Second only to the McMahons, and to a whole heap of fans out there, they are the greatest wrestling family in the history of the sport. No, it’s not the Fullers or the Rhodes, the Flairs, or even the phony Andersons. Obviously, we’re talking about the Hart family from Calgary… (Dramatic pause)…Alberta, Canada. Together they ran Stampede Wrestling and of course sired a brood of 12 children.
Beginning with the big tiger himself, Stu Hart from Saskatoon, Canada and Helen Smith from Long Island, NY, had nine boys and four girls – all the boys had something to do within the sport and all of the girls married someone in the sport. At least three grandkids are in the business and a cousin-in-law is widely regarded as one of the most influential wrestlers of all time.
The glory days of the Hart Dynasty are gone now but there is no telling how far their influence reached over the years. But this is not a perfect family by any means – 12 kids – either there’s going to be a lot of love or a lot of madness. Here are 15 pictures that the Hart family don’t want to be seen.
* (Fun Fact – Bret won his first IC title at SummerSlam ‘91 in mom’s hometown and his first world title at a house show nearly a year later in his dad’s hometown) *
15. Neidhart’s Mugshot
For a brief moment in time, the original Hart Foundation was the most popular tag team ever. All of that wasn’t just Bret Hart. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart certainly had his moments Combined with the beard, his power, and maniacal laugh and not a lot of people were willing to mess the Anvil.
But Nattie’s dad isn’t without his demons and personal troubles. Prior to becoming a wrestler, besides trying football for the Raiders and Cowboys and earning the world record for anvil tossing (how he got his nickname), Neidhart found himself in the same prison as Charles Manson for several weeks.
The mugshot however comes from 2010, when the Anvil was charged with a ton of drug dealing, drug trafficking, robbery, and grand theft charges. To add to the fun, the guy got arrested and held in contempt of court when was sentenced in 2012.
14. Sunny Days
Due to professional jealousy, unsaid and undone gestures of respect that should have been, and pure unadulterated competitiveness to be the absolute best wrestler in the world, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels hated each other beyond emotions that words could describe in the mid-late nineties.
We all know the story, and we all know the story behind HBK’s unwarranted and unscripted “Sunny Days” comment. To say that to and about a man with a family on live television was just a prick moment, bottom line. Anyone in in the know knew what HBK was inferring and if you didn’t know and took a second to think about it – you’d figure it out in about a nanosecond.
Pictures like this one are certainly a bitter pill to swallow and serve as stark reminder to just how volatile and combustible the Bret / Shawn rivalry was. One could only imagine the phone call home Bret had to make just because of some offhand dumb comment HBK decided to make.
13. Owen At Over The Edge
Certainly the most tragic accident to ever happen inside the ring, the death of Owen Hart shook the wrestling world to its core, broke every fan’s heart, and most importantly created a massive schism within the entire Hart family. No matter who’s rumor and innuendo you subscribe to what happened at then eerily title Over the Edge PPV, the fact is that Owen Hart died in the middle of the ring.
Thankfully, somehow the fall was not aired on TV and since pre-tapes were happening in the arena at the time, you’d have to assume most eyes are glued to the big screens and not the rafters. Jerry Lawler recounted that he caught Owen falling out of the corner of his eye. Luckily this seems to be the reason there are barely if any actually pictures of Owen falling.
Because the ring filled up immediately with real life medics and because WWE kept playing pre-tapes, the fans in the arena were not sure what actually was happening. This picture is one of the few that captures the tragic night. Luckily for WWE and all of Owen’s family, cell phone cameras and video did not exist in 1999.
12. Teddy Hart’s Insane
In an industry where practical jokes consist of ridiculous hazing practices and his uncle was one of the good natured jokers. In a family where grandpa seemingly loved to make his trainees squeal, one uncle supposedly married his much younger student, a whole slew of other stories and somehow Teddy Hart is craziest of the bunch!
By his own admission on Talk is Jericho, Teddy got too much too soon and was never the same, but his stories do see really outlandish – for example he roomed with Kurt Angle. By Uncle Bret’s opinion, he is the greatest wrestler to not get a real chance up north. But the guy has blown just about every chance he had.
In an industry where everyone for the most part gets a bajillion chances – Teddy is out of them. He shows up late; he shows up with an entourage that has zero clue what’s going on in the business and shouldn’t be allowed backstage; smoking pot; and bringing his “wrestling cats” with him wherever he goes, not to mention allegations that he raped and imprisoned two women have left someone with a lot of natural god given, inborn talent on the sidelines seemingly permanently.
