Ted Annis aka Teddy Hart
In the days when I first started out I used to think that it would be impossible to ever fill my legendary father's shoes. And that being a second generation wrestler was often twice as hard.
These days there are a handful of third generation wrestlers which is probably three times as hard. My twenty three year old nephew Ted Annis has never given up on his lifelong dream of making a name for himself in the wrestling business. I remember him at only eight years old wrestling in a ring outside my father's house with his younger brother Mathew and their boyhood pal T.J. Wilson until it was too dark to see. I was stunned to see all three of them, even then, doing standing back flips off the top turnbuckle and breathtaking moves that many of the top pros never dreamt of doing. The first of many tragedies befell the Hart family when Mathew Annis died from flesh eating disease when he was twelve. For young Ted to lose his brother and lifelong tag team partner was hard enough but over the years he was also faced with the loss of two wrestling uncles who he idolized - Owen and Davey Boy. But still Ted has never given up on his dream of someday making it to the big time.
His father, B.J., a retired and much respected Calgary firefighter, broke all the city records when he joined and many of them still stand. At one point B.J. was somehow coerced into pulling on a pair of wrestling tights but pretty much gave up on it after he got into a heated brawl with the legendary Makah Singh at the Sweetwater U.S./ Canada border crossing - right in front of the immigration agents! B.J. didn't lose that match! I think it's safe to say it was a malfunction at the junction.
The few third generation wrestlers that come to mind all walk in mighty big boots. The Rock was the first - and I've always been very proud of the job he's done, both in and out of the ring. It's my understanding that The Rock is still the class act he always was, just like his father, Rocky Johnson, and grandfather, Peter Maivia.
Another third generation wrestler is Randy Orton, who I don't recall ever meeting but I'm sure I have. His father, Cowboy Bob Orton, and his grandfather, Bob Sr., must be equally as proud. In my opinion Cowboy Bob is easily one of the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time.
A few weeks back I decided to give the upstart promotion NWA/TNA, based out of Memphis, a call to see if they might be interested in my nephew, Ted. They invited him down to compete in the Ring of Honor Tournament and much to their amazement he did the Hart name proud and stole the show! Placing second was no small achievement and phones in wrestling offices across North America haven't stopped ringing. It seems that Ted is finally on his way. There are some who might argue that second and third generation wrestlers have all the doors opened for them. It's just not true. When I first started in the WWF I had to overcome being thought of as just another promoter's son and I can only imagine the pressure Ted is under to walk in Owen's, Davey's, Stu's and my shoes! But if anybody can do it Teddy Hart can.
To see Ted work is to appreciate him. He does some of the most innovative and spectacular high risk moves in a business where everyone is constantly pushing it to new, more dangerous, levels. Today Ted carries the Hart banner into the next era of wrestling and marching along right beside him is T.J. Wilson, my nephew Harry Smith (Davey Boy's son) and even my niece Natalie Neidhart (Anvil's daughter). Your Uncle Bret wants you to remember these words that played in my head while I was riding that highway in the sky......
Don't give up until you drink from the silver cup
And never take you down or never give you up
You never know until you try