Before cable got involved, local and regional wrasslin' was big business, and nowhere was it bigger than in Memphis, Tenn. The new documentary "Memphis Heat" captures the movement's heyday, beginning in the late '50s with the likes of Sputnik Monroe (an early civil rights champion with a skunk-colored pompadour) and continuing into the '70s and '80s, when modern wrestling legends like Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jimmy Hart dominated the scene.
The Southern territory wrestlers traveled, which included Jonesboro, Blytheville and Fayetteville, merits some coverage. And Lawler, the doughy, trash-talking, self-styled king of the ring, gets a lot of welcome screen time, both in archival footage and from contemporary interviews. Reliving his feud with Andy Kaufman, from the Memphis wrestling community's perspective, is great fun.
And of course fans of piledrivers, top-rope dives and folding chair smashes can look forward to dozens of montages. The film sticks around at Market Street for one week. Co-producer Ron Hall will be on hand Friday to sign copies of his book "Sputnik, Masked Men, and Midgets," which inspired the film and makes a fantastic coffee table book.