|Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’ (2011)|
|Starring:||Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, Jimmy Hart, Sputnik Monroe and Jackie Fargo|
|The Plot: Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’ is a documentary focusing on the Memphis wrestling territory during the formidable years between the 1970s and the 1980s. Following a very large spectrum of wrestlers during this period, the film simply focuses on the Memphis area and the big names who were created there. These were the men who helped make this “scene” as rowdy as any wrestling territory in the world. The film details some of the biggest stars that younger fans may recognize, such as Jerry “The King” Lawler and Rocky Johnson, as well as some older wrestlers who had a huge impact on the industry, such as Sputnik Monroe and Jackie Fargo. These wrestlers lived a hard life, traveling over 100,000 miles per year cramped inside of small cars, but they brought to life personas that were much larger than mortal men could have ever dreamed to be.|
After watching the movie myself, my first instincts were to simply restart the entire thing all over again. Packed with names, places and information that I had never been privy to, as a wrestling fan I wanted to hear more about all of these characters and get to know more about them. A deep connection is made with the viewer, and I think that this is the strongest aspect of the movie. After Memphis Heat is over, audiences feel as if they know these characters in a deep and personal way. The insider view of this very insular culture grabs the audience by its coattails. Even for those who aren’t intrigued by this world of men clad in tight shorts, the strange culture is enough to draw in any audience members. One of the strangest and most intriguing facets of this period was how serious wrestling had become, both with the audience and the wrestlers. Memphis was on fire every Monday it seems, and the pandemonium of public reactions are well detailed throughout Memphis Heat. These wrestlers were stabbed, cut, punched, and even had babies thrown at them during riots! The wrestlers took their jobs just as serious, however, and it is apparent that these were men who valued their role as “tough guys.” Throughout the film, they even debate about who was tougher during their prime. In some ways, it is the “reality” of the situation, or the suspension of disbelief, that made such a period so very special in comparison to the much more tame version of Pro Wrestling that we find today.