James Ray Hart (born January 1, 1943) is a Professional Wrestling manager, promoter and official from Jackson, MS best known for his work in Memphis and WWE in the 1980s and later in WCW in the 1990s. After a brief recording career as a member of the Gentrys, who had a 1965 hit with "Keep on Dancing," he started in the wrestling business in 1974 under a record producer gimmick.
He was a top Heel manager in Memphis into the mid-1980s as the leader of his Power Stable the First Family. He debuted in WWE in 1985 as the manager for Greg "The Hammer" Valentine before "Luscious" Johnny Valiant took over as the manager of the Dream Team (Valentine and Brutus Beefcake.) Hart was in King Kong Bundy's corner for his famous Squash of SD Jones at the first WrestleMania on March 31, 1985. He managed many wrestlers in WWE, including "Adorable" Adrian Adonis, the Funk Brothers (Terry and Hoss [Dory Jr.]), the Honky Tonk Mannote , the Hart Foundation (Bret Hartnote and Jim Neidhart), the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond), Dino Bravo, The Nasty Boys, The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon), Money Inc. ("The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster), the Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai and Judy Martin) and, after a face turn in early 1993, the MegaManiacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake.)
Hart followed Hulk to WCW in 1994 and managed him until his match with the Giant at WCW Halloween Havoc 95 when Hart turned heel and sided with the Dungeon of Doom. Hart would stay with the group through its dissolution after WCW Bash at the Beach 97, and would manage the Faces of Fear (Meng and The Barbarian) and Hugh Morrus until the FOF split. In late 1998, Hart announced that he had reunited the FOF and Morrus as the First Family. This lasted until Barbarian inexplicably turned on Meng, kicking him out of the group. Hart added Bryan Knobbs (formerly of the Nasty Boys) and Jerry Flynn to the group, but it just wasn't the same. Hart briefly managed Hail (Emory Hale) and temporarily associated himself with Hogan again in 2000. He is a 1x Southern (Memphis) Heavyweight Champion.
In 2001, he and Hulk tried to create their own promotion in Florida called the XWF but it was not successful. Hart returned to Memphis and has continued to manage. He is also the promoter for Wrestlicious, and has worked on-and-off for TNA going back to 2003. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
He worked behind the scenes for years in WCW composing wrestlers' entrance themes. Because many of these themes were blatantly based on existing songs, he is the former Trope Namer for Suspiciously Similar Song, which was originally called The Jimmy Hart Version.
"The Tropes of the South":
- Arch-Enemy: (in Memphis): Jerry Lawler, of course. (in WWE): the Junkyard Dog, the British Bulldogs (the Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith), Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Hulk Hogan, the Legion of Doom.
- As Himself: In the Monster Mash wrestling film Monster Brawl.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He swerved the Natural Disasters leading to Money Inc. defeating the Legion of Doom for the WWE World Tag Team Titles in 1992, turning the Disasters face. Later that year, he did the same to the Nasty Boys, and they turned face too. After he arrived with Hulk Hogan in WCW in 1994 he ended up turning on him too and allying himself with The Giant.
- Cool Shades: If he was ever seen without them, odds are it was because one of the face (good guy) wrestlers smacked them off.
- Dirty Coward/Combat Pragmatist/Loophole Abuse: He's a heel from Memphis.
- Perhaps the definitive example may have been the $50,000 battle royal that aired on the July 12, 1986 episode of WWF on MSG Network. Hart spent the entire match hiding under the ring. It came down to Greg Valentine and JYD in the ring, and they eliminated each other, giving Hart the win.
- Disguised in Drag: Hart would often get busted for interference and thus banned from ringside. No matter to Honky, who would just have his girlfriend “Peggy Sue” accompany him instead. While this was usually Sherri Martel in a wig and poodle skirt, sometimes the role would be played by Hart instead. Given that Jimmy Sue's face was completely veiled and he was lugging around a megaphone, it kept fans guessing as to which one it could be.WrestleCrap: Ok, I get wearing the wig as part of the disguise, but a bra seems a bit excessive.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He turned face after Ted DiBiase had tried to use IRS' briefcase to hit Beefcake in his surgically repaired face.
- Evil Laugh: At times during promos.
- Genre Savvy: Tried to stop Hugh Morrus from answering NWO member Scott Norton's challenge on the August 3, 1998 WCW Monday Nitro after Norton had interfered in the match between Psicosis and Tokyo Magnum. Of course, Norton powerbombed Morrus, proving Hart right.
- Heel: Almost always. So much so that it was jarring to see him at the side of Hulk Hogan after his face turn.
- Iconic Item: His megaphone.
- Identically Named Group: The Hart Foundation's original lineup was Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, and Jimmy Hart.
- Improbable Weapon User: His megaphone was used to knock out the opponents of wrestlers he managed.
- Large Ham: Whenever he was feeling low, Jimmy turned on the waterworks something awful.
- Last of His Kind: With the deaths of Freddie Blassie, The Grand Wizard, Sherri Martel, Miss Elizabeth, Captain Lou Albano, Paul Bearer, Mr. Fuji, "Lucious" Johnny Valiant and Bobby Heenan, Jimmy is now one of the last three living managers of wrestling's golden age between the 1980s and early 1990s (the others being Slick and Jim Cornette).
- No Indoor Voice: The Mouth Of The South. His megaphone enhances this.
- Non-Action Guy: He had some matches, especially early in his career in the southern territories, but mostly for comedy heel-style reasons, as he was far too scrawny to make a belivable wrestler. He did know how to take bumps, but often managed to squirm his way out of retaliation from the face wrestlers too.
- Older Than He Looks: Jimmy pretty much looks exactly the same as he did 20 years ago.
- Power Stable:
- (in Memphis): The First Family, which included, among others, Kamala, King Kong Bundy, The Iron Sheik, Wayne Farris (later the Honky Tonk Man), Eddie Gilbert, Rick Rude, Kevin Sullivan, The Moondogs (Rex and Spot), Jim Cornette (as Hart's understudy), Iron Mike Sharpe, Randy Savage, Andy Kaufman, Sherri Martel, Leilani Kai, Jesse Ventura, Sweet Brown Sugar (Koko B. Ware), and many more.
- The Dungeon Of Doom
- He had a version of the First Family in the XWF with Greg Valentine and the Nasty Boys.
- He created another version in Memphis with Mabel and Kid Kash, among others.
- Southern Gentleman: Despite his flamboyant, cowardly behavior, he still had shades of this. This is most noteable in his interactions with Miss Elizabeth.
- The Starscream: He initially worked under Jerry Lawler as part of The King's Army, plotting to take control of the group away from Lawler. He eventually put the crown on Precious Paul Ellering while Lawler was hospitalized from a football injury, but Lawler made short work of Hart once he was healthy.
- Sunglasses at Night: As shown above.
- Take That!: For WWE's The Wrestling Album, he recorded a song called "Eat Your Heart Out, Rick Springfield".
- Traumatic Haircut: At Wrestlemania 4, he got his client Honky Tonk Man DQ'd to save his Intercontinental title from Brutus Beefcake. In revenge, Beefcake took the opportunity to shear off quite a bit of Hart's hair before Honky Tonk Man managed to drag him out of there. In the subsequent interview, Hart hid himself under his jacket.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: He had a variety of jackets that were often decorated with the names and images of whoever he was managing at the time.
- Verbal Tic: Let's face it, Daddy-O. Jimmy Hart prefers socializing by calling people "Daddy-O".