craveonline.com recently sat down for an exclusive interview with ‘Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart.
When Hulk Hogan spoke to the Television Critics Association about his role in TNA Wrestling, the whole entourage was there. Since Hogan’s manager is actually Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart, I easily recognized him from the wrestling shows I watched growing up. He was happy to perform for my audience of one while Hogan handled the mob of reporters. He even paid me a high compliment, saying I reminded him of a man he used to manage. That man was Andy Kaufman.
Crave Online: You’ve been with Hulk Hogan all this time?
Jimmy Hart: Brother, Memphis, TN, we started in Memphis, TN when I was in a band called The Gentrys. We had a million selling record called “Keep on Dancin’,” toured all the Dick Clark stuff for all those years and I was a big wrasslin’ fan. I went to school with Jerry “The King” Lawler. Lawler went into wrestling, I went into music. One day I was at the Mid-South Coliseum, I was watching the back and Lawler goes, “See that big guy in the ring? Terry Boulder?” I went, “Yeah.” He said, “What do you think about him?” I said, “Oh my God, he’s awesome.” He goes, “He’ll never make a dime in this business.” When I tell Lawler that now he goes, “I never said that, I never said that.” But I’ve known Hulk back then, even when I wasn’t in wrasslin’.
Crave Online: But you’re not on camera anymore.
Jimmy Hart: You know what? We did Thunder in Paradise, we just came back from Australia doing a big show over there on camera. I’d been doing a lot of stuff with the WWE as far as personal appearances go. You saw our WWE Hall of Fame ring here on our hand now and been doing that, but it looks like I might be getting ready to kind of put the old managing megaphone back again and the old Jimmy Hart K-Mart blue suits with the hearts on them and maybe start managing some of the guys again. Yes, sir.
Crave Online: In WWE or TNA?
Jimmy Hart: It’ll probably be in Total Nonstop Action wrasslin’, probably in TNA.
Crave Online: Can you still be Mouth of the South in TNA? Do you own that?
Jimmy Hart: Oh yeah, I’m Jimmy Hart, man. I started that in Memphis. I’ve always felt like if you’re going to be in any kind of business, you better own your own name. A lot of guys in the business of course don’t really own their own name. Sometimes when you go to a different company, it’s like starting your whole career over again.
Crave Online: Even The Rock finally switched to Dwayne Johnson.
Jimmy Hart: He’s doing phenomenal too. Once you tag team up with Disney, you’ve got a home run.
Crave Online: But even without the suits, we can tell you’re still Jimmy Hart. You’ve maintained the look.
Jimmy Hart: Well, I’ve been so blessed. I feel like the Dick Clark of wrasslin’. I’ve always kept the same hairstyle, the shades and the up tempo thing. I feel like I’m 18 again. I feel great.
Crave Online: Hulk says he wants to take down the hexagon. What do you think of that?
Jimmy Hart: I love it. You know why? I’ll tell you why I’d tear it down. In football, if somebody came along and said, “We’re going to make the football field 150 yards,” people would go, “What?” If somebody came along and said instead of four bases – first, second, third and home plate – we’re going to have five bases, people would go, “What the heck?” I think the hexagon ring is good for X Division if there was a way just to have 10 or 12 guys in the X Division and that’s the only ring they ever wrestle in. I think it’s good for the MMA and UFC stuff that you see on TV. I think that’s great but you know where that really started was over in Mexico with the Lucha Libre wrestling.
Crave Online: Isn’t it a signature they should keep for TNA?
Jimmy Hart: I don’t know. I kind of like the ring that we always grew up in because I think that’s what all the fans are used to. I think I like that, and then maybe once in a while for something special, have a whole night of X Division matches and bring that ring in. Hey, if you can wrestle, you can wrestle in the hexagon and you can wrestle in the four sided ring too, brother.
Crave Online: Are there any personalities you wish you could have managed?
Jimmy Hart: I’ve been very lucky. Over my period of wrestling managing, I’ve had Hulk Hogan, the Hart Foundation, the Nasty Boys, The Rougeau Brothers, Terry Funk, Dory Funk, Earthquake, Typhon, Honky Tonk Man. I’ve had so many of the guys and I’ve been so blessed and so lucky to have everybody, I don’t think there’s anybody out there that I think I’ve left out that I’ve missed.
Crave Online: Did you always know in this business, the manager is also talent and you’d be on camera?
Jimmy Hart: You know what I’ve realized, I’ve realized one thing and that’s this. If you don’t have charisma and you don’t have showmanship, you can have the best athletic ability in the world, only in wrasslin’ though, and it ain’t gonna work, brother. If you look at some of the biggest names in wrasslin’, those are the ones that had the charisma, the showmanship, could talk and do everything. Athletic ability’s great in football, baseball, basketball and wrasslin’ too, but if you can do both, I think it really helps you get where you need to get.
Crave Online: Well, Hulk isn’t afraid to say what he thinks about how Vince McMahon runs things. What do you think?
Jimmy Hart: I love Vince. I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for the WWE. I was in Memphis, TN like most of the guys were in smaller territories. I think he gave me that opportunity to go up to New York and let the whole world see what Jimmy Hart was about. Thank gosh, the people responded to it with the crazy outfits and the megaphone and everything. In fact, Vince brought me the megaphone back from Japan. Mr. Fuji had the cane in Memphis. I had the cane but he brought me the megaphone so it’s been a great trademark that I’ve used my whole life.
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