Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart was both a hero and villain at times in wrestling, but you couldn't help but like the guy. He seemed extremely dangerous, but he had a fun and mischievous aura about him that could make any wrestling fan happy. From his look to his demeanor to his hard-hitting style, he was a guy that you would pay to see. I never understood why his career stalled after the end of the initial Hart Foundation run, but he definitely deserved better.
The Hitman and The Anvil are staples on almost any 1986-1990 show that you can pull up on the WWE Network. If they didn't have possession of the tag team titles, they were challenging for those championships. They stayed at the top at a time when tag team wrestling was celebrated and full of talent. They were a perfect match, as different as they were, with two complimenting styles.
Even if they couldn't necessarily find it in stores, every fan of the '80s could tell you what the LJN Wrestling Superstars Jim Neidhart figure looked like. It reflected his nickname of a "tank" and was in the perfect pose. While the later Hasbro line didn't get to see a Hart Foundation version of The Anvil, I've always been a huge fan of the New Foundation attired figure that was released. It perfectly captured his bullish physique and the facial expression was frozen into his signature laugh.
I still remember the first time that I met The Anvil, which was at Greg Price's sole Fanfest venture to Rockville, MD in 2006. The burly grappler was very interested in my Survivor Series 1987 program, looking through each page, and seemed genuinely appreciative that I asked about his daughter, Nattie, who had yet to become the future WWE Hall of Famer that she is today.
Gorilla Monsoon was fond of saying that Neidhart left the NFL because it wasn't rough enough for him. Looking at him, it's not hard to buy that. The Anvil was another in a line of superstars who just simply looked like a wrestler. They don't make them like him anymore, and I'm sorry that we won't have a few more years of the original.
Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart