If you have been a wrestling fan as long as I have, then you know that it hasn’t always been the massive pop culture spectacle it is today. Before WWE took over as a international entity, wrestling was split up into “territories” throughout the country, each with their own champions, heroes, and villains. Suffice to say, these regional promotions didn’t exactly have the production budget WWE currently has.
The company has not forgotten where it came from, and has created a hilarious web series to not only parody but pay homage to those wrestling companies of yesteryear (Are the ’80s really “yesteryear”?). Welcome to Southpaw Regional Wrestling. The premise of the web series is that someone found an old VHS tape in the WWE archives chronicling February 1987 in SRW, and it’s the only known remaining footage of the promotion. Current WWE stars such as John Cena, Chris Jericho, and Fandango take on the roles of some of these throwback characters.
Old school fans will notice many tropes synonymous with this type of wrestling. For one, rather than taking place at an arena like RAW or Smackdown, the shows were filmed at an old TV studio with nothing but a curtain and a sign to signify what you were watching. The production value itself wasn’t much better. Unlike the HD product we get today, wrestling of the time looked more like a public-access TV show, or something that a high school class would make for a final project. Take a look at this interview with Jimmy Valiant. From the stage to the announce team’s suits, no detail has gone unspoofed.
Wrestling is full of crazy characters aimed to suspend a fan’s disbelief. The most famous of these types of characters is arguably the Undertaker, who has taken the same character and evolved it for almost 30 years where fans, even though they know he is just a guy from Texas, buy into the possibility he takes the souls of his opponents to Death Valley. Now there is a huge difference between suspending disbelief and insulting intelligence. Old school wrestling was notorious for that. Here is a promo of Kamala, who we were supposed to believe came from Uganda to Memphis, Tennessee.
Isn’t it weird how the jungles of Uganda look EXACTLY like the woods in Tennessee? Interesting…
Southpaw Regional Wrestling couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have their own ridiculous character, so please check out the Sea Creature. The Creature…from the Sea.
When watching regional wrestling on TV, fans would notice how everything going on in the studio was to set up matches for their big events at the local arenas. It wasn’t that cool because they rarely showed those events on TV, just highlight clips. Southpaw Regional Wrestling has their own such event, Lethal Leap Year. If you watch the series from the beginning, you’ll be able to figure out the “twist” regarding this event by the end.
You can binge all four episodes of Southpaw Regional Wrestling on the WWE’s YouTube channel here. This is one of the most “outside of the box” ideas the WWE has ever had, and I think they did a great job of it. Whether you are a fan of wrestling or a fan of silliness, Southpaw Regional Wrestling shouldn’t be missed.
So what do you think? Should the WWE continue with these types of web series? What do you think of paying 16.99 shipping for a 10 dollar shirt? Let me know on Twitter or sound off in the comments below.