I just loved the article by Randall Williams, The Hulk vs. Ox Baker, as it really provided insight as to what southern wrestling was all about; in this case at the Houston County Farm Center, where 5000 fans, mostly working people, including farmers, entered a giant hot barn, walked upon a red-dirt floor, riddled with dried tobacco spit and Coke to watch matches. This was the backbone of southern wrestling at its best. Williams mentions that it was estimated that 60% of all the national attendance of wrestling was in the South, in arenas just like Dothan. Although the date of this article is not mentioned, it still typifies the southern wrestling experience, dating back to the 1920s.
In addition to the physical surroundings of southern wrestling, I found it interesting that the article brought out how southern wrestling was predominately a closed business, by that Williams meant a family business, either by blood or marriage. This esoteric folk group of promoters and wrestlers were most active in southern wrestling.
I also got a look at how the wrestlers’ esoteric group (from a folklore standpoint) behaved or was expected to behave. That is to say, there were two dressing rooms at Dothan, one for the faces and one for the heels, and how they did not associate with each other, even when the matches were over. The fans or exoteric folk group would not understand if the two groups were friendly towards each other. Faces and heels also had agreements between themselves so that they would not hurt each other.
Southern wrestling also called for fan challenges from the wrestlers, which were legitimate shoots. There was mention of the typical 10 minute, $500 challenges to all comers where the wrestler always won, while the fans whooped it up for their locals.
This article related a lot of folklore to me regarding the textual nature of southern wrestling, how it was deeply seeded both by environment and the subcultures of the history of wrestlers and fans. It would make a wonderful ethnographic study.