IYH Interview: Gary Hart
By Hunter Shull
Jack, Incher, and Barbie welcome Gary Hart to the show. Gary Hart has a dvd out along with Sir Oliver Humperdink, entitled “The Art of Managing”. The DVD contains 2 hours of discussion about the old days when managers were a bigger part of the business than they are today. Hart isn’t sure that a lot of young wrestlers could learn much from the DVD, because the business is so different today. When Hart was a manager, he took a more active role in the wrestler’s careers. Nowadays, everything is decided by the bookers. It was Hart’s job to book his wrestlers in different territories, take care of hotel rooms and rental cars, and all of the other outside of the ring aspects of the business.
When asked what kind of guys he looked for to manage, Hart says that he didn’t have one particular style of guy he liked to manage because he was able to adapt to anybody. He looked mainly for wrestlers in whom the crowd was interested. As far as giving advice, Hart told his wrestlers what NOT to do in the ring. If one of his wrestlers was good at promos, Hart had no problem keeping quiet during the interviews.
Barbie asks Hart if he still watches wrestling today. Hart replies, “Of course.” He was in the business for 30 years, it is impossible for him to stop watching, and he catches it whenever he gets the chance. He sees a lot of guys being misused today and wishes he could give them some help. He feels that Triple H is too giving sometimes and lays down too often for guys that he shouldn’t. Hart is also high on Carlito, Chris Masters, The Big Show, and Ken Kennedy. Hart thinks that Ric Flair would make a good manager because of his experience, and also because of the star presence he could lend to any wrestler associated with him.
Hart is not surprised that managers aren’t used more often today. He comments that being a manager takes many different skills. Hart’s philosophy of managing involves looking at a talent and figuring out what must be done to help that talent sell tickets. A manager is also responsible for choosing his wrestler’s opponents and making sure they have good chemistry together. According to Hart, a manager must also get his wrestler in the mind set that they “belong” in the position that they’re in. A manager cannot make a wrestler into something they aren’t, but they can help them become who they are and what they SHOULD be. Hart says that he enjoyed being a manager more than being a booker, because as a manager he had more power. He could say no for personal reasons to programs he didn’t want to do, whereas he couldn’t do this as a booker because he had to worry about making money.
When asked which wrestlers he felt were good in the ring but didn’t achieve the success they should have, Hart lists Nard the Barbarian and Jeep Swinson. Hart says that these two simply didn’t have the desire to be the best, which is what a wrestler needs. Hart has great memories of working with Muta. Even though the relationship ended badly, Hart has nothing bad to say about the man.
Hart tells a funny story about tricking Abdullah the Butcher into doing a job by telling him it was a 2/3 Falls match. He also tells a story which cannot be repeated here about two wrestlers at a tollbooth, and a story about Dusty Rhodes leaving Little Tokyo in the trunk of his car.
Hart recounts his partnership with the One Man Gang. He feels that no one really maximized Gang’s potential before he did. He totally changed Gang’s look and based the character on Hart’s own life growing up in Chicago. He feels that Gang was one of the best big men ever, and was able to adapt to many different style.
Hart’s favorite gimmicks of the guys he managed are One Man Gang, The Spoiler, The Great Kabuki, Bruiser Brody, King Kong Bundy, The Great Muta, and Al Perez. Perez was very talented, but did not have the drive for the business, as he had a lot of outside interests.
The NWA in 1988 during Hart’s last run was a total disaster. Hart feels that management was incompetent, and that the wrestlers had forgotten that wrestling was a comradery, and everyone was only out for themselves. He calls Sting a “total asshole” at this point. Wrestling was no longer fun for Hart, so he left.
This is only a sample of the topics that were discussed in
this hour-long interview. All of this, and a lot more,
including why Hart never worked for the WWF, is available
for listening at http://www.inyourheadonline.com