Today’s Episode of “Talk is Jericho” starring Chris Jericho features Tyson Kidd and Nattie Neidhart. This interview was conducted several weeks prior to Tyson’s unfortunate injury, so there is no mention of what happened or when he might return. Jericho wishes Tyson the best of luck during the opening and closing portions of the show.
Jericho begins by saying that Nattie was one of his first guests when he started doing the podcast and was the very first person he named when WWE asked who he wanted to interview. Tyson says that “Total Divas” was a major boost for his career, and helped him get his foot in the door with NXT. Tyson talks about doing commentary for Main Event, and says that his peers recognize his personality coming through in those moments.
They start talking about the Hart Family; Nattie says that she’s proud to be a Hart because of how “crazy they are,” and mentions that she’s extra crazy because of the additional influence of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. They say that the Hart Family Sunday Dinners were a source of endless entertainment and countless stories. Nattie’s mother is Ellie—the oldest girl in the Hart Family. She goes on to name every member of the family in order, and says that her mother and Bret are right next to each other, which made for a very serious rivalry. Nattie says that she thinks her mother looks like Bret, and Tyson laughs: “Oh yeah, definitely.” She also says that she felt Owen and Diana always looked similar. Jericho says that while some of the Hart’s are just strikingly good-looking, others are “kind of weird looking.” Jericho pinpoints Ross Hart as a funny looking guy, and Nattie says Ross actually designed her first wrestling attire. She said that it was a very traditional outfit, meant for a man, that “traumatized her” as a child. Nattie says that Ross’s only real note to the seamstress—a woman named “Crazy Colleen”—was “not too much boob.” Nattie said that she looked like Kurt Angle, except Kurt showed “way more boob than she did.” Nattie mentione how fat the outfit made her look, with the added comment: “I’m already Jim Neidhart’s daughter” and “my thick legs are JR approved.” Tyson interrupts and says, “Well, that’s your interpretation of what JR said.” Nattie tells Tyson not to interrupt.
The conversation turns to Tyson. Jericho asks how Tyson became such a permanent fixture in the Hart House, and Tyson says he befriended the “craziest Hart of all—Teddy.” Ten year old Teddy invited his classmate, Tyson, over to a house that he described as “a gym.” Tyson put off the invitation for quite a while until Teddy bribed him with ice cream. When Tyson arrived, he was surprised at Teddy’s definition of a “gym.” Tyson was expecting a vast gymnasium with parallel bars and cargo nets, but what he got was a “work-out” gym, where he was introduced to a woman named George. George was short for Georgia—Teddy’s mother. According to Nattie and Tyson, Teddy always called his parents by their first names. After the initial trip to Teddy’s house, he invited Tyson to his grandfather’s house—that’s when Tyson met Stu Hart and started learning to wrestle in the famous Hart Family Dungeon. Tyson says that everything snowballed from there; he was a wrestling fan growing up, but was raised by a single mother and two sisters, so he was eager to learn a bit of male comradery.
Jericho says that he recently had a conversation with Bray Wyatt as to who is the biggest wrestling family. Wyatt claimed it was his own: Bray, Bo Dallas, Mike Rotunda, Barry Windham, Kendall Windham, Blackjack Mulligan—but Chris was emphatic about the Hart Family taking the cake. They mention a number of Hart family members including those related by marriage including Davey Boy Smith, Tom “Dynamite Kid” Billington, and a distant cousin by the name of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Nattie and Tyson remember Davey as an incredibly generous man; Nattie says that he was always willing to take the kids out because he was essentially a big kid himself. Jericho asks about the falling out between Davey and Dynamite; Tyson says that they were fired from WWE for fighting with the Rougeau’s. Dynamite was jumped by Jacques, who punched out his teeth with a roll of quarters. Vince fired the Bulldogs—similar to how he fired Daniel Bryan in 2010—so that the heat could die down. Vince offered them a chance to return, which Davey jumped at but Dynamite said “hell no.” This caused a rift in the Bulldog’s relationship—a rivalry that would last for the rest of Davey’s life. Tyson says that Diana Hart-Smith is a shrewd business woman, and had the foresight to trademark the name “British Bulldogs.” This directly affected Dynamite who was working for All Japan as one half of the “New British Bulldogs.” Tyson says that he had the chance to meet Dynamite through Robbie Brookside, but opted not to because he was “painted with Davey Boy colors,” and was afraid of how bitter Dynamite was said to be. He says that he regrets it, and hopes to one day talk to Dynamite before it’s too late. Jericho says that he and his buddy used to wait around to see the Bulldogs after shows, and dreamed of being “taken under their wing” and taught the business. Jericho jokes: “Can you imagine if they did take us under their wing? We’d be all messed up and drunk and on pills.” Everybody laughs.
