They were rumored to be the first names announced for this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. Those reports also indicated they’d go in along with their manager.
Neither of those things turned out to be correct, but the tag team of Bret Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart will be inducted in 2019, as WWE and Yahoo Sports announced this morning that The Hart Foundation are Hall of Famers.
The two-time WWE Tag Team champs will join D-Generation X, Honky Tonk Man, Torrie Wilson, Harlem Heat and Warrior Award winner Sue Aitchison as honorees at the Sat., April 6 ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This will also add Bret on a growing list of multi-time Hall of Famers who’ve been inducted as singles stars and as part of a group, along with Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Booker T.
Anvil, of course, will not be there to accept the honor, as he died suddenly last summer.
The brothers-in-law both had singles careers going when the then-WWF put them together in 1985. With manager Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart, they were an immediate mid-card hit. Their pay-per-view (PPV) debut included being the last men eliminated by Andre The Giant in WrestleMania II’s battle royal match.
By 1987 they’d reached the top of the division and won the first of their championships during a long feud with the British Bulldogs. A year later, with Bret slowly turning face, the Hart Foundation ditched their manager. As fan favorites, they worked against a who’s who of great 80’s teams from Demolition to The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, The Brain Busters to The Rockers. Their second title run came after winning a two-out-of-three falls match with Demolition at SummerSlam in 1990.
After a politics-filled reign (which included a loss to The Rockers which Michaels claimed The Hart Foundation campaigned to have wiped from the record books, and which served as fuel for the legendary HBK/Hitman beef), the team finally split the next year. But despite only being in existence for five-plus years, the Hart & Neidhart team made an indelible impression on fans.
There was some speculation/hope this would be a backdoor way for WWE to induct Owen Hart, who was a member of two subsequent “New Foundation” gimmicks after Bret & Anvil split, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Regardless, this is a deserving moment for Neidhart, a man Hart told Yahoo helped keep him motivated when the business would wear on him:
“I’m very grateful because he was a guy who picked up my spirits every day and always brought a smile and a happy thought to everything. If you were in a bad mood and were with Jim for a couple of minutes, you were happy again. I don’t think I would have survived my early days without him.”