The SmarK Rant for Wrestling Gold–“Night of the Legends” DVD

The SmarK Rant for Wrestling Gold – Night of the Legends DVD

(Since we’re at the point in the Flashbacks where Dave reviews this show, I figured I’d post it here for you.  This was written in 2003 for 411, and I didn’t have it my archives so I had to rescue it from Google and reformat it.)

– Okay, continuing through the pile of tapes on my desk, the next one to be in the queue was this DVD, part of the Wrestling Gold (www.wrestlinggold.com) series of videos by Kit Parker. I’ve been meaning to do this one for a while, but it’s insanely long and I’ve been insanely busy, so it’s only now that I’ve had a chance.

This show is, for those aren’t aware, pretty much the pinnacle of Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion. Taking place on August 5, 1994, it was (I believe) the largest crowd ever for an SMW show, and features one of the most historic matches ever. Well, historic for fans of blood, that is. People who had access to SMW TV via the America One network will probably remember this show being shilled ENDLESSLY by the same commercials.

– Taped from Knoxville, TN.

– Your hosts are Jim Ross & Al Wilson Les Thatcher, although I’m listening to the “insider commentary” from Dave Meltzer & Jim Cornette, as with all the Wrestling Gold DVDs.

Killer Kyle v. Doug Furnas.

Shoving match to start and they fight over a lockup, because this is a match to determine who’s stronger. They of course go for the test of strength, but Kyle boots him and gets a slam. Furnas no-sells it and shrugs off some shoulderblocks, then gets a powerslam and hits him from the three-point stance, sending Kyle out. Back in, Furnas grabs a headlock while Dave & Jim discuss his weightlifting background. He works the headlock and grinds it in, which is something you don’t see anymore. Kyle finally suplexes him, but Furnas hangs on. Kyle finally uses a cheapshot to break, and hotshots him to take over. Choking follows. Cornette relates a story about Doug’s brother Mike, who trained briefly before getting hit by a pizza delivery truck and retiring. I heard the same thing about Warlord. Sideslam gets two for Kyle. He slugs away, but Furnas shrugs him off and comes back with an overhead suplex. Dropkick and powerslam gets two. He charges and runs into a clothesline, however. A missed rana (more like a bodyscissors into a flip) gets the pin at 8:44 for Furnas. Nothing terrible. *

Cowboy Bob Orton & Dick Slater v. Mongolian Stomper & Ronnie Garvin.

This would be a legends match. You may know Bob as “Randy Orton’s dad”. Big brawl to start as Garvin pounds on Slater in the corner and Stomper tosses Orton. They all fight outside and Cornette reveals that the earliest MX stuff was “researched” from Slater & Orton in the 80s. When you steal from one person it’s plagiarism, but stealing from a lot is research. Garvin chases Orton around with a chair and the heels regroup and argue with the ref. Cornette tells a funny story about Slater doing such a good Terry Funk impression that SCW used to have him do Funk’s promos when he wasn’t there. Orton gets pounded in the corner and bails, so Slater gives it a try. Garvin gives him an atomic drop and Stomper wallops him, and it’s back to the corner for Slater. Stomper comes in and whips Orton all over as Bob bumps like a maniac. Stomper accidentally hits Garvin, which the heels play off, but the faces SWERVED them and go for the double-team in the corner as the heels beg off. Garvin grabs a sleeper on Orton, who escapes with a jawbreaker and the heels take over. Meanwhile, Cornette tells a story about Slater shoving Sting’s head in the toilet and flushing it because he pissed him off. Swinging neckbreaker and elbow gets two. The heels double-team Garvin while Cornette gets into a story about Garvin shooting on Hawk backstage in 1986 to teach him a lesson, leaving him blown up before his match. Now THAT’S funny. Orton guillotines Garvin under the ropes and the heels bring him back to the corner for more punishment. We get the false tag as Stomper goes nuts, and the heels double-suplex Garvin for two. Orton brings Garvin right to the face corner and holds him inches away from Stomper’s face, but won’t let him tag. That’s so mean. Back to the heel corner, and Slater comes in with a backbreaker for two. Garvin finally makes the comeback, but Slater takes him down with a facelock and holds him there. Cornette relates a story about Flair & Garvin having a contest in the 80s to see who could hit the other the hardest, and Flair ended up in the hospital with an infection on his chest from the layers of skin lost. That’s NASTY. Finally Stomper gets the hot tag, and he’s so pissed off that he takes his boot off and beats the hell out of the heels until the DQ at 12:32. Well, that was developing into a hell of a tag match until the abrupt finish. ***

