Gary Hart (wrestler)

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For other people named Gary Hart, see Gary Hart (disambiguation).
Gary Williams
Gary Hart (wrestler).jpg
Ring name(s) Gary Hart[1]
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Billed weight 239 lb (108 kg)
Born (1942-01-24)January 24, 1942[1]
Chicago, Illinois
Died March 16, 2008(2008-03-16) (aged 66)[1]
Euless, Texas[1]
Debut 1963[1]
Retired 2004

Gary Richard Williams,[2] (January 24, 1942 – March 16, 2008) was an American professional wrestling manager, as well as a professional wrestler in his early career, best known by his ring name Gary Hart.[1] Hart was one of the pivotal driving forces behind what is considered to be World Class Championship Wrestling's "golden years" in the early 1980s.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Gary Hart started out as a wrestler in 1960 in Chicago at the Marigold Arena.[3] In the late 1960s, he became a manager called "Playboy" Gary Hart. During the late 60's, one of the more famous wrestlers he managed, was "The Spoiler" He also managed the tag team duo called "The Spoilers, which consisted of Spoilers #1(Don Jardine) & #2(Smasher Sloan) they won several tag team titles in 1968-69 under Gary's guidance, Spoiler #2 was un-masked and started wrestling under his own name, Spoiler #1 used a famous claw hold against his opponents called the "Hart Crusher" named after Gary

World Class Championship Wrestling (1979–1987)[edit]

Gary Hart became the booker for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW; then known as Big Time Wrestling) in 1979, a position he held on and off until 1987. Hart is largely credited (alongside Bill Mercer, Fritz and David Von Erich) with the success of WCCW, as 1982-1985 are largely considered to be the "Golden Years" of the promotion. Hart created the classic feud between the Von Erichs and the Fabulous Freebirds, as well as introducing memorable characters like the Great Kabuki, the Great Muta, King Kong Bundy, the One Man Gang and the Samoan Swat Team. Hart additionally managed talent such as the lates "Gorgeous" Gino Hernandez and "Gentleman" Chris Adams. Along with booking, he also managed Nord the Barbarian, Abdullah The Butcher, Al Perez and Jeep Swenson under the stable "New Age Management", and always feuded with the top faces of the promotion. In 1984, Hart managed Gentleman Chris Adams, who turned heel and engaged in a major feud with Kevin and Kerry Von Erich. As a result, Adams was propelled to the top of the wrestling world and eventually won the NWA American title in 1985. Gary was part of a stipulation match between One Man Gang vs Kerry Von Erich in which if Kerry won Gary would have his head shaved, but if One Man Gang won Fritz would have to wrestle Gang. One Man Gang lost and Gary got shaved bald.

Hart in the Georgia and Mid-Atlantic regions of the NWA[edit]

During World Class' golden era, Hart was also a manager in the Georgia and Mid-Atlantic regions of the NWA; joining these two areas exclusively in 1983 shortly after the start of the Freebirds-Von Erichs feud, when he left World Class due to a pay dispute. Hart returned to Texas in the summer of 1984 and following a short hiatus in 1986; stayed with the federation until 1988. Hart was also a promoter and manager in San Antonio for Texas All-Star Wrestling, the successor of Joe Blanchard's Southwest Championship Wrestling group; and featured most of the SCW wrestlers, as well as a handful of World Class names (including Chris Adams, Scott Casey and Bruiser Brody). He also worked for the ICW, first as the heel manager of Bruiser Brody, Kevin Sullivan and Mark Lewin. After a kayfabe falling out with Sullivan, Lewin attacked Hart with a sleeper hold. At the tail end of the ICW stint, Hart and Brody were babyfaces.

