by Chris Davis
Memphis wrestler Jackie Fargo, known for his trademark “Fargo Strut,” swore to the bitter end that he could still take Sputnik Monroe. “Easy,” he said. Now that the Fabulous One has been called on up to join Monroe in that big cage match in the sky, maybe the two legendary grapplers can settle things once and for all.
Jackie Fargo, easily one of the most popular and influential wrestlers to ever work the Memphis territory, died in hospital, Monday, June 24, after being found unconscious in his home Saturday. The 85-year-old Fargo had been struggling with congenital heart disease.
Fargo was a mouthy, peroxide blonde, heel brawler, who held numerous titles over the course of his lengthy career. Like most pre-WWE wrestlers he worked several territories, but was most closely associated with Memphis where he co-owned the Southern Frontier Lounge & Restaurant with Country singer/deejay Eddie Bond who passed away in March. Fargo and Bond were also instrumental in launching Jerry Lawler’s career... as a sign-painter.
Fargo vs Lawler
Lawler started working outlaw wrestling shows in West Memphis while he was employed as both a sign painter and deejay with Fargo and Bond.
"I remember going into Eddie's office when he was on the phone," Lawler told The Memphis Flyer in a 2007 interview. "He motioned for me to sit down and pick up the other receiver. And it was Jackie on the other end. He didn't like that I was talking about these outlaw shows on the radio... And he was saying, 'The kid doesn't need to be over there wrestling with those punks. Maybe we needed to get a bunch of the real wrestlers together and drive down to West Memphis on Saturday night and break some arms.'"
It was all a bluff, and Lawler called it. No arms were broken, and a week later Fargo invited Lawler to fight on TV in Memphis.
Fargo admired Lawler and called him the “smartest guy in the business.” Like Lawler he’d also gotten his start wrestling outlaw in South Carolina under the name Dickie Bishop.
I suppose it’s true to say I Idolized him,” Lawler said of Fargo in his autobiography, “It’s Good to be the King (Sometimes).
Fargo appears in Memphis Heat, an exhaustive, entertaining documentary about Memphis wrestling.