Could Jim Niedhart have "made it" as a solo wrestler?

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by LBGetBack, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. LBGetBack

    LBGetBack Championship Contender

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    The guy spent the prime of his career in a tag team with one of the greatest of all time. And then when they went their separate ways and Bret got the big push..I remember the Anvil on commentary for awhile. Then he teamed with Owen. Then he was gone for a couple years. Then he came back to basically manage Owen. Then gone. Then came back in '97 to be a part of the Hart Foundation stable. He was rarely around to wrestle consistently for more than a couple months at a time.

    If Anvil had a consistent singles push from 1991 on, could he have made it? I say yes. Unlike other "second banana" tag team guys, the Anvil had charisma. He could talk a bit and had a distinctive character. Nothing spectacular in the ring, but solid. To me, he would've done well if pushed as a "legit tough guy" who went out and put on hard hitting, no frills matches, and he could talk a bit too. He put on a solid match with Randy Savage after WM5 on Saturday Nights Main Event that the fans were super into. I think he could've done well. Like a Hacksaw Jim Dugan level guy.
     
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  2. Jeff Deliverer of Mail

    Jeff Deliverer of Mail Money for nothin, chicks for free
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    I think WWF/WWE dropped the ball with Jim The Anvil Neidhart. Guy was a big power wrestler who had classic (yelling) promos. Nothing a refit of his ring attire, entrance music and special move couldn't fix. He would've made a decent mid card power heel.
     
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  3. LBGetBack

    LBGetBack Championship Contender

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    Was it WWF or Jim....or both? He had a lot of drug problems, right?

    Agreed though, could've made a decent mid card power heel.....and a decent mid card power face.

    And yeah, some of Jim's yelling promos were absolutely hilarious and awesome.

    Also, the way WWF sent Jim out of the company.....with him trying to join DX, and then having Shawn and HHH both beat the hell out of him. Nah. That was messed up. Jim no sold the hell out of that beat down though, which was well deserved. You don't do him like that because of what happened with Bret.
     
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  4. Charismatic Enigma

    Charismatic Enigma Grand Slam Champion

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    I think anyone could have a decent solo run if booked properly. Jim could easily have had what Strowman is having now...a power heel that runs through smaller guys and doesn't say much.

    Do I think he ever could've been champion material? Not really. I think in many ways Jim was just good enough. To be a top level solo performer you need to excel in any one of these 3 categories, at least, or in all categories, at best. Those being 1.)promos 2.)in-ring ability 3.)charisma.

    I think Jim had sprinkles of all 3, but not enough in any one area to really justify strapping the rocket on his back.
     
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  5. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    If they did it, I would have loved to have seen Neidhart feud with Bret Hart. Imagine the build-up and matches.
     
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  6. TEIWCSCSAATBHPHASP

    TEIWCSCSAATBHPHASP Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Even if I dislike Bret's hypocrisies, I still think Jim Neidhart was always gonna end up becoming what he always was going to be, aka midcard/undercard jobber without significant booking direction, since Bret Hart was the biggest star between him, Anvil, Bulldog, Owen and Pillman.

    If The Hart Foundation split like they actually did after 1990-91, Neidhart was going to be reduced to jobbing since although he was good at wrestling, cutting promos and charisma, he didn't excel in any one of those three categories. The closest Neidhart got to a quasi-main event push was his return to the WWF in 1994 when he turned heel again and was now an ally of Owen Hart, the 1994 King of the Ring winner.
     
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  7. jpickens

    jpickens Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Would've made a good upper card powerman with runs with midcard and TV titles and an occasional main event run with maybe a transitional world title run.
     
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  8. TEIWCSCSAATBHPHASP

    TEIWCSCSAATBHPHASP Pre-Show Stalwart

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    @jpickens I agree with you, if only everything fell in place perfectly for Jim Neidhart with proper booking in his favor. Some say Vince chose the wrong Hart to be the face of the WWF from '92-'95, but then again, Vince was fighting the federal government regarding the steroids distributed to Golden Era superstars like Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Bulldog and Hawk. Rick Martel may have had the overmuscled physique by 1991-92, but I don't think he was ever linked at all to the steroid scandal. In fact, he might have taken a hiatus like Hogan, Savage, Bulldog and Hawk; but Martel might have been the only one who voluntarily took time off because he had a real estate career that he needed to start focusing on.
     
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  9. TDFG

    TDFG Championship Contender

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    I guess I'm in the minority and say no.

    Neidhart was good as the power man in a tag-team environment but he was limited in the ring with his ability and I don't think Neidhart could have gotten over, much like Animal, D-Von Dudley etc. he was a tag-team specialist and the guy spent his time there for that reason, as a singles competitor, he would have been the veteran to put guys over, almost a jobber.
     
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  10. HeyYo

    HeyYo Occasional Pre-Show

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    The WWF used him as a singles wrestler under his name AND under the WHO name.
    Neidhart didn't have the workrate or charisma that other similarly sized men did in that day.
    He reached his full potential. He was perfect as a tag team wrestler.
     
