Jim Neidhart was a part of the most iconic tag teams of the 80s. Fans of old school wrestling knew him as the tag team partner of Bret “The Hitman” Hart in The Hart Foundation. According to TMZ, Jim Neidhart died at his home here in Florida. He played in the NFL briefly for the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys before his successful career in the then World Wrestling Federation.
Current generation fans may know him better as the father of current women’s division wrestler Natalya.
Long before my days as a 99.5 QYK DJ, I was a pro wrestling ring announcer. My high school friend and I were determined to become pro wrestlers. He stuck with it. I got into radio. So whenever he would have wrestling matches, they’d have me be the special guest ring announcer. It was cool getting to do shows with all these guys my friend and I grew up idolizing. My friend, by the way, made it too! Early 2000s wrestling fans might remember Scotty Too Hottie? That’s my high school pal Scott Garland. We got to do this show with Jim Neidhart sometime in the mid 90s. And it is one of my favorite “wrestling goes off the script” stories.
A lot of times when the wrestling company I worked for brought in former WWF stars, they’d put them in a match with one of our local guys. They had this guy “Bruno The Boston Bodyguard” that they wanted to turn in to a good guy (or “babyface” in wrestling lingo). To do that, they had him go to the ring as a try out for the top bad guy manager. What was supposed to happen is after Neidhart got back to the locker room, the manager was going to tell Bruno he just isn’t good enough and Bruno was going to chase the manager back to the dressing room or maybe give him a bodyslam or whatever. However, Niedhart stuck around and didn’t leave the ringside area. You even hear the manager saying “Get him to the back.” He then starts working the crowd to give Jim Neidhart time to leave. He didn’t. Then, and I don’t know if this wording was in the original plan or not, but the manager said “If you can’t beat a HAS BEEN like that, I don’t want ya.”
Neidhart then helped Bruno chase the manager and they proceeded to pull his pants down! And as bad as the video quality is, you can hear the crowd (and I) had a good laugh.
Jeez another memory of The Anvil. My high school bud Scott and I would hang out before WWF matches to meet the wrestlers. That’s me in the back.— Geno from 99.5 QYK (@WQYKGeno) August 13, 2018
In our defense, mirrors hadn’t been invented in Maine yet. pic.twitter.com/A2mxhmq7Yu
Neidhart’s ties to Tampa Bay are deep. A longtime resident, his career got his start right here in Florida. Neidhart was only 63.
Krusher Khruschev and Jim Neidhart defeat Cocoa Samoa and Hector Guerrero for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship(Florida).October 3,1984,Tampa,Florida. pic.twitter.com/ptB4g0YeNy— Rasslin' History 101 (@WrestlingIsKing) January 19, 2018
Hey it’s Geno. Here are my most recent posts. I’m a big Lightning fan and Tampa Bay’s junk foodie. I grew up in Westbrook, Maine but Florida will always be home. Hook up with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And catch Nights with Geno weeknights at 7 on 99.5 QYK!