Interview with “Wrestling With Death” star Big Daddy

What does small-town America do to combat boredom? They start a wrestling league, of course. The producers of Pawn Stars shine the spotlight on Osceola, Ark., and the Latham family, who are morticians by day, wrestlers by night in the WGN America series Wrestling With Death (airing Tuesdays at 10pmET). LaFonce Latham, 55, is the family patriarch known by most people simply as “Big Daddy.”

Wrestling With Death on WGN America“They know I’m a professional and that I’m very, very picky in the funeral home business,” Latham says. “And they know when the sun goes down, I take my tie off and I’m redneck.”

A redneck who endures a physical beating in the ring by his wife Sandra. “I took it like a man,” he laughs. But when asked who really is the boss, Latham’s quick to defend: “I am and she thinks she is, so does that spell drama?”

He does credit Sandra for her athleticism and explains that she was well on her way to the top but got her ACL torn out of her knee. “Most of her career has been wrestling men, but we had this big old guy, like 300 pounds, that was a manager and then this wrestler that was 300 pounds and they both fell against her and twisted her  knee back on the side of the ring and that tore her ACL out, so she was out for a year,” Latham explains. But Sandra’s a survivor, she overcame her knee injury and breast cancer and now is back in the ring.

Drama is inevitable with this group, which includes his ex-son-in-law “White Lightning” and his new son-in-law Derrick, who LaFonce describes as “pampered” and not overly motivated. “Derrick hasn’t been in the family very long and I wasn’t a happy camper when he came along. All he thinks about is wrestling, but he didn’t have a job, didn’t work, didn’t have a car, so who is supposed to get excited about that? Nobody would. I tell him what I think. We have our everyday drama.”

Producers got enough content from this crew to roll out 12 weekly back-to-back half-hour episodes. Wrestling With Death airs on WGN America on Tuesdays at 10pmET.