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  11. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    I agree. He was only 6'2 which is rather short for a near 300 pounder. A singles guy at least. He was the perfect "power" in a "power and finesse" type tag team like like the Hart Foundation. He could go toe to toe with the likes of the Road Warriors, Demolition, and Powers of Pain. As far as a singles push? I don't know. It depends on your definition of a push. Maybe string together a couple of wins on Superstars of Wrestling or Primetime Wrestling? Sure I could see it. But an upper mid card push or ever a title match push? No way. He just couldn't command the type of attention that a big name singles star should. So solid tag team wrestler but he needed a guy like Bret to make that tag team main-event caliber and MAYBE a lower card JTTS or gets the occasional win guy but that's it.
     
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  12. LBGetBack

    LBGetBack Championship Contender

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    I'm not saying a champion, but like....Big Boss Man level. Jim Duggan level. Solid midcarders who win their share of matches and feuds, as opposed to basically an undercard jobber.
     
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  13. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    Possible but both Boss Man and Duggan had great charisma and great stand alone characters that were larger than life. Niedhart really had no identity outside of the Hart Foundation. I don't think Niedhart could be successful in an extended feud leading to a PPV match. I just don't think he had kind of identity had would capture and hold a crowd's imagination for the long haul.
     
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  14. Jack-Hammer

    Jack-Hammer YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!!
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    Could he have been a decent mid-card level guy at the level of a Big Boss Man or Hacksaw Jim Duggan? Sure, I think so because in terms of power, he had the advantage over either of them and I think he had enough personality to carry himself in that rage. I could've seen him being used as a potential challenger for someone like Hennig or Bret Hart, maybe even HBK, when it came down to the Intercontinental Championship but that's as far as I could see him going.

    I couldn't see Neidhart as the Braun Strowman of the late 80s to early 90s because he just didn't cut as impressive a figure. Strowman is legitimately close to being 7'0" and is genuinely well north of 350 lbs; guys Strowman's size don't usually have his degree of muscular development. He still has the aspect of a powerlifter, but he's also got a good deal of definition, especially for a guy as heavy as he is. Anvil was a powerhouse, no question and could definitely be intimidating, but when you look at Strowman with his build, his look and his speed, then I just don't see Anvil on his level.
     
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  15. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    They actually split the Harts twice before they finally ended... first off in 1989 and then in 90... The Rockers winning was meant to be the last hurrah for the Harts and Neidhart was on the outs. It was only when he agreed a new deal they put them back together for the last run till Mania 7.

    The first time, Neidhart could actually have done some good stuff in the singles division as a heel. He wouldn't have been close to a title (unless it was to put Bret over in the IC division) but he would have been a good "short feud" for the house shows for Hogan, Warrior or Savage - much like how they used Perfect, Warlord and the like in those days.

    The problems Jim had were his drug use and the lawsuit against an airline that Vince lent him money for... Bret talks a lot about it in his book as being the reason they decided to put the team back together both times as Vince wanted his money back and if he couldn't get it, he'd take it out of Neidhart another way...with the shitty gimmicks he had.

    Forget height for a moment - what you had with Neidhart in the late 80's was a strong, tough guy who could talk better than a lot of the roster. He'd have been able to take on Hogan and Savage on the mic and make it believable... he could sell a turn on Bret as "the weak link" much as Shawn did with Marty. His former NFL background could have been used to "legitimise" him. He was a better all rounder than Dino Bravo, Hercules and Akeem - perhaps not as good in the ring or charisma wise as Big Bossman but not far off.

    Comparing him to a Braun Strowman today would be a mistake... that's clearly where they went with The Warlord and to a lesser extent the Barbarian. This would be more the Rhyno style push - good for a short run against the top guy, then settle into the mid card as a "bump in the road" for the next big faces.
     
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  16. Jonyboyuk2

    Jonyboyuk2 Getting Noticed By Management

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    I do not think Jim would have made it as a solo star. He worked well with Bret. he also had some excellent moments in matches like Survivor Series 1989 - when he helped the Rockers pull off some wicked fun moves. Much like the Hart Foundation frequently did.

    Sadly, he did keep getting fired. Wasn't conducive to a long term push as a solo star.
     
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  17. harrythem

    harrythem Championship Contender

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    To me, Neidhart, as a single wrestler, was about one step up from Mr Hughes in terms of "who gives a fuck". He was a squat fat guy, who could shout but wasn't particularly charismatic and, in the ring, couldn't work for shit.

    Look at it this way, Summerslam 97 was built around the Hart Foundation and their matches having stipulations...Anvil even had the stip if a Hart lost he'd shave his goatee off (which he never did) but, he was so shite, he didn't even have a match on an event built around the thing he was a part of.
     
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  18. TEIWCSCSAATBHPHASP

    TEIWCSCSAATBHPHASP Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Tell me about it @harrythem, even Yokozuna would have been a better alternative for the Hart Foundation than Bruce Hart, Jim Neidhart and Brian Pillman could all ever equate to relevance.
     
