The first third-generation female wrestler in the world, Natalya is a member of the Hart wrestling family through her mother. She trained in the Hart family Dungeon under the tutelage of her uncles Ross and Bruce Hart. In 2000 and 2001, she worked for the Matrats promotion, before debuting for Stampede Wrestling in 2003.
In 2004 and 2005, she wrestled abroad in both England and Japan. In June 2005, she became the inaugural Stampede Women's Pacific Champion and won the SuperGirls Championship the following year in October 2006. In January 2007, she signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and spent time in Deep South Wrestling, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) developmental territories.
While in FCW, she managed her cousin, Harry Smith (known as David Hart Smith during his WWE tenure), and her husband, T.J. Wilson (known as Tyson Kidd during his WWE tenure). She debuted on the main roster in April 2008, allying herself with Victoria.
The following year she began managing her husband again, and they were joined by Smith to form The Hart Dynasty. In a long interview with The Calgary Sun, the Canadian superstar reflected on her uncle Bret Hart being in attendance: “My SummerSlam wouldn’t feel complete if I didn’t have one very special Canadian in attendance, my uncle Bret Hart.
It was the best feeling to be able to talk to him before the match and share with him in person that he was my inspiration going into my match against Becky. I wanted to make Bret proud and do his signature finishing move, ‘The Sharpshooter’ justice”.