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This article is about the Hart Foundation in professional wrestling. For the charity organization, see British Heart Foundation or National Heart Foundation of Australia.


The Hart Foundation was a collective name used by various stables in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). They are generally associated with the Hart wrestling family of the legendary Stu Hart from Canadamarker.

Original incarnations

The Hart Foundation

Career

Manager "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart had been using the name Hart Foundation to describe the stable of wrestlers that he managed before his arrival and did so early in his WWF stint. That usage was eclipsed, however, by the tag team of Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart, managed by Jimmy Hart and originally a part of the larger Hart Foundation stable.

The Hart Foundation tag team began when Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, already managed by Jimmy Hart, joined up with Bret "The Hitman" Hart (whose sister he had already married) to form a heel tag team. The name Hart Foundation, already used by Jimmy Hart, derived from the fact that all three had Hart in their family names.

According to Bret Hart, the tag team originated after Bret turned down the "Cowboy" Bret Hart gimmick he was given, claiming that he didn't really take a liking to it. He then suggested to WWF management that he would much prefer to be teamed up with Jim Neidhart. Management first laughed at the idea, claiming that Bret didn't have the heel look that was appropriate, but months later just as Bret was about to quit, he was given what he wanted: he was allowed to turn heel, and was partnered up with Neidhart and Jimmy to form the Hart Foundation.

The Hart Foundation is regarded as one of the best tag teams during wrestling's 1980s heyday. What set the Harts apart from their contemporaries was their respective wrestling styles - Neidhart was more of a brawler/power wrestler, whereas Bret on the other hand was a more agile, sound, and polished technician who used ring psychology to his advantage. This characteristic and uniqueness in the Hart Foundation was at that time rare yet successful, leading to two reigns as WWF Tag Team Champions.

The Hart Foundation were involved in perhaps some of wrestling's greatest tag team matches of all time, and they were constantly involved in feuds with various other teams including the British Bulldogs, the Killer Bees, The Rockers, and the Rougeau Brothers.

Formation and low-card (1985-1986)
The Hart Foundation was formed as a low-card tag team in 1985. They consisted of Bret "Hit Man" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart. They were managed by "Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart and started as heels, introduced as "members of the Hart Foundation", in keeping with the original idea of a stable of wrestlers run by Jimmy Hart. Despite being managed by Hart, Neidhart and Hart were mostly used to put over other tag teams, like The British Bulldogs and The Rougeau Brothers; victories against non-jobber tag teams were scarce. They made their pay-per-view (PPV) debut at WrestleMania 2 in 1986 as participants of a 20-man battle royal which also included NFL stars. The duo were the final two men whom André the Giant eliminated to win the battle royal. The Harts gained their status as a mid-card team when feuding with The Killer Bees (Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair). At Saturday Night's Main Event, the Foundation faced Brunzell and Blair in a tag team match. Despite their great performance, the Killer Bees won the match. The Hart Foundation would continue to feud with the Killer Bees for the better part of 1986, with the end result usually being a Hart loss after Brunzell and Blair would resort to their "Masked Confusion" gimmick.

Tag Team Champions (1987)
The Hart Foundation began a feud with Tag Team Champions British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) in early 1987 over the titles. On the February 7 edition of Superstars, in Tampa, Floridamarker, the Harts defeated Bulldogs for their first WWF Tag Team Championship when the referee of the match, "Dangerous" Danny Davis helped the Harts to win the match and become champions. As a result of this title win, referee Danny Davis turned into a wrestler. They continued to feud with the British Bulldogs at that time. On the March 14 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, the Harts made their first title defense against Tito Santana and Dan Spivey and retained the titles after Danny Davis hit Santana with Jimmy Hart's megaphone. Santana began to feud with Davis as a result of this action and at this point, he joined the British Bulldogs in their feud with the Hart Foundation. The rivalry culminated in a six-man tag team match at WrestleMania III where the Foundation teamed up with Danny Davis against the British Bulldogs and Tito Santana. Davis hit Davey Boy Smith with Jimmy Hart's megaphone and pinned him to get the victory for the Hart Foundation. On the May 2 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, the Foundation defended their tag titles against the British Bulldogs in a Two out of three falls match. In the first fall, they got disqualified because of illegal double-teaming and in the second fall Neidhart was pinned by Smith. However, the Hart Foundation retained the titles due to the disqualification result.

