The “Tennessee Test of Manhood”: Professional Wrestling and Southern Cultural Stereotypes

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The “Tennessee Test of Manhood”: Professional Wrestling and Southern Cultural Stereotypes

by Peter A. Coclanis, Louis M.Kyriakoudes
Southern Cultures, Vol. 3, No. 3: Sports in the South

"What do southern cultural stereotypes in pro wrestling personas tell us about the South and the nation?"

In his Georgia Scenes, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet describes a fight between two early-nineteenth-century backcountry brawlers, Billy Stallions and Bob Durham. Each fighter was reputed to be the toughest in his locality, although their friendship had heretofore kept the issue of county champion unresolved. One day, however, after an exchange of insults between their wives, honor now aggrieved, Billy and Bob agreed to settle the matter in “‘a fair fight; catch can, rough and tumble.'” It being market day in the county seat, word of the coming battle spread quickly through town, and a large crowd gathered, forming a ring in anticipation of the contest. Each combatant’s supporters boasted of their man’s impending victory.

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