Ronda Rousey opened Monday Night Raw with a touching tribute to WWE legend Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, who passed away early Monday morning. Neidhart reportedly fell and hit his head at his home in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Neidhart joined the WWE (then the WWF) in 1985 and gained fame as part of the legendary Hart Foundation along with his brother-in-law Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The duo won two tag team championships together. But more importantly than his wrestling accomplishments, Neidhart was the father of current WWE star Natalya. It was Neidhart’s role as a father that Rousey spoke about.
“Any loss is heartbreaking, but to lose a father—our fathers are our pillars of strength in a hostile world. They are our reassurance that everything is going to be okay,” Rousey said. “But when that reassurance is ripped away we have to face the fact that our fathers have been raising us to be the pillars of strength our families need when they're gone.”
Though it was a serious moment at what would normally be a raucous event, there’s no doubt “The Anvil” would have appreciated what Rousey did next, wrapping up the tribute in true WWE fashion.
“Ya know, Nattie was the first person here to welcome me in the door and I will be the first to defend her in her absence,” Rousey said. “Alexa bliss cheated to beat Natalya time and time again. But this Sunday at SummerSlam, I'm going to beat Alexa to become your new Raw women's champion!”