside the confines of a steel cage.
Bret Hart beats The Undertaker for his 5th and final WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Special guest referee Shawn Michaels oversaw Bret Hart win his fifth and final WWE World Heavyweight title, starting the Hart Foundation vs DX feud that would end with the Montreal Screwjob just months later.
Natalya herself has appeared twice before at SummerSlam, although neither were matches that involved any hardware. In 2013, she defeated Brie Bella in singles action, and last year, she teamed with Alexa Bliss and Nikki Bella to defeat Becky Lynch, Naomi and Carmella. She heads into this year’s SummerSlam undefeated at the August event, with a 2-0 record. With a big win, she would join her uncles Bret Hart and British Bulldog and her father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, in following a family tradition of capturing gold at WWE SummerSlam.
It’s also a win for the WWE as well. Naomi’s two runs as champ have elevated her way higher than she’s been ever – she no longer needs the belt to be a womens main eventer. A break to recharge and find a new feud would be a good way to keep her from getting stole. With Charlotte’s big face push gaining momentum, she’s going to need to face a strong heel, so why not her former foe and Champion, Natalya? Both women are going to want to make up for a surprisingly underwhelming feud last year (despite having some decent matches) and with both women firing on all cylinders right now, it could be just the right time for Natalya to join the Hart family summer tradition.