The Hart Foundation went on to feud with many other tag teams in the WWF and defended the titles against each and every tag team including the Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk) whom they faced on editions of Wrestling Challenge in June and usually retained their titles by getting counted-out or disqualified. In July, they started a feud with fellow Canadians The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques and Raymond) while they also feuded with The Killer Bees. They began a feud with The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers), who got an upset victory over the Hart Foundation by disqualification on an edition of Superstars. This led to a title match on the October 3 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, which the Hart Foundation won via a Hart Attack and retained the titles. On the October 27 edition of Superstars, the Hart Foundation dropped their titles to Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana) after Neidhart submitted to Martel's boston crab, ending their 10 month reign.

The Hart Foundation began a feud with Strike Force and the two teams faced each other at Survivor Series in a 10-team Survivor Series elimination match. Strike Force captained a team of babyfaces while the Hart Foundation captained a team of heels. Strike Force was eliminated by the Hart Foundation, but the Hart Foundation also got eliminated and in the end, the babyface team won the match. The two teams continued their rivalry, and at Royal Rumble 1988, Bret Hart of the Hart Foundation and Tito Santana of Strike Force were the first two participants of the first-ever Royal Rumble match. The feud culminated in a match for the WWF Tag Team Championship on the February 5 edition of The Main Event, as the Hart Foundation challenged Strike Force for the titles but lost the match.

Face turn (1988-1990)
In late spring/early summer of 1988, Jimmy Hart signed the Hart Foundation's rivals The Rougeau Brothers and (kayfabe) claimed 25 percent of Bret Hart's and Jim Neidhart's payment. Jimmy Hart's betrayal would slowly turn the Hart Foundation into faces. Another factor of the Foundation's turn took place at WrestleMania IV during a battle royal after Hart and fellow heel Bad News Brown cooperated to eliminate Junkyard Dog and decided to share the trophy which was going to be given to the winner of the battle royal; Brown attacked Hart when his back was turned and eliminated him. After Jimmy Hart's betrayal of the team, and the loss of their tag team championship, the Hart Foundation were pushed as faces, and really got over with the fans. They began performing smart, and at times, hilarious interviews (although they were always regarded as a "serious" tag team) and continued to have intense and memorable tag team matches.

In the summer of 1988, the Hart Foundation began a feud with WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition for the titles. At SummerSlam, they challenged Demolition for the WWF Tag Team Championship but ended up losing the match. On the October 29 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, they faced Demolition in a rematch for the titles but lost due to outside interference by The Rougeaus. At Survivor Series, they participated in a 10-on-10 tag team Survivor Series elimination match. The Hart Foundation were eliminated but their teammates the Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian) went on to become the sole survivors of the match. The Hart Foundation continued their feud with The Fabulous Rougeaus, and formed an alliance with Jim Duggan. At Royal Rumble 1989, Duggan and the Hart Foundation defeated Dino Bravo and the Rougeaus in a two out of three falls match to end the feud.

The Hart Foundation spent the rest of 1989 feuding with teams such as Rhythm and Blues (Greg Valentine and The Honky Tonk Man) at WrestleMania V and the Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) at SummerSlam. In late 1989, the Hart Foundation split for a while and wrestled in other teams but reunited in early 1990. At Royal Rumble 1990, they both participated in the Royal Rumble match but both were unsuccessful in winning the match. The Hart Foundation continues to hold a WrestleMania record, as they squashed The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov) in 17 seconds at WrestleMania VI. On the April 28 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, they faced fellow babyfaces The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) in a tag team match, which resulted in a double disqualification after WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition interfered.

Final title reign and split (1990-1991)
As a result of the interference, Demolition feuded with both the Rockers and the Hart Foundation. At SummerSlam 1990, the Hart Foundation faced Demolition in a two out of three falls match for the tag titles which the Hart Foundation won (in part because of the Legion of Doom's (Hawk and Animal) interference when they dealt with Ax, who hid under the ring during the match and switched places with Smash). As a result, the Hart Foundation got their second WWF Tag Team Championship. On the November 23 edition of The Main Event, the Hart Foundation had one of the most controversial tag team matches in the history of wrestling when they defended the tag titles against the Rockers in a two out of three falls match. The Rockers won the match and became champions but it was with controversy because the top rope broke during the match (after Hart hit Michaels with a Hart Attack on the top rope) and as a result, WWE does not recognize the Rockers as champions. The match was never shown on television and the titles were returned to the Hart Foundation. The Hart Foundation's second title reign lasted until WrestleMania VII when they were defeated by the Nasty Boys (Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs), when Knobbs nailed Neidhart over the head with Jimmy Hart's helmet (Jimmy Hart managed the Nasty Boys at the time).

The Hart Foundation split after WrestleMania VII, without a dramatic storyline explanation (compared with other teams). This was because WWF management saw Bret's potential in becoming a singles superstar. Bret then focused on his solo career, winning the WWF Intercontinental Championship and the WWF Championship as well as King of the Ring tournaments in 1991 and 1993 and co-winning the Royal Rumble in 1994.

