May 11, 2017

My Memphis Wrestling experience at Game6 Grizzlies and the RSWF [Real South Wrestling Federation]

<< crossposted on the '30 Home Games' blog

Whenever I travel, I search for my 3 loves of Basketball, Wrestling and Comedy. I've found them with varying success around the world but have had an easier time on my #30HomeGames mission as they typify Americana.

My ongoing collection of Wrestling Grizzlies graphics 
Part of the reason why the Memphis Grizzlies are my favorite team is their reverence of Pro-Wrestling. America's Mid-South has a great wrestling tradition and the Grizzlies honor that with themed Wrestling nights. Their mascot 'Grizz' incorporates wrasslin into his shtick with the use of ladders and Championship belts. Local Wrestling icon, Jerry "The King" Lawler periodically appears at games to inject excitement into the crowd.
During Game 6 of the Grizzlies game, former WCW superstar Buff Bagwell was curiously in the front row. Interviewed during a timeout, he revealed that he was in attendance to support the San Antonio Spurs. Perplexed at first, I immediately marked out as it signalled that Jerry Lawler was just around the corner to challenge him. They worked a program over the course of the game. Buff Bagwell with the upper hand at first, parading around the hallways and arena stage over several play stoppages until he got his comeuppance. Lawler setting up Grizz the Mascot as he delivered a top-of-the-ladder splash onto Bagwell's surrogate who was splayed on a table. The experience was bittersweet as the Grizzlies couldn't match that script, coming up short against the Spurs. The fact Memphians entertain such absurd theatre makes them my kind of people.

Real South Wrestling Federation: Memphis' only weekly Pro-Wrestling show!
I was looking forward to experiencing wrestling in one of its traditional home's of Memphis. RSWF (Real South Wrestling Federation) is the biggest of the remaining federations in the Blues City. They host weekly Saturday Night Main Events which I was excited to catch while I was over there. My last night stateside would be at RSWF. Despite competing with WWE NXT in town for that evening, the performers and loyal crowd put on a spectacular go home show. Had the Grizzlies staved off elimination and forced a Game 7, I would've been torn but there's no way I was going to miss this.

One half of Tag Team 'Full Deck' taunting the RSWF faithful
RSWF founder, Soultaker plucked me from the crowd before the show to introduce himself. He'd been expecting me as I'd expressed that I was coming from Australia to watch Memphis Wrestling. He gifted me with a goodie bag that included his patented mask previously cracked by Jerry Lawler himself. It was a humbling display of southern hospitality and grassroots outreach, evident with the sense of community and camaraderie in the arena. When Wrestling is at its best.
Stash of Wrestling Goodies from Memphis:
'Memphis Heat' vinyl from the Flashback store and
a gift bag of memorabilia from Soultaker.
The show was a blast, an excited crowd of adults and children really making their presence felt. From the constant taunting to the raucous lumberjack match where paying attendees were encouraged to "interact" with the combatants as they spilled outside the ring. The audience of lumberjacks each given leather straps so the performers felt the love. The night didn't end there. After the show, Soultaker invited me backstage to meet the Wrestlers. Several photos were taken with skinny ol' me posing between the Champions and their belts.

A post shared by Loz In Transit (@30homegames) on

Of the NBA cities visited, I've found Memphis' public transport the least sufficient which is no mean feat. You're effectively obligated to use Uber to travel affordably. I'd Ubered to the show but didn't have Wi-Fi at the venue to hail a ride home. I ended up getting a lift with some wrestlers back to my hostel, riding with the Tag Team of 'Pure Power' who Main-Evented the evening. I would find out that V-man's kids who shared the backseat with me were students at Treadwell, Penny Hardaway's High School. I'd visited the Memphis Tigers' College campus the day previous and would've explored Treadwell had I discovered the connection earlier.

The Game 6 and RSWF Wrestling Nights were indicative of the good fortune and welcome I had in Memphis and Atlanta. I would cross paths with WWE star Tye Dillinger on my transit home, a fitting end as my road trip South was a "Perfect 10".

