Class of 2018
Country Boy, Company Man
Hall of Fame Rating
4 out of 10
I love Hillbilly Jim’s theme. It is one of the best 80s themes. And it’s originally from WWE’s 1985 record The Wrestling Album, featuring the best “song” ever recorded…by a large group of wrestlers. (And for those who do watch- Yes, that is Meatloaf.)
Like Dusty Rhodes’ Common Man or Pomp & Circumstance for the Macho Man, Jim’s song is so specific and so perfect for who he is, and that is great. Like most things Hillbilly Jim, his music is fun, memorable and makes you feel good in general.
Yet an issue arises quite quickly, despite his affable nature and his memorable persona, does Hillbilly Jim belong in the WWE Hall of Fame?
Fans today have seemed to be split 70/30 in favor over Hillbilly Jim’s inclusion and I can see both sides.
On one hand, Hillbilly Jim is a company man, ala Blackjack Lanza, who has worked with and for the company since 1984, including today as a well-known ambassador. His wrestling career in WWE lasted 1984-1990, followed by his time managing the Godwinns to tag team gold. Longevity is reward-worthy.
Plus, Hillybilly Jim fits into the lovable WWF 80s babycategory which WWE loves to remember in the Hall. Men like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Jake Roberts and Big Bossman are in the hall for better or worse depending on preference.
Whether they were good wrestlers, they were kid friendly fan favorites and WWE loves their beloved characters of the past.
One last point on Hillbilly Jim, he was the only Hulk Hogan’s Rock N Wrestling cartoon cast member missing from the WWE Hall of Fame. JYD, Snuka, Santana, Hogan, Albano, Andre, Okerlund, Richter, Heenan, Mr. Fuji, Piper, Sheik, Volkoff , Moolah and Studd have all been in the WWE Hall of Fame for a decade. In fact many fans have commented today that they thought Hillbilly Jim was already in the hall.
These are all good reasons to include Hillbilly Jim in the Hall of Fame, and why I rated him as high as I did.
The counter to everything I listed above is the following list of all of Hillbilly Jim’s achievements in the wrestling ring.
Hillbilly Jim’s greatest run was his teamups with Hulk Hogan. He was “trained” by Hogan and played the role of “little buddy” for Hogan, a role both Tugboat and Brutus Beefcake would take on at different points. The videos and sequences were a example of what would eventually become WWE’s “comedy”.
But once you pass this point, Jim did absolutely nothing of note in the ring.
His biggest feud of memory was with King Kong Bundy and midgets. (Bundy isn’t in the Hall of Fame BTW)
He also introduced to the world Uncle Elmer, a fat man who couldn’t wrestle, let alone dance. The Hillbilly clan was on par with Doink and Dink in its groan inducing segments.
A majority of fans criticize Koko B. Ware and the Bushwhackers (god knows I did) for just not deserving the honor. So does Hillbilly Jim fit in same category as the these obvious awful inclusions?
I’d say no. The biggest difference is his time period. Jim was part of the organization during the boom of the WWF Golden Era. He was just as much a part of it as Piper, Hogan and JYD (although obviously the lower mid card part) Plus his inclusion in the Hulk Hogan Rock N Wrestling Show put him on a much bigger platform than Ware or the Bushwhackers ever reached. I’m okay with this one.
WWE loves their feel good inductees and they love to reward company men. Teddy Long in 2017 fit into both of those categories. Hillbilly Jim does this year. We will have to wait and see if Jim is an easy replacement for a planned name (such as Kid Rock) who fell through.
Opens Door For?
Other company men- Harvey Whippelman, Brooklyn Brawler, Jamie Noble, Hardcore Holly.
No Marc Mero, never you.
Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.
This will be the only Hall of Fame Hillbilly Jim will ever be in. He has literally no wrestling credentials.