Showing Hart

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March 10, 2008

Dwindling down to the best of the best (of the best), the No. 3 Greatest Tag Team of all time may have shone brighter than the rest. Raising the measuring stick in tag team competition, Bret "Hit Man" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart left their stamp in several history books and set new standards in ring tactics and also ring wear. Don Johnson made it acceptable to wear pastel hues in the mid-1980s; the Hart Foundation made it macho to wear neon pink.

Considered the ideal combination of thunder and lightning, the Hart Foundation was the perfect product of Stu Hart's renowned Dungeon training grounds. The two pink-and-black attacked their way to the zenith of sports-entertainment, employing a seldom seen method that utilized the Hit Man's technical mat savvy as well as The Anvil's robust strength and force. This rare pairing of abilities proved critical in the tandem's greatest in-ring achievements which included two lengthy reigns as World Tag Team Champions.

Fellow Canadians but also actual brothers-in-law, Hart and Neidhart were linked by blood -- blood which the Hit Man oft cited as being pumped by the same heart. And, though they weren't literally blood-bound, one would never guess that The Anvil -- with his signature curious tug of his Oliver Queen-esque pointed goatee and menacing canine-bearing grin -- was related to the polished, reserved "Excellence of Execution."

When the Hart Foundation initially invaded the tag team ranks in 1984, they were aligned with the much-despised WWE Hall of Famer, Jimmy Hart. Irritatingly notorious for representing countless WWE Superstars (many successful), "The Mouth of the South" led the Hit Man and The Anvil to the highest rungs of the WWE tag team division, as well as their first championship victory over longtime rivals the British Bulldogs (see No. 10).

Ultimately shaking the manipulative, megaphone-wielding Hart from their Foundation, the Hit Man and The Anvil showed their true, much more honorable colors and embraced their more recognizable color scheme of pink and black. Thus forth, from their record-setting 17-second victory over the Bolsheviks at WrestleMania VI to their unforgettable collisions with Demolition (see No. 6), Strike Force and others, the Harts etched a permanent mark on the annals of tag team competition in an unexpectedly foreboding shade.

While countless WWE fans were disappointed by the team's dissolution in 1991 -- and the resulting retirement of their signature maneuver, the Hart Attack -- they continued to cheer on both Superstars in their separate WWE quests. Better competitors after years of unity, The Anvil continued to pound away at the tag division alongside Owen Hart and the Hit Man embarked on a storied singles career.

Many believe that the Hart Foundation's success served as a propellant for WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart to secure one of the most prolific legacies in the history of sports-entertainment. Beyond that, Bret once revealed years after the split that he still sought advice and strategy from The Anvil when the Hit Man faced his greatest challenges. Accredited for their deep-seeded solidarity, even when the Hart Foundation wasn't tied by the WWE tag team division, they were as they always were, linked by blood and founded on heart.

Read WWE.com's exclusive two-part interview with Bret "Hit Man" Hart now: Part 1 | Part 2

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