I’m always sad when a Pro Wrestler I looked up to and enjoyed performing in the ring passes away but Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart is something special to me. Growing up I loved his over the top, yelling and screaming promos that were always followed by a “YEAH, BAY-BAY! YAHAHAHAHA!” while he would stroke his goatee maniacally. He was the powerhouse of the original Hart Foundation to Bret’s technicality in the ring. I’ll always remember a behind the scenes shot from the documentary “Bret Hart: Wrestling with Shadows” where Bret gives Jim the line “We’re gonna get hungry and forget our manners and then give a yeah baby or something.” to which Jim gives the line to Bret’s laughter and “No, don’t say that.” The Anvil gave the line anyway.
Jim leaves behind his wife Ellie and three daughters, including current WWE Superstar Natalie (Ring name Natalya) and her husband TJ Wilson (Ring name Tyson Kidd.) Early reports from TMZ Sports say Jim fell at home and hit his head and later succumbed to his injury. Sports Illustrated reports the accident happened at his Tampa home and that he passed there.
The WWE reported on Jim’s passing today as well 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.”
We here at BigDamnGeeks extend our deepest condolences to the Neidhart and Hart families. May the Anvil arrive in heaven to all his family and friends waiting for him.
Oh yeah, YEAH BAY-BAY!