After being announced as one of the inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018, Hillbilly Jim said he wants Hulk Hogan to do the honor of inducting him.
Jim said Saturday in an interview with TMZ Sports that it would be “as great as it could be” if Hogan inducted him.
Jim described the impact Hogan had on his wrestling career, saying, “When I first came into the business, to get brushed up against the guy that was the most popular wrestler on Earth … it was wonderful what he did for me.”
He added that being inducted by “The Hulkster” would be “cream on top of this thing.”
When Jim first appeared in the World Wrestling Federation in late 1984, he was portrayed as a fan known as Big Jim who routinely sat in the front row of live events who decided to try his hand at wrestling himself. After appearing as a guest on Piper’s Pit, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper offered his services to train him. Jim, however, chose to be trained by WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan instead of the villainous Piper. A series of vignettes then aired on WWF programming in the early weeks of 1985, showing Hogan training Jim and providing him with his first set of wrestling boots for his in-ring debut.
WWE’s video package on Jim going in the Hall of Fame highlights their storyline connection, saying that Hogan took Jim under his guidance and turned him from a fan into a WWE Superstar.
WWE also posted some of their training vignettes on YouTube (these vignettes first aired in 1984 and 1985, but were shown again in 1988 to promote Jim’s return to action following a hiatus from television).
Hogan honoring Jim may not be possible since WWE terminated the wrestling legend’s contract in July 2015 and he has not appeared for the company since. The termination coincided with the publication of a racially insensitive video in which Hogan is heard expressing disgust with the notion of his daughter dating any black man. Hogan also admitted to being “a racist, to a point.”
In a statement to The Associated Press in January, WWE reiterated its stance on Hogan, saying, “At this time, WWE remains committed to its decision.”