WWE legend Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart dies at age 63
The death of one part of the wrestling duo The Hart Foundation was confirmed by the WWE in a statement but no further details were revealed
WWE has confirmed the death of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, a former pro-wrestling legend and one part of the duo the Hart Foundation. The father of the current WWE superstar Natalya, passed away on Monday morning at the age of 63. The news was first shared by Cauliflower Alley Club President Brian Blair and later confirmed by WWE.
There are no details concerning the cause of death at this time. He was a California native, and attempted a pro football career after high school, but moved to Canada and pro wrestling in the late 1970s.
His wrestling career was not immediately a success but he soon signed on with Stu Hart and Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, which is also where he met his future wife Ellie Hart. The pair married in 1985 and had three daughters, including current WWE Superstar Natalya.
Jim rose to WWE fame in the 1980s as one-half of the Hart Foundation tag team with Bret Hart, managed by Jimmy Hart. The duo debuted at WrestleMania II and won their first title less than a year later when they defeated Hart Dungeon grads The British Bulldogs for WWF World Tag gold in 1987.
In 1989, Jim and Bret embarked on single careers.He later aligned himself with Bret’s younger brother Owen as The New Foundation. However, the career was short-lived as Jim was fired by WWE in 1992.
Following that, he spent the next decade in and out of WWE, WCW and other promotions while dealing with legal trouble and substance abuse issues. He reportedly participated in WWE-sponsored rehab and has been clear of legal trouble for several years. Over the past few years, he’s been associated with a reality program 'Total Divas' along with Ellie, Natalya, her husband TJ “Tyson Kidd” Wilson.
WWE remembered Neidhart with the following statement:
"WWE is saddened to learn that Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart passed away.
Best known as the powerhouse of the legendary Hart Foundation tag team with his brother-in-law, Bret "Hit Man" Hart, Jim Neidhart was also the father of current WWE Superstar Natalya.
Neidhart began his ring career after playing professional football with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. He was trained by WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart in the infamous Hart Dungeon in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and earned his ring nickname, The Anvil, after winning an anvil throwing contest.
Neidhart married Stu's daughter, Ellie, to become a member of the legendary Hart Family before making the move to WWE along with Bret "Hit Man" Hart, Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith when WWE purchased Stu Hart's Calgary Stampede Wrestling.
Initially, Neidhart and Hart were managed by Jimmy Hart as The Hart Foundation and went on to win two WWE World Tag Team Championships.
After several years of teaming with Bret's younger brother, Owen Hart, and some singles competition, The Hart Foundation was re-formed in controversial fashion in 1997. Consisting of Neidhart, Bret, Owen, Smith and Brian Pillman, the pro-Canadian faction stirred United States crowds into a frenzy with their anti-American sermons.
Neidhart last competed in WWE in 1997 but his legacy lives on today through his daughter, Natalya, who displays her father's signature charisma and toughness every time she steps in the ring.
WWE extends its condolences to Neidhart's family, friends and fans."