Thursday, April 18

The Legacy Of WWE Legend Hillbilly Jim, Explained

Highlights

  • Hillbilly Jim debuted as a protégé of Hulk Hogan, refusing training from “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in WWE.
  • Hillbilly Jim was not a world champion, but wrestled alongside big stars like Andre The Giant.
  • After retiring due to injuries in 1991, Hillbilly Jim was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018.



In the 1980s, WWE fans saw a number of larger-than-life characters hit their televisions. Andre The Giant, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and many more were among those names. However, there were also those lesser known names who, despite not being main event talents or world champions, are still remembered very fondly in the hearts and minds of fans. One of those names is Hillbilly Jim. Having debuted in WWE in 1984, he never became a WWE Champion or featured in a high-profile WrestleMania match. However, that is not always the measure of what makes a memorable star in the world of professional wrestling. Hillbilly Jim is remembered because of the dedication and skill with which he played his character.

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Hillbilly Jim Debuted As A Protégé Of Hulk Hogan

Hillbilly Jim Refused To Be Trained By “Rowdy” Roddy Piper


Professional Wrestling Debut

10/28/1983 Stampede Wrestling Jim Morris vs Karl Moffat

Final Match

4/1/2001 WrestleMania X-7 Gimmick Battle Royal

Notable Accomplishment

WWE Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee

Prior to joining WWE in 1984, Hillbilly Jim wrestled on the independent scene under names such as Harley Davidson and Jim Morris. He appeared in Stampede Wrestling and CWA. After nine years on the indies, Jim signed with WWE in 1984. However, his initial appearance was not in a wrestling ring. It was instead on the talk show of Roddy Piper called Piper’s Pit. Piper had Jim on the show and even offered to train him. This was at the time when Piper was one of the biggest heels in the WWE. Instead, Jim opted to be trained by WWE Champion Hulk Hogan. From there, Hillbilly Jim was born and began to be routinely seen on WWE house shows and other events.


During his time in WWE, Hillbilly Jim stood side by side with some of the WWE’s most prominent and featured names in the company. This included teaming with Andre The Giant. The two regularly teamed up with one another in order to face the Heenan Family, who they often defeated on the house show circuit. In addition to teaming with Andre, Jim was also given his own faction. After suffering a slip that led to a serious knee injury, Jim still appeared on television, but he was managing his own group. It was Jim’s kayfabe family, consisting of Uncle Elmer, Cousin Luke, and Cousin Junior. In an interview with WWE, Jim spoke about the family and how many fans loved it. He said:


That knee injury put me on the shelf for 10 or 11 months, which reduced me to just coming back and managing some hillbilly guys…Everybody loved it
.”


While Jim was popular with WWE fans, he was often featured in the mid to lower card of shows. He was a staple of house shows and usually faced enhancement talent at those events, whether that was in singles competition or in tag team matches. When he faced bigger stars, like King Kong Bundy, Brutus Beefcake, or Greg Valentine, he was more often than not on the losing side of those matches. Many of his wins came by defeating enhancement talent. However, this is not to say that Jim did not have some big moments throughout his career in WWE.

Hillbilly Jim Had Some Notable WWE Accomplishments

Hillbilly Jim Wrestled Side By Side With Some Of WWE’s Biggest Stars

Hillbilly Jim

  • Hillbilly Jim wrestled in the inaugural Royal Rumble match.
  • He led a popular faction in The Hillbillies.
  • He was on a winning team at Survivor Series 1988.


Throughout his career, Jim was involved in some major moments. He was in the inaugural Royal Rumble match that was won by “Hacksaw” Jim Dug, and was a part of battle royals at a few WrestleManias. He had numerous championship opportunities when he challenged for both the Intercontinental Championship and WWE Tag Team Championships with The Hillbillies. In addition, he was also a part of a winning Survivor Series team in 1988 with Hercules, Koko B. Ware, and The Mega Powers.

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Hillbilly Jim Stopped Wrestling Full-Time In 1991

Hillbilly Jim Was Inducted Into The WWE Hall Of Fame In 2018

  • He made two appearances for CWA after leaving WWE.
  • He was featured in the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-7.
  • Hillbilly Jim retired due to injuries.


In 1991, Hillbilly Jim stopped wrestling full time for the WWE. He explained his choice had to do with injuries and that he needed to take a step back. He told WWE:


I started getting hurt and stuff and I realized I had to make a cut
.”

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Following his retirement from full-time in-ring action, Jim wrestled a total of three matches after 1991. Two were in CWA in 1994. The other was the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17, which also featured Kamala, Tugboat, Sgt. Slaughter, Doink the Clown, and more. The match was won by The Iron Sheik. It does not seem like he has any interest in returning to a professional wrestling ring. He is also very content with his career and playing the character he did. The 2018 WWE Hall of Fame inductee said to Bleacher Report:



I’m from this part of the country. I know a lot of country people. I know what that translates to. I did the best I could to bring that to the ring.”
(
h/t WrestlingRumors
)

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