It was 1987, and it was the final days of the territories. One Southern promotion was determined to bet the bank on it’s biggest event of the year, The Lethal Leap Year, as it battled for the viewership against the WWF, AWA, NWA and more. But the tale of Southpaw Regional Wrestling is one that would live on in infamy. Sort of.
Wrestling fans were treated to a rather unique spectacle from the WWE last week, when a rather bizarre trailer dropped, seemingly showing lost recordings from a Southern US territory known as Southpaw Regional Wrestling, finally aired for the first time ever. Of course, a simple glance of the teaser trailer indicated it was a fabrication of the WWE itself, with current stars portraying characters set in the wild and crazy days of the regional promotions who made up the territorial battles of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
The teaser peaked the interest of eyes from the WWE faithful to the most cynical of skeptics and by the time the world had watched all four episodes – clocking in at approximately 25 minutes in total – the result was nearly unanimous. This fictional promotion may not only have been the funniest thing the WWE had created in decades, but the truest and most honest. For although the initial concept was the brainchild of WWE digital guy Brian Pellegatto (formerly of ESPN), according to Luke Gallows (who portrays one of the protagonists, Tex Ferguson), the characters themselves have been long standing backstage personas for years. As Gallows told FoxSports just before the WWE series aired on YouTube:
“Southpaw Regional Wrestling is a concept of this … basically 1980s southern regional wrestling promotion or territory, and it’s a lot of stuff that the guys have been doing for years backstage to entertain each other. I know my character in particular has been an ongoing thing for the better part of a decade.
It was really us getting to kind of take the gloves off and use our… comedic style, if there is one. You’ll get the chance to judge for yourself, but you’ll see a lot of people step outside of the realm of what you’ve seen them do, character-wise, and as in-ring performers as a part of WWE. So it’s kind of a chance for everybody to let their hair down. I didn’t get to because I don’t have any, but everybody else. And we had a blast doing it, man.”
Without further adieu, here are the complete four episodes of Southpaw Regional Wrestling.
It was as if SCTV, the famed Canadian comedy cult classic from the 1980’s that launched the careers of such stars as Rick Moranis, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and others, had decided to do a wrestling promotion instead of a cable access TV station. It was lunacy mixed with homage, it was brilliant in it’s simplicity. And it didn’t take long for the world to react. Twitter handles began to change to characters from the show, such as Karl Anderson’s Chad 2 Badd, John Cena’s Lance Cattamaran and Fandango’s subtle genius of Chet Chetterfield. The buzz was so huge that John Cena took to Twitter to get people to bug the show’s creator, Brian Pellegatto, to make more.
Whatever the future holds for Southpaw Regional Wrestling, one thing is for clear. It may be the territory that’s faired best against the WWE.
BONUS FEATURE: THE BEST OF SEX (TEX) FERGUSON
One of the stars of SRW was Luke Gallows’ character, Tex Ferguson. The tough as nails glam rock cowboy is like if 1970’s Arn Anderson portrayed 1980’s Michael PS Hayes (ironically, Karl Anderson’s Chad 2 Badd is the opposite – it’s like 1980’s Michael PS Hayes trying to be 1970’s Arn Anderson). But as Gallows said in his Fox Sports interview, Tex has been a backstage favourite for nearly a decade. Although he had a slightly different moniker, Sex Ferguson. Here’s a taste of some of Sex Ferguson’s early work before he found work in SRW.
Main Photo: WWE Network