Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, a two-time WWF Tag Team Champion, is one of the most famous and beloved celebrities and a professional wrestler who died in 2018. Neidhart had a full life with all the wins and losses, failures and success he faced. He was a big and strong guy and he took advantage of that. He was a football player, a wrestler, a husband, and a father.
An Awesome NFL player
Neidhart started his professional life as an NFL player at Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. He, then, decided to continue his career in wrestling. He went to Canada to train with Stu Hart and after, he worked for him between 1978 and 1983. While he was wrestling at Stampede Wrestling, he married one of Stu Hart’s daughters, Ellie.
Transformation from “The Animal” to “The Anvil”
Neidhart was a two-time Stampede International Tag Team Champion. He was already called “The Animal” because of his strength. After Stu arranged an anvil toss to gain more publicity for Neidhart, his nickname became “The Anvil” because of 11 feet 2 inches throw.
Neidhart became more and more famous with every competition he got in. He participated New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Big Fight Series in 1982, and the New Year Golden Series in 1983. Before he went and be a part of the WWF, Neidhart and Butch Reed were holding the Mid-South Tag Team Championship for two and a half months.
The Hart Foundation
Neilhart joined the WWF with his brother in law Bret Hart at 1985. For a while, he wrestled in singles. Then, Neilhart and Bret Hart formed a tag team. The new tag team was named The Hart Foundation. The team won their first WWF Championship on February 7, 1987, against a match with The British Bulldogs (Dave Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid).
A year after the WWF World Tag Team Championship, The Hart Foundation entered another 20-man battle royal at WrestleMania IV. The battle ended with Bad News Brown eliminating Bret Hart and winning the competition. After that, Hart and Neidhart joined against Bad News Brown.
This alliance caused a feud inside The Hart Foundation and as a result, the manager Jimmy Hart was fired. The Hart Foundation challenged Jimmy Hart’s wrestlers for the next year. Losing some, but winning the most, The Hart Foundation moved on to single matches for a while.
The Hart Foundation got united and participated in competitions from time to time. At WrestleMania VI in Toronto, The Hart Foundation fought against The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov) and won the competition in 19 seconds. And after that, on August 27, 1990, they wrestled the tag team Demolition who added Crush to their team. At the end of the game, The Hart Foundation was the second time WWF Tag Team Champions.
Unlike the first time, two months after getting the title the second time, The Hart Foundation lost it to The Rockers in a 2 out of 3 matches in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Then, The Rockers faced Power and Glory for the title and defended it. A short while after the competition between The Rockers and Power and Glory, the WWF decided against officiating the title change and returned it to The Hart Foundation.
The Hart Foundation’s feud with Jimmy Hart was lit once again. The Hart Foundation once again lost the title to Jimmy Hart’s new team The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags). After the title match, Hart and Neidhart separated again.
Neidhart returned to the game after a while. Going against Ric Flair, Neidhart and Flair started a series of matches. On one of these matches, he was attacked and injured while he was standing at the back.
Neidhart and Owen Hart, Bret’s younger brother, formed The New Foundation and fought together at the WWF Wrestling Challenge on December 1. They won against Duane Gill and Barry Horowitz that night. The New Foundation wrestled against The Orient Express, The Barbarian and Warlord, and The Beverly Brothers. Unfortunately, Neidhart was fired out of the team when he refused to take a drug test and responded to this request violently.
After a brief break, Neidhart went and took part in three matches in Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW). Neidhart, then, had three matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling, too. After these, joined the World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He beat up two jobbers, and then, he teamed up with The Junkyard Dog. With The Junkyard Dog, he continued to wrestle against jobbers and win. Neidhart’s WCW adventure ended when he had a match and lost to Maxx Payne.
Later, he returned from this break to WWF for his brother in law Bret Hart’s competition for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship title. Bret was fighting against Intercontinental Champion Diesel, and Neidhart was his cornerman. During the match, Neidhart helped Bret to get the title but he also caused him to disqualify.
Neidhart did not interfere anything happened after the match and let Diesel and Shawn Michels beat Bret. Later that night, he showed up for Owen Hart’s match against Razor Ramon. Neidhart started to attack Razor Ramon out of the ring and he got in the feud between the two Hart brothers.
He sided with Owen against Bret and joined The Teamsters. With The Teamsters, he fought against Razor Ramon and The Bad Guys at Survivor Series. At the end of the series, WWF champions Diesel and Michaels got into a fight and split up. Because they were holding the title together, a tournament was held to find the new owner of the title.
Neidhart and Bret Hart participated together and lost the tournament. After the tournament, Neidhart left the WWF. Later on, he tried to come back, he participated in single matches but he did not have a complete return.
Elizabeth Hart, Neidhart loving wife, chose to become a self-employed, stay-at-home mom. This lovely couple had three daughters. One of them, Natalie, is also a WWE wrestler. Because of Natalie being part of the reality show Total Divas, Neidhart was a guest on the show several times.
Because of his drug addiction, Neidhart got arrested and went to rehabilitation several times. After all that he experienced, Neidhart suffered from an early stage Alzheimer’s disease. According to his wife’s statement, he had a sleeping problem at the day of his death and went to adjust the heat. Then he fell to the ground and died on the scene at the age of 63. Leaving a loving family of 3 daughters, a son in law, three fellow wrestler brothers-in-law and a huge community of WWE fans behind in mourning.