They continue talking about Davey and Dynamite—but I needed a paragraph break. Tyson says that Dynamite took their falling out very personally, and even went out of his way to assault Davey’s brother, who was still living in England. There was also a rivalry between Dynamite and Bruce Hart; Dynamite broke Bruce’s jaw the day before Owen’s wedding because Bruce was making fun of him for driving a car without a windshield. Regardless of how violent family gatherings could get, the “biggest sin” in the Hart House was smoking cigarettes. “Smoking cigarettes,” Nattie says, “Other things are okay.” Nattie says that her Uncle Smith—the oldest of the Hart children—is absolutely insane. She tells the story of Smith finding a dead pheasant in the road, and how he cooked it for the family. Another time, Smith found a dead BAT and put it in the freezer. Somebody ended up stealing the bat, so he went door to door around the Hart Compound looking for the culprit. Tyson and Nattie were living in the guest house, and they walked out their door to find a note: “Lost Frozen Bat.”
They begin to talk about how Shawn Michaels and how he helped Tyson during the beginning of his WWE run. After a match, Shawn went “looking” for Tyson, and gave him a handful of compliments, as well as some veteran advice. Tyson says that Shawn was always his favorite wrestler, which is almost taboo to say as an honorary member of the Hart Family. Shawn told Tyson: “Sometimes I just want to show up at Bret’s doorstep and let him punch me out. And if we can talk afterwards, that’s all I want.” Bret was hesitant to make the first move, citing his visceral distrust of Shawn. Tyson gave Shawn Bret’s number, and Shawn left Bret a message just before Bret returned to the WWE. Shawn did so when he knew Bret would be flying, so that he could just leave a voicemail and not have to be engaged in a conversation. This laid the foundation for the healing process that would continue live on television. Tyson says he remembers seeing Shawn and Bret at a house show in 1994, and they were friends. Jericho says that they were friends, but Vince McMahon has a tendency of turning people against each other so as to get the best out of each individual. Nattie said that Bret’s close relationship with both Vince and Shawn made the Screwjob incredibly personal. Tyson remembers meeting Shawn when he was sixteen; Owen flew Tyson into Anaheim for Wrestlemania XII, where he was privy to a pre-championship HBK who was admittedly nervous for the Iron Man Match. Tyson remembers thinking: “Shawn Michaels gets nervous—it’s not just me!” He says that the Iron Man match is one of his favorite matches, and he’s probably seen it 30 times.
We head into a quick commercial break for DDP Yoga and when we return, Tyson and Nattie are telling Owen Hart stories. Owen was a consummate joker, and known throughout the industry as the “king of ribs.” Tyson tells the tale of when Owen and Davey lead a number of farm animals—props of the “Hog Pen Match”—in Vince’s office and closed the door. Vince knew that it was Owen, but couldn’t prove it. According to Tyson, an article appeared in the WWF Magazine a few weeks later, with photos of the animals in the office. Tyson recounts another story where Owen was riding with the Ultimate Warrior, and they arrived at a hotel full of fans. Owen was appearing as the Blue Blazer at the time and Warrior was out of costume, wearing a baseball cap. They were virtually unrecognizable and Warrior asked Owen to keep a low profile so that they could get in and go to their rooms. Owen said: “Yeah no problem,” and proceeded to put his Blue Blazer mask on behind Warrior’s back. The fans immediately recognized Owen and deduced that his travel partner was none other than the Ultimate Warrior.
