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411’s Legends with JBL: Jimmy Hart Report

February 24, 2017 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Image Credit: WWE

411’s Legends with JBL: Jimmy Hart Report

-The time has come to close things on Legends with JBL. The fact they don’t even promote these on RAW should have been a tip off and that goes back to the Madusa one being shunted on Wednesday with no mention.

-For the last time JBL gives his guest the usual over the top introduction that they always say they don’t think they deserve.

-They talk about Jimmy Hart being in the entertainment industry for 50 years. They talk about his group and they were called The Gents (short for Gentlemen) and nobody liked that name. They were in a pharmacy and Jimmy saw a brand of condoms called The Gentrys and that is where they got their name.

-Talk turns to Colonel Parker (Elvis’ manager, not the WCW manager) and Jimmy’s mom was able to meet him. She started in the music business and she always wanted Jimmy to sing. She wrote a song for an artist to went to number 6 and that was the one hit she ever wrote. That leads to talk about The Gentrys having their one and only hit. After that hit one person in the group quit and that lead to Jimmy owning the name of the group. From there they had 2 other minor hits that cracked the top 70 and 50 respectively.

-Back to meeting Colonel Parker as even JBL makes sure to clear up that they don’t mean the wrestler. When Jimmy was 11 years old he got to sing on a local TV show and backstage he got to meet Elvis Presley. He says it didn’t mean much to him then as he just wanted to go home and play ball. He met Elvis years later when he rode with someone to deliver contracts to his house. That meeting was only 10 seconds, but it stuck with Hart.

-They talk about Elvis being a wrestling fan and there was nearly a Lawler vs Elvis match that was going to be a sort of mixed martial arts match as Elvis had a background in judo. That would have been a tremendous train wreck, but damn sure would have made a ton of money.

-At 16 Jimmy had his first big hit (“Keep on Dancing”) which hit #4 on the charts. They discuss all the people he was able to go on tour with and he kept the posters just so people would believe him.

-They have video of Lawler bringing The Gentrys on his wrestling show as they were going to produce a wrestling album. When they weren’t cutting tracks Lawler asked Jimmy if he wanted to do some ring announcing. From there he was told that he worked for Jerry Lawler. He had Jimmy come down to ringside in Jacksonville one night and all he had to do was throw a chain to Lawler. He threw it too hard, but lucked out as it hit the ropes and just happened to be right where Jerry needed it.

-More Memphis footage as Lawler says he can teach Jimmy enough in 5 minutes to beat one of the other wrestlers. Jimmy had never been trained, but he loved the business and just did whatever they asked him. They cover Lawler playing football (which JBL finds hilarious) where he breaks his leg and is out for a year. He didn’t get paid and that led to issues with him and Jerry Jarrett. With no top star for a year things started to suffer, so Jarrett decided to have Jimmy turn his back on Lawler (on TV). Jarrett told Hart it would be the most important interview he would ever cut as it would help turn the fans and heat the territory back up. They show the interview and Hart promises to crown a new king of pro-wrestling. Apparently Lawler is still mad to this day as he thought that line came from Jarrett as a shot at him.

-Lawler was legit heated as he was pissed that he was laying in a bed, not getting paid and Jimmy was out there cutting promos against him. Jimmy said he was only doing what Jerry Jarrett told him to do. When Lawler finally came back he broke Hart’s jaw and Jimmy doesn’t think it was on purpose. JBL thinks it is strange that a guy with the best worked punch in the business just happened to screw that one up.

-Andy Kaufman next as apparently he pitched the idea to Vince Sr first and he turned it down. So he called Lawler next and of course he jumped all over it. They talk about Andy going around wrestling women and JBL calls them some of the funniest videos ever. They put Jimmy with Andy Kaufman so he could get him to wrap up his monologues with the crowd so they could get out by curfew. They have more Memphis footage of Kaufman roasting the Memphis crowd. They talk about the vignettes of Kaufman teaching the Memphis territory fans how to use a bar of soap (which they show and it is tremendous). The videos got so much heat from fans calling in they had to stop them out of concern for safety. JBL calls Kaufman one of the greatest heels he has ever seen.

-They cover how the team dissolved and they kept double crossing each other in the matches with Lawler as they would leave the other hanging out to dry. They touch on famous David Letterman segment and they figured it would never be aired because of all the profanities. Jimmy mentions that Kaufman never cashed any of the checks that he got from Memphis as they apparently found all of them after his death. That leaves JBL to joke that perhaps the checks wouldn’t have cleared anyway.

-Jimmy Hart gets the call to head to the WWE and he calls the moment he stepped out for WrestleMania I the greatest moment in his career. If that show had not been successful he would not be sitting here and have the career he did. He was in awe of being in MSG and all the celebrities that were there.

