What the World Was Watching: Smoky Mountain Wrestling – April 22, 1995

Chip Kessler and Les Thornton are doing play-by-play duties, with this being Kessler’s first broadcast in that role.  Thatcher tells fans that Jim Ross is no longer handling television due to his growing WWF responsibilities.  They kick off a new round of tapings from Warrensville, North Carolina that took place at Northwest Ashe High School.  According to prowrestlinghistory.com, the tapings on April 13 drew 350 fans.

Opening Contest:  Bobby Fulton beats George South with a modified small package at 4:08:

Fulton was best known to fans as half of the Fantastics tag team with Tommy Rogers.  That team won the NWA United States Tag Team Championship twice.  By 1995, Fulton was a fifteen-year veteran trying to find his way back to the big time.  The Fantastics were brought in for a Worldwide taping by WCW, but aside from that Fulton and Rogers took independent bookings as had been the case for the last six years of their respective careers.  The announcers note that Fulton is wanting a shot at Buddy Landel’s SMW title.  However, he is not booked like a worldbeater, struggling to put away South for a little over four minutes.  Fulton also lacks a lot of energy in his offense.  In the end, it is not power but smarts that wins Fulton the match as he flips South over from a wristlock and holds him in place for the win.

Thatcher interviews Fulton, who says Landel pulled a gun on him once in the dressing room.  That is an interesting story that is not elaborated upon.  Fulton accidentally calls Les “Lance,” as he must think he is in the USWA before telling Landel he is going down in their title match next week.

Footage of the Gangstas spray painting an “x” on Bob Armstrong’s chest and back at the end of Bluegrass Brawl is shown.

Kessler interviews Armstrong and Jim Cornette.  Armstrong calls for a showdown match to end his feud with the Gangstas once and for all.  Cornette says that he signed a match for the Volunteer Slam in Knoxville, Tennessee.  This will be a Texas Death Match where Armstrong will face the Gangstas, with Armstrong having a mystery partner to help him.  Cornette promises that Armstrong will love who he picks, and he will reveal the partner next week.  The chain of authority in SMW is not very clear here because what gives Cornette permission to book matches while Armstrong is still the commissioner of the promotion?

Tracy Smothers and the Dirty White Boy say that they look forward to facing the Gangstas.  Their new tag team will be called the THUGS.  As Smothers says, “T is for terrible, H is for hell, U is for ugly, and G is for jail because a thug can’t spell.”

The THUGS defeat Larry Santo & the Wolfman when Tracy Smothers pins Santo after a spinning elbow off the top rope at 3:53:

While Smothers and the White Boy make for a natural team because of their redneck gimmicks, being placed in tags is a definite downgrade for the White Boy.  That is especially acute because he just defeated Buddy Landel in a series of matches, so that would theoretically make him a top contender to the SMW title.  The THUGS need to work on getting some more cohesive double teams and after pounding away on the jobbers for a while they prevail when the White Boy holds Santo in place for a Smothers spinning elbow off the top rope.

SMW Tag Team Champions the Dynamic Duo visit with Thatcher.  A coffin appears in the segment so Al Snow can do a mock eulogy for Ricky Morton’s career and toss things in it like a record of their theme song, a bandana that Morton supposedly used to swell up his thighs to normal size, and a woman’s nightie because Snow says Morton is a crossdresser.  Robert Gibson has enough and attacks the Duo by himself but is quickly overwhelmed and beaten down with a chair, placed in the coffin, and some of it is nailed shut before the THUGS make the save.  Gibson tells the Duo that payback is going to be hell.

Beat the Champ Television Championship Match:  Killer Kyle (Champion w/D’Lo Brown) (5-2) beats Mike Mason after a spinebuster at 1:44:

SMW is billing this as Kyle’s fourth title defense but he has only made three up to this point.  Mason gets excited after he lands a dropkick and tries a flying body press, but Kyle catches him with a spinebuster for another $1,000 payday.

Bradley does a taped promo in the locker room after being prompted by the camera crew.  Bradley says he and Kyle will have a match at Volunteer Slam.  He promises pain and alludes to the two being in a dog collar match since he holds it up in the segment.

Footage of Buddy Landel winning the SMW title at Fright Night via referee stoppage is shown, along with Landel’s promo that aired last week to hype today’s title defense.

SMW Championship Match for $10,000, a Mercedes, and a Rolex:  Buddy Landel (Champion) (8-7-1) beats Bobby Blayze (7-1-1) after hitting Blayze with the SMW title belt at 4:30:

Blayze put up $1 to get this rematch and regain some of the possessions won from Landel earlier in the feud.  This is a glorified squash as Landel dominates most of the match, Blayze throws an awful spinning heel kick to knock Landel out of the ring, and Landel smashes his opponent in the face with the SMW title to win his first televised title defense.  Blayze’s title run was a disaster since he was never positioned as a legitimate titleholder.  The outcome here reinforces that, so Blayze should not factor into future SMW main events.  Rating:  ½*

After the match, Landel stuffs Blayze’s dollar bill down his throat.  Landel then tells Thatcher that Bobby Fulton does not scare him, and he will beat him quickly.  He says Steve Armstrong does not scare him either.  Landel concludes by promising to make the SMW title mean something, which the Dirty White Boy and Blayze could not do.

Tune in next week to see Buddy Landel defend the SMW title against Bobby Fulton!

The Last Word:  This broadcast featured some modifications over prior Smoky Mountain telecasts and some of the changes were positive.  It was featured a preview of what fans would see on the show at the beginning and then had adequate transitions between the segments.  Doing the promos against a blue backdrop also looked much better.  Losing Jim Ross is a big blow to the announcing quality, though.  Kessler has a good, professional voice because he commentated games for the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers, but he lacks Ross’s energy and play off the wrestlers he is interviewing.  In terms of in-ring product, the matches were poor on this show and the interviews could not compensate.  That might improve next week since Bobby Fulton will be booked to put up a better fight than Bobby Blayze.

SMW ran a few house shows over the weekend and here were the results of those shows, courtesy of prowrestlinghistory.com:

Ashland, Kentucky – National Guard Armory – April 20, 1995 (350):  Mighty Buddha pinned Punisher #2…Boo Bradley pinned D’Lo Brown after fifteen minutes of action…SMW Tag Team Champions the Dynamic Duo beat Bart & Brad Batten…SMW Champion Buddy Landel beat Bobby Blayze via disqualification…The THUGs beat the Gangstas when the Dirty White Boy pinned New Jack.

Lenoir, North Carolina – Mulberry Street Recreational Center – April 22, 1995 (305):  Unabom pinned George South at 10:05…Jim Cornette & Boo Bradley beat New Jack & D’Lo Brow in a tennis racquet match via disqualification at 20:45…SMW Champion Buddy Landel pinned Bobby Blayze at 15:29…The THUGs beat the Gangstas in a street fight when the Dirty White Boy pinned New Jack at 9:35.

Backstage News*:        Killer Kyle missed the weekend house show circuit because of National Guard commitments.  Due to Ricky Morton’s injury angle, the Rock N’ Roll Express are not on the road and took bookings in some Northeast independent promotions.

*The promotion will be holding a show in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 20 and will honor Ricky Steamboat.  Nelson Royal is booked for that show in a legends match, although his opponent has yet to be determined.

*Backstage news provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for May 1.

Up Next:  Smoky Mountain TV for April 29!