WWE has confirmed the death of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. There are no details concerning cause of death at this time, and his daughter Natalya was on social media as she normally would ahead of her announced match on Raw this evening (Aug. 13) just a short time ago.
He was 63 years old.
A California native, Neidhart attempted a pro football career after high school, but moved to Canada and pro wrestling in the late 1970s when that didn’t pan out. He signed on with Stu Hart and Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, which is also where he met his future wife Ellie Hart. The pair married in 1985 and had three daughters, including current WWE Superstar Natalya.
He rose to WWE fame in the 1980s as one-half of The Hart Foundation tag team with Bret Hart, managed by Jimmy Hart. The duo debuted at WrestleMania II and won their first title less than a year later when they defeated fellow Hart Dungeon grads The British Bulldogs for WWF World Tag gold in 1987.
Bret and The Anvil would turn face and feud with a variety of acts and their eventually former manager before embarking on singles careers in 1989. They would reunite for another championship run, but eventually Hart found solo glory and Neidhart would align himself with Bret’s younger brother Owen as The New Foundation.
The initial incarnation of that team was short-lived, as Neidhart was fired by WWE in 1992. He would spend the next decade in and out of WWE, WCW and other promotions while dealing with legal trouble and substance abuse issues. He reportedly participated in WWE-sponsored rehab and has been clear of legal trouble for several years.
Recently, he’s been a fixture on the reality program Total Divas along with Ellie, Natalya, her husband TJ “Tyson Kidd” Wilson.
On behalf of the entire Cageside Seats community, we send our condolences to Neidhart’s family, friends and colleagues.