Bret Hart: The Last of the Hart Foundation
Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart passed away earlier today at the age of 63. No details have been released as of yet with regards to the cause of his passing.
He was known for living a lavish lifestyle, which his daughter mentioned several times on episodes of Total Divas. He moved closer to his daughter so that she could help him attempt to live a healthier lifestyle.
Bret Hart reacted to the news of his brother-in-la's death on Twitter.
With Jim Neidhart's passing, Bret is the last remaining member of the once famous Hart Foundation. The stable consisting of Bret Hart, Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, and the British Bulldog, was a heel stable, who opposed the United States and were extremely unpopular there while being highly thought of in Canada. Prior to the founding of the Stable, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart had been tag team partners with the name the Hart Foundation back in the 1980s.
The Stable was wildly successful, with several high profile feuds, and members picking up all the WWE Titles which were in circulation at the time, including the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, WWF Intercontinental Championship, WWF European Championship, as well as the WWF Tag Team Championships. Their main feuds were against Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold, and the Legion of Doom.
Unfortunately, the stable did not have a glorious end written for them.
Brian Pillman, famous for his 'Pillman's got a gun' segment with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, passed away on the 5th of October 1997. He died due to an undetected heart condition on the day of the 'In Your House: Badd Blood' pay-per-view. His death shook up the wrestling world.
Unluckily enough, it was far from the end of tragedies as far as the stable was concerned. A month after Pillman's passing, Bret Hart was infamously betrayed by Vince McMahon at Survivor Series 1997 in the Montreal Screwjob. The WWF World Heavyweight Championship was taken away from Bret unfairly, as Vince McMahon told the referee to ring the bell the moment Shawn Michaels put Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter.
Bret had not tapped and was utterly shocked as he had not been told of the planned outcome. Mr McMahon had done this to prevent Bret from leaving WWE with the title, as he was set to go to WCW. He had decided not to take Bret's word that he would voluntarily vacate the title before leaving.
The incident stirred up the entire wrestling world and remains one of the most notorious incidents in the history of the company.
Jim Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith 'The British Bulldog' both left the company due to the incident and later would join WCW, but Owen remained to fulfil his contractual obligations.
Owen Hart continued to wrestle for WWE and returned as The Blue Blazer, a comical superhero role. The gimmick turned out to be a catastrophic mistake, as, during the Over the Edge pay-per-view on the 23rd of May 1999, he was being lowered to the ring from the top of the arena.
He was supposed to pretend to be entangled just above ring height before falling flat on his face for the remaining little distance to the ring to portray his cartoonish character. Something went horribly wrong, and he plummetted 78 feet to the ring, before falling on the top rope chest first.
Attempts were made to revive him, but he never made it back to his feet and passed away due to his injuries. His death sent ripples throughout the wrestling world due to the potential he had that was never realised, and the tragic nature of his passing.
The British Bulldog returned to WWE following Owen's passing. He wrestled till 2000, headlining shows on multiple occasions before leaving the company. He passed away on the 18th of May, 2002 due to a heart attack. It later came to light that he had been training to return to wrestling and had wrestled in Tag Team Matches with his son.
Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart left WCW as well and made some appearances in WWE over the years, including on the 15th Anniversary of WWE Raw. He also appeared on Total Divas from time to time. He passed away on the 13th of August, although details are yet to be released on the cause of his passing.
Bret Hart is the last remaining member of the Hart Foundation. He returned to WWE and made amends with Mr McMahon and Shawn Michaels back in 2009. Since then he has made multiple appearances to support his niece, Natalya.
The tale of the Hart Foundation is one that is both tragic and full of suffering.
Each of the members of the stable contributed in their own way to changing the business. Fans of wrestling from that time can easily recall the impact the Hart Foundation had, and the huge, larger than life, personas as well as insane ability. Most of them trained in the infamous Hart Dungeon of Stu Hart and grew to be technical geniuses. They each helped to pioneer and inspire a new generation of wrestlers.
Be it personal demons or rogue accidents, or simply the incessant and unforgiving passage of time, four of the five members of the electric thriving stable have now passed away, and Bret Hart remains, the Lone Survivor of a time gone by.
Sportskeeda sends its deepest condolences to the entire Hart family in this time of mourning.