-JBL asks Jimmy if he was worried about fitting in as at the time the WWE was loaded with managers and both put over the greatness of Bobby Heenan. Albano told Jimmy that he was getting beat up way too much and it was going to kill his heat to the point he would be gone in 3 months. Jimmy says that is all he ever knew and that he just kept doing that and now he is on every PPV that the Network has to offer. They talk about Jimmy taking crazy bumps which was different from some managers who you could not touch (most notably Paul Bearer was virtually untouchable in the early years).

-They talk about Jimmy’s style and JBL says he doesn’t age much like Dick Clark. Jimmy says he took a lesson he learned from Dick Clark: if you start dressing like the crowd, you will end up sitting with them. He was given the megaphone by Vince McMahon as in Memphis he had a cane and he couldn’t do that in the WWE because that was Fuji’s gimmick. He calls the megaphone the greatest gift he was given and he makes sure it is with him everywhere he goes.

-JBL asks if he had a favorite person he managed in the WWE and Jimmy says they were all special and unique. He goes over Honky, The Funks, Earthquake and Typhoon before JBL cuts him off to say the Funks are just different in general. He loved Valentine and Bundy which leads to the midget squashing at Mania III which JBL loved.

-From there he got Neidhart and Bret was brought in soon and thus the Hart Foundation was born. He loved the Rougeau Brothers and talks about how funny Jacques is. He talks about writing The Mountie’s theme song and Jacques wasn’t thrilled with the line “I’m gay” and Jimmy had to tell him that it meant happy.

-Jimmy says he has to be crazy as he had the Tag Champs in Money Inc and gave them up to manage Hogan and Beefcake. He had the Nasty Boys and he wanted to turn them into Beavis and Butthead in WCW and even had the set made to give them their own talk show like Piper’s Pit, but Bischoff called it a stupid idea.

-In 1993 Hogan decides to leave and he asks Jimmy if he wants to come work for him. He tells Vince about the offer at MSG and Vince tells him “I want you to do what you want to do.” It was an easy split and Vince told him he could come back anytime he wanted. See, when you are a good guy and do business in a straight forward manner you are usually treated well.

-Jimmy went to WCW and was immediately given the task of rebuilding their theme music as they had been using stock music (there were a lot of times I would hear WCW them music in ESPN video packages). They jump back to Jimmy doing similar stuff in the WWE as he helped Jim Johnston and wrote songs and he was proud of writing The Honky Tonk Man’s theme. JBL was jealous of one gimmick and that was The West Texas Red Necks as he loved “I Hate Rap,” and they show a few seconds of that music vidoe. Jimmy loved doing Dusty Rhodes theme as he was always a Dusty mark. Rhodes loved the song and told Jimmy to run with it.

-They discuss Legend’s House which is one of the shows I haven’t really had a chance to watch on The Network. Jimmy learned he could survive in a world without technology as they took away all their phones, computers etc (standard reality show stuff). He lived with Piper in the house and Jimmy tells a story of seeing Piper in the middle of the night playing a piano and Jimmy was able to get a great picture of him playing the piano. He loved Piper and misses him greatly.

-Things get heavy now as JBL brings up the Hogan tape coming out with his using the N word and he wants to know if Jimmy thinks Hogan is a racist. JBL mentions he has never talked to anyone who has said Hogan is a racist. Jimmy says he has been with Hogan more than anyone and not 1 time did he ever use words like that. He thinks that Hogan was in a dark place (which he notes isn’t an excuse) and said things out of character from the guy he knows. The next week after the news broke they had to go to Chicago and Scottie Pippen came up to ask for a picture with Hogan. They had a lot of fans show up and they were amazed that none of them had a thing to sat about it.

-He says the hard thing for Hogan has been being away from the WWE. He still watches the show every Monday and gets invested and Jimmy tells him to get over it as he has had a great career. He tells him that people still love him and the WWE still loves him, but they had to do what was best for them. He won’t say it is over for Hogan though as he learned anything can happen when Bret returned.

-JBL asks if Jimmy ever gets tired of being Jimmy Hart and he obviously says no. He wants to be remembered as a dependable guy that was good to his word. He never drank and did drugs and he promised anyone who paid him that he would be there for them.

-Final No Bull Segment (hold back the tears): Favorite band/singer of all time: Rolling Stones; Favorite Song: Keep on Dancing; Favorite Person to Manage (3 people): Hulk Hogan, Honky Tonk Man, and Hart Foundation; Greatest Manager Ever (not counting himself): He wouldn’t count himself and says Bobby Heenan and Paul Heyman; Favorite Entrance Song He Wrote: Sexy Boy; Greatest Heel: Piper; Proudest Moment Wrestling Career: WrestleMania I

-That wraps up this interview and this series. This interview was great as Jimmy Hart comes off as a great guy that worked hard and did anything asked of him while never burning any bridges along the way. He has led a fascinating life and all the stuff he did before wrestling is just as fascinating as the stuff that happened when he broke in the business.

-Well, that ends another series for me and I hope they find another avenue to have interviews like this on The Network. JBL was perfect in this role and if this is the end then perhaps they need to bring back the Legends Roundtables as they were always great.