In the same late 70s and early 80s era as 2018 Watermelon Festival concert headliners Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee, Hope was also in the traveling lanes of Mid-South Wrestling, a then-hotbed of old-style Southern professional wrestling.
In the same late 70s and early 80s era as 2018 Watermelon Festival concert headliners Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee, Hope was also in the traveling lanes of Mid-South Wrestling, a then-hotbed of old-style Southern professional wrestling, which featured such standouts as Junk Yard Dog, Ted Dibiase, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Iceman King Parsons, and the Fabulous Freebirds among others.
Now, just as Gilley and Lee make their 2018 Watermelon Festival appearance, so is the return of big time professional wrestling on August 11 at the Fair Park Rodeo Arena in the form of the Global 1 Pro Wrestling circuit, promoted by one of Iceman Parson’s proteges, Jimmy Phillips.
The wrestling circuit primarily operates in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas just as the old territory of Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling did with some overlap into the old World Class Championship Wresting territory, operated by Fritz Von Erich out of Dallas.
The Global 1 Pro circuit emphasizes the more physical and robust variety of old-school “Southern style” wrestling versus the modern day storyline version presented by character-driven World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which many wrestling fans remember as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
Phillips was in town at the Chamber of Commerce last Friday as was one of the stars of the emerging wrestling circuit, the masked MoJo Extreme, who is the organization’s reigning Southwest Wresting Champion.
“You come to Hope on August 11 at 4 p.m. and you are going to see some great professional wrestling with some great guys. Tim Storm is coming, a former NWA World Champion; “Loverboy” Matt Rivera is coming, a real professional, who is very flamboyant and a real star in this business, and a tagtime match with Lord Humungous and Mojo Extreme squaring off against the Mania, a masked tag team.”
The masked Mojo Extreme, who’s attire is a tribute to a deceased wrestler, Masked Mr. X, and Cherokee Indian tribe, was at the Chamber office and is a 6-foot-2, 270-pound bruiser with legs the size of tree trunks. His submission hold is the figure-four leglock.
Mojo Extreme trained with Iceman King Parsons as well as Gentleman Chris Adams, both of Mid-South and WCCW fame, in the early 1990s, and he appeared with several regional organizations including later and newer incarnations of Mid-South and Georgia Championship Wrestling, including on ESPN.
As an influence, the Mojo Extreme said he motivated to pursue a wrestling career by watching 1980s stars like Jay Youngblood and Gino Hernandez, who was a headliner of World Class in Dallas. Like legions of fans, he grew up on television broadcasts of the old Bill Watts Mid-South and Superstation WTBS Saturday showings of World Championship Wrestling of the old Jim Crockett Promotions.
Mojo Extreme said, “You are going to see contact and holds and wrestling; if a guy gets hit, he gets hit. It’s none of this stuff you see on WWE on TV, where the guy swings five feet away and the other guy flops. The wrestling you will see from us will be very much like the old Mid-South, World Championship Wrestling, or World Class style that Southern fans know and love.”
Happening in connection with the 2018 Hope Watermelon Festival, Chamber Director Beckie Moore said "The chamber is thrilled to bring wrestling back to the Watermelon Festival. We are looking forward to filling the rodeo arena on Saturday, August 11 from 4:30 - 6:30. Global 1 Pro Wrestling has promised a night of entertainment for the entire family.”
Tickets will be sold at the chamber until August 7, and then will be sold at the door the night of the event, Moore said. The cost is $15 for Adult Tickets and $6.00 for children 12 & under.