Hurricane JJ Maguire was the music to Jimmy Hart’s lyrics on more than 100 songs for WWF and WCW. He had a ringside seat – literally – for some of the greatest moments in the early days of the WWF and Wrestlemania, and his memoir, My Life in Heaven Town, is jammed full of stories about wrestling, music, and Hollywood.
The following is an excerpt from the book selected by JJ Maguire himself. It’s about his first trip to Wrestlemania, and it begins as many of his adventures begin, with a phone call from Jimmy Hart.
Jimmy Hart called me up one day and said, “Maguire, I’m coming out there with WWF for Wrestlemania. I don’t know my way around LA,” said Jimmy. “The only other time I went out there was when I did a bikini beach movie with the Gentrys. Can you show me around?” I told him I would be glad to.
I picked Jimmy up at the airport along with one of the wrestlers he was managing: King Kong Bundy. Bundy got in the front seat, and I took the two of them to the hotel. They were sharing a room together, so we went upstairs and I sat on the bed while they got unpacked. We watched TV for a bit, and then Bundy decided he was thirsty.
“Do you and Maguire want a Coke? I’m going to go get a drink.”
“Sure, Buns,” said Jimmy. “I’d love a Coke.”
Bundy left the room, and the two of us went back to watching TV. It was pretty quiet in the hotel, and we were having a nice conversation when all of the sudden – CRASH! BAM BOOM! We heard a terrible noise and felt the floor shake.
“Maguire!” said Jimmy. “It’s an earthquake!”
“No, Jimmy,” I said. “I’ve been out here long enough to know what one feels like. That wasn’t an earthquake.”
Jimmy’s face dropped. “Oh my gosh. That must be Bundy. Go down and see if you can find out what happened.” Jimmy didn’t want to get involved so lucky me, he sent me to find out what happened.
I went down the hall and around the corner to where the vending machines were and saw a Coke machine overturned and smashed. This wasn’t the kind of soda machine you see today with the plastic front. This was solid metal, and it was in about forty pieces. It looked like an atomic bomb hit it.
Bundy was standing there drinking a Coke. “What happened?” I asked.
Bundy nodded to what was left of the machine. “That damn thing ripped me off, and I’m not taking it. I body slammed the machine.”
I looked and saw Cokes everywhere. It’s a wonder none of them burst.
“Hold your hands out, Maguire,” said Bundy. I held my arms out, and he loaded me down with about twenty Cokes, and he grabbed an armload for himself. We started walking back down the hall, and Bundy was handing them out to other hotel guests as we passed them.
We walked back in the room, and Jimmy sat up. “What happened down there, Buns?”
“The machine ripped me off, so I body slammed it. We don’t have to worry about running out of Cokes for the weekend.”
“Okay,” said Jimmy, and not another word was said about it. We had plenty of beverages to last us the weekend, and we enjoyed every one of them.
When it came time for the show, which took place at the Coliseum, Jimmy and Bundy took me with them. This was Wrestlemania II, and even though I didn’t work for the company, I had full access to everything.
Wrestlemania II was a star-studded event, and I got to meet some great people that day… The biggest thrill for me that weekend was getting to meet the legendary Robert Conrad, who starred in the classic TV show The Wild Wild West. Robert Conrad was the guest timekeeper for Wrestlemania II in Los Angeles. I was such a huge fan of Robert Conrad growing up, meeting Elvis would not have been as big for me. Bob, as I came to know him, brought his grandson with him that day, and we walked all over the arena that night, from set up all the way through the show that night. We spent the whole day together, getting to know one another.
What impressed me most about him wasn’t just as he was nice (he was!) but how massive he is in person. When he was getting his tuxedo on right before show time, I reached around him and gave him a hug from the side. I’ve since given that same side hug to wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan. Hulk is big, but I swear to you, Robert Conrad was even bigger around the shoulders!
Bob invited Red and his son to come backstage later on that evening. The two of them were old friends, so much so that when he was alive, Elvis was jealous of Robert Conrad because he and Red were so close.
When Wrestlemania II came to a close, I said goodbye to Jimmy and the WWF and went back to my work with Glen Glenn Studio. I was working a lot of hours at Glen Glenn with some amazingly talented people, but I had no idea that I would soon become a part of the growing entertainment juggernaut that was the World Wrestling Federation.