11. Beans’ Bits
When all of the boys became wrestlers and all of the girls married wrestlers, it’s almost sad to think about that out of the 31 Hart grandchildren only one is active within the industry – Nattie, Harry, and Teddy. It’s not for lack of trying as several of Bruce’s kids have tried to break in, as has one of Bret’s – Alexandra Sabina Hart, better known as Beans.
As one of the few Hart granddaughters that we’ve seen who look more like their non-Hart parent, up to as long as four years ago, Beans was actively considering trying to join her cousin Nattie on the grand stage. The timing would have put her trying out right around the time the Performance Center was getting up and running.
For whatever the reason, Beans has stayed off the grid in recent years and seemingly her WWE hopes are either just stagnant or gone. But at least we have pictures like this one that her traditionalist father just can’t be happy about. Because every dad wants to see pictures of their little girl in her skivvies on the entire internet.
10. The Montreal “Screwjob”
In some ways the Montreal Screwjob isn’t just the worst day in Bret Hart’s life, but in the history of the Hart family and its legacy. For one thing if Bret wasn’t leaving the screwjob wouldn’t have happened and perhaps Owen would still be alive because Bret in theory would have been at Over the Edge to talk him out the stunt.
While that’s a huge digression and assumption, it still not too far fetched. Not as far fetched as say…an adult film parody chronicling the most infamous moment in WWE history. Strangely enough the movie isn’t called the Montreal Screwjob…instead the film will be called the F*** Job, because adult films love being subtle.
The skin flick will star Mia Malkova as “Shawn.” Romi Rain as “Bret,” and Johnny Castle as “Vince,” in a movie that will surely be watched by a lot of the boys if not for morbid curiosity and / or comedic pleasure, certainly not for any nefarious reasons. Surely, the Hart family must be prouder than punch that one of their darkest moments is going to be sent up for sexy time material.
9. Tyson In The Hospital
As the only male Hart family member on the roster, Tyson Kidd was heir apparent to the Dungeon legacy. As the last graduate of the Dungeon, Kidd’s pink and black roots run deep, and that’s before he married Nattie. A lifelong friend of the family, he was seemingly always there, just another cat roaming around Hart House.
If you ever heard any agent talk about Kidd, it sounded like he had a natural mind for the business and if you ever heard him on Talk is Jericho, TJ has a fan’s die-hard memory for the business. Mix those two traits together and the thought was he’d have a heck of a career as an agent someday.
But no one expected or planned for someday to be right now. Thanks to Muscle Buster from Samoa Joe gone terribly wrong, Kidd found himself taking an early forced retirement and getting hired on to learn how to be an agent for the company.
8. Nattie In Her Skivvies
Tyson might be a little more than a little bummed about his in ring career being over, but when your wife starts traipsing around the house ready for her own personal bra and panties match with her husband, to paraphrase a certain Rattlesnake, “your ass better be ready to go.”
Based on what we saw on WWE television, on Total Divas, Tyson was usually portrayed as a heel who couldn’t pay much attention to his wife and pics like this are part of that. Like most reality shows, this is certainly a scripted idea as TJ and Nattie have known each other their whole lives and it stands to reason that even if there was a spark missing in their relationship – Nattie in lingerie would certainly ignite the spark.
7. Benoit At Owen’s Funeral
Little did anyone know that this picture would turn out to be one of the most eerie pictures in history, let alone sports entertainment. Supposedly taken at some point during Owen’s funeral, which was a wrestling superstar-studded attraction would wind up having the most vilified man in the history of the sport standing front and center with his fated wife.
It has been ten years now since Chris Benoit killed his wife, son, and himself over the course of a weekend in June 2007. As a native of Alberta, he like many grew up idolizing the Harts and Hart cousin, Dynamite Kid. Once he began to train, it was a no brained that would latch onto the Hart family. Thanks to their training, Benoit began his journey to becoming one of the best wrestlers ever.
Thanks to the internet, giant group pictures like this have become more and more common to see (the Heel Bus shot comes to mind), but clearly any one involving Benoit is going to send shivers down spines, and shots like this one are a grim reminder that he was universally loved by everyone in the business, especially the Hart family.
6. Davey Boy Arrested
One of the great travesties of the sport is that Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldog was never a world champion. One of the possible reasons is the heartbreaking one that he never seemed able to get his act together. He had the look, the charisma, and the wrestling skill. Certainly, Vince would have been enamored with Davey, perhaps that’s why he gave him a bajillion chances.
