On the way into my in-laws' town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, for the holidays, we noticed an odd sign at the Coliseum: "DEC 25 - ALL PRO WRESTLING." We wondered what kind of pro wrestling that might be. Steve's mom filled us in soon after our arrival at the family farm -- the local news was reporting that midget wrestling would be featured on Christmas night.
(Disclaimer: I fully respect the politically correct term of "little people" -- but here I present only what they've named themselves for this event.)
The lobbying began. Steve's sister's husband Skip, his daughter (our niece) Claire, and I were determined to attend. How many times in your life do you get a chance to see something like that? And what the heck else were we going to do Christmas night?
Nobody else seemed to want to go, but they also didn't want us to go without them. So on Christmas night we piled into two cars and headed into town for the show.
After paying my $10 admission, I bought a program for $2. It was clearly a cut-and-paste job, and badly stapled. (See photo at left.) It was five sheets of printer paper full of poor-quality photos, few of which were labeled, and few of which appeared to be relevant to the six fights listed on the last page of the program. The font on the last page was reminiscent of Print Shop, circa 1988. The fight card indicated that the little people would fight in the second match, a tag team bout, based on the names of the athletes: Midget Kid J & Chris Kilgore vs. Midget Little Devil & J.D. McKay.
Lining the side of the auditorium where we came in were some of the apparently more popular wrestlers, all of whom were of standard height. They were charging fans to take a picture with them, and selling t-shirts and hats. We skipped the merchandise and made ourselves comfortable in the bleachers to wait for the show. A large line formed for the 50-50 raffle. I bought a couple of lukewarm hot dogs for myself and Claire, and some sketchy nachos for Steve.
The first fighters each came out to a blast of theme music. I'm not sure which guy was which, and one guy was a substitute, but I do recall that one of the guys came out to Snoop Dogg's "What's My Name." One guy seemed to be a crowd favorite, and the other guy seemed to be much-loathed. About 10 seconds into the match, I realized what we were attending -- basically the "single A" version of WWE. There was a good guy and a bad guy, a la Hulk Hogan and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. But these guys, the first ones on, were really bad at faking the hits. It was painful to watch. Luckily it was over quickly, and as we waited for the midget match, you could sense the heightened anticipation across the audience of 100 or so local fans. Skip, Claire and I ran up to the front row so we'd be able to get a good look when the guys came out.
The bad guys came in first -- that was Midget Little Devil and his standard-height partner. Little Devil wore a flaming mask, and his partner was what I can only describe as a flamboyant redneck, wearing a faded pink and black striped women's leotard, biker shorts, and black motorcycle boots. (See cell phone photo, above right -- apologies for poor photo quality.) The big guy goaded the crowd, drew out some hecklers, and preened around the ring.
Suddenly, the strains of Big & Rich's "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" blasted over the scratchy PA system, and Midget Kid J and his partner swaggered in. The partner was stuffed into very tight, faded yellow trunks with old-school iron-on felt letters across his butt that said: SOUTHERN THUNDER. They took a lap around the coliseum; as they rounded our corner, Skip gave a high five to the tall guy and a low five to the little guy. Above left, Kid J strides past the concession table right after low-fiving Skip.
These guys were much better at putting on a show. It was a great act, and the hits looked plausible. They played out a simple storyline and the good guys won in the end. Below, Kid J prepares to body slam his rival from the right corner, while his partner exits the ring to the left. If you look closely at the partner, you can almost make out the words on his butt.
We stayed for the next match, but it made us all uncomfortable. In this good guy/bad guy match up, two skinheads in white robes, one draped in the Confederate flag, fought two black guys. The storyline here was that the skinheads played dirty and won the match by cheating. I assume there will be a triumphant good-guy-wins rematch at some subsequent show. Regardless, we won't be there. We left before the fourth match. But I had no regrets. I can't imagine a more memorable Christmas evening.