Jericho and Nattie allude to something known as “Owen’s Last Rib on the Boys.” Jericho says that Owen was very frugal, and instead of renting cars, he’d have fans pick him up and drive him from shot to shot. He would even stay at their houses! So when Owen passed away there was an enormous “legion of Owen disciples” left without their regular houseguest. Since then, those fans have started reaching out to other Hart Dungeon graduates such as Chris, such as Tyson, such as Harry Smith. Jericho is creeped out by the idea, and Tyson says that Owen’s selling point was always: “Nothing beats a home cooked meal.” Tyson adds: “And FREE NINETY NINE helps.” Nattie says that her cousin Harry—one half of the Killer Elite Squad with Lance Archer—is much like Owen in a variety of ways. Harry has an uncanny ability to impersonate almost anyone, giving examples such as the Big Show, Mike Rotunda, Ricky Steamboat, and Carl DeMarco. He’s also become OBSESSED with finding weird friends wherever he goes. “The weirder, the better,” Nattie says. She says she won’t bring up any names, but says one of Owen’s most “famous” friends reconnected with Harry while he was in the WWE. He got the guy front row tickets to an event, and he began stalking them. He started following them around and telling them about his sex life; Nattie and Tyson were disturbed by the whole thing, but Harry loved it and wanted to know details. The guy brought his friends around and they began fighting—Harry laughed and recorded it. Nattie and Tyson left. Jericho says that he was roped into the situation as well, when Harry invited him over to a barbecue at the guy’s house. Jericho was the only other person there and says that it was the worst barbecue ever. There was nothing to eat, nothing to drink. Nattie said that she couldn’t believe Chris actually went to the barbecue because she was “just joking with him.” Tyson laughs and says: “That’s awesome.”
Chris Jericho says: “Everybody can imitate Stu Hart whether they like him or not.” Stu passed away 11-years ago, and Nattie says, “He’s the ultimate of the crazies, but I think about my grandfather every day.” She talks about Stu’s rough upbringing in the Canadian Territory of Saskatchewan, a place so unforgiving that Jericho remarks: “He grew up in a field that got so cold, you had to put rocks in the bottom of your sleeping bag in the middle of the winter.” Stu was homeless as a child, and had to sleep in between dogs. He and his sister were alone at a young age, and had to kill rats to eat, and lived among dogs for protection. He sought refuge at the YMCA and learned to wrestle, eventually becoming one of the most renowned amateur wrestlers in Canada. Nattie says that when Stu was a homeless young boy, he reached out to an uncle that ignored him and refused to help. Years later, Stu achieved great success and recognition, and the same uncle came looking for help from Stu. Stu embraced his uncle with open arms and loved him unconditionally, regardless of what had happened between them before. Nattie says that Stu was just that kind of person; somebody tried to break into the Hart House in 1970s because Stu never locked his doors. His attitude was: “If they want to come in, they can come in.” Tyson said that some of the doors didn’t even have locks, and some of the windows didn’t close. The guy that broke into the house tried to steal one of the Hart family cars. He got stuck going up the hill out of the driveway, and Stu—thinking it was one of his kids—went out to help. After discovering it was an intruder—he brought him back into the house for tea.