Find RSWF (Real South Wrestling Federation) on Facebook and YouTube here

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Find my other posts on Wrestling and Travel here:
- 30HG NBA Destinations: WrestleMania 29 and Indy Wrestling
- Coolspotting: Nerding out in England - Comics, CosPlay, Video Games and Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts in South America
- Memento Spotlight: UFC and WWE autographs in England
Memphis Grizzlies meets "Memphis Wrestling"

Jan 23, 2017

LozinTransit trip to Texas, 2016: Spurs/Rockets/Mavs. Comedy, Wrestling and the US Election

<< crossposted on the '30 Home Games' blog

My first 30HomeGames road trip was a short getaway with friends, an East Coast jaunt at the start of 2015. I've just completed my second NBA journey, a month solo backpacking around Texas. On my first trip we rented a car and stayed in swanky accommodation. My recent outing was budget travel in the fashion I'm accustomed to, catching Public Transport and staying in hostels. It was quickly evident how impractical and atypical this was for locals traveling regionally. Backpacker infrastructure in America isn't well developed, particularly outside the main metropolises. American Road Trips customarily involve rental cars and Motels, a function of how ingrained car culture is in the States.

#30HGsouthwest Texas Triangle
Oct 27 - Nov 23, 2016
My maiden 2015 visit was a more traditional American Road Trip. Whilst saving on comfort costs as part of a collective, I conversely found it more touristic. I wasn't able to indulge in as many of my passions and go down weird rabbitholes having to conform to the whims of the group. This Texas trip was more like my previous backpacking adventures. Going solo opened me up to more opportunities and connections. I sought out Comedy and Wrestling, hung with locals at their spots and got to explore Universities and sit in on a Megachurch. The clash of styles I experienced on my first two trips gives me perspective for future excursions and how to best balance the pros and cons.


Timing was crucial on this trip as I had a target of seeing all 8 Aussies in the NBA. I had a set itinerary of games to make which posed some restrictions. The 'ROH' wrestling show in Arlington were the only advanced tickets I purchased however so I wasn't beholden financially. Thankfully my calendar dovetailed nicely with several events. Notably Houston's 'Come and Take it' Comedy festival and 'Unelectable You' in Dallas. The latter a treat, realising the regional advertisements I'd heard on podcasts for months were suddenly applicable being in town.

I love these games
Playing Board Games was a new pastime I'd picked up last year and it translated well on the road. On my first night Stateside I attended a Games meetup and made new running mates which opened the door to many local experiences. I attended several parties for Halloween, experienced VR at a lavish house and finally participated in a Hash Run after being made aware of it years ago. I'd often tell people that basketball was great because while "you couldn't invite yourself over to dinner, you can with sports". The Board Game scene is similarly welcoming.

Whilst I value organic experiences, part of the 30HomeGames project is connecting with fellow hoopsheads and seeking unique fan experiences through Social Media. My first contact with the NBA was at Madison Square garden, the New York Knicks kindly hosting my friends and I to pre-game access. Whilst difficult to top, I was kindly welcomed by Rockets die-hard @00_rocketgirl and the 'Red Rowdies' cheer section to fire up the team. Particularly memorable as they're enjoying renewed success and celebrating their 50th Anniversary as a Franchise. Olajuwon and the Rockets were my first love when I began watching the NBA as a kid.

Part of the reason I traveled during that time was to witness the outcome of a Historic election. It gave the period a special sense of import. Austin, the only non-NBA destination for the trip was finally ticked off my bucket list being a big fan of local filmmakers Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez.

I'm undecided for my next NBA plan but have considered a quick return for the coming Playoffs. Fingers crossed. With my modest means (work leave and money) I can only manage one NBA trip per season but I'd make special exceptions to watch my Grizzlies make a Finals push. Prioritised for 2017 is AfroBasket in Congo-Brazzaville, which would complete the FIBA set, having been to EuroBasket, FIBA Americas, FIBA Oceania and FIBA Asia tournaments previously.

As for NBA Home Games, 6 teams down and plenty more adventure to go :)

My NBA Trips so far:
East Coast 2015 (NYK, CLE, PHI)
- Coolspotting: 30HG '2015 NBA RoadTrip' Tip-off and Schedule (1 of 2)
- Coolspotting: 30HG '2015 NBA RoadTrip' Champagne and Campaign spots (2 of 2)
- LozinTransit in 2015: American Roadtrip, FIBA Oceania and Asia
- #30HomeGames in 2015: USA Roadtrip and being the Ultimate NBA fan

Texs Triangle 2016 (DAL, SAS, HOU)
- Texas Triangle 2016: NBA Roadtrip wishlist
- LozinTransit in Texas, 2016: Spurs/Rockets/Mavs. Comedy, Wrestling and the US Election