The Name on the Marquee: Smoky Mountain Wrestling (7.9.1994)
Note: Years back, I got some comp DVDs of Smoky Mountain Wrestling and reviewed this episode at that time, so this SMW recap is a “rerun,” and since I wasn’t recapping SMW regularly at the time, you’ll notice I go into extra detail about some things, and occasionally sound even less informed than usual about other details.
Here’s a promotion that doesn’t get very much attention on WWE Classics. Smoky Mountain Wrestling was Jim Cornette’s attempt in the 1990s to keep one foot in the good old days by having a territory-style promotion that only stayed in a few states, built some new talents, and stars from “the big two” could drift in and out for angles in their free time. The results were mixed and the promotion closed down after four years or so, but I have a few DVDs worth of the TV shows, and…you know…what the hell.
Originally aired July 9, 1994, using post-production equipment originally built February 3, 1984.
-Your hosts are Bob Caudle & Les Thatcher. They announce that Bob Armstrong has resigned from his position as SMW commissioner. They hold a drawing to determine who faces Tracy Smothers in the Beat the Champ match today. It’s going to be Steven Dunn.
THRILLSEEKERS vs. LARRY SANTOS & JAMES ATKINS
-The Thrillseekers are Lance Storm & Chris Jericho in their first significant US gig. Seeing this 17-year-old footage makes me realize how gracefully both of these guys are aging.
-Storm connects with an enziguiri and Jericho tags in with a suplex and a spin kick. They finish with a variation on the Hart Attack, with Jericho using a dropkick instead of a clothesline.
-Bob Caudle has a word with the now-bald Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who warns the Dirty White Boy that they aren’t approaching the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. He admits that maybe he went too far with what he did to the Dirty White Girl, but he hopes he can look her eye-to-eye and let her know how he REALLY feels about her.
-So Kendo the Samurai arrives at ringside carrying lady wrestler Bambi to the ring kicking & screaming, and Jake heads to ringside to do some fantasy role-playing with her, choking her and threatening to give her a DDT. The Dirty White Boy arrives at ringside and tries to avenge her, but suddenly, the other Samurai, who looks exactly like Kendo but he’s a face, shows up and throws kicks until Jake & Kendo leave. Crowd was SILENT through the whole segment.
-We take a look at a donnybrook between the Rock & Roll Express and Chris Candido & Brian Lee. Tammy Fytch (Sunny) turns the tide by blinding Robert Gibson. Candido & Lee KO Morton and do some good old fashioned dignity raping by holding him down while Tammy cuts his mullet.
-So we go to footage from a house show of a mixed tag featuring the same participants, plus Bambi & Tammy. The forces of good triumph, but the heels attack after the match and Tammy cuts off MORE of Ricky’s mullet.
-Bob Caudle has words with the Rock & Roll Express, saying they’re tired of being humiliated in front of their fans. They say they work best when they’re under pressure, like when there’s a stipulation involved. As an example, they mention signing a loser-leaves-town match with the Heavenly Bodies, and Ricky boasts, “You don’t see them around here no more!” (And a fan helpfully shouts back, “They’re in WWF!”) So they whip out a contract and leave it at Bob’s desk, telling Brian Lee & Chris Candido the stipulation: It’s hair vs. hair.
-So we come back from commercial and Tammy Fytch is out there with Lee & Candido. Fytch is in classic bitch mode while Lee & Candido protest the stipulation and don’t want to risk their hair. Fytch tells them that they’re not man enough to sign. Besides, they won’t lose, and even if they do, it’s just hair; it’ll grow back! She signs it (with a shout of “Yayyyyy!” for herself for signing it all by herself) and the match is set.
“The Suicide Blonde” CHRIS CANDIDO & “Prime Time” BRIAN LEE (Tag Team Champions, with Tammy Fytch) vs. CHRIS HAMRICK & JOE CAZANA
-I like this ring announcer’s way of doing things, where he doesn’t even BOTHER introducing the jobbers for the matches, only the stars. They should apply this to other sports. Just start an NBA game with the Cavaliers already on the court as the crowd enters the building and then bring in their opponents to blaring music.
-So Lee & Candido are still protesting having to put their hair on the line and Tammy’s having none of it as the bell sounds. Candido & Hamrick trade punches. He tries a flying headscissors, but Candido catches him and makes it a spinebuster. The Rock & Roll Express emerge once more and grab the house mike. Ricky tells Tammy that they didn’t teach reading at Wellesley, because she didn’t read the contract…it’s HER hair that’s on the line in the hair vs. hair match. The heel side freaks out and runs away from the ring to give chase, and that gives the jobbers a count-out win.
