This year’s WWE Hall of Fame surprises just keep on coming! Hot on the heels of the absolutely mind-boggling announcement that Jeff Jarrett will be not only returning to WWE for the first time since 1999, but going into the dang Hall of Fame, we’ve got another unlikely name that wasn’t part of the initial rumored batch of names.
… Unlikely in a different way, that is.
There was a name that was not thrown around in any way that we can tell, and WWE announced on Monday that none other than Hillbilly Jim will be immortalized in the Hall of Fame.
If you’re not too familiar with Hillbilly Jim, here’s a portion of WWE.com’s write-up on the big boy:
The big country boy first popped up in WWE in late 1984, as a big, smiling bearded face towering above WWE fans around the country. However, Jim decided to get a little closer to the action when Hulk Hogan was attacked by Ken Patera, Big John Studd and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Leaping over the barricade, Hillbilly Jim jumped in the ring and helped The Hulkster run off the villains. Hogan saw something in the rugged man standing beside him and trained Jim for the ring.
Opting to compete in his overalls and entering the ring with a lucky horseshoe around his neck, Hillbilly Jim proved to be a prodigy inside the squared circle, using his incredible power to squeeze opponents into submission with his trademark bear hug.
Jim (real name James Morris) was most recently seen on WWE Legends’ House on WWE Network. The strange and wondrous thing about the guy is that he’s one of the most recognizable figures of the Hulkamania era, yet his career as a full-time WWF wrestler didn’t last more than a few years. He made his wrestling debut in 1975 under the name of Harley Davidson, if you can believe it, but despite wrestling in the Memphis area for nine years off and on for CWA, he didn’t do pretty much anything of note.
His WWF career started as an audience plant, as noted in WWE’s write-up. His introduction to WWF fans was by being plucked from obscurity and trained by Hogan, and worked from 1985 to 1990, although he was sidelined for stretches of time due to various injuries. He also had an extended Hillbilly family stable of sorts, and worked as a commentator regularly. He was reintroduced to Attitude Era fans (sorta) as a onetime manager for the Godwinns.
But there’s no disputing that his name, look, and especially theme song are as iconic as you can get as a pro wrestler.
Here’s Jim’s televised debut:
And enjoy some other classic moments, if you like!
Congratulations to Hillbilly Jim, who might have the best all-around beard in pro wrestling history.