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By Mike Johnson on 2018-03-05 12:45:00

WWE announced this afternoon that Hillbilly Jim, one of the last standouts from the company's original golden era that had yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, has been tapped for the 2018 class, which will be inducted on Friday 4/6 in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center.  

The news was first disseminated via Bleacher Report.

Real name James Morris, 65-years old, Hillbilly Jim is eternally remembered for the angle where he, as a fan, came out of the crowd to assist Hulk Hogan, the top hero in the WWF at the time.  The storyline was that Hogan took Jim under his wing, giving him a pair of wrestling boots and training him to become a professional wrestler.   It was the perfect storyline for the product, which was aimed at young children at the time.

Wrestling in overalls with a floppy brown hat, a bushy long beard and carrying a lucky horseshoe, Jim was the ultimate caricature of a "country boy", becoming a lovable underneath babyface for much of the 1980s in the process.  He played the loyal friend to Hogan well and unlike many of Hogan's other allies over the years, never turned, portrayed as a babyface his entire WWF run.

Jim had actually broke into the business working in Memphis under the name Harley Davidson (where he did work heel) before being tapped by WWF. 

Once introduced as a loyal Hogan ally, WWF built an entire "family" around Jim, featuring Uncle Elmer, Cousin Junior and Cousin Luke with the family regularly featured on Saturday Night's Main Event.  While Jim was never pushed as a top main event singles star, he was certainly an important utility player as a personality with a great theme song, Don't Go Messing With A County Boy, that always elicited a big reaction from the crowd.    He was part of all the merchandising at the time and featured on the Hulk Hogan's Rock N' Wrestling animated series.

Behind the scenes, Jim was always considered a loyal, good hand to WWE in that he could be used in any position and get a great reaction from the crowd or that he could be used to represent the company publicly in a way that really gave back to the fans he interacted with.  Later on, he would be tapped to represent Coliseum Home Video for just that reason.

Jim's highest profile bout for the company, beyond the early Hogan-related appearances, would likely be Wrestlemania III, where he teamed with Little Beaver and The Haiti Kid against King Kong Bundy, Lord Littlebrook and Little Tokyo which Jim's team won by DQ when Bundy assaulted Little Beaver.

Later, Jim worked as a manager for the Godwins on camera before slowly disappearing from TV.  He remained with the company and was used regularly for promotional and community outreach appearances for many years, in part because he was always remembered as a lovable, endearing character. 

Jim was featured in the WWE Legends House reality series on the WWE Network and today has a weekly country music show Hillbilly Jim's Moonshine Matinee on SiriusXM Radio.   A biography, Hillbilly Jim - The Incredible Story of a Wrestling Superstar by Gary West, was released in late 2016 by Acclaim Press.

The fact Jim wasn't inducted already was strange, as I have written before on the site.  Except for King Kong Bundy, Jim would be the last member of the "core" WWF roster from that era not to be inducted and was the only cast member from Hogan's Rock N' Wrestling not already enshrined in the WWE Hall.   That changed this year.  

"I didn't have that on my mind whatsoever," Jim told Bleacher Report in their article announcing his induction. "For a moment or two, I was knocked back on my heels. Basically, I was speechless. It was a whole lot for me to digest quickly."

Break out the horseshoes.

Also being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2018 are Bill Goldberg, The Dudley Boyz, Ivory, Jeff Jarrett and the 2018 Warrior Award winner, Jarius "JJ" Robertson.

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