Memphis Heat Review

I watched Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin' over the holiday.  It is a documentary about the history of the Memphis wrestling territory.  If you are a fan of wrestling at all, you should watch this documentary.  I never watched a whole wrestling program from Memphis, I have never been a fan of the Memphis style, and I never worshiped the alter of southern style wrestling.  With all of that, this is a great documentary.

Memphis Heat is a series of interviews inter-cut with old photos and video.  It covers from the post World War 2 period until the mid 1980s.  The movie features interviews with Sputnik Monroe, Billy Wicks, Jack Fargo, Jerry Jarrett, Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Hart, and many others. The interviews are cut at such a quick pace that it never gets boring. They do a really good job with the music cues.  The music really underlines the story.

I like the speed and pace of the documentary.  It assumes that you have some idea of how wrestling territories work.  The documentary does not waste time explaining what was happening in the whole world of wrestling.  I guess this is because they did not expect to get a wide release.  I am happy they saved that time to tell more story.

The interesting thing is the stories they decide to tell.  You know the movie makers could have picked at least a dozen other ideas to put in this movie.  They picked the stories that were the most important.  I could see three more hours of good stories coming out of Memphis.  They mostly tell the positive stories about Memphis.  It is a celebration of Memphis. 

The documentary ends before the decline of the Memphis territory.  I would love to see the story of the decline of Memphis.  I guess that is more like the story the WWE would tell.  The stories of the decide of wrestling promotions are a bit of a guilty pleasure. 

After I finished watching Memphis Heat, I went back and listened to the Wrestlespective Memphis Heat Podcast. Jason Mann and Scott Bowden of Kentucky Fried Rasslin talk about the movie. Scott Bowden grew up in Memphis, watching wrestling.  Later he worked as an ref and a manager in Memphis.  It was great to hear the impressions of someone who had first hand knowledge of some of these events. 

The movie was just over 90 minutes and the Wrestlespective podcast about the movie is longer than two hours.  Both were worth every moment.  The sign of a good movie is when you can talk about it longer than the movie lasted. 

After seeing this movie I want to read Sputnik, Masked Men, & Midgets: The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling.


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