-We flash back to all hell breaking loose after a match last week which a ton of men & women involved, and Commissioner Bob Armstrong has finally had enough and clears the ring himself with right hands. Jim Cornette’s assorted henchmen attack him and hold him in place, and Corny goes to town with his tennis racquet and a set of brass knuckles. Armstrong manages to get away, and staggers back a few minutes later with a baseball bat and raises hell with it.
-After the incident, Bob declares he’s forming a face faction called The People’s Union. He resigns from his position as commissioner because he now realizes that ringside is where he belongs.
-Chip Kessler takes us back to house show action with the Funk Brothers (with Jim Cornette) battling Scott & Steve Armstrong. My favorite part of the clip: Two wrestlers in the background just hanging out and having a chat in the locker room with no curtain hanging in front of them. It turns into a brawl on the floor with Bob Armstrong kicking Jim Cornette’s ass until Bruiser Bedlam arrives to help. The Funks take advantage of the distraction to make use of the tennis racquet to win the match.
-Later that night, Tracy Smothers is battling Bruiser Bedlam. Bedlam knocks himself out on a chair, allowing Smothers to get the win, and Jim Cornette calls in the Funks to avenge the loss with some sort of metal pole-like device. Bob Armstrong arrives with a baseball bat to equalize everything.
-We get comments from Bob. He didn’t want to resign but he knows he has to because he’s getting back in the ring for Night of the Legends. He issues a challenge for a six-man tag. He knows he wants Tracy Smothers to be one of his partners, so he’s in. Scott & Steve Armstrong tell their dad that it’s no hard feelings, whichever of them he picks. Bob appreciates that, but he can’t imagine deciding between his children and picking one over the other. So to avoid that, he has another partner in mind…somebody who hates Jim Cornette so much that he won’t even ask to be paid for the match. Bob tells us that he just needs to make one phone call and then he’ll announce the third man for the team.
-Chip Kessler wants to get a special interview with Jim Cornette in the locker room. Corny is irritated because Kessler badgers him with reports so much that “You oughta work for the Torch!” Corny accepts the six-man challenge and warns Bob Armstrong that he’d better be happy with whoever the new commissioner is, because if it’s somebody who’s receptive to being handed a few greenbacks, Corny is set for life.
NIGHT OF THE LEGENDS is coming to the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Friday August 5. See Ron & Don Wright! The Angel! Bulldog Frank Morell! Jim White! Nelson Royal! “The World’s Strongest Man” Doug Furnas! Ronnie Garvin! The Mongolian Stomper! Dick Slater! Dick Slater’s Partner-to-be-Named! Be there!
-We take a look back at the careers of The Mean Greenes, Don & Al, who held tag team championships all throughout the south before breaking out as singles stars. Al Greene was the biggest success, with his telephone pole arms & canned ham fists. His most memorable feud was with Jackie Fargo. Don, on the other hand, will be remembered for battling Jerry Jarrett in the historic first Scaffold Match. Fuck Don. Les Thatcher shows a clip from that match and says that it proves that Don would go to any lengths to win a match. We see Don throwing punch and then hitting Jerry in the arm. That is BADASS.
-We go to Bob Caudle, who talks to the Dirty White Boy about Jake Roberts’ actions earlier in the night. Dirty is prepared to go to hell and dance with the devil. He has to beat Jake at his own game.
BEAT THE CHAMP: TRACY SMOTHERS (Television Champion) vs. STEVEN DUNN
-Dunn attacks to start with punches and choking. Headbutts & right hands by Dunn. Smothers tries a sunset flip, but Dunn drops to his knees to counter it. It gets two and then Smothers sits straight up to reverse it, and it gets three. Smothers retains just like that.
-We go to Bob Caudle, who has the Thrillseekers. Caudle presents them with a cake and says that some of the fans in Lauden, TN, are welcoming them to the town and are glad to have them there, so they hope the Thrillseekers like their cake. They accept their cake graciously, and then Jim Cornette emerges to ruin the moment. “I went to Canada once without a map! Know how I got there? Went to North Dakota and followed the smell. Canada sucks!” Corny is sick of all the attention that the Thrillseekers get considering that they’re only a second-rate team.
-Chris Jericho tells Jim that they appreciate the constructive criticism and to show their gratitude, they say Jim is welcome to some cake if he’d like some. Guess how this ends.