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Jimmy's one big Mouth
Hart to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


Jimmy Hart in 2001 in Montreal, leading the Rougeaus to the ring.
-SLAM! Wrestling file photo

Forget Spongebob Squarepants, Simon Cowell and your iPod. The real guilty pleasure of 2005 is a healthy dose of childhood nostalgia. For some of us, it's the reappearance of Pac-Man and Pong as plug-and-play video games. For others, it's The Dukes of Hazzard being revived in DVD format. For wrestling fans, there's no better way to take a trip down memory lane than with WWE's annual Hall of Fame gala. And few names will hit home with grappling lovers like one of this year's key inductees -- The Mouth of the South, Jimmy Hart.

Armed with his trademark megaphone and colourful suits, Hart is one of the most recognizable managers in the history of wrestling but his gimmick went beyond just being in the corner of the big stars.

"It was about being wild and crazy and really giving the people their money's worth," Hart told the Sun this week. "The Hart Foundation were the greatest tag team I've ever managed but with their skinny manager running around the ring with a megaphone? It was like being the Beatles.

"I was always the guy everybody loved to beat up. The fans would never win a fight with the wrestlers but they knew if they caught me outside the arena, they could beat me up. To the fans, I guess that's a part of their era."

Even though he was a household name during the wrestling boom in the '80s -- managing such luminaries as Jerry (The King) Lawler, Austin Idol, Ted DiBiase and Macho Man Randy Savage -- Hart was caught off guard when he heard he would be joining the Hall of Fame.

"When I got the phone call from Jim Ross telling me I was being inducted, I thought they had made a mistake. I was like 'Are you sure you shouldn't be calling Bret Hart?' It's just such an honour."

Hart is quick to recognize the man who gave him his real big break.

"If it wasn't for Vince McMahon, I wouldn't be sitting talking to you now. He brought the megaphone from Japan and gave me the greatest gimmick I ever had.

"He never gave me scripts and never let anybody write my promos for me. He let me be creative and wear my own outfits to the ring and basically gave me the greatest opportunity of my life.

"He let Jimmy Hart be Jimmy Hart."

And that's something wrestling fans around the world will always be grateful for.

Hart's autobiography, The Mouth of the South: The Jimmy Hart Story, is in bookstores now. His induction into the WWE Hall of Fame will take place April 2 in Los Angeles, the day before Wrestlemania XXI.

RELATED LINKS

  • More on Jimmy Hart


    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • Megaphone not included
    Order The Mouth of the South: The Jimmy Hart Story