In wrestling





Championships and accomplishments





The New Foundation

Career

Succeeding the Hart Foundation (1991-1992)
After the Hart Foundation split both members focused on their singles careers; Bret challenged for and won the Intercontinental title while Jim Neidhart faced a much tougher road as a singles competitor. In late 1991, Neidhart had a match against Ric Flair, which Neidhart lost via submission to the figure four leglock. The move incapacitated Neidhart so much that he had to be helped from the ring; as he exited the arena the Beverly Brothers made their entrance for a tag team match. The arrogant brothers took an opportunity and jumped Neidhart, further (kayfabe) aggravating his injury. When Neidhart returned about a month later, he was determined to get revenge and he even had back up. Bret's younger brother, Owen, had been signed with the company and he was revealed as Neidhart's back up. They then formed a team in the hopes of recreating the magic of the Hart Foundation and the duo was subsequently dubbed The New Foundation. Owen was soon nicknamed "The Rocket" and the duo became famous and instantly recognizable for their bizarre 'baggy pants' attire and bright jackets.

Their first feud was naturally with the Beverly Brothers but they also had matches with The Nasty Boys and The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) but with very little success. The team had their one and only pay-per-view match at the Royal Rumble, where they defeated The Orient Express (Tanaka and Kato). Only weeks later, Owen Hart would be on his own as Neidhart left the federation.

Heel reunion (1994)
Owen and Jim reunited in 1994, this time as heels and without the New Foundation moniker. Owen had turned on his brother Bret in early 1994 and was deep in a feud with him. Jim Neidhart turned up at the King of the Ring tournament first to accompany former partner Bret Hart as he faced Diesel, but then also made a surprise appearance at the end of the night to help Owen Hart win the tournament, resulting in Owen dubbing himself the "King of Harts". It was later confirmed that Neidhart was helping Owen. The brothers in law would team regularly throughout 1994, feuding with Bret and Davey Boy Smith. At SummerSlam, after Bret retained the WWF Championship against Owen in a steel cage match, Neidhart attacked Bret; when Smith tried to make the save for Bret, Neidhart attacked him as well.

On the November 7 edition of Raw, Hart and Smith took on Owen and Neidhart in a tag team match and went on to win the match.

Neidhart and The Blue Meanie also teamed under the New Foundation name in Memphis Championship Wrestling in 2000, and were the promotion's first Tag Team Champions.

In wrestling



Championships and accomplishments





The (New) Hart Foundation

Career

Feud with United States (1997)
In 1997, the Hart Foundation re-formed as a pro-Canadianmarker stable that was born after the events of 1997's WrestleMania 13, where Bret Hart defeated his then-nemesis Stone Cold Steve Austin in their Submission Match. The match also saw a double turn, as Austin turned face and Hart turned heel. The fans began supporting Steve Austin, who was the rebellious antihero who "flipped the bird", and swore on television and did whatever he wanted, when he wanted to. Because of their new-found love for Austin, the fans in the U.S.A. booed Bret Hart, thus causing a war between Canada and USA. Bret Hart in response reunited himself with Jim Neidhart and recruited Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, and Brian Pillman to form the new Hart Foundation.

This stable opposed the United Statesmarker, and even degraded the United States and its values whereas they would speak highly of Canada and the United Kingdom (where they were beloved). The New Hart Foundation usually brought the Canadian and British flags out to their matches, and in their promos would talk in disgust about the United States and its inhabitants in general, thus causing fan reactions and making the New Hart Foundation (and Bret Hart in particular) unpopular in the States but highly popular in Canada. Their main feud was with Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels, whom (as opposed to the Hart Foundation) were booed heavily in Canada and Europe, but cheered on wildly in the United States. At Canadian Stampede, the Hart Foundation took part in a historic 10-man tag team match where the entire Hart Foundation faced the team of Steve Austin, the Legion of Doom, Ken Shamrock, and Goldust. In the end, Owen Hart pinned Steve Austin. The entire Hart family came into the ring to celebrate afterwards.

The stable was highly successful, garnering every championship available at the time (WWF Championship, Intercontinental Championship, European Championship, and Tag Team Championship) in the WWF.

The end of the Hart Foundation (1997)
The new Hart Foundation eventually disbanded in late 1997. Pillman was found dead of an undetected heart condition on October 5, the day of In Your House: Badd Blood. At the following pay-per-view, Survivor Series, Bret (who was leaving the WWF to join World Championship Wrestling) lost the WWF Championship to Shawn Michaels in the infamous "Montreal Screwjob". Both Neidhart and Smith left over the incident, but Owen remained feeling that he may have been sued for breach of contract if he left.

