wrestling / Columns

Jimmy Hart on Vince McMahon Giving Him His Megaphone, Creating Shawn Michaels’ Music, WrestleMania 38 Festivities

November 12, 2021 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
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This week marked the ticket on-sale festivities for the upcoming mega event, WrestleMania 38 – the most stupendous two-night WrestleMania in history. Fans got the chance to take part in in the official WrestleMania On-Sale Party that was held at the AT&T Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 10. One of the special guests this week was WWE Hall of Famer and legendary manager, “The Mouth of the South,” Jimmy Hart. Earlier this week, 411mania had the chance to chat with Hart for an exclusive interview to talk about the historic event, where he hoped to finally get a picture taken with The Undertaker for the first time in his career.

Jimmy Hart has had an illustrious career, not only as manager to some of the biggest names in wrestling history, but also as a world-class musician, helping to create the iconic entrance music for Superstars such as Shawn Michaels, The Wolfpac and more. Here’s what Jimmy Hart had to say about this week’s WrestleMania 38 festivities and his career:

Jeffrey Harris: How exciting is it that you will be part of the WrestleMania 38 ticket festivities this week?

Jimmy Hart: Everything’s good. I’m excited to still be doing this. After all, this is WrestleMania. 38. Can you believe I was on WrestleMania I almost 38 years ago?!

Jeffrey Harris: And you’re still going strong, you know, all these years later.

Jimmy Hart: I don’t know if I’m still going strong, but I’m going! But no, everything’s so great. It’s so great to still be involved with WWE, WWF back then, all these years, and to be doing shows like yours and podcasts and TV and radio and people still know who you are and recognize you. Thanks to our little Network we got going on where you can watch all the things past present future. So it’s been great.

Jeffrey Harris: There have been a lot of cancellations and hardships due to the pandemic over the last couple years. So how great is it for you when you can get to go to an event like this and get to meet and greet the fans again?

Jimmy Hart: Well, you know, it’s so cool. I’m like everybody else when WWE was having to be up in Orlando and do all that, I was like everybody else watching at home. And I felt for them because there was no audience there at all, but they were still busting their you know what. And the ratings still were pretty damn good, you know, with nobody in the audience. So, I’m sure they’re so happy to be out, and I’m happy to be out and I’m happy to be going to these events. I was at SummerSlam about three months ago doing promotion, and that was great to see all the the WWE Superstars out there.

I got to tell you the scoop in case you don’t know it. I’ve let a few people know already this morning on radio and stuff. But you know, our presale party’s going to be on Wednesday night, which is tomorrow right at 5:30 p.m. NXT matches are going to take place, of course, a lot of people are going to be signing autographs and everything, but there’s going to be a special appearance by The Undertaker. I mean, that’s just that’s unbelievable. I can’t even believe it. I’m picturing myself now, but the Undertaker is going to have a special appearance there tomorrow live and in living color baby. So I’m excited about that.

Jeffrey Harris: When you get the chance to meet the fans and help give them a moment they’ll never forget, is that one of the best parts of the job?

Jimmy Harts: You know, that’s so important because a lot of the fans, they’ve watched you on TV through the years and they see the specials they have on you through the years, and the packages and the stuff that they do, but actually, when you go to an event like this and actually get that close to the ring to see the live matches like NXT is going to do tomorrow at 5:30 and then all of a sudden, you’re in the presence of The Undertaker, I mean, what a legend The Undertaker is, you know, I guess everybody’s — most wrestling fans — have seen The Last Ride, so I’m glad this is still not the last ride. So I’m glad he’s still going to be there live and In Living Color, and of course on Friday, if people can stay over, you know tickets go on sale Friday at SeatGeek.com, and that’s going to be WrestleMania 38, of course, like we said. And that’s going to be two big days this year (2022). April the 2nd. April the 3rd. So I think that’s going to be an unbelievable, spectacular event.

Jeffrey Harris: Now with the Undertaker around, Jimmy, are you going to have to watch yourself, so maybe he doesn’t try to give you a Last Ride?

