FROM THE ARCHIVES: Jimmy Hart interview published by the Whig-Standard on Wednesday, March 18, 1987

   Jimmy Hart

Originally published by The Kingston Whig-Standard on March  18, 1987, written by Tim Gordanier. All rights reserved
 To smooth-talking Jimmy Hart, one of the World Wrestling Federation’s bad-boy managers, professional wrestling is as reputable as any major sport.
Known as The Mouth of the South, Hart was in Kingston this week tub-thumping the upcoming Wrestlemania III and it was not long before he launched a verbal attack on wrestling’s doubters.
“I always say, for those who believe, there’s no explanation necessary. For those who don’t believe, no explanation will do,” he said.
“They (the doubters) can go to a match and see that the wrestlers use different dressing rooms, arrive on different planes and stay in different hotels. Most of them don’t even like each other.
“What amazes me is that you can watch baseball and see a guy like (Boston Red Sox first baseman) Bill Buckner in the sixth game of the World Series let a ball roll through his legs to help force a seventh game and nobody says anything about that. They say, ‘that’s not fake’.
“And in basketball you have all the point shaving. A guy like Air Jordan (Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan) goes out and scores 50 points one game, but when it comes up to a crucial game he only gets 20. But, nobody says anything against basketball, baseball or football.
“Anything successful, people always knock it somehow.”
Hart, a former member of the vocal group The Gentrys that had a million-selling song in “Keep on Dancing” in the 60’s, said he has the marks to show that WWF does not indeed stand for We Were Faking.
“I was never pretty in the first place, but I didn’t get these knots and these scars on my forehead and a broken jaw from nothing.”
He admitted, however, that there is always a certain amount of pre-bout hype that may appear to some as ridiculous.
“People ask about it a lot and, yes, there is a lot of showmanship involved in it,” he said. “But, then look at (Chicago Bears flashy quarterback) Jim McMahon. He puts a lot of showmanship into what he does. The more showmanship you use, the more people want to see you and the more people want to see you, the more money you can make.”
Professional wrestling, especially the WWF, has wisely used the hype and showmanship part of the game to catapult itself into the big leagues as far as fan attaction is concerned. Hart credits super promotions man and past president of the WWF Vince McMahon for the success.
“It’s always been big in local areas, but with Vince McMahon handling things, and I think he’s a genius, it’s gone all over the world. He’s marketed it to get to the doctors, the lawyers, the housewives.
“Just look at the wrestling album. It went gold in Canada and in the States. Everything he (McMahon) does, he does really professionally.
“Wrestling’s got a little bit of everything,” he added. “You’ve got guys for what I call the teeny boppers, then you’ve got some muscleheads and you’ve got your rock and rollers. You’ve got some other people who just want to see the celebrities like Bob Uecker and Aretha Franklin and you’ve got the Andre the Giant fans and the Hulkamania fans.
“It’s a good place for people to get their frustrations out. You can’t hit your wife, so you go there and yell and scream and then you go home and say, ‘Hi honey.'”
Wrestlemania, Hart said, is the biggest attraction.
“We had, I think, 69,000 at Wrestlemania II and it looks like there’s going to be 90,000 for Wrestlemania III. It’ll be like the World Series or the Super Bowl, really. People are looking forward to it every year.”
Hart will be ringside for three of the 12 bouts at Wrestlemania III, a wrestling extravaganza that begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 29, at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. The event can be seen on two, 12-by-15-foot closed-circuit screens at the Memorial Centre. Admission price is $14.50. There are no reserved seats and doors open at 3 o’clock.
The main event of the evening will feature WWF heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan defending his title belt against Andre The Giant, a 7-foot, 4-inch behemoth who has never lost a match in his 15-year wrestling career but has also never fought for a world title.
The most celebrated of bouts with which Hart is affiliated will see his world champion tag team duo The Hart Foundation (Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and Bret Hart) and banned WWF referee Danny Davis taking on The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid) and Tito Santana.
Hart said there is no love lost between any of the combatants.
“The Dynamite Kid said I hit him over the head with a megaphone and knocked him out (in the bout that saw The Hart Foundation wrest the WWF tag team belt away from The British Bulldogs in a controversial match). That left only Davey Boy in with The Hart Foundation. We won on a move where The Anvil picks the opponent up and Bret runs and hits the ropes and then comes off the ropes with a flying clothesline. We call it the Hart Line. It knocked the wind out of Davey Boy and he was pinned.”
Hart said he did not hit Dynamite Kid with a megaphone.
“I didn’t. Honest, I promise,” Hart said. “Some people say that if Jimmy Hart’s lips are moving he’s lying, but I did not touch him.
“I was too busy with Matilda (The British Bulldogs’ mascot). That dad gum thing was chasing me around the dad gum ring. That dog’s crazy.
“There was absolutely none (no foul play) on our part. There’s just a lot of jealousy against The Hart Foundation.”
DAVIS, REFEREEING the match, was also involved in the controversy when he left the ring with the bout still in progress to check on the Dynamite Kid’s condition.
“Why was Danny Davis out looking at the guy on the floor?” Hart said. “He knew it was a tag team match and you’ve got to have four men for it. If he (Dynamite Kid) fell off the steps and hit his head or whatever he did, Davis had to go check on him. It’s like helping a little old lady across the street. He’d do that, too.
“Finally, Davey Boy did have one of our members pinned (with Davis out of the ring) and all he had to do was keep laying right on him, but he jumped up and started yelling at Danny Davis and that gave time for Brett to recuperate. It was stupid for Davey Boy to do that. But, that’s the British for you.”
Also on the card is the Intercontinental title match between defending champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.
Other individual bouts will see Rowdy Roddy Piper battle another Hart protege, Adorable Adrian Adonis, in Piper’s farewell match to wrestling; Billy Jack Haynes take on Hercules; The Junkyard Dog grapple with “The King” Harley Race; Jake “The Snake” Roberts wrestle Hart’s The Honky Tonk Man; and Koko B. Ware fight “The Natural” Butch Reed.
Completing the card are a mixed (midgets and heavyweights) tag team match between Hillbilly Jim, Haiti Kid and Little Beaver and King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook; and tag team bouts featuring Jacques and Raymond, The Rougeaus, against Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus Beefcake; The Killer Bees against Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik; and The Can-Am Connection (Tom Zenk and Rick Martel) battling The Magnificent Muraco and Cowboy Ace Orton.
Tim Gordanier is a longtime Whig-Standard editor and writer. He’s also one of the folks behind Sportsgate Kingston on Facebook.