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Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart

WWE Elite Collection
by yo go re

I knew, when I was a kid, that one half of the Hart Foundation was from the US, and one half was from Canada. Being a rather stupid child, I determined that Bret Hart was the American because his last name was normal, while Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart's name was weird and therefore foreign.

Best known as the explosive powerhouse of the legendary Hart Foundation, Jim Neidhart began his athletic career as a standout shotputter in high school. The big man held the California state record in the event for more than a decade before turning his attention to the gridiron. After playing professional football with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, Neidhart decided to travel to Calgary to pursue a career in pro wrestling. Training in the legendary Hart Dungeon with WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart, the mighty Neidhart learned how to put his athleticism and strength to good use in the ring. During the early '80s, he competed throughout North America, primarily in Stu Hart's Calgary Stampede promotion, and developed a reputation as a dangerous man with a wild personality. It was during this time that he earned his nickname, The Anvil, after winning $500 in an anvil throwing contest. Because that's a thing.

The most common strategy for a tag team is to pair a smaller, dynamic wrestler with a larger bruiser - for the Hart Foundation, Neidhart was the big guy. He uses a thicker, more stout torso than his partner did, though he's still got the sculpted tunic. The toy makes a decent attempt at creating The Anvil's physique, but the arms seem to be the wrong size for him - they're too gangly or something, too long. And his butt is definitely too flat. Like Bret, he's wearing pink and black, but while he has the heart outline on his stomach, he doesn't have any hearts on his legs. They did paint his chest hair though. And left gaps where his nipples would be.

Again, the likeness on this figure is better than Jakks' version, but not among the best Mattel has done. A lot of the work is carried by his distinctive pointy beard, while the general shape of the face just seems "off" somehow. Maybe it's because his mouth isn't open in a wild yell or a manic laugh? He just ends up looking like a goblin.

Bret Hart may have made it big as a singles star, but The Anvil never really did - he did some work, and won a few matches, but it was really nothing memorable. So while he does technically have his own finishing move (the Anvilizer, which is just a renamed Cobra Clutch), he's better identified with the double-team Hart Attack maneuver: Jim would pick the opponent up in a bear hug, Bret would bounce off the ropes and clothesline them to the mat. It's not the flashiest thing in the world, but it utilizes both their skill sets and looks effective. Thanks to his articulation, the figure can do his part: he moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots and ankles. And hey, his ape-arms make it easier for him to hoist other figures up! Win!

Anvil comes with the same two accessories Hitman did: a strap and some sunglasses. Not the same style of sunglasses, though: these are more angular, and probably would have worked better to suggest the style Bret actually wore. (The reason he wore them? He was so nervous doing promos and the glasses helped hide that. Neidhart took to wearing them too so that his partner wouldn't look conspicuous.) To give you an idea of the size difference between these two figures, the belts are the same mold, but in fitting around the toys' waists, they "buckle" at opposite ends.

Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart may not have been a singles success, but there's no shame in being part of a team - especially when that (and your beard) still makes you one of the most famous faces in wrestling. And when it means Mattel does work as good as this on your toy.

Bret "The Hitman" Hart | "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart | Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart

-- 01/25/17

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