Tyson and Nattie joke that Stu probably “stretched” the guy in the basement first, which leads Chris to ask Tyson about his experience getting “stretched by Stu.” Jericho says, “If you gave him your arm—which was the dumbest thing you could do—he would kill you.” Tyson says that most stretching sessions start in the kitchen when Stu is describing how a hold is applied. He’d often be talking to one person, while subtly beginning to apply the move on a hapless third party. Tyson says that he was a small kid, and was generally used as the guinea pig for most of Stu’s demonstrations. Nattie says that Bret always tells the story of the Wrestlemania XII video package, where Shawn Michaels has this incredible montage of handstand pushups and Bret is “gingerly running” and “getting his ass kicked by his 75-year old father.” Nattie says that for most of his life, Stu Hart had a picture of a man named Luther Lindsay in his wallet. To Stu Hart, Luther Lindsay was GOD because Luther Lindsay was the only man who ever made Stu Hart tap.
Chris asks them about the Hart House itself, and they say that it’s currently an historical sight in Calgary. Chris recalls walking into the kitchen and down into the ‘Dungeon.’ The ring was three inches off the ground and surrounded by exposed pipes and wood-paneled walls. Chris says it seemed like a torture chamber; the stairs were made of industrial strength streel, and on the side opposite the ring—was a crematorium. The Hart House was a hospital during World War I, so a crematorium would have been standard. Stu didn’t use it to burn bodies however, he used it to make fried chicken. Well, he used a deep-fryer next to the crematorium. Nattie asks Tyson if she “should mention Bob Johnson,” and then asks Jericho if he ever met Bob Johnson. Jericho says, “Sure, Bob Johnson kind of the historian of Calgary Stampede Wrestling.” Nattie says that Stu was compassionate toward Bob because he was going through some hard times, and therefore allowed him to stay in a third room in the ‘Dungeon’—not the wrestling ring room or the crematorium—where he slept with a dog named Maunakea. They say that a lot of people came to live with the Harts when they didn’t have anywhere else to go. Tyson says that there was a guy living in the house named Neil, who got into some hot water with Helen when he decided to wear a Bart Simpson shirt given to her by Bret. Nattie said it was her prized possession because Bret gave it to her, and when Neil was asked to leave, he said: “I’ll move out but I need a pair of shoes first.” They agree to buy him a pair of Nike Shocks, thus investing in a tenant that didn’t pay rent. He left and came back two weeks later. Nattie said that Neil tried to keep a “Bret-esque look” going, and some people thought he was Bret Hart. Which wasn’t such a big deal, until Neil decided to sunbathe on the front lawn wearing just a sock.
Jericho asks about an urban legend regarding Stu Hart making eggs. Apparently Stu was using a spatula to cook eggs, and saw some “cat poop” on the floor. He picked it up and threw it away—WITH THE SPATULA—and continued to cook. Nattie says she believes it’s true because of Stu’s idea that “the cats ran the house.” Nattie says there were lots of dogs and other animals, but mostly cats. At one time there would be 14+ cats. Nattie says that she’s not fazed by the smell of cat urine because it reminds her of her grandfather’s house. Tyson backs up the claim because of a specific time he saw him making chicken wings down in the crematorium. He helped Stu bring them up to the kitchen, and witnessed him put them in a take-out container from the garbage. Stu was very thrifty, as was his eldest son Smith—the guy who freezes Bats. Smith bought Stu a t-shirt with a smiley face on the front, and a big marijuana leaf on the back. Stu happened to be wearing his weed shirt when reporters from the Calgary Sun came over for an interview. Nattie says Stu loved people: “It could be Saddam Hussein coming into the house, but if he had good calves, my grandfather would say, ‘nice pair of legs on you!’”
Nattie says that when they were kids, they had a promotion called the “Kids Wrestling Association.” They would have their big Sunday dinners, and then all of the grandkids would put on shows in the backyard, in homemade rings that Stu had designed. Tyson said their only hindrance was the fact that they only watched one type of wrestling so the shows were very basic. But Tyson remembers when that changed; he and Teddy got a copy of Bash at the Beach 1996 and saw Rey Mysterio vs. Psicosis. Tyson says that he can tell you everything about that match, because they replayed it over and over. They’d watch the tape and go outside to try what they saw. They’d watch and pause and continue until they attempted Frankensteiner’s, Superplexes, and all sorts of other moves. They figured Stu would be impressed, but according to Tyson he said: “You’re gonna break your god damn necks.”