Clearly Vince has always had a soft spot for Stu and the Hart family, but sometimes enough’s enough. After Owen died, even Bret stopped talking to Davey and Diana, sometimes the emotional pain is just too great.
It doesn’t help either that the Davey was arrested twice in 2000 for threatening his own estranged wife. Like many wrestling marriages, Davey and Diana were destined for bad road, but threatening to kill her, that’s pretty low, especially for the usually good natured Bulldog.
5. Dynamite Frail
But then again, if Davey Boy wasn’t really known for his bad attitude, his cousin, Tom Billington – the Dynamite Kid certainly was known for his sawed-off Napoleonic-sized attitude. Dynamite was related to the Hart family via Davey Boy and being married to Bret’s first wife’s cousin.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Dynamite Kid might be one of the most influential people in the sport to never really get his due respect, except from the boys. He helped to pioneer the diving headbutt that Harley Race innovated, his matches with Tiger Mask are still heralded to this day.
Who is the man in the picture? That IS Tom Billington, the Dynamite Kid. Years of wrestling, living on the road, and abuse on his body have rendered him practically paralyzed and by all accounts even more angry and bitter than he was when he was a superstar. This picture should be a stark reminder to any great worker in the business that success without taking care of your health can come at a grave price (Dear Daniel Bryan, please stay retired and not risk permanent injury)
4. Hart Strings
How on Earth could a cute picture like this one be a picture that the Harts don’t want you to see? Bret, his first wife, Julie and their four kids – Jade, Dallas, Beans, and Blade – and the entire family decked out in the iconic Hart jacket in what surely was a Christmas card to plenty of family and friend?
Because it also the cover to Julie Smadu’s tell all biography Hart Strings, in which the former Hart wife tells in detail her side of things and the abuse that she endured being a wrestling wife and dealing with Bret on the road (who has since admitted how he was frequenter of brothels all around the world).
Obviously with any tell all, the truth comes into question, but between both of their books somewhere the truth lies, and here would be no different – there’s no telling how much hurt was bottled up inside and how much poured onto the page.
3. Visiting Owen
The oldest of Hart children Smith was a real piece of work, especially when compared to the youngest of the Hart children, Owen. Yet, they’re now both gone. According to the Calgary Sun, Smith owed $6.6 million in child support and consistently snuck into Hart House, which was now a landmark to live there and rent the place out.
Still sadly the eldest Hart had all kinds of cancer and finally succumbed this part year on July 2nd. While he didn’t mean as much to the industry as some of his brothers did, he was still a Hart and in name alone he will at least always be respected for his birthright.
This picture however is still just slightly shy of shallow and in bad taste. It’s one thing to visit your baby brother’s grave and tell him “see you soon,” when you’re feeling your own mortality. But to tweet about it and let TMZ show seems like a desperate last attempt at capturing some sort of glory at the expense of your family name and their great family tragedy.
2. Davey Boy and Andrea Redding
With 12 kids and for the most part 12 spouses, there’s bound to be interbreeding. Actually there probably shouldn’t be, but this is a wrestling family after all and often times marriages are either weird or don’t last. This is a story where both of those adjectives apply.
Andrea Redding was just 15 years old when she met a 37 year old school teacher Bruce Hart. The two fell in love and got married. Clearly, the family didn’t break kayfabe on the marriage due to Reddings’ age. The family obviously didn’t want to have a scandal break out. Having five children together and being married for nearly thirty years, the couple clearly did love each other scandal be damned.
But if the age thing wasn’t soap opera enough for you, there was that brief moment towards the end of their marriage where Andrea began to date her brother–in–law, Davey Boy Smith. Aftwer divorcing Diana, the Bulldog started dating the Cowboy’s wife, who according to her wanted to marry her.
1. Bad Publicity Shot
Bret Hart toured the world and was the biggest star anywhere he went. The reason he was loved everywhere except in America during 1997 was because of that love. From Stampede in Canada to the WWE to WCW and all points in between, his status became legendary. Hulk Hogan might have made wrestling popular to the masses, but Bret was really the first guy to take it to a global scale and showcase that top guys don’t have to be giant meatheads, sometimes they could be just great workhorses and put on great matches.
After an entire lifetime of giving himself to the world, THIS is the publicity shot that was chosen for Bret?! He looks constipated, worse – the guy looks real tired. Tired of the life he is living and longing for the life he had. The legendary Hitman looks haggard and hungry instead of like the great Hall of Famer he is.
He looks like he’s about to cry, aren’t publicity shots supposed to showcase good in people and not how weary they are. Smith might have just passed away, but this pic (hopefully not) makes it look like Bret might be next.
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