Jim Ross introduces the world to the Gangstas. New Jack was looking young and trim back then, having only been jailed a couple of times at that point in his career. As a lesson to today’s wrestling bookers, New Jack has the most heat of anyone in wrestling at this point, but it was the wrong kind of heat, a scary kind of heel heat that makes people change the channel and send death threats rather than buying tickets. New Jack’s angry, impassioned rant is truly something to behold. He wasn’t a good talker at that point, but he did his interviews with so much energy that you knew he was going to get good with better material. The eventual gist of the interview is a challenge to the Rock N Roll Express.

SMW tag titles: Brian Lee & Chris Candido v. The Rock N Roll Express.

Robert’s brother Ricky Gibson is handcuffed to Tammy Sytch (who at the time was 19 and made Torrie Wilson look like Stephanie McMahon in terms of sheer off-the-charts smoking hotness). Robert starts with Candido and gives him a clean break in the corner, but Candido slams him and quickly goes up. Robert dropkicks him to the floor and backdrops him coming back in. They slug it out in the corner and Robert catapults him onto Lee on the floor. Candido is quite the bump freak tonight. Cornette & Meltzer discuss the tragedy of Sytch’s fall from grace and how she dragged Candido down with her. Brian Lee gets into a near-fight with the cops at ringside, wasting time, while the discussion turns to the downfall of Brian Lee’s career. The champs regroup and Candido tries it again with Gibson, but Ricky tags in with a bulldog from behind for two. Morton cleans house, and Ricky Gibson gives Lee a shot with his cane on the way by. Lee comes in as we talk about the Fake Undertaker era. Mucho stallo results. Finally Lee gets a slam as Cornette talks about Morton’s tag team formula, but the RNR start double-teaming Lee and Robert drops a knee. Morton rolls him up for two after some more double-teaming, but Lee presses him and Ricky is YOUR face in peril. Big shock, I know. Candido comes in and gets two. Lee clubs him off the second rope behind the ref’s back, and Candido slingshots him into a Lee clothesline off the top. That’s nasty. Ricky makes the false hope comeback, but gets powerslammed. They make another try at the slingshot double-team, but Robert breaks it up and Lee falls off the top, allowing Morton to get two. Cornette admits that it didn’t come across as planned. Robert then comes in, hiptosses his own partner back to the corner, and makes the hot tag. That’s so cool. Lee & Candido collide as Chris comes off the top, and Morton rolls him up for the pin at 12:39. Pretty standard RNR stuff. **1/2

I’m skipping over the Knoxville remembrances stuff and the hall of fame awards ceremony, by the way. It turns about 40 minutes and it’s about what you’d expect.

The Heavenly Bodies v. The Thrillseekers.

Okay, this is pretty legendary. Chris Jericho, the morning of this match, was practicing Shooting Star Presses in Jim Cornette’s pool, and broke his arm. So he’s wrestling while wearing a cast here, very much against doctor’s advice. The match was set up by the old “Shove Jim Cornette’s face into a birthday cake” gag, as the Heavenly Bodies return to defend his honor. This was captured on tape when a fan was “shooting home videos” in the parking lot, and happened to catch two guys in black attacking the arriving Thrillerseekers. See, that’s a better contrivance for having a camera in the parking lot than the WWE’s “Magic Invisible Cameraman” theory. Another nice thing about this DVD is that they include all that buildup before the match. Big brawl to start and the Bodies get dumped, and Jericho launches Lance Storm onto them. Jericho starts the match proper with Pritchard, who chops away in the corner. Jericho comes back with backdrops on both heels and fights them off. Storm comes in and does a quick mat sequence with Del Ray, and superkicks him out, along with Pritchard. Dr. Tom comes in and they exchange hammerlocks, which allows Storm to do the “flip out of a double-wristlock” spot and then get beaten up by the heels. He escapes from a double-suplex and the Thrillseekers chase them out of the ring again. Del Ray comes in and Storm atomic drops him, and Pritchard, but gets caught from behind with a bulldog by Pritchard. He tosses Storm and Del Ray gets some cheapshots in, and back in Pritchard suplexes Del Ray onto Storm for two. Northern Lights suplex from Del Ray, and he suplexes Pritchard onto Storm for two. Pritchard drops a knee for two. They work Storm over in the corner and Del Ray gets a superkick for two. Double-team sideslam gets two for Pritchard. Pritchard goes up and misses an elbowdrop while Cornette talks about his mistake of putting Jericho & Storm in the same promotion as the RNR. Lukewarm tag to Jericho, as he cleans house with one arm, but gets tripped up and sent into the railing by Pritchard. The blood starts flowing, to say the least. Back in, Del Ray digs at the cut, which is just gushing like crazy. Mark Curtis keeps checking the cut, and Pritchard keeps slugging at it. This is a SERIOUSLY gory cut, kids. Jericho keeps trying to get up, and the Bodies keep pounding him down again as the blood stains the mat and Del Ray gets two. Jericho’s hair is now red, by the way. Pritchard drops some sick knees and gets two. Curtis again checks the cut as Jericho is wearing the crimson mask and is bleeding all over the ref. Now THAT’S a bladejob. Curtis finally stops the match, but Jericho pleads for him to keep it going. So they let it go again, and Del Ray starts pounding the cut again. The ref gets rid of Pritchard, Storm sneaks in with a superkick, and Jericho falls on top for the pin at 15:30. This was Jericho’s last, and best, match in SMW, and he left a trail of blood all the way back to the dressing room. That was a full 1.0 Muta, by the way. ****