Jericho brings up the first time he remembers seeing Tyson and Harry in a WWE ring. They worked a house show in front of 5,000 people. Tyson was sixteen—Harry was ELEVEN. Harry made his professional debut at EIGHT years old, which Tyson credits as an inspiration to both he and Teddy Hart. Davey was the one who helped book the match with the approval of WWE Canada executive, Carl Demarco. Jericho is astounded at what kind of person would approve such a thing, but Tyson recounts the story of Teddy’s brother, who died that summer from a flesh eating bacterial infection. The Hart Family was incredibly down and Davey convinced Carl DeMarco to book a match to help them lift their spirits. It was originally supposed to be a one-on-one, but wound up being a tag team match featuring Tyson Kidd and a non-wresting friend named Andrew versus Teddy Hart and Harry Smith. They rehearsed the match for weeks, and planned a ton of high spots including dives to the outside like they saw on WCW. Teddy says that despite claims of how stiff the WWE ring was in those days, it was a hell of a lot more forgiving than the Stampede ring. They planned for a long match, but were given five minutes, which created a ton of confusion. Earl Hebner gave them the cue to “go home,” but they didn’t, which forced Earl to tell them: “If you don’t go home right now, I’m going to have to stop this and we’re all going to look stupid.” They went home with a superplex, which just so happened to be Barry Windham’s move. Barry stormed into the locker room and said: “Hey you guys did my finish!” Teddy responded with: “Well actually no, you do yours off the second rope. We do it with both guys on the top.” Tyson still doesn’t know if Barry was actually mad.
With fifteen minutes left in the show, Jericho brings us up to the present and asks about Bret’s return to Wrestlemania in 2010, and what it meant to the Hart Family. Tyson said that Wrestlemania was the first time the entire family was together since Stu’s funeral six years earlier, and even that was a milestone considering how splintered the family became after Owen’s tragic passing. Nattie says that even Wrestlemania was not without its drama. Tyson says the first problem occurred when Nattie’s Aunt Allison told off John “Johnny Ace” Laurinaitis, then-head of talent relations. She caused a scene on Thursday—days before any of the festivities, mind you—because she was hungry, and didn’t feel like she should have to pay for her own food. Bret was said to be furious with his family; he reminded them that while THEY might be making special appearances, Tyson, Nattie, and Harry still have to work there. Ross asked why their behavior should affect the current Superstars, to which Bret responded: “Do you have rocks in your head, Ross?” They describe the planning process behind Bret Hart versus Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania XXVI; Vince McMahon was in a room with the Hart Dynasty, a dozen additional members of the Hart Family, Triple H—and Shawn Michaels. Vince laid out the format, and Bruce interrupted with: “No, this doesn’t make sense. That basically turns you babyface.” Bruce started coming up with alternate ideas, before Vince could even get into the match. Bruce continued to interrupt and said that BATISTA should be involved, because of his prior altercation with Bret. Michael Hayes responds with: “Batista’s got kind of a big match that night.” For those that don’t remember, Batista headlined that show against John Cena. Bruce starts pitching Summerslam matches, until Bret interrupts him and orders him to shut up. Bruce then decides to stop talking to the group, and begins to whisper loudly to his brothers. Nattie’s mother stands up out of nowhere and says: “I think Jim [Neidhart] should be involved.” Jim, according to Nattie, is the most normal one in the family. Probably because he’s not a blood relative, and decides to keep his mouth shut. Then there’s a debate over who will play the part of the special referee. Bruce was originally pegged for the role, but according to the rest of the family, “Wayne was always the referee in Stampede. Wayne should be the referee.” According to Nattie, Vince McMahon was VERY entertained by all of this.