Memphis wrestling legend Jackie Fargo, innovator of the Fargo Strut, passed away Monday morning of heart failure in a North Carolina hospital, family members said.
Fargo died a few days short of his 83rd birthday on a Monday, the biggest day of the week for wrestling fans.
Fargo was huge influence on Memphis wrestlers and national wrestlers in the 1960s and 1970s.
Jerry "The King' Lawler posted this on Twitter Monday morning once he learned the news of Fargo's passing: "Without the Fabulous Jackie Fargo, there would never have been a King Jerry Lawler. RIP Jackie. pic.twitter.com/29C9bEg06z"
Back in the day big time wrestling filled up the Mid-south Coliseum every Monday night and Fargo was the biggest name in wrestling.
His charismatic walk in the ring, called the "Fargo Strut," has been copied by wrestlers all over the industry including Ric Flair, Jeff Jarrett, and The Fabulous Ones.
It is almost like time stood still. On the microphone was Lance Russell, announcer and Fargo's friend. In the ring was Fargo with his long, blond hair shinning under the lights at the Mid-South Coliseum up against Lawler. All was right with the world.
"He passed away early this morning at 5 a.m. Memphis time," Lawler said. "Kind of ironic. It was a Monday. Yeah. Mondays were so special as far as Memphis wrestling. We did so many Monday nights together at the Mid-South Coliseum and I just have so many fond memories the greatest matches that I ever had or ever saw before as a fan at Ellis Auditorium; matches with Jackie Fargo in Memphis."
"The Fargo Strut, which everybody including "The King" Jerry Lawler had imitated but never duplicated, is the way he did," Russell said. "Jackie, I got to tell you Earle, of all the wrestlers -- and this includes 'The King' and he will understand because he is the longest to know him the most and the closest, like 15 years old -- he can appreciate what I'm saying. There is just nobody any better at what he did. His job was a professional wrestler and he was the best."
Lawler actually worked for Fargo's sign company as a graphic artist, but his dream was to be just like Fargo.
"Just wanted to try wrestling one time," Lawler said. "He would say, 'kid you're too good an artist. You don't want to get into this crazy business. Just stick with doing artwork.' I would just bug him to let me do it just once and I'll never ask again. Here it is 40 years later still doing the wrestling. But it was all because of Jackie Fargo. He got me started in this crazy business."
"He understood the people and what they wanted to see," Russell added. "He tried to give it to them the best he had."
Funeral details are pending.
FOX13 News Good Morning Memphis reporter Earle Farrell contributed to this report.
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