Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who? (Yes Jim Neidhart)

After tryouts with the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders, Jim Neidhart went to Calgary to train for a wrestling career. At the Calgary Stampede Games, Neidhart set the record for throwing an anvil, earning the moniker of 'the Anvil'. Neidhart was trained by the legendary Stu Hart, married Ellie Hart (Stu's daughter) and went on to a successful wrestling career, often being teamed with his brother-in-law Bret Hart (Stu's son).
Later during his career, when Bret was enjoying success on his own, Neidhart was given a silly gimmick by the WWE. Neidhart donned a mask and was called 'Who'. The WWE often made the 'Who is..' joke (in a nod to Abbott and Costello), although most fans could recognize it was Neidhart under the mask. This also led to a joke among fans. Whenever a wrestling question begins with 'Who', it is quickly followed by (nN), meaning not Neidhart. Get it? Who (nN) is current champ?...Not Neidhart!
Anyway, 'Who' was dropped quickly (but nN). A New Hart Foundation was formed, consisting of Neidhart, Bret and Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith (also married to a Hart daughter) and friend Brian Pillman. Sadly, the last 3 are now deceased and Bret Hart retired after a stroke (although he made a great recovery). Neidhart is mostly retired as well, although he is in good health.
Currently, Neidhart's daughter Nattie, wrestles for the WWE, making her the first female 3rd generation pro wrestler. There is a long-standing rumor that she will form a New Hart Foundation with cousins DH Smith and Teddy Hart.
I almost met Neidhart during the ill-fated Kokomo Wrestling Reunion in 2007. I was backstage, when Neidhart stormed past me and out the door. I later learned that the promoter had not paid some of the wrestlers, apparently including Neidhart.
Jim Neidhart leaving the Wrestling Reunion in Kokomo, IN-October 2007.

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