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Opinion: Why WWE are inducting the wrong Hart Foundation into the Hall of Fame

Paul Benson
ANALYST
Feature
Timeless

The Hart Foundation circa 1997
The Hart Foundation circa 1997

It was reported by PWInsider earlier this week that the first inductees into the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame class would be the Hart Foundation.

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However, somewhat surprisingly the iteration, WWE is choosing to enshrine is the original squad which consisted of Bret "Hitman" Hart and his brother in law, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart along with their manager, the "Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart.

Forming the team back in 1985, the Hart Foundation was a force to be reckoned with until early 1991, when they split in order for Bret to pursue a successful singles career.

Jim Neidhart, Jimmy Hart and Bret Hart: The original Hart Foundation
Jim Neidhart, Jimmy Hart and Bret Hart: The original Hart Foundation

The team won three tag team championships during their brilliant run which consisted of memorable matches versus The Rockers, Demolition, Legion of Doom and many others.

The team was principally managed during this period, by their namesake, Jimmy Hart, although he was of no relation to either.

The Hart Foundation name continued when Neidhart formed a new team with Bret's younger brother, Owen.

Monikered, the New Foundation, the new incarnation of the tag team was never more than an opening card act.

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However, the squad that deserves to be immortalised most under the Hart Foundation name, is the stable that was formed in March 1997.

It re-united Bret with Neidhart and also consisted of his brother, Owen and another of his brother-in-laws, Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldog. Brian Pillman was also added as an honorary member during this period.

This five-man team contested one of the finest matches in wrestling history opposite a team consisting of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, the Legion of Doom and Goldust at In Your House XVI: Canadian Stampede.

Cheered everywhere in the world except for America, where their anti-American rhetoric was loudly jeered, the squad dominated the World Wrestling Federation during 1997.

Bret reigned as WWF Champion, the Bulldog as European Champion and Owen as Intercontinental Champion (twice). Together, Bulldog and Owen also reigned as Tag Team Champions.

Of all five men in that squad, only Bret is currently in the WWE Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2006.

It goes without saying that his younger brother Owen, who won every single title in the WWF, except the World title is worthy of induction, as is Smith, who is still nearly two decades after his death, the most famous British wrestler of all time.

Bret Hart: Already inducted in 2006
Bret Hart: Already inducted in 2006

Pillman, although somewhat forgotten to history in 2019, was the hottest act in all of wrestling between 1995-96 with his famed "Loose Cannon" persona and although his run in the WWF was underwhelming, more than merits a place in the Hall of Fame, given his incredible in-ring work throughout the late 1980's until 1995 and his groundbreaking character work after that.

The one name who is questionable in terms of induction worthiness is Neidhart. As the muscle behind the original Hart Foundation act, he was the perfect foil for the more technical Hart.

However, it was Bret who was the star, evident by his five WWF World title reigns and the fact Neidhart achieved nothing of note in his wrestling career when he wasn't linked to Bret.

As Bret, the star of the original Hart Foundation is already in the Hall of Fame, inducting him a second time, just so Neidhart can be enshrined seems unnecessary.

Also, the thought of Jimmy Hart becoming a two time Hall of Famer as well, an honour only previously bestowed on arguably the greatest wrestler in history, Ric Flair, is enough to send shivers down the spine.

Jimmy Hart was a memorable manager in his heyday to be sure, but he was more annoying than entertaining and if any manager was to receive two Hall of Fame rings, then surely the likes of Jim Cornette and Bobby Heenan should be at the top of that list. It's a travesty that Cornette has not yet been inducted even once.

Jimmy Hart: Worthy of one Hall of Fame ring but not two
Jimmy Hart: Worthy of one Hall of Fame ring but not two

The fact that Jimmy is set to become a two-time Hall of Famer, merely as an excuse to enshrine Neidhart, seems too much of unnecessary evil.

Neidhart's death during last summer was untimely and a tragedy, but if WWE is determined to honour him then it should be as part of a quintet; the 1997 version of the Hart Foundation.

Perhaps, that's what WWE wanted to do and they were scuppered by Owen's widow, Martha who is still at odds with WWE, given that his tragic death occurred performing an unnecessary stunt for the company.

However, if the 1997 version of the Hart Foundation is unable to be inducted together, then in my view, no version of the act should be, and Pillman, Owen and Smith should be inducted singularly.

Neidhart, unfortunately, is the one man that does not fit as a singles star, and his induction only make sense as part of the Hart Foundation; 1997 version that is.



Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article belong to the writer and doesn't necessarily represent Sportskeeda's stand.



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