Noteworthy interviews[edit]

Hart, who was known for delivering excellent ringside interviews, participated in one of World Class' most famous outside the ring interviews, when he sat down with Bill Mercer in a 1985 interview outside of Hart's home to talk about his rift with Chris Adams. The interview, which was done on one take, featured Hart pounding the glass table continuously with his fist, calling Adams an egotistical maniac but a very bright young boy, then berating Gino Hernandez calling him a moron and a young punk that is nothing in the wrestling business. As the interview wound down, Hart went on a tirade, vowing revenge against Adams while shoving the tableware and ice tea away and then throwing the table in disgust.

He also conducted a memorable interview on World Championship Wrestling in 1989, berating Dusty Rhodes and his family.

Feuds with fellow heel managers[edit]

During his time in World Class, Hart was involved in feuds with fellow heel managers Skandor Akbar and Percy Pringle.

Jim Crockett Promotions[edit]

Shortly after the folding of WCCW, Hart continued to manage Al Perez in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)'s Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988, along with Larry Zbyszko. In 1989, he managed the stable J-Tex Corporation, which included Terry Funk, Dick Slater, Buzz Sawyer, The Dragonmaster, and The Great Muta. They feuded primarily with Ric Flair and Sting, but Ole and Arn Anderson later teamed up with Flair and Sting to even the sides up (and thus bringing back The Four Horseman briefly). J-Tex disbanded in early 1990.

Later career[edit]

After leaving WCW, Hart returned to Texas and began a new wrestling promotion in North Dallas, Texas Wrestling Federation, which showcased many former stars of World Class and those who are competing in the USWA/World Class promotion.

During the 1990s, following the demise of the Global Wrestling Federation, Hart and Chris Adams were involved in many Texas-based wrestling promotions, including an ill-fated attempt to revive World Class (billed as World Class II: The Next Generation) at the Dallas Sportatorium. Hart retired in 1999, but made a surprise return in Major League Wrestling, during the promotion's Reloaded Tour on January 9–10, 2004. Hart appeared following the main event (on January 9) pitting Low-Ki against Homicide, where the three laid out several wrestlers from the locker room, as well MLW president Court Bauer.

During the tour, Hart's son Chad (who was trained by Chris Adams, Skandor Akbar and Gary Hart) debuted and wrestled on both events. On January 10, Chad Hart attacked Terry Funk immediately after his barbed-wire "I Quit" match with Steve Corino. It would prove to be MLW's final show, as the promotion folded in February of the same year.

Personal relationship with Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez[edit]

Hart was close to both Adams and Gino Hernandez; and was very strong in encouraging wrestlers and fellow fans alike not to use controlled substances such as cocaine, GHB,and alcohol; substances that resulted in the deaths of both Adams in 2001 and Hernandez in 1986. Regarding Hernandez, Hart was not able to place a picture of Gino on the wall alongside other wrestlers he managed, due to the failure in encouraging Hernandez to kick the habit. Hart was also despondent over the death of Adams (the victim of a shooting incident during a drunken fight with a former roommate) for a short time as he revealed during the Heroes of World Class DVD that Hart didn't return one of Adams' calls days prior to his death.

Death[edit]

Hart died on March 16, 2008, following a heart attack at his home in Euless, TX, after returning from an autograph session in Pennsylvania.

On April 5, 2008, Peach State Pandemonium, an internet wrestling program, aired a two-hour tribute program in the memory of Gary Hart. "Cowboy" Bill Watts, Jack Brisco, James Beard, Abdullah The Butcher, Michael "P.S." Hayes, Kevin Sullivan, George Steele, Skandor Akbar, and Jim Ross were among those who attended.

Autobiography[edit]

His autobiography, entitled "My Life In Wrestling...With A Little Help From My Friends," was released in 2009.[4]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Gary Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  2. ^ "Various News: WWE Divas Brand Manager, AP Release On Gary Hart Death, More". 411mania.com. 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Legendary manager Gary Hart passes away". WWE. 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  4. ^ "Autobiography of Professional Wrestling Manager "Playboy" Gary Hart Released". PR.com. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  5. ^ Caldwell, James (2013-11-26). "News: Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame announces 2014 HOF class". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 

External links[edit]