Though Natalya is technically a member of the RAW roster after landing on the Red Brand during WWE's 2024 draft period, the “Boat” has remained a fixture of NXT developmental, where she has become the unofficial partner and mentor to Karmen Petrovic in her feud against Lola Vice and Shayna Baszler.

Discussing what it's like to spend time in developmental despite having wrestled more matches than any other women in WWE history on The Wrestling Classic, Natalya put over Shawn Michaels for his attention to detail as a Superstar creator, noting that he's found a way to create compelling characters and wrestlers at the same time.

“What we did on [Total Divas] that was so important is, we were able to show people what our personalities were like and build characters. That's what I love about NXT so much. I have to give Shawn Michaels and Matt Bloom, and the team there at NXT, so much credit. They have a team of writers, coaches and producers, and faculty that work together to basically build talent from the ground up and find something special inside people that they may never have known that they had. But they build characters,” Natalya said on The Wrestling Classic via Fightful.

“I said the other day to Shawn Michaels, I said I can't believe how many women are used on the show, like 18 women are used on the show every week, and not only are they used on the show, they're building characters, they're in storylines, and they're thriving, they're excited, they're challenged, they're motivated, they're driven, they're hungry. You watch them, from week-to-week, grow. Even just the growth that I saw in Lola from the first time that I worked with her until this huge Underground match that we had, it was so cool because that's what excites me about wrestling is what Shawn Michaels is doing with talent at NXT is helping them grow, he's helping them evolve, he's helping them build characters and stories.

“When you have characters, and you have stories, it's what gets people excited about watching a match. We were able to do promos and we were able to build this match through stories, and I just love it. I really admire what Shawn has done down there, as far as cultivating that and building it. It's so cool, it's well-done, and I love it. I can't say enough about how great the women are doing at NXT. It just makes me so proud to be a part of it because I'm even getting into the characters where I walk up to Santino's daughter, Bianca [Arianna Grace]. I'll walk up to her and be like, I just love your character, it's so fun, it's so entertaining, and I love what you're doing with Gigi [Dolin], and I think Gigi has such a fun vibe about her, and I love Jacy Jayne's heel character and how she's great on the mic. There's so many girls here that I want to work with. Just seeing them thrive… another woman that I really want to work with is Lyra. Lyra has been coming down to our dungeon. Months ago, she was coming down and training with us and working with us. She is so talented and so passionate. I want to work with Blair [Davenport]. I know Blair's on SmackDown. But Kiana [James], I love that she had such great training at Flatbacks, and then she really turned it up a notch through all the work at NXT. So, I just love seeing the growth. I love seeing how people are developing and evolving, and they're taking their work, and they're building with it. That's what the business is all about is growing.”

While WWE's developmental system is anything but a meritocracy, as *spoiler alert* wrestling is scripted and effort is nothing without opportunity, there has been a proven track record of female NXT stars blowing up on the main roster, with Tiffany Stratton and Lyra Vaklyria the latest Superstars who were able to step into huge roles after successful stints with HBK and company. Credit that to Natalya, credit that to Bloom and Michaels, credit that to WWE pushing for more performers on the main roster, but if you like female wrestling, you should watch NXT, as the next big star is certainly working matches on Tuesday nights.

Natalya isn't retiring any time soon.

Elsewhere in her conversation on The Wrestling Classic, Natalya was asked about how much longer she wants to go in the business, especially since she's approaching the end of her current WWE contract.

Regardless of what the future might hold, Natalya isn't going anywhere, as she wants to keep putting in work against the best of the best even if that doesn't exclusively happen in WWE.

“I want to still keep moving forward in the business. People say, ‘When're you gonna slow down? When are you gonna retire?' I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life, I'm doing the best work of my career. I just have so much more I want to do,” Natalya told The Wrestling Classic via Ringside News.

“There are so many more women in the industry that I want to work with. Not just in WWE, but I want to work with Gail Kim. I want to work with Jordynne Grace. I see some of these Japanese girls that I admire so much. Some of them come and train with me, but one day, I want to work with these girls. There are girls from every corner of the industry that I'm like, I want to work with her. I want to wrestle the best.”

Could Natalya actually leave WWE for a run on the indies, wrestling top performers in Bloodsport Stardom, NJPW, TNA, and maybe even AEW as she adds some top-tier names to her resume? Considering her longevity in WWE, that feels impossible but then again, you never really know; maybe WWE would even allow Natalya to take a tour around the indies while still under contract in order to heat her back up heading into the future.