Memphis Wrestling at it’s most basic was great. When all the other territories were put out of business, Memphis remained strong well into the Monday Night Wars. The action was simple but creative and allowed for some of the most memorable moments of all time. Stuff that happened in Memphis not only influenced professional wrestling for decades to come, but also allowed for things that were seemingly only possible in the Memphis area. Jerry Lawler, part owner and top star in the Memphis territory was also surprisingly, a big comic book geek.
In fact it was comics (drawing them specifically) that got Lawler his start in Memphis. Despite being an icon to millions and a real life superhero in his own right, Jerry never abandoned his love of comic books and horror movies. Which led to a lot of interesting characters traveling through the Memphis territory. Everyone from the Mummy to Darth Vader made a stop in Memphis and actually wrestled there. Sometimes for extended periods.
This led to one memorable moment, when Adam West, out promoting a local car show appearance, was invited to stop by the WMC-TV Studios where CWA/USWA taped their program for decades. West back then was still doing the traveling circuit but had caught the ire of DC comics who told him he had to stop appearing as Batman. Apparently DC at the time weren’t cool with Adam West becoming the character. So West showed up in Memphis with 3/4’s of his Batman outfit on (or at least as much as he was legally allowed) and in character, while Lawler donned a superhero costume of his own. Part of me thinks Lawler may have came up with the idea of Adam West visiting the studio, just so he could have his own Superman costume commissioned.
The confrontation between Super King and Batman is, well words can’t really do it justice. Let’s just say Adam is in his full Mayor of Quahog routine years before it was a running Seth McFarlane gag. He may have also have been sipping some Bat-Sauce. While this confontation might not be a wrestling classic, or even one of wrestling’s finer moments, it is something that would only be possible in Memphis. Enjoy!