So much has been written about what a nice guy Hillbilly Jim is. He's just a genuine soul in an industry where there are many on the opposite spectrum. To watch him with fans young and old is a joy. While others on the Legends House series were working the cameras, Jim was being himself. A man who is simply happy to have lived a life that he enjoyed every day of.
Now, over WrestleMania XXXIV weekend, Hillbilly will have several more special moments. The WWE Hall of Fame inductees of each specific year almost always take part in multiple events throughout the weekend, but you have to imagine that Hillbilly will be all over. For years, Jim worked as a goodwill ambassador for WWE, especially leading up to WrestleMania where he would tour the country to spread word of the event. Now, he gets to enjoy the grandest stage of them all once again, and this time again in the spotlight.
While Hillbilly was involved in WrestleMania II, III, & IV, it's probably his appearance at XVII that sticks out the most. Though his six-man tag involving midget wrestlers at III is always remembered, his inclusion in the Gimmick Battle Royal at XVII was moving. Hillbilly, looking in incredible shape, entered the Houston Astrodome to a tremendous pop. His music and dancing may have even spawned the best reaction of all the participants.
Is it any surprise? Sure, it was nostalgia at its finest. But ask any child who grew up watching even a bit of wrestling in the '80s and they can tell you about Hillbilly Jim. He was a friend to The Hulkster! He was a hero battling the likes of Brutus Beefcake, King Kong Bundy, Nikolai Volkoff, and other notorious villains. He was even immortalized in the Rock n' Wrestling cartoon show, which briefly appeared in Hillbilly's WWE Hall of Fame video.
The one lament is that Hillbilly Jim's famous self-vocalized theme song, "Don't Go Messin' With A Country Boy," is often edited out of WWE programming these days and was not included in the video. It would be nice for WWE to license the song one last time as a tribute to one of the biggest characters, personalities, and hearts that the company has ever known.