Farts have had a complicated history in television. Even though everyone has them, and they are on the whole (no, I don’t like how that sounds; let’s just say, “for the most part”) harmless, for decades they were shunned from the airwaves. Kids have long included flatulence in their schoolyard humor, and fart jokes are often the sole source of comedy in PG-rated films, but once upon a time, the dreaded other f-word was so verboten in media that when George Carlin revised his list of words you can never say on TV in the late 70s, he included “fart.” In fact, he noted, entire television plots could revolve around sex as long as certain words were avoided, but farts could never even be referred to.
It’s only fitting that the WWE followed the same pattern of pushing sexual content for years before working everyday tooting into the product. The problem was that, while many fans were turned off by mature themes presented in immature ways, pretty much everyone was turned off by immature themes presented in the most immature way possible. So while the Attitude Era provided us with gimmicks like the wrestling porn star, the wrestling pimp, and the wrestling sex slave, 2012’s WWE gave us the world’s first wrestling fart machine.
And it was a woman.
|And it was a member of the Hart family, Natalya.|
|Natalya was one half of the “Divas of Doom,” a pairing that saw her and Beth Phoenix bully the smaller, less-talented Divas on the roster like Kelly Kelly.|
|Cracks started to appear (ahem) when Nattie developed the nasty habit of losing every single match with a surprise roll-up, even to talent-and-charisma vacuums like Aksana.|
|Before WWE started promoting its tag team division again, their standard practice was to take a team of two wrestlers and cut one. The Divas of Doom were no different, except in this case, it was Natalya who was expected to cut one. Already established as Beth Phoenix’s inferior, Natalya slid further into her wacky sidekick role by, you guessed it, farting backstage.|
|Nattie Neidfart would be in the middle of verbally tearing down some poor Diva when suddenly her bowels would decide to let off some steam…|
|…making her the only wrestling wind-breaker never available in a WWF catalog.|
|Even Bastion Booger never farted on TV, and he once announced an entire episode of RAW.|
|Other times, she would be warming up backstage when her sphincter would decide to warm up her tights.|
|Then she would run off, embarrassed, like a WWE writer whose idea for a Diva with gas ended up airing on worldwide television.|
|Santino was usually there to over-sell Nattie’s gas like Shawn Michaels over-sold for Hulk Hogan (if the Hulkster had had terrible farts instead of terrible offense).|
|Every compelling villain needs an origin story, and Booker T did not disappoint.|
|If only “Total Divas” had started filming back then to get Natalya’s thoughts on her gimmick, E! could have had a reality show worth watching.|
|I can only imagine that Vince was really, really adamant that this farting get on the air, so to speak. To put this situation in perspective, Natalya’s uncle Bret, a relative nobody in 1985, balked at the idea of a lucrative cowboy gimmick and not only managed to keep his job, but went on to become one of the WWF’s top stars of all time. Natalya, on the other hand, was a former Divas champion already and still had to cut the cheese on TV every week with no merchandise to move.|
|This intestinal disorder eventually spilled into the ring (figuratively), causing the referee to gag. Her flatulence was never claimed to add extra power to her sharpshooter, though. Talk about letting a genius idea slip through the cracks.|
|Speaking of wasted opportunities, if WWE was going to go all in on a farting gimmick, they picked the wrong Hart family member. As any reader of WWF Magazine in the mid-90s would know, Bret Hart’s daughter Sabina is nicknamed Beans (I shudder to think what nickname Smith Hart cooked up for his own daughter, Satanic Ecstasy Hart). Her entrance theme could have kicked off with a sound bite of her reciting that classic poem, “Beans, Beans, They’re Good for your Hart.” Even if they couldn’t have gotten her trained in the ring long enough to be ready for TV matches, they could have at least brought her in to manage cousin Natalya as the Fart Foundation.|
|Either that, or stick Alicia with the farting gimmick and dub her, “Flatulent Fox.”|
|See, that’s three or four flatulence-related ideas better than anything that ended up on WWE television. But really, can you expect top-of-the-line fart jokes from someone like Vince McMahon, who didn’t even know what a burrito was until 2003 when his writers proposed that Big Show eat a tainted one?|
|My best guess as to the purpose (if any) of this gimmick was to further WWE’s Be a Star campaign. That much is obvious from the heel Divas being bullies who wanted to make other people cry, but as for the cheese-cutting, I suppose they wanted to show how at least one of the Divas of Doom was insecure about her own weaknesses. You know that cliché about how every bully is secretly compensating for having uncontrollable gas?|
|Eventually, WWE decided to turn Nattie Neidfart face (Fart Face?), not by killing Hornswoggle with her terrible intestinal outbursts…|
|…but by ripping one in front of Eve while calling her out for mistreating Zack Ryder.|
|Natalya got rid of her gas quietly, eventually hooking up with Khali and letting Hornswoggle tag along in another McMahon brain fart of an idea.|
Neidhart’s gas might not have been the first reference to flatulence in WWE history (Vince McMahon used to make a farting noise each time Doink executed the dreaded Whoopee Cushion), but for better or worse, in the field of one-dimensional fart-based wrestling gimmicks, Natalya blazed a trail.
She must have done that trick with the Bic lighter.