Just days after rumors suggested Natalya had been written off Raw due to a legitimate elbow injury, WWE.com announced that the Queen of Harts will face off with Ruby Riott in a tables match at the upcoming Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view.
Riott instigated a feud with Natalya back in early November, just after WWE’s first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view, WWE Evolution. The Riott Squad faced off against the team of Natalya, Bayley and Sasha Banks in a losing effort at Evolution. They met again in a rematch on the following week’s episode of Raw, during which Riott stole a pair of sunglasses belonging to Natalya’s late father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, and snapped them at ringside.
Alexa Bliss picked both Natalya and Riott to represent Raw at Survivor Series, but benched them after an altercation during the pre-show. They faced each other in a singles match the following night on Raw, which ended in victory for Natalya. The Riott Squad ambushed Natalya twice in the weeks since, most recently putting her through a table just as Natalya and Ronda Rousey prepared to square off with Nia Jax and Tamina.
Jim Neidhart passed away suddenly in August at the age of 63. He began his career at Stampede Wrestling, owned by Hart family patriarch Stu Hart, where he met his future wife, Ellie Hart. Neidhart joined the WWF along with the rest of Stampede’s major talent when Vince McMahon acquired the promotion in 1984. He formed the Hart Foundation with his brother-in-law, Bret Hart, and twice held gold as WWF Tag Team Champions. Bret Hart stated Neidhart suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at the time of his death.
Natalya appeared at SummerSlam less than a week later, wearing her father’s signature jacket as she entered to back up Rousey in her title match against Alexa Bliss. Her match with Riott is the second of two women’s matches scheduled for TLC, along with a historic triple-threat TLC match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
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