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  19. HBKperfect23

    HBKperfect23 Championship Contender

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    I always viewed him as rightfully placed as a lower mid carder. He could have possibly turned heel and a had mini program with Bret for the ic title during his first run, although Bret had good competition during that era.

    The highest I could see Jim going would be a feud with Bret in 95. Jim had his heel run with Owen and. Oils have continued that into 95 when Bret didn't have anyone to really work with.

    Neidhart, I always saw as the weak link of the Hart foundation stable. I think he's lucky to have gone as far as he did.
     
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  20. LBGetBack

    LBGetBack Championship Contender

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    Great post. You get it.

    These other people saying "no", and then just repeating what actually happened don't seem to get it. I know he DIDNT make it. But he was never really in the game, as a solo guy. I'm saying "if". If he actually had a solo run without being fired, while actually getting a bit of a push and being featured a bit(none of that ever happened) would it have worked.
     
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  21. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    I just don't see it. Maybe a match or two with Hogan Warrior and/or Savage but why would put Niedhart over more physically imposing figures like Warlord or Barbarian? I can't see a long, drawn out feud like Hogan had with Earthquake in '90 or Warrior had with Rude. They'd have to repackage him similar to what they they did with Warlord and Barbarian when Vince took the face paint and Mad Max-themed attire off of them and gave them completely new gimmicks. Warlord with the Phantom-style half mask and Barbarian with deer antlers. It completely washed away any sign of the Powers of Pain. That's what you need with tag team wrestler's becoming singles. You have to make the audience forget they were part of tag team.

    I'm all for a match or two on Superstars of Wrestling or SNME but if we're talking a main event feud with top guys. No way. I don't see it. At the time you needed a larger than life build, character and personality to match up with Hogan or Warrior even Savage. Niedhart wasn't that and I don't think he could elevate to that level. He needed Bret Hart to play off of. Bret being cool, calm, and collected Jim being the complete opposite. I don't know if his gimmick would play well as a singles.

    I don't even believe he's on the same level as Boss Man or Duggan. Even when Boss Man was a Twin Tower with Akeem, his distinctive attire along with his gimmick as a law enforcement type separated him from Akeem. His character as Big Boss Man was able to develop on it's own. Soit was natural when he went singles. "The Anvil" could not escape from the Hitman's shadow unless he was to get his own identity similar to what Shawn Michaels did with the HBK gimmick or Rick Martel did with "The Model". It's much easier to go from singles to tag team like Hercules did with Power and Glory then to break away from a successful tag team (especially one with one of the top up and coming stars) and establish yourself as a credible singles.
     
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  22. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    That's where the football background comes in... sell him as a former NFL player, maybe even give him NFL style gear/war paint etc... First feud with Bret, then maybe Duggan, then up to Savage and or Warrior.

    They tended to get 3 months on a loop in those days which covered 1 PPV and perhaps a SNME... Neidhart was easily good for that - his personality being a little "maniacal" would have played. Not saying he'd have been anywhere near the top of the tree long term... but when Dino Bravo, Hercules and the like all had matches with champions at varous points... Think about it... NWA/Japan were just getting Vader hot... Vince could have done something similar with Neidhart, both had similar backgrounds only Leon actually made a superbowl.
     
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  23. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    Well I don't know how well "ex-football player" gimmick would have done in that era. Ex-sports anything are tough sell in the world of pro wrestling and that era was the era of guys named Warrior and Giant, "The Snake and "Million Dollar Man", Earthquakes and Typhoons. Don't how well "football player" would do. Leon White was never billed as an ex-football player it was referred too but that wasn't his gimmick he was always Vader.

    Again, guys like Hercules and Dino Bravo had their own gimmick. I could see maybe Bravo and Niedlart doing a Battle of the Strongmen type thing. Bench Press competitions and the like but really I think that's the extent of it. No way do they have Bret feud with Niedhart. They were trying to get Bret away from the Hart Foundation at that point. He needed to work with top caliber opponents not Niedhart. Duggan and Niedhart maybe but that would be a step down for Duggan, Niedhart was the type of guy who put guys like Duggan over on a Superstars or Prime Time wrestling in a "feature match" not PPV.

    I don't see the football player selling when even guys with colorful gimmicks like "Birdman" Koko B. Ware were JTTS and honestly that's where Niedhart belongs.
     
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  24. Goldie

    Goldie Getting Noticed By Management

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    I remember Anvil having a brief solo run after WM7- he wrestled and beat the Warlord at the 1991 UK Rampage tour.
    That was probably going to be his level..... more the lower end of the superstar roster.
    I think he was also scheduled to be in the Survivor Series'91 match with Duggan, Tito, Hercules, Col Mustafa, Skinner etc... you see the bottom rung of the roster... but was pulled so they could bring in Sgt Slaughter as a babyface.

    He would have been used to put over emerging heels
     
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  25. jpickens

    jpickens Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Funny part about this is that prior to coming to the WWF Jim Neidhart had a decent solo career.
     
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