The name Teddy Hart in the wrestling industry will spark a lot of reaction. Unfortunately, most of it will be negative because with as talented and as athletically gifted as he is, the controversy that follows him is exponentially more than even the amount of the ability he had in the prime of his career.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised at all when I read the report from the PWInsider’s Mike Johnson that Teddy Hart, real-life Edward Annis, was arrested last Tuesday on possession of narcotics with intent to sell in Richmond, Virginia.
The nephew of Bret and Owen, Teddy Hart has always been associated with wrestling excellence, even as early as his wrestling training as a youth with Harry Smith and TJ Wilson, but Teddy never achieved any extended level of success, despite the athletic ability often related with the family name. At just 18, Teddy was one of the youngest athletes to be offered a WWF developmental deal in the late-90s, training with Dory Funk Jr., who ran one of the early developmental programs with names like Kurt Angle, Edge, and others spending time at the Funkin’ Dojo. Teddy was under contract for a short time before he was released for attitude problems, a trend that would follow him throughout the rest of his career.
With a high-flying style that combined precise skill with insane maneuvers, the Hart nephew seemed destined to land somewhere in the post-Attitude era, considering the amount of independent groups that surfaced, which were often influenced by either the Japanese scene of the early-90s or ECW. The sum total of his career yields results that are rather undistinguished, as the myth of controversy surrounding him eventually eclipsed the skills he actually brought to the table. After the shut down of WCW and ECW within the span of just a few months, Teddy was among those that were involved in the original Mat Rats project, a venture that didn’t make it to air, but provided a buzz for a new type of hybrid athlete on the independent circuit.
Almost as quickly as he began to gain notoriety in the United States, Teddy’s conduct cost him those opportunities. During just his second match with an early era Ring Of Honor, the infamous “steel cage incident” took place where he did unplanned dives off of the cage onto his opponents that didn’t know he was going to do the dives. Teddy no sold the action of the match, took the moment away from the winners of the match, and vomited in the ring before he did moonsaults after the match. His NWA-TNA run lasted just a few matches as well, as he got into an altercation with CM Punk after a pay-per-view taping in 2004.
In America, the next few years for Teddy Hart consisted of Jersey All Pro Wrestling, which was highlighted as the place in the United States to find the infamous Canadian star. The agreement soured and he quit the promotion in early 2007. At a time when Youtube had started to become an established entity within society, Hart often made headlines for bizarre interview clips and outlandish claims, another aspect that followed him throughout his career.
Somehow he was re-signed to a WWE developmental deal that same year along with Harry Smith and Tyson Kidd as an updated version of the Hart Foundation. Not surprisingly, Teddy had about a dozen matches under contract before he was released for eccentric behavior. Without anywhere major to work in the US because of the amount of bridges he burned, he spent two years in AAA in Mexico, which fit his rather over-the-top style. His surprise one-off return for ROH at the end of 2009 was more or less the last notable booking for him until just a few years ago.
Outside of the ring, he was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault during his time away from the spotlight, but the charges were eventually dropped. Other controversies from that time were the disappearance of his former girlfriend Samantha Fiddler, who is still missing, but Hart denies any involvement. It wasn’t until roughly two years ago that Teddy resurfaced on the wrestling radar with the relaunch of Major League Wrestling, the upstart group that secured a smaller TV deal and has run pay-per-view events with a moderate level of success, which is an accomplishment in the modern wrestling landscape. When the disappearance case made news online, MLW released Teddy from his contract.
Within the past few months, Teddy started a relationship with ROH wrestler, Maria Manic and the two have posted several Youtube videos online that have been the cause of concern among many fans. Teddy’s erratic and often nonsensical ramblings prompted many to speculation about potential drug use and his arrest last week seems to confirm that.
During the extended Youtube videos, there was an occasional mention of Teddy’s mental health problems, which might be legitimate, considering his track record for a series of unwise decisions throughout his career. Still, it’s somewhat of an unclear situation because who knows if those potential mental health problems would lead to a scenario where he could be charged with intent to sell narcotics? It would be unfair to speculate if any mental health problem was or wasn’t responsible for Teddy’s drug use.
The intent to sell side of his arrest is much more serious than the possession charge and it might shed some light on some of his outlandish comments in interviews in the past. Supposedly, Teddy Hart’s father had set up a rather large inheritance for him several years ago, but it was unclear what industry it was from. He has often bragged about expensive clothes and a lavish lifestyle, but didn’t appear to have any direct way of paying for it, especially after his run in Mexico concluded. In a High Spots interview a few years ago, Hart bragged amount getting steroids and expenses paid for while he wrestled in Mexico. Even in the recent Youtube series with Maria Manic, Teddy talked about getting another house and going to expensive restaurants, but his work in wrestling consisted of small independent cards after the MLW release so it’s possible selling narcotics was his way to pay for these things.
If mental illness is the cause of these unwise decisions then hopefully, Teddy Hart gets the treatment and the help that he needs to fix it. At the same time, Teddy was able to function at a high level as a pro wrestler for years so assuming this was just caused by a possible mental illness might not be accurate either. As sad as it is to say, Teddy Hart might’ve chose to use drugs simply because that’s just the decision he wanted to make in his career.
Obviously, only Teddy Hart and his doctors would know if he actually has a mental illness or if a mental disorder would be responsible for his arrest. Considering that Teddy was articulate enough to discuss as many things as he did in the Youtube series, I would guess that he knew what he was doing and the risk that went along with it. Either way, it’s a very sad story because someone that started as a prospect with a lot of potential has seemed to wasted a majority of his talent. At 40, Teddy Hart is probably toward the end of his career and truthfully, he doesn’t really have much to show for it. If he can get the help he needs and recover his life then that’s great, but this is probably an underwhelming conclusion to his career.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
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