CHICAGO — Demons from the past are a curious thing — you never quite know when they are going to reawaken. For Natalya and the entire Hart family, the time and place for reacquainting with past demons was WWE Payback 2016.

With their WWE Hall of Fame kin, Ric Flair and Bret Hart, watching from their respective corners, WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and Natalya boldly demonstrated everything that the women’s wrestling resurgence has to offer in front of the Chi-town faithful. With this match, the two Superstars became the only pair in WWE history to combat for the NXT Women’s Championship, the WWE Divas Championship and now, the WWE Women’s Championship.

Photos from the match | Exclusive WWE Payback interviews

The two sports-entertainment heiresses continued their ongoing rivalry by stylin’, profilin’ and straight throwing down with no fear whatsoever. The Nature Boy and The Hit Man watched in awe from ringside as their daughter and niece scientifically, systematically and brutally attempted to break down the other en route to championship victory.

Being so familiar with one another’s style after their previous classic encounters, the two Superstars constantly jockeyed for position, trying to find the proverbial counters for the other’s counters as the contest wore on, with both taking several big chances each.

The pivotal moment came in the match’s closing sequence — after Natalya had kicked out of both Charlotte’s signature Natural Selection and an excellently executed moonsault, Charlotte applied Natalya’s (and Hart’s) signature Sharpshooter. Moments later, referee Charles Robinson controversially called for the bell, even though Natalya clearly did not tap out. In a frenzy, Robinson delivered the championship to the Flairs, then immediately bolted out of the Allstate Arena.

The incident played out nearly identical to the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” from the 1997 Survivor Series, when Hart was robbed of the WWE Championship in front of his countrymen and a worldwide audience. That night would go down as the darkest of Hart’s career, inciting what was essentially a 13-year exile between The Hit Man and WWE that sent drastic reverberations throughout the entire Hart family.

And now they must relive it all over again. 

The fact that it was Robinson who officiated and this result occurred is more than likely no coincidence, as his relationship with the Flair family has long been known. The veteran referee credits The Nature Boy as both his biggest sports-entertainment influence and hero. The official went as far as to dub himself “Little Naitch” during their time together in WCW, accompanying Flair to ringside in the late ’90s and even going out of his way to sway matches in his favor. Sound familiar?

Amidst the controversy, Charlotte and The Nature Boy’s celebration was cut short when, moments after the “Chicago Screwjob,” an enraged Hart and Natalya locked Sharpshooters on both members of the Flair clan.

Charlotte and Flair would limp away from ringside after being tortured in the Sharpshooters, leaving Natalya and The Hit Man solemnly standing together as the adrenaline began to wear off, facing the harsh reality that they were not alone — 19 years later, and the demons from Montreal were still right there next to them.

CHICAGO — Demons from the past are a curious thing — you never quite know when they are going to reawaken. For Natalya and the entire Hart family, the time and place for reacquainting with past demons was WWE Payback 2016.

With their WWE Hall of Fame kin, Ric Flair and Bret Hart, watching from their respective corners, WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and Natalya boldly demonstrated everything that the women’s wrestling resurgence has to offer in front of the Chi-town faithful. With this match, the two Superstars became the only pair in WWE history to combat for the NXT Women’s Championship, the WWE Divas Championship and now, the WWE Women’s Championship.

Photos from the match | Exclusive WWE Payback interviews

The two sports-entertainment heiresses continued their ongoing rivalry by stylin’, profilin’ and straight throwing down with no fear whatsoever. The Nature Boy and The Hit Man watched in awe from ringside as their daughter and niece scientifically, systematically and brutally attempted to break down the other en route to championship victory.

Being so familiar with one another’s style after their previous classic encounters, the two Superstars constantly jockeyed for position, trying to find the proverbial counters for the other’s counters as the contest wore on, with both taking several big chances each.

The pivotal moment came in the match’s closing sequence — after Natalya had kicked out of both Charlotte’s signature Natural Selection and an excellently executed moonsault, Charlotte applied Natalya’s (and Hart’s) signature Sharpshooter. Moments later, referee Charles Robinson controversially called for the bell, even though Natalya clearly did not tap out. In a frenzy, Robinson delivered the championship to the Flairs, then immediately bolted out of the Allstate Arena.

The incident played out nearly identical to the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” from the 1997 Survivor Series, when Hart was robbed of the WWE Championship in front of his countrymen and a worldwide audience. That night would go down as the darkest of Hart’s career, inciting what was essentially a 13-year exile between The Hit Man and WWE that sent drastic reverberations throughout the entire Hart family.

And now they must relive it all over again. 

The fact that it was Robinson who officiated and this result occurred is more than likely no coincidence, as his relationship with the Flair family has long been known. The veteran referee credits The Nature Boy as both his biggest sports-entertainment influence and hero. The official went as far as to dub himself “Little Naitch” during their time together in WCW, accompanying Flair to ringside in the late ’90s and even going out of his way to sway matches in his favor. Sound familiar?

Amidst the controversy, Charlotte and The Nature Boy’s celebration was cut short when, moments after the “Chicago Screwjob,” an enraged Hart and Natalya locked Sharpshooters on both members of the Flair clan.

Charlotte and Flair would limp away from ringside after being tortured in the Sharpshooters, leaving Natalya and The Hit Man solemnly standing together as the adrenaline began to wear off, facing the harsh reality that they were not alone — 19 years later, and the demons from Montreal were still right there next to them.