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SPOILER: THE FIRST MEMBERS OF THE WWE HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2019

By Mike Johnson on 2019-02-04 15:22:00

World Wrestling Entertainment will be inducting the original Hart Foundation – Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Hart into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday 4/6 in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center, PWInsider.com has confirmed with multiple sources over the last 48 hours.

We are told that the current plan is for the original trio to be inducted.  Heel referee turned wrestler “Dangerous” Danny Davis, who later joined the original Foundation and teamed with them at WrestleMania III is not currently scheduled to be inducted we are told.

The 1997-era Hart Foundation faction, which also included Owen Hart, Brian Pillman and Davey Boy Smith will not be inducted at the ceremony either, likely due to the legality of honoring Owen Hart as his estate remains at odds with WWE for all the obvious reasons.  While there will obviously be some fans upset with that decision, WWE is stuck in a no-win situation when it comes to honoring Owen Hart and this is probably the only course of action they could realistically take.

The original Hart Foundation tandem was put together in WWF in 1985 after Vince McMahon purchased Stampede Wrestling from Stu Hart, bringing in several wrestlers from the territory in at the request of Stu, as they were family members.  The decision was made to put brothers-in-law Hart and Neidhart together and place them with the unrelated Jimmy Hart, who had come into the company from Memphis Wrestling.  They officially debuted as a team on 4/20/85, defeating Mario Mancini and S.D. Jones on WWF TV and quickly became a cornerstone of the company’s tag team division during that era.

The mixture of Jimmy Hart’s jabber, Bret Hart’s technical finesse and Neidhart’s brute strength proved to be a great combination as the two were regularly in the mix as one of the top tag teams in the company.  They held the WWF Tag Team Championships on two occasions, once as heels and later as babyfaces before the team was broken up.  They had a tremendous feud with the British Bulldogs as well as one later with Demolition and made memorable appearances at WrestleMania II and III before the decision was made to turn Bret Hart into a babyface singles star the following year at WrestleMania IV.

Bret Hart, now 61-years old, would go on to become one of the definitive singles talents for the company in the 1990s with multiple WWF Championship runs and WrestleMania main events.  Following the Montreal Screwjob in November 1997, he would go on to WCW, where he would also win their World title but not be used as a strong as he had been in WWF.  Hart would officially retire (quite prematurely given his level of stardom) in 1999 after suffering a terrible concussion from an errant, stiff kick while wrestling Bill Goldberg.   

Although Hart remained at odds with WWE for many, many, many years, he agreed to be inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2006 in Chicago by Steve Austin with Hart giving an amazing Hall of Fame speech where he talked about his life growing up in and performing in professional wrestling.  He would finally return to WWE in January 2010, leading to a WrestleMania match against Vince McMahon and several other wrestling appearances, including a final match at Madison Square Garden as part of a “Bret Hart Tribute Night.”  Hart has made appearances for the company since in non-wrestling roles.  Hart has overcome a number of health issues in recent years, including a stroke and cancer.

Following Ric Flair, Bret Hart will become the second multi-time WWE Hall of Famer, having been initially inducted himself in 2006.  The next day, Hart declined to appear at WrestleMania 21, although it’s unlikely he will turn down the same opportunity at WrestleMania 35 at MetLife Stadium.

After the initial incarnation of the Hart Foundation disbanded for good, Jim Neidhart would go on to have a number of WWF roles, including tag team partner for Owen Hart as the New Foundation, color commentary for WWF’s then-syndicated weekly shows and even performing  as the masked “Who” enhancement character.  When the 1997-era version of the Hart Foundation was formed, Neidhart (who had been aligned with Owen Hart as heels) reconciled on-screen with Bret Hart and would work as an enforcer for the group.  The highlight of the 1997 run was the In Your House: Canadian Stampede PPV, headlined by a ten-man tag that saw the Hart Foundation receive thunderous ovations in Calgary for a bout that had incredible old school territory crowd head.   Neidhart would follow Bret to WCW after the Montreal Screwjob. 

In recent years, Neidhart made cameo appearances on Raw for milestone episodes and was regularly featured on Total Divas as his daughter, Natalya, is now a cornerstone member of the WWE women’s roster and cast member of that WWE reality series.  Neidhart, who had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease, passed away last year at the age of 63. 

Jimmy Hart, now 76-years old and one of the best mouthpieces of all time in professional wrestling, would continue to manage a number of wrestlers over the years as a heel before turning babyface in 1993 and becoming aligned with Hulk Hogan.  He and Hogan have been inseparable since in real life and to this day, Hart will often travel with Hogan on the road.  Hart worked as a manager and producer in WCW, putting together WCW Saturday Night towards the latter end of WCW’s existence. 

After WCW closed, Hart attempted to launch the XWF promotion, which ran for several years and had its TV tapings later aired on PPV and released on DVD.  Hart also appeared for Impact Wrestling and Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling, among other companies and projects.  A musician before he was brought into pro wrestling by Jerry Lawler, Hart has been responsible for some of the most remembered wrestling themes in history and continues to be a tireless ambassador for pro wrestling.  Today, he operates Jimmy Hart's Hall of Fame Bar and Tiki Deck in Daytona, Florida and still appears regularly at wrestling conventions and independent shows, carrying his trademark megaphone when making appearances.

Jimmy Hart will also become a two-time WWE Hall of Famer and will become the first manager in WWE history to receive that honor.  Hart was originally enshrined in 2005 in Los Angeles by Jerry Lawler.   

We are told that a contingent of Hart family members will be coming in to New York City for the ceremony over WrestleMania 35 weekend.  The Hart family patriarch, the late Stu Hart, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona with Bret Hart inducting his father and the Hart family accepting the honor as a group.

The Hart Foundation name continues to be active as Davey Boy Smith’s son Harry and Bret Hart’s nephew Teddy use it alongside Brian Pillman Jr. and are the current Major League Wrestling tag team champions, having won them over the weekend in Philadelphia from Rey Fenix and Pentagon Jr.

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