The Rise and Fall of Wrestling’s Weed-Dealing, Cat-Breeding Phenom
For all the heat Teddy gets backstage, though, wrestling aficionados can’t get enough of him and have cut together popular YouTube reels dedicated to his crowd-pleasing dives, rope-work and strength. Not many wrestlers can toss, flip and pile-drive an opponent in one gesture. Fewer wrestlers would trust another to even try. Headlocks and sluggish “Killer Kowalski” maneuvers bore Teddy, making him all the more appealing to a generation of fans demanding believability. “I meet wrestlers who can’t bear to be in the same room as Ted,” says filmmaker Spenrath, who’s followed the troubled wrestler since 2013. “But when I ask, ‘Would you wrestle him?’ They say, ‘Oh, God, yeah, absolutely.'”
In 2007, Teddy was gradually invited back to the WWE, along with the “Next Generation Hart Foundation” – Smith, Wilson and Nattie Neidhart (now WWE Diva Natalya). But by the end of the year, Teddy was again terminated for his unchanged attitude, though he says it was retaliation following Bret’s damning tell-all book, in which the Hitman calls Vince McMahon “the Grim Reaper of wrestling” in the preface. However, that wouldn’t explain why the rest of the Next Generation kept their jobs.
Having burned through every American pro wrestling brand, Teddy had only one reasonable offer left, from Konnan, in Mexico. If his outlandish behavior belonged anywhere, it was there.
Konnan keeps his distance from Teddy when he finally arrives in Tijuana on February 12, the day of his match. But the owner of the Crash Lucha Libre, Ignacio Delgado, remains thrilled to have him in the main event fighting with five of AAA’s biggest names. So is the masked Pentagón Jr.
Teddy helped train him and his brother Fénix during his first Mexican foray, when Fénix was still a teenager. Their real identities are secret, as per luchador tradition, so Teddy has no idea that they’ve made it big, even when Pentagón comes to greet him. Watching from his hotel balcony, the young luchador recognizes Teddy as he pulls into the hotel courtyard in a $100,000 Jaguar – driven 22 hours from Alberta. Teddy – followed by his “valet” Sam Fiddler, his “bodyguard,” the filmmakers, the handler Konnan hired to hold his leash and the cats – exits the driver’s side and exchanges hugs and a few words in English with Pentagón. After they say goodbye, the handler, Ruben Zamora, reveals his identity and Teddy is, for a change, almost nonplussed. “It’s such a nice sign of respect that a guy that good learned from me,” he says. “Those guys are now as good or better than I am today and that’s a hard thing for me to say.”
While Teddy knew the brothers as poor kids who spent their free hours at El Apache’s gym in Mexico City, the brothers knew Teddy as a superstar.
In late 2007, Teddy made a sensational debut in AAA and quickly joined a badass stable led by Konnan, who remained generous to Teddy and forgiving of his faults. As the lead booker for AAA, Konnan put him on the annual Triplemanía cards, before crowds of nearly 20,000. Teddy was part of AAA’s plan to cultivate American audiences by recruiting English-speaking talent, as well as by sending luchadors to promotions up north to get U.S. fans interested. Thanks in part to this strategy, it’s now an equal rival to CMLL (Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre) – Mexico’s premier wrestling promotion and the world’s oldest. “If you go to Mexico as an international superstar, you are a God,” says Teddy.
Wrestling in Mexico is no doubt a religion, with the people in the pews considered before all else. But eventually not even Konnan could tolerate Teddy’s “bullshit” anymore. “He made me look bad because I believed in him,” he sighs.
Teddy was fired in 2010, rehired in 2012 and quickly re-fired.
He returned to Alberta, where he started commercially breeding cats and working as a security driver for escort services. Teddy’s job was to wait outside until the sex worker inside texted him. Then he’d knock twice on the door and wait for her to exit safely. This is how he met the two women who’ve now accused him of sexual assault and unlawful confinement.
The specifics of the 2013 and 2014 events that led to the charges aren’t publicized, and the identities of the women are under a strict Canadian publication ban. However, the women, who had relationships with Teddy, allege multiple instances where he threatened to kill their pets and family members, physically and sexually assaulted them and confiscated their IDs and phones. They say he filmed sexual acts to blackmail them. One of the women says that she wasn’t a sex worker until Teddy pimped her out, and that he drained her of $229,000 in a matter of months, mostly for weed and cat food.
Hart maintains that the charges are false, calling them revenge for money they’ve lost through his marijuana operations. A preliminary hearing in May will determine whether there’s enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
When Teddy turned himself in on July 22, 2015, he had been in the Dallas area teaching private classes. He initially refused to acknowledge the charges, but as headlines of his warrants emerged and the wrestling rumor mill started calling him a fugitive, he decided to contact the authorities. He’s confident he’ll beat the case. (Teddy’s lawyer won’t comment on the accuracy of his client’s claims or any evidence before the courts.)
Even more confidently, Teddy – and his father, BJ Annis – believe he’ll beat the more figurative case that is his under-performing wrestling career. They both still think he’ll get his chance on a WWE program like Raw before he’s 40.