Jimmy Hart: Well, you know what? I hope this. I hope he knows that I’m a big fan. And you know what? Through the years, I’ve had great pictures made with Hulk [Hogan], of course, because we’ve been friends for forty-something years, with Stone Cold, and The Rock, and John Cena, and I’m a big memorabilia collector, but I take a lot of pictures too. But the one thing I was just telling Mark from WWE who is setting up all our interviews and stuff, “You know what? I’ve never really gotten a picture made with me and The Undertaker.” And I just thought about that. And I thought, “Man, I gotta get a picture made too.” So, I’m going to be like the regular fans. I gotta get a picture made at 5:30 tomorrow. I’m just so excited that the fans have been so cool over the years. They’ve supported our company. They’ve supported everything that these Superstars have done. So, I’m really excited.

Jeffrey Harris: You’ve managed some of the greatest sports entertainers of all time: Hulk Hogan The Honky Tonk Man, many others. What is it like looking back, getting to be around these guys and getting to be such a major part of wrestling history?

Jimmy Hart: Well, you know, what’s so cool about everything. I felt like when I went into this business, I started in Memphis, of course, for Jerry The King Lawler and, you know, we did a lot of great stuff with Andy Kaufman and a lot of great people that came through down there. I had Rick Rude down there before he went to New York. I managed Paul Ellering before he got The Road Warriors. Can you believe that? I had, of course, Jim Neidhart before, down in Memphis, before we put The Hart Foundation together up in New York. And like I said before, to go to New York, which I took a big chance on going, which turned out to be great for me. I kind of roll the dice, like, “Oh, should I leave Memphis? I just got the phone call for the biggest biggest move of my life.” But I took a chance, and praise the Lord, I took a chance and went. And it all worked out for all these years, you know.

But like I said before, I realized one thing. I always remembered that whoever you manage, whether it’s a tag team, whether it’s a singles wrestler, they are the ones that are important. I’m the hood ornament on a Cadillac. You’re not gonna buy a Cadillac if the hood ornament is broke off. But I just wanted to make sure if I had somebody. I made jackets for them. I featured them. I talked when I knew it was time for me to talk, and I shut up when it was time to shut up. I might have pulled a leg or thrown the megaphone in when I was ready to do it. You know what I’m saying? And I think that’s what’s kept me in good with Bret Hart and Neidhart back in the day and the Honky Tonk Man, and Terry and Dory Funk, Earthquake and Typhoon, The Nasty Boys, Adrian Adonis, and Dino Bravo; I know I’m leaving out a lot, but I’ve just been so blessed, I just wanted to make sure, I’m there for you guys. And that’s what I always tried to paint the picture of now.

Jeffrey Harris: Do you remember the inspiration for the megaphone? Where did the megaphone come from?

Jimmy Hart: Oh, that’s easy. I’m sitting in Poughkeepsie, New York, getting ready for a full day of interviews and matches and stuff. And all of a sudden, Vince [McMahon] comes through the door. He goes, “Hey, Jimmy.” “Yes, sir?” He goes, “I got you something!” “Oh great!” And all of a sudden, in this box was the megaphone, and he goes, “You know, I picked this up in Japan. This is going to be your new gimmick. Take it to the ring.” He said, “Use it. Don’t overuse it. Use it, you know, you’ll know how to judge when to use it.” And I said, “Hey boss, can I paint it up? Fix it up?” He said, “Yup. Color it up like your jackets.” And so, that’s how it really got started. So, all of it is thanks to Vince.

Jeffrey Harris: The folks at Mattel are going to make another action figure of you for the Royal Rumble Elite wave coming up. Its going to have Earthquake in it. So fans can buy all these figures, and they can build a new Jimmy Hart. What is it like in 2021 we’re still getting new figures of Jimmy Hart?

Jimmy Hart: Well, a couple of scoops. When I was up there promoting SummerSlam, we had a big after party one night up there. And so, I saw Stephanie [McMahon] up there, and I was talking to her. The guy from Mattel came up and said, “Jimmy, you know, we got some new action figures coming out?” And I went, “No, I didn’t know it.” He goes, “Yeah. We got several. We got the Micro Brawlers that’s going to be coming out.” He said, “We got you with a hook jacket on for a Target exclusive we’re going to make after first of the year for WCW,” but he said, “We got a new action figure coming out like you just told me.” He said, “Part of you is going to be on with Dakota Kait from NXT,” which is great. Like her. He said then, “Part of you is going with Earthquake.” That’s a great thing. Earthquake was great for me to manage. He said, Big E!” And I thought, oh my God, that’s great because he’s got the belt now.

