“In 2017, a video cassette was discovered in the WWE archives…”
And thus our introduction to the ‘renegade’ promotion of Southpaw Regional Wrestling begins. The internet was crazy with anticipation after WWE released a 30 second teaser earlier this week, giving us but a glimpse of the bizarre comedy creation of Southpaw, parodying the regional/territory based wrestling of the 80s.
WWE today released four episodes of the previously forgotten brand.
In the first episode, we are introduced to the spitting, Ribera steakhouse jacket wearing, all-blue Tex Ferguson (Luke Gallows) and his beautifully big and blonde haired amigo/rival Chadd 2 Badd (Karl Anderson)
Our hosts are the never sleeping Chett Chetterfield (Fandango) and the man who used to pay common people to demean him but can’t talk about it, Lance Catamaran (John Cena), resembling a Ron Burgundy-type newsreader.
The Southpaw Regional Champion is the ‘charismatic’ and gruff voiced, man of few words John Johnson (TJ Perkins). Our backstage interviewer is the eccentrically dressed Clint Bobski (Chris Jericho), whose uncle owns the station Southpaw is broadcast on. And there’s also good-guy referee Chip Henderson – returning the child-sized title belt to Johnson, who had left it behind in a locker room.
Bobski tells us of an upcoming 12-man Battle Royal for the belt, at the Lethal Leap Year event.
Bobski doesn’t like people holding his microphone, and our hosts Chetterfield and Catamaran don’t exactly appreciate his lack of professionalism.
Turns out that Chadd 2 Badd has some beef with Ferguson, who steals girls and keeps buying fancy new cars, but at least Chadd has a great green jacket and is good looking. Tex has some Badd news coming.
While a Ric Flair impersonator advertises some KFC, “Impressive Pelvis Wesley” (Heath Slater), an Elvis wannabe and karate enthusiast shows off Southpaw’s (potentially ringworm inducing) brand new t-shirt. I’ll take five.
The clinically depressed Chett Chetterfield and the man who is always Lance Catamaran sign off on episode 1.
With episode 2, our grounded host Lance Catamaran reminds us of the upcoming Lethal Leap Year, and promises it will be action packed. Cena and Fandango play their roles to perfection here. Cena really doesn’t get enough praise for his comedic chops.
Clint Bobski interviews Big Bartholomew (a hilarious Rusev) ahead of his bout with The Banker, who promises to fight for the chickens and his family.
A vignette plays next, showcasing the two super cool surfer dudes, ‘The Surf Dudes with Attitudes’ (The Ascension), who are soon to arrive in Southpaw.
We visit the farm of Big Bartholomew, but are instead met by a suited figure, “The Banker” Mr. Mackleroy (Tyler Breeze). The villain has purchased Big Bart’s farm, and now has it up for sale!
An episode full of twists ends, with Lance quietly requesting Chett, having a breakdown, pull himself together.
For our penultimate episode, Impressive Pelvis Wesley stuns our hosts by impressing with what he does best – his pelvis.
Lance (who may or may not know much about wrestling, and pines for Utica, New York) introduces the 3 of the wrestlers in the 12-man Battle Royal for the Southpaw Championship:
John Johnson (champion),Impressive’ Pelvis Wesley, and introducing… the luchador La Barba Grande (Spanish for ‘The Big Beard) (Seth Rollins).
It is implied that Chadd 2 Badd may or may not have sent two people to blind Tex Ferguson ahead of their match at Lethal Leap Year.
Big Bartholomew and his cousin Christian Joy (Lana) make their response to The Banker – Big Bart signs the contract for a match with The Banker, given from Southpaw General Manager Dr Craig Armstrong Smith the Third, for a chance to win back the farm.
It is getting crazy around here.
The final episode, titled ‘The Death of Southpaw’, opens with Mr Mackleroy wrapping a steel chain around his fist. In a shocking turn of events, The Banker reveals it is not him Big Bart will be facing, but instead, his creature from the sea – Sea Creature! I think it might be Cesaro.
Chadd 2 Badd confronts an increasingly injured and unaware Tex Ferguson, ahead of their match, and steals his crutch. Ferguson demands another take, before bursting into tears, much to Lance Catamaran’s annoyance.
Don’t forget a chance to eat WOO chicken with the Southpaw stars following Lethal Leap year!
Catamaran finally loses his cool, explaining he was a news anchor for 36 days in Utica, before descending to the amateur ranks of Southpaw, and storms off set.
Southpaw takes five, before Catamaran returns, apologising for getting caught up in the moment.
Regaining his composure, Lance flips out again after receiving a piece of paper and realising that, despite the fact they’ve been pushing it for weeks, there is in fact no Leap Year and no-one bothered to check.
His professionalism returning, Lance Catamaran addresses the audience, explaining that there is no leap year, putting the future of Lethal Leap Year, and even Southpaw, in jeopardy.
A forlorn Chett Chetterfield and Lance Catamaran sign off, for one last time.
All in all, coming in at just under 30 minutes in total, the journey presented in these all too brief episodes offers a wonderful and crazy adventure into the bizarre and brilliant world of Southpaw.
From the editing and the characters (Cena and Rusev were especially fantastic), to the backstage interviews and costumes, the whole production was brilliant, and unlike anything WWE has done before. The wrestlers had a chance to let their hair down and really have fun with this wacky fictional wrestling territory, and I can’t be the only one who is immediately pining for more.
I would agree with some fans’ sentiments, hoping they do more with this, because as far as WWE exclusive productions go, they 100% have something special and hilarious on their hands here.
I pray to the wrestling gods that the WWE archives hold more secret tapes of Southpaw in their vaults.