WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart visits area, appears in Berwick
WWE Hall of Famer “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart visited the Bloomsburg area this past weekend. Hart made an appearance at The Armory Wrestling Academy in Berwick taking part in an event with the Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling Alliance. The Hall of Famer took time to talk about his appearance, as well as his days in WWE.
“Well you know what, I just came back from promoting WrestleMania, WrestleMania 38 in Dallas, Texas, and going around the country talking about that of course, and a good friend of mine Rob that has another company up here invited me to come up here for Thanksgiving for the four days up here and hitting a lot of these independent shows and talking to them about professional wrestling, and seeing some great young talent.”
Jimmy Hart was an on-screen manager with WWE and rival company WCW. The Mouth of the South talks about what he is up to these days now that he makes occasional appearances nowadays. “Well you know, I do the legends with them (WWE), I go out and do promotions with them, radio and TV, talking about the upcoming products they’ve got, and talking a little bit about the past. Everyone wants to know about the past, I always say ‘the past is still part of the future,’ but I do a lot of stuff with the Hulkster (Hulk Hogan), he’s got a beach shop down in Tampa, Florida, and he’s got a restaurant down there too so I still do a lot of stuff with him too.”
Hart was a member of a ’60s band called The Gentrys, whose song “Keep on Dancing” had over a million hits, and did not get his start in professional wrestling until he was approached by Dick Clark in the late ’70s. “Well you know what I first started out, I was in music, I had a million selling record called ‘Keep on Dancing’ back in the day, and Jerry Lawler and I went to school together. He went into professional wrestling and I went into music. It just fell into place, you know, one day I was back in town from a tour with Dick Clark, he said, ‘Look man, why don’t you help us do some promotion and help join the company?’ So I did and the rest has been history.”
Jimmy Hart had a few different roles with the companies he was a part of. Not only was he an on-screen manager, Hart also helped produce shows as well as writing entrance music for different companies he worked for. “Well, we did a lot of the music for a lot of the companies, I was able to produce the 6:05 show that was on WCW for a while when I was in WCW, and a lot of the music that you will hear now or used to hear, Shawn Michaels’ ‘Sexy Boy.’ Me and my partner JJ Maguire wrote ‘Sexy Boy’ with Shawn Michaels, The Million Dollar Man’s song ‘Money Money Money’ for Ted DiBiase, Dusty Rhodes’ theme song just to name a few.”
Hart also confirmed he was the backup singer in Shawn Michaels’ entrance music. “What happened is in the first version with Sensational Sherri, we had the ladies singing with us but when I had to put Shawn’s voice in it in Texas, we didn’t have any girls we could bring in to hire to do the backup so I had to double my voice going, ‘sexy boy,’ so it’s been doubled about three or four times on there, and it sounds pretty close to some girls I think.”
Hart also talks about how Cyndi Lauper’s manager David Wolff was how he became the entrance music composer with WWE in the 1980s. “What happened, I was lucky to be part of the first WrestleMania, WrestleMania 1 at Madison Square Garden, and Dave Wolff, who was Cyndi Lauper’s manager, he approached me and said, ‘We’re going to be doing a wrestling album,’ and said, ‘If you got a song that you want on it,’ and I said, ‘Well I wrote a little song in Memphis called ‘Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield.”” So he heard it, he liked it, he cut it, and the next thing you know they started going to me about some other songs to put on the album, and that led to the company asking me to do a few of the entrance songs along with Jimmy Johnston who does great entrance themes, so I was just blessed to be doing some of those songs.”
Jimmy Hart worked for WWE and their rival company WCW, and compared what it was like working for both Vince McMahon and Ted Turner. “Well you know, both of them were great, but Vince is wrestling 24/7. And I learned a very valuable lesson back then that it’s always better, I had went to WCW, it was great. Eric Bischoff gave me a chance to do music, he gave me a chance to have the 6:05 show on Saturdays, I will always be grateful for that, but Vince’s production is so tremendous. The WWE’s production, WWF back then, is so unbelievable and they eat, sleep and drink this business 24/7, seven days a week.”
