On episode 18 of Confessions Of The Hitman entitled, “Late Nights, Early Mornings”, two-time WWE Hall Of Famer Bret Hart talked about traveling with his late, great tag team partner and friend, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart. Among many other things, Hart recalled occasions where the pair should have been arrested by local law enforcement. Hart noted that Neidhart was the quintessential party animal, and told an amusing story about getting kicked out of a luggage store. Also, Hart explained how they were able to stay close personal friends even though most tag teams grow to hate each other.
Hart shared that no pro wrestler had as much fun as he and Neidhart when they were traveling together. While ‘The Excellence Of Execution’ divulged that The Hart Foundation should have been arrested plenty of times, the duo’s “saving grace” was that camera phones were not readily available during the height of their pairing.
“I can say I know with absolute certainty that there were no [pro] wrestlers that had as much fun as Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart and I did,” Hart admitted. “We had so much fun. And we could have gone to jail many times, and we probably should’ve. And really, the saving grace of that whole thing was that they didn’t have cameras and film like they do today, because we would’ve been in a lot of trouble. But it was so much fun; it was so much fun every night. And Jim was one of those guys that I would say was scared of the dark. Like, he wasn’t going to go to bed until the sun came up, and he was kind of like that.”
One funny story saw The Hart Foundation getting kicked out of a luggage store while procrastinating away their planned workout.
“We had been out the night before and we had been pretty hungover. And so, sometimes when I didn’t really want to go to the gym, like, I wanted to crash out in my room all afternoon with a hangover and skip the gym. And so we landed, I think it was in Dayton, Ohio, and I kept saying, like, ‘we have to go to the gym,’ but I’m actually kind of hoping Jim would say, ‘I’m not going to the gym’ and then I would say, ‘I’m totally in agreement.’ But I was like, ‘we’ve got to get in there for a quick workout.’ I was kind of ribbing him. And somehow, Jim was like, ‘yeah, okay, we’ll go to the gym really hungover.’
“And I remember I actually didn’t want to go to the gym. I was feeling bad, so on the way to the gym, I said, ‘I need a coffee.’ Like, I’ve actually talked myself into this workout now. We’re actually going to the gym and I can’t believe it, so we pull into this 7-11 – there was a little luggage store. One of my luggage pieces had broke, so I was going for about three weeks with a suitcase that I was taping and stuff, and it was getting to be a pain in the butt. So I see this luggage store and I said, ‘I’ll just buy a suitcase in here!’ So Jim’s getting annoyed,” Hart recalled.
As the story goes, the shopkeep challenged Neidhart to stand on a piece of luggage to show off it’s durability. The big man of the tag team crushed the luggage with ease.
“[Neidhart]’s kind of in a b—hy mood anyway. He’s got the sweatpants on and I’ve got the belts on me. We walk into this luggage store next door and there is this very distinguished looking gentleman with a moustache and all that. He was talking about his luggage to someone else. I remember Jim’s walking around with me, and I’m like, ‘what do you think about this one?’ And he goes, ‘that’s a piece of sh-t!’ And I’m like, ‘what about this one?’ And he said, ‘that’s a piece of shi-!’ Just mad, grumpy, he’s got his coffee and he’s sipping it.” Hart continued, “and this guy comes over: ‘dear sir, this is one of the finest pieces of luggage.’ And he goes on this long rant, a big sell, on the luggage.
“Jim goes, ‘oh yeah, that luggage is a piece of s-it.’ He goes, ‘sir?’ and he goes kind of in this thing. I just remember, he pulled the luggage out, and he takes his [handkerchief] out of his pocket, and he puts it on the suitcase, and he goes, ‘stand on that!’ So Jim goes, ‘you want me to stand on that?’ And he hands me the drink. I remember he handed me the drink, and I’m thinking, ‘like, I just came in here to buy a suitcase.’ So Jim, with two stomps, almost effortlessly stomps this suitcase and crushes it. He crushed it like a pop can. And this guy looks at me and Jim, and he goes, ‘you just bought yourself a suitcase!’ And I remember, Jim goes, ‘you told me to do that!’ He goes, ‘I told you to stand on it, not stomp on it!’ ‘I thought he said stomp on it!’ Anyway, we got into this big argument and it was so funny. Then, we got kicked out of the store.”
According to Hart, every tag team eventually hates each other; however, he and Neidhart never fought and never even argued.
“Tag team partners all end up hating each other,” Hart professed. “They all hate each other, even brothers, real brothers hate each other a lot of the time. The Rougeau Bros. don’t talk to each other even today. There’s a lot of that because you’re chained together at the ankle. A lot of the times one brother or one partner feels like the other partner isn’t carrying their end of the load; that kind of stuff. There gets to be jealousies and things like that, but for me and Jim ‘The Anvil’, not only did we never have an argument, we never had any coarse words with each other, or a disagreement about anything wrestling related. He was always of the understanding that I knew what I was doing, that he would never argue with me about anything. I would say to him, ‘this is what we’re doing,’ and it was never a question. He always had my back, he was always on-side with me with everything I was doing.”
According to Hart, Neidhart was the original party animal. Apparently, legendary comedian and party animal John Belushi would not be able to keep up with ‘The Anvil’.
“[Neidhart] was so much fun every night and every day,” Hart remembered. “If you looked up ‘party animal’ in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Jim Neidhart’s face. He is the original party animal. I think John Belushi would have tapped out, and waved the white flag, and put ‘surrender’ up on his door.”
While Hart described his tag team with Neidhart as a 50/50, ‘The Hitman’ does not feel that ‘The Anvil’ gets his just due as a world class athlete.
“[Neidhart] was a very legitimate, world class athlete. You look at Jim Neidhart with that big belly on him, but he was one of the fastest sprinters. He was a really fast runner for his size. He could move. When he was wrestling guys like Dynamite Kid, and me, Davey ‘Boy’ [Smith], and The Rockers, if you watch those matches, Jim was upwards of 300 lbs. and he’s wrestling with guys who are 210 and 215 [lbs.] and he’s keeping up with them all the way through the matches.
“A lot of people don’t give Jim the credit he deserves, being the partner for me that he was. I have always said, with Jim, we were a 50/50 team. It was not just about Bret Hart. Jim did all the strongman stuff… Some of the moves that I did, like the finishing move where I clothesline the guy, Jim was actually the guy who had to pick up some of these 300-lbs. guys and lug them, and hold them up in the air, and hold them there. And Jim was third in the world as a shot-putter when he was 16 years old. He went over to Russia and competed against Russians. He had been all over the world.” Hart added, “[Neidhart] was a world class athlete, but he was a party animal.”
Subscribe to Confessions Of The Hitman to watch episode 18 of the webseries. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit Confessions Of The Hitman with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.