SMW Title: Dirty White Boy v. Terry Gordy.

Anthony grabs a headlock to start and overpowers Gordy, then goes back to the headlock and grinds it in. Gordy finally tosses him off, but DWB goes back to it and they work off that. Gordy tosses him off again, so DWB goes right back to the side headlock while Dave & Jim talk about the tragedy that was Gordy’s life and the demons that finally caught up with him. Gordy tosses him off and slugs him down, and gets a corner clothesline. He stomps away and they fight over a suplex, as Gordy appeared unable to get him up. This was only two years removed from the coma that destroyed Gordy’s life and it shows. Anthony rams him into the turnbuckles a few times, but gets tossed. Back in, Gordy stomps him on the apron, back to the floor again. Cornette’s Freebird stories are more entertaining than the match. Anthony comes back and necksnaps Gordy, but runs into a boot in the corner that gets two for Gordy. Gordy misses a charge and Anthony slugs him down, but the ref is bumped as they slug it out. Cue the run-in, as Chris Walker comes in for the DQ at 10:26. It was so sad seeing Gordy stagger through this, but the commentary, with Dave talking about the Freebirds and how they created the modern notion of vignettes in Dallas, was fascinating stuff. *1/4

Hawk, Tracy Smothers & Bob Armstrong v. Terry Funk, Dory Funk Jr. and Bruiser Bedlam.

This is a “coward waves the flag” match, and it continues until the cornerman waves the white flag. A lengthy video package (more than 40 minutes worth) details the whole Armstrong v. Cornette feud and shows this specific match being set up. Terry tosses in some chairs for fun, so Tracy takes a seat. The faces chase them outside and a brawl erupts, with Bedlam hitting the post and Cornette hiding out in the ring, which is where it was safest at that point. The heels regroup and start brawling again, as Terry rides the top rope and Hawk pounds on Dory in the middle of the ring. Tracy comes off the top onto Terry, but gets tossed. Dory gets worked over in the face corner, but comes back and knocks Hawk off the apron, while Cornette gets his shots on Tracy outside. So finally it settles down, as Dory forearms Tracy into the corner and piledrives him. Terry gets his own piledriver as Smothers is bleeding. Bedlam headbutts the shoulder after a shoulderbreaker, and the Funks drop Tracy on the railing. Spike piledriver on the concrete (ouch!) follows, and back in Terry gets a neckbreaker, and then another one just to be a dick. Dory comes in with a pair of suplexes to further pound the neck, and Bedlam gets his own. Terry adds another one, and Dory gets a double-underhook suplex. Heel miscommunication allows the hot tag to Hawk, who of course kicks ass. He goes up with the flying clothesline on Bedlam. It’s BONZO GONZO as Cornette throws powder in Ron Wright’s face and waves his white flag to fool the ref, but Wright recovers from the blinding and goads Cornette into swinging at him with the flag, which of course gives the faces the win at 9:35. Silly but fun. **1/2

The Bottom Line:

This was a very well-regarded show, and for good reason, as it was strong from top-to-bottom. Nothing really terrible outside of Terry Gordy’s sad attempt at a comeback, and a great Jericho bloodfest make for a solid recommendation for any fan of SMW or the long-dead southern wrestling style in general.