Members



Championships and accomplishments





Second generation

Next Generation Hart Foundation

Career

Next Generation Hart Foundation
In 2002, Teddy Hart (the son of B.J. Annis and Georgia Hart and the nephew of Bret and Owen Hart) formed the Next Generation Hart Foundation with his cousin Harry Smith (the son of Davey Boy Smith and Diana Hart), TJ Wilson, Nattie Neidhart (daughter of Ellie Hart and Jim Neidhart) and Jack Evans in Stampede Wrestling.

In 2007, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) launched their new development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. Harry Smith, Nattie Neidhart, and TJ Wilson were moved to the new farm territory, where they aligned themselves and formed the Next Generation Hart Foundation (also known as The New Generation Hart Foundation, or simply The New Hart Foundation) and were later joined by Teddy Hart and Ted DiBiase, Jr. On FCW's debut show on June 26, Smith won a 21-man battle royale to become the promotion's first Southern Heavyweight Champion. Plans to bring the stable to WWE's main roster were made but Teddy Hart was released from his development contract in October. Eventually, DiBiase, Neidhart, and Smith, after losing the Southern Heavyweight title, were all called up to the main roster albeit on separate shows, as DiBiase and Smith (using the name DH Smith) were sent to Raw and Neidhart to SmackDown, disbanding the Next Generation Hart Foundation. After being drafted to SmackDown, Smith, would return to FCW, without debuting on SmackDown, and reform the stable with Wilson. With Neidhart's (renamed Natalya) help they became Florida Tag Team Champions. After losing the belts, they were once again split up when TJ Wilson (renamed Tyson Kidd) was called to ECW on Sci Fi with Natalya as his valet.

The Hart Dynasty
In the 2009 WWE Supplemental Draft, Natalya and Smith were officially drafted to the ECW brand, despite Smith never debuting for SmackDown. On the May 12 episode of ECW on Sci Fi, Smith debuted on ECW under the name David Hart Smith, by interfering in Kidd's match against Finlay, signalling the reformation of the group, briefly under the name The Hart Trilogy, before settling on The Hart Dynasty. Smith made his debut with the group by defeating Finlay the following week and the team had their first match together, alongside Jack Swagger, by defeating Christian and Tommy Dreamer before finally appearing as just a tag team, defeating Christian and Swagger on June 9. On June 29, the trio were traded to the SmackDown brand and debuted as a team for the brand on the July 3 episode of SmackDown, when Kidd and Smith lost to Cryme Tyme. The Hart Dynasty made their PPV debut at Bragging Rights, as part of Team Smackdown!, in which Team Smackdown defeated Team Raw.

In wrestling





Championships and accomplishments



The Hart Foundation 2.0

Jack Evans and Teddy Hart began wrestling as the Hart Foundation 2.0 in Mexico's Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) on November 30, 2007, a name first used by Major League Wrestling. At Centro de Convenciones de Ciudad Madero for the annual Guerra de Titanes event, they participated in and lost a four-way extreme dance for the AAA World Tag Team Championship in a match against champions Crazy Boy and Joe Lider, Charly Manson and Chessman, and Extreme Tiger and Halloween. Jack and Teddy have both since joined the AAA Promotion as regular rudos (villains), joining Konnan's stable made up of international wrestlers known as La Legión Extranjera. In June 2009, Evans became a técnico (hero) when he left Konnan's Legion and began to feud with Hart.

Members



Legacy

Family ties

Many of the wrestlers involved in the various Hart Foundation groups came from Stu Hart's Calgary Stampede promotion and as such had a "behind-the-scenes" cohesiveness in the eyes of many "smart marks." With the exception of Brian Pillman (who was trained by Stu Hart), T.J. Wilson (who was trained by Bret Hart and who was a childhood friend of Teddy Hart), Jack Evans (who was trained by Teddy Hart) and Jimmy Hart, every member of the stable was related: Bret Hart and Owen Hart were brothers, Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart were married to Bret and Owen's sisters, and Teddy Hart, David Hart Smith, and Nattie Neidhart are the children or nephews/nieces of the above.

Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, and Jimmy Hart (the original Hart Foundation) are the only surviving members of the "first generation" of the faction. Brian Pillman died of an undetected heart condition in 1997, Owen Hart died in an accident at Over the Edge 1999, and Davey Boy Smith died of a heart attack in 2002.

References

  1. On the DVD Bret "Hit Man" Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be, released in 2005.


External links




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