On Monday, the WWE announced through Yahoo Sports that the Hart Foundation of Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart will be inducted together at this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony on April 6th.
The two came to the World Wrestling Federation as part of a deal Vince McMahon brokered with Stu Hart to take over his territory in Alberta. The deal would call for McMahon to pay Hart $1 million over the course of ten years, paying Stu a percentage of the house shows they ran in the territory and would include jobs for son Bret and son-in-law Jim Neidhart. The deal only lasted for one-year with Stu re-opening Stampede after the WWF told him they violated the agreement with an independent show promoted in the area by Bruce Hart. Stu would stay on as a local promoter for the WWF.
Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart started their WWF tenures in 1985 as singles wrestlers. Shortly into the run, Bret Hart was not happy with his “Cowboy” Bret Hart persona and pitched an idea of teaming with Neidhart with Jimmy Hart as their mouthpiece and going as The Hart Foundation. Their first major show together was at WrestleMania 2 as part of the battle royal in Chicago that was won by Andre the Giant, who gorilla pressed Bret onto Neidhart on the floor for the elimination.
The two got their break unexpectedly when The British Bulldogs had to drop the tag titles due to a career-threatening back injury to Tom Billington, who was in no shape to wrestle but was insisted upon to drop the titles. Billington outlined in his 1999 book “Pure Dynamite” that Vince McMahon wanted the Bulldogs to drop the titles to The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, Billington refused and would only drop them to the Hart Foundation. This led to a January 26, 1987 match in Tampa where Davey Boy Smith literally carried Billington down the aisle, he was laid out on the floor and Smith worked the match.
Two months later, the teams met again in a six-man tag at WrestleMania 3 in Michigan with the Hart Foundation teaming with heel referee Danny Davis against The Bulldogs and Tito Santana.
The Hart Foundation held the titles until October 1987 and dropped them to Strike Force and would undergo a babyface turn and eliminate Jimmy Hart from their act.
As babyfaces, they won the titles again in August 1990 from Demolition at SummerSlam in Philadelphia. It was booked and executed that the Hart Foundation would drop the titles to Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty that fall at a taping in Fort Wayne, Indiana for Saturday Night’s Main Event. During the match, the ring rope broke, and the match never aired. When Neidhart died last summer, Dave Meltzer noted in his bio of Neidhart that the company was ready to cut Neidhart and then changed their mind and thus, never aired the title switch and the Hart Foundation remained champions.
They dropped the titles for the last time at WrestleMania 7 in March 1991 to the Nasty Boys in Los Angeles as the table was set for a Bret Hart singles run. Hart would become WWF champion by October 1992 while Neidhart was tested as a singles wrestler, a commentator, and later part of the “New” Foundation with Owen Hart. Neidhart would never have the level of success he had teaming with Bret but had numerous stints with the company through 1997 and then went to WCW after the Survivor Series in Montreal.
This will be Bret Hart’s second induction into the Hall of Fame following his induction as part of the class of 2006 in Chicago, which was his first appearance at a WWE event since leaving the company in 1997.