Former WWE Superstar Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart has died at age 63 after suffering a medical emergency at home, reports the WWE.
Neidhart made his name in wrestling as one-half of the two-time tag team champions The Hart Foundation with his brother-in-law, Bret “Hit Man” Hart. He was also well-known to current WWE fans as the father of current WWE Superstar Natalya as Neidhart was seen regularly with his daughter on the WWE reality show Total Divas.
Prior to wrestling Neidhart briefly played for the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys in the NFL.
He also headlined two pay-per-views for the then WWF: the 1989 Survivor Series and In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede.
WWE’s tribute to Neidhart reads, in part…
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.
Many (well, pretty much everyone) in the wrestling world also expressed their sadness and condolences at the passing of a WWE legend.
And on and on it goes… RIP Anvil.