MITCHELL'S TAKE MITCHELL FLASHBACK: Memo Mempho Mojo Daddy ("Memphis Heat" DVD review featuring Jackie Fargo)
Jun 24, 2013 - 1:00:21 PM
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"Memphis Heat" DVD Review Flashback
Originally published: Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter #1224
Cover-Dated October 15, 2011
By Bruce Mitchell, PWTorch columnist
Look, I know what you’re thinking. You watched wrestling for long enough that you got interested in how it worked and found your way here. Maybe you wondered why John Cena was always on the top of the card when all the guys you know that watch wrestling don’t seem to care for him.
Then you started reading and listening and clicking and downloading and tweeting and facebooking and googling + pro wrestling and that took a while too. So it’s not like you’re, say, 19. You’ve been around at least long enough to understand why Cena never wrestles Randy Orton anymore. You’re hardly new to the business, particularly compared to those idiots you sat next to at the pay-per-view last winter, but when you listen to the Bruce Mitchell Audio Show, you think, man, that guy’s old.
Maybe you’re of the generation that feels obligated to object to references from more than five years ago (middle-aged Wade Keller, Kevin Dunn, and Jonny Fairplay are of this ilk) and wonders when I’m going to admit that Eddie Edwards is a better athlete that Ric Flair ever was, and thinks that frankly anything that happened before there was an Internet really doesn’t count.
Well, I understand. Really, I do. This time, though, just this once, set all that aside and go order “Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Rasslin’.” It’s the best, most entertaining pro wrestling documentary I’ve ever seen. Just seeing the cornucopia of big-time wrestling stars on the amazing variety of molten-heat clips makes it worth getting, and that’s not even the best part.
Look, I know what you’re thinking. Bruce is old and that was a long time ago. Some of you northern types are thinking that Bruce is a hillbilly and, worse, he’s putting over a bunch of jug-eared, wall-eyed clod-hoppers.
Think of it this way.
Wouldn’t you like to see some wrestling that is really, really over? Like every Monday night in the major coliseum in your town the place is jammed to the rafters with crazed wrestling fans? Like every Saturday everyone you know, not just a few wrestling buddies and a couple of more who used to follow it back when it was good, watches the cool wrestling show, and when I say everyone, I mean your grandmother and the guys at work and down the street. You hear people talking about what happened on the show at the grocery store. Wouldn’t it be cool to genuinely like the announcers, who are not only great at calling wrestling, but all over your TV and well-respected men about town, like Lance Russell and Dave Brown still are in Memphis?
Simply put, imagine wrestling is your winning local NFL team.
Better than that, and Memphis Heat does a great job of showing this, imagine the wrestlers you like weren’t over-produced and held-back speech-reciting good locker room citizens, but alpha-male crazier-than-hell fighters who just amped up their own personalities like, maybe, ten percent to become wrasslin’ stars. Watching Memphis Heat, you get why The Fabulous Jackie Fargo and Sputnik Monroe fought in the ring, and then fought it out in the trailer park. (I know what some of you are thinking. Fabulous Fargo sold out Madison Square Garden, then moved to Tennessee. Dwayne Johnson’s father said working in the Mid-South Coliseum was better than working MSG.)
One of the amazing stories Memphis Heat tells is how Sputnik changed the culture in Tennessee forever (it has something to do with that unique first name), all because he liked to drink on Beale Street. Now we all drink on Beale Street.
Memphis Heat is a real documentary. It doesn’t skimp on the dangerous, mind-numbing travel or the machinations of the crooked promoters, who at least had the decency to pretend they were decent when the cameras were on.
Heat also shows, once and for all, why Jerry “The King” Lawler may be the greatest all-round performer in pro wrestling history. There’s a ton of Jerry Lawler footage, and, heel or face, it’s all tremendously entertaining.
The documentary ends exactly where it should: The Mouth of The South Jimmy “Today is the greatest day of my life!” Hart - a son of Memphis who literally grew up in the halls of the TV station where the high rated wrestling shows were produced, who loved Tennessee wrestling as much as anyone, and who energized the promotion and helped bring it to another lucrative peak with his legendary feud with Jerry Lawler - leaves Jarrett Promotions to work for the WWF.
And with that, Memphis wrestling is no longer the major league.
Hell, forget all that.
Buy Memphis Heat. Go straight to the DVD Bonus Section and click on the very last button – The Galento Incident. The Memphis Heat producers tell, through interviews and clips, a jaw-dropping true story. It’s one you’ve probably never heard but will readily recognize. Vince McMahon tried to tell it this week and fell flat on his face in spectacular fashion, again. Vince Russo has wasted millions trying to tell it.
But Mario Galento? He carried a straight razor.
Bruce Mitchell is the senior columnist for PWTorch, on staff since 1990. Listen to the Bruce Mitchell Audio Show hosted by Wade Keller every week at the PWTorch VIP website as they spend two hours discussing current events in pro wrestling, covering major history topics in depth and answering member questions. Also, listen to Mitchell cohost the PWTorch Livecast every Monday night in the hour before Raw at www.blogtalkradio.com/pro-wrestling-torch.
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