The hall of famer managed a lot of wrestlers on-screen that became hall of famers themselves, including Jerry “The King” Lawler, the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, and Hulk Hogan just to name a few. Hart talks about some of his favorites that he has managed. “Well, The Honky Tonk Man of course, the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, the first person I managed in New York, and of course King Kong Bundy, oh my Gosh, Jacques and Raymond Rougeau, Terry and Dory Funk, Rick Rude down in Memphis, the Iron Sheik down in Memphis, even my early days in Memphis, Dutch Mantel, Austin Idol, Jimmy Valiant, all of those guys were so important to me. I always felt like they were the Cadillac but I was the hood on the Cadillac.”
Jimmy Hart is one of the all-time great managers in pro wrestling, but gives praise to many other managers and says he would be happy in the top 50. “Oh my gosh listen, before me you gotta put Paul Heyman, you gotta put Jimmy Cornette, Freddy Blassie, Slick, Johnny Valiant, you’ve got to put so many of the great great managers, if I’m in the top 50 I’m happy.”
Jimmy Hart kicked off PCWA GI Bear Birthday Bash, and even signed autographs and took pictures with fans during intermission.
PCWA Commissioner Greg Berezovske commented on Jimmy Hart’s appearance, and talks about the other WWE legends he has brought to the company. “Over the last 11 years that we’ve been running having all of these legends, it’s great. Jimmy’s a great guy, the fans seem to love him a lot out there, and I think it’s going to be a great show.” Berezovske also talks about more WWE legends that have been part of PCWA shows. “We had Jimmy Snuka, we had Nikolai Volkoff, Billy Gunn, Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake, Spike Dudley, so many of them. Enzo (Amore) we had. We usually bring five names a year in for the fans, The Patriot, there’s just so many of them that it keeps adding up every time.”
PCWA does a lot of shows to benefit different organizations in the community. One of these shows included an appearance from ECW legend Tommy Dreamer. Berezovske talks about how PCWA dedicates their shows to the community. “It’s great, that’s the reason I do this and run these shows. It’s an indy fed so there’s no profit in promoting this, it’s more costs than anything. Two weeks ago we did a show in Sunbury for the veterans and the legion up there, it was just an honor to do that for those who have served in the military and doing stuff for the guys now and the veterans from before, they said it was great. And doing stuff for children who are sick and need the money, and for wrestling organizations like here, The Armory, the owner here Lee runs tournaments and stuff and all the money he makes he actually puts back into the kids and gives them free memberships to learn how to wrestle. It’s not like our wrestling but these kids, there’s a lot of good athletes up here. This is where I bring my daughter, and I’m from Mount Carmel, so an hour each way to come up here so my daughter can learn how to wrestle.”
Berezovske also talked about what the fans can expect attending a PCWA show. “You’re gonna have a lot of excitement, you can hear the fans out there as we’re behind the curtain, lot of excitement, a lot of good entertainment, and a lot of young stars now. We’re bringing in new guys every time, we don’t have the same roster like most people do. We do have about five or six guys come back every time but then we like to bring in new guys so we can see how the fans like them and get their names out there.”
Greg Berevoske says that PCWA will be going on a winter break, and taking time upgrading everything during the break. “After this show we’re gonna go on a little break, we’re going to take the winter off, because, you know, Pennsylvania. You never know when it’s gonna snow, and while we’re off we’re going to be upgrading everything, upgrading the ring, upgrading the entrance, setting up all new board members to go over matches and stuff like that, getting some road talent and pick up some guys at other shows that the fans like. So I think that the upcoming year in 2022 is going to be good, we’re also going to be looking at going on FITE TV, seems like it’s the biggest thing now so we’re probably going to join in with that, so it seems pretty good for the upcoming year.”
PCWA will return in early 2022.