So I said I was really excited about that. So I’m going to be part of this Big E. And then, Yokozuna. So four people, I’m so happy are going to be for the [build-a-figure] parts for my little action figure. And all of them have got a picture of Jimmy Hart on the front of the cover. So I’m excited about that.

Jeffrey Harris: Of course, you managed a lot of great talents, but when you’re the manager, sometimes maybe their opponents are maybe unhappy with you and they try to come after you. Did anyone ever get a little too rough or try to potato you, Jimmy?

Jimmy Hart: Well, you know, that’s why I wear the Converse tennis shoes. After all these years, if you look at my very first action figure, on the LJN, you’ll see the little picture on the back of the poster that you roll out of the thing, and I’ve got my crazy jacket on. But I’ve got Converse tennis shoes! Because they’ve got the best traction in the world, baby! And so after all these years. No, but but you know what, I expect sometimes if you stick your nose in or throw the megaphone win, you know, I’ve been popped a few times here and there and and not as much injuries as everybody else. But I’ve had a broken jaw through the years, or a broken hand, and of course, a torn meniscus, and a few fractured ribs.

But the point of it is, I never bitched or complained because I was so blessed to be part of this great company that I’m still with after all these years. And the guys take much more of a beating than what I do. So, like I said, it’s just part of it as part of the game.

Jeffrey Harris: You’re not just one of the greatest managers of all time, you’re also a talented musician. And to this day, we’re still hearing the sounds and music you helped create for the WWE Universe. Does it make you feel good that you helped create these iconic theme songs? Because I think these are some of the most iconic pieces of music, not just in wrestling history, but in history. These are songs I want to just listen to when I’m working out or when I’m waiting in line some where, and I can just hum them instantly.

Jimmy Hart: Well, first of all, I’m flattered you said all those kind of things. Thank you so much. You know, Jimmy Johnston was up there, and I was up there. He did music. I did music. Johnson was great, but a lot of his stuff was very heavy metal, which was cool, you know, because we need that too. But me and my partner, Jim Maguire, we’d always sit down, and I’d come back with little idea and say, “Look Jim. I’ve got this idea for Shawn Michaels or for Money Inc.” You know with Ted DiBiase now, but I said, “I want to fix something where our guys could really be part of it and sing it, you know what I mean?” So, “The Sexy Boy,” the Shawn Michaels [theme], that was kind of put together for Sensational Sherri. Then when she took a little vacation to leave this one, Vince wanted to put Shawn’s voice on it, which I did, and we were up — a matter of fact, we were one of the towns in Texas on a road tour when we had to do that because he wanted it done right away. And what Vince wants, he gets, buddy. So we found a studio, we went in, I had the masters sent to me, put Shawn’s voice on it, and I didn’t couldn’t find any chick singers that we had on Sherri’s. So I wound up tripling my voice three times going, “Sexy boy!” And putting a little echo and reverb on it, so it worked out out OK.

But you know what? We just had fun doing it. We had fun doing The Fabulous Rougeaus. My favorite line of The Fabulous Rougeaus, “We don’t like heavy metal! We don’t like rock and roll! All we like to listen to is Barry Manilow!” But I just had fun putting these things together. Putting words on them that would make the people have a good time and feel good about it. Like you said, “Sexy Boy,” the one you talked about, has over two point something million plays on Spotify to date.

Then when I went to WCW, we did the Wolfpack song for Nash and Hall and a lot of the Nitro Girls stuff, and a lot of the things you heard on some of the stars down; Hulk’s “American Made” and everything. But, you know, I’ve just been blessed. Like I said, I tell everybody all the time. I look in the mirror and pinch myself every day and go, “Did I really get paid for doing this for, you know, really over 40 years?” Counting Memphis too. But for almost 38 years with WWE, so they’ve really opened a lot of doors for me and gave me a chance to be Jimmy Hart.

Back when we first started we got to do our own interviews, not scripted or anything, and I guess that kind of worked with the outfits and that too and the people I was able to manage. I’ve been blessed by having a great, great guys to be with, and I always made sure, I let them know, “Hey, look. Ya’ll guys are in charge Whatever y’all want, I’m here for you,” and that’s the way I always work everything.

Thank you to Jimmy Hart for taking the time to speak with us. WrestleMania 38 tickets officially go on sale on Friday, November 12. Tickets will be available at SeatGeek.com. WrestleMania 38 – the most stupendous two-night WrestleMania in history – is scheduled for Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 next year at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.