Today, former Oakland Raider, Dallas Cowboy and legendary professional wrestler Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart died of a fall in his Florida home. He was 63.
Neidhart attended Newport Harbor High School and held the California state shot put record from 1973 until 1985. In the late 1970s, Neidhart pursued a football career, and his tremendous strength and size led him to be signed by the Oakland Raiders, for whom he played in the preseason in 1978. In 1979, he played for the Cowboys, but was released and decided to shift careers and become a professional wrestler. He traveled to Calgary to be trained by legendary Stampede Wrestling promoter and patriarch of the Hart family, Stu Hart.
Neidhart flourished in Calgary and he earned his nickname by winning an anvil-throwing competition at the Calgary Stampede. Neidhart married Elizabeth Hart, one of Stu’s daughters, and together they had three daughters. One of his daughters, Natalie, wrestles for WWE today under the ring name of Natalya.
Neidhart wrestled for many promotions during his lengthy career, but is best known for his time in the WWF in the 1980s and 1990s as a tag team with Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Together they were known as the Hart Foundation and they were two-time WWF Tag Team Champions.
Neidhart spent a limited amount of time in football as a Raider, but was one of the most recognizable and larger-than-life figures in the world of wrestling. Condolences to the Hart and Neidhart family.
Author: Tyler J. Smith