Sunday, May 7, 2017

My Memphis Wrestling experience at Game6 Grizzlies and the RSWF [Real South Wrestling Federation]

<< crossposted on the 'Loz in Translation' blog

Whenever I travel, I search for my 3 loves of Basketball, Wrestling and Comedy. I've found them with varying success around the world but have had an easier time on my #30HomeGames mission as they typify Americana.

My ongoing collection of Wrestling Grizzlies graphics 
Part of the reason why the Memphis Grizzlies are my favorite team is their reverence of Pro-Wrestling. America's Mid-South has a great wrestling tradition and the Grizzlies honor that with themed Wrestling nights. Their mascot 'Grizz' incorporates wrasslin into his shtick with the use of ladders and Championship belts. Local Wrestling icon, Jerry "The King" Lawler periodically appears at games to inject excitement into the crowd.
During Game 6 of the Grizzlies game, former WCW superstar Buff Bagwell was curiously in the front row. Interviewed during a timeout, he revealed that he was in attendance to support the San Antonio Spurs. Perplexed at first, I immediately marked out as it signalled that Jerry Lawler was just around the corner to challenge him. They worked a program over the course of the game. Buff Bagwell with the upper hand at first, parading around the hallways and arena stage over several play stoppages until he got his comeuppance. Lawler setting up Grizz the Mascot as he delivered a top-of-the-ladder splash onto Bagwell's surrogate who was splayed on a table. The experience was bittersweet as the Grizzlies couldn't match that script, coming up short against the Spurs. The fact Memphians entertain such absurd theatre makes them my kind of people.

Real South Wrestling Federation: Memphis' only weekly Pro-Wrestling show!
I was looking forward to experiencing wrestling in one of its traditional home's of Memphis. RSWF (Real South Wrestling Federation) is the biggest of the remaining federations in the Blues City. They host weekly Saturday Night Main Events which I was excited to catch while I was over there. My last night stateside would be at RSWF. Despite competing with WWE NXT in town for that evening, the performers and loyal crowd put on a spectacular go home show. Had the Grizzlies staved off elimination and forced a Game 7, I would've been torn but there's no way I was going to miss this.

One half of Tag Team 'Full Deck' taunting the RSWF faithful
RSWF founder, Soultaker plucked me from the crowd before the show to introduce himself. He'd been expecting me as I'd expressed that I was coming from Australia to watch Memphis Wrestling. He gifted me with a goodie bag that included his patented mask previously cracked by Jerry Lawler himself. It was a humbling display of southern hospitality and grassroots outreach, evident with the sense of community and camaraderie in the arena. When Wrestling is at its best.
Stash of Wrestling Goodies from Memphis:
'Memphis Heat' vinyl from the Flashback store and
a gift bag of memorabilia from Soultaker.
The show was a blast, an excited crowd of adults and children really making their presence felt. From the constant taunting to the raucous lumberjack match where paying attendees were encouraged to "interact" with the combatants as they spilled outside the ring. The audience of lumberjacks each given leather straps so the performers felt the love. The night didn't end there. After the show, Soultaker invited me backstage to meet the Wrestlers. Several photos were taken with skinny ol' me posing between the Champions and their belts.

A post shared by Loz In Transit (@30homegames) on

Of the NBA cities visited, I've found Memphis' public transport the least sufficient which is no mean feat. You're effectively obligated to use Uber to travel affordably. I'd Ubered to the show but didn't have Wi-Fi at the venue to hail a ride home. I ended up getting a lift with some wrestlers back to my hostel, riding with the Tag Team of 'Pure Power' who Main-Evented the evening. I would find out that V-man's kids who shared the backseat with me were students at Treadwell, Penny Hardaway's High School. I'd visited the Memphis Tigers' College campus the day previous and would've explored Treadwell had I discovered the connection earlier.

The Game 6 and RSWF Wrestling Nights were indicative of the good fortune and welcome I had in Memphis and Atlanta. I would cross paths with WWE star Tye Dillinger on my transit home, a fitting end as my road trip South was a "Perfect 10".

Find RSWF (Real South Wrestling Federation) on Facebook and YouTube here

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Find my other posts on Wrestling and Travel here:
- 30HG NBA Destinations: WrestleMania 29 and Indy Wrestling
- Coolspotting: Nerding out in England - Comics, CosPlay, Video Games and Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts in South America
- Memento Spotlight: UFC and WWE autographs in England
Memphis Grizzlies meets "Memphis Wrestling"

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