What the World Was Watching: Volunteer Slam IV

This show was provided via fan cam footage.  It took place on Friday, May 19 in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Civic Coliseum and, according to prowrestlinghistory.com, drew a disappointing crowd of 1,550, with a gate of $10,000.

Opening Non-Title Contest:  Bobby Blayze (Beat the Champ Television Champion) (9-2-1) pins D’Lo Brown (1-0) after a flying sunset flip at 9:13:

Blayze quickly fell back to being an opening act after dropping the SMW title to Buddy Landel.  One of the things that makes viewing this match difficult is that the fan cam is facing one of the parts of the scaffold structure that will be used later for Ricky Morton vs. Al Snow, so you have to see the match through that.  After an extended mat wrestling sequence, a well-paced match develops where Brown wows the crowd with a few high-risk moves.  However, going to those moves in the last stages backfires as a flying headbutt hits canvas and Brown gets crotched going to the top rope for a moonsault.  Brown collapses to the canvas and Blayze wins the solid opener with a sunset flip off the top.  Rating:  **½

Falls Count Anywhere Match:  Robert Gibson (1-1-1) beats Unabom (2-1) after Unabom misses a flying leg drop at 4:29:

This was billed as a “May Mayhem” match, so referee Mark Curtis takes some time to draw the stipulation of the next match out of a hat, which is falls count anywhere.  The fan filming moves to the other side of the ring to give a more unobstructed view of the action, which lasts until both men do a token brawl into the crowd a few minutes in.  When the action returns to the ring, Unabom floors Gibson with a kick to the head but a flying leg drop misses and the former NWA tag team champion does a jackknife cover for the upset.  Rating:  *

SMW Championship Match:  Steve Armstrong (1-1) beats Buddy Landel (Champion) (11-7-1) via disqualification when Landel tries to use the belt as a weapon at 9:41:

As noted in prior television reviews, it is not good for the promotion that its top championship has been relegated to midcard status for much of the year, a pattern that continues with this show.  There is a good exchange of technical moves until Landel starts working the knee.  Armstrong finds a burst of energy and scores a near-fall from a splash, causing Landel to grab the title belt and try to use it as a weapon.  However, the referee catches him trying to use it and calls for the bell.  A weak finish to what was turning out to be a fun bout.  Rating:  **

After the bell, Landel puts Armstrong in the figure-four leg lock and does not release the hold until referee Mark Curtis threatens to hold up the SMW title.

Jersey Dog Fight Match:  Boo Bradley (12-4) beats Killer Kyle (6-3) after hitting him with a billy club at 14:45:

The stipulation of this match has each ringpost covered and one of them will have a dog collar that can be used as a weapon.  Bradley is over with the Knoxville crowd, getting a big ovation for his initial offensive flurry ad sympathy when Kyle beats him down.  Referee Mark Curtis prevents Kyle from using one of the ringpost bags as a weapon, and that allows Bradley to find the dog collar, only for it to fall into the heel’s hands.  A long time is spent on both men using the collar as a weapon until D’Lo Brown hops on the apron, but heel miscommunication causes Kyle to blast Brown with a billy club and Bradley uses it to down his foe.  Things were going nicely until the dog collar was discovered but the long segment between that and Brown’s appearance weighed the match down.  The crowd was into it, though.  Rating:  *½

After the bell, Brown tries to help Kyle to his feet but both men are knocked so silly from their respective billy club shots that they both fall into a heap as the crowd laughs.

USWA Tag Team Championship Match:  PG-13 (Champions) beat the THUGS (2-0) via reverse decision at 19:06:

PG-13 were composed of J.C. Ice and Wolfie D, the former being the son of Memphis superstar Bill Dundee.  At this point, they were in the midst of their seventh reign as USWA tag team champions, having recently regained them from the Gambler and Brickhouse Brown.  PG-13 wrestled as babyfaces in their territory, but they are the invaders tonight, so they operate as the heels.  This match offers a clash of Tennessee’s two big wrestling promotions, as the USWA operated in the west around Memphis and Nashville and SMW operated in the east near Knoxville.   Classic Memphis stalling starts, with PG-13 earning the crowd’s ire by taunting, dancing, yelling at an old lady at ringside who got under Jerry Lawler’s skin at Super Saturday Night Fever, and playing to the crowd’s homosexual slurs when Ice jumps into Wolfie’s army to escape the Dirty White Boy.  It takes about twelve minutes for a sustained exchange of offense to occur, as PG-13 put Tracy Smothers in peril.  Smothers DDTs his way out of a double backdrop effort to give the White Boy the hot tag, but Wolfie D breaks up a pin effort after the White Boy plants Ice with the Bucksnort Blaster.  Behind the referee’s back, Smothers blasts Wolfie D with a hubcap, allowing the White Boy to score the winning pin.  However, USWA promoter Randy Hales reverses the decision and PG-13 run for the exits.  This is easily the match of the year for SMW to this point, featuring an entertaining beginning and some energetic action once things got going.  Only the stupid reverse decision hurt it.  Rating:  ***

Texas Death Match:  Bob Armstrong & Terry Funk (w/Jim Cornette) defeat the Gangstas (w/D’Lo Brown) (4-2-1) after Armstrong gives New Jack a piledriver at 12:42:

Under the rules of the contest, there is a thirty second rest period after a fall and then the referee begins counting to ten.  If a wrestler fails to answer the count, the match is over.  Funk shows up with a flaming branding iron to show the Gangstas that he means business.  The Gangstas score most of the falls, using a table and another foreign object to wear down Armstrong and Funk.  At the end and after Funk has been pinned, Mustafa and Brown get too preoccupied with Cornette, and that lets Armstrong give New Jack a piledriver.  Funk gets to his feet just before the count of ten and the babyfaces win a tame Texas Death match.  Rating:  *½

After the match, Armstrong and Funk shake hands as Funk finds it tough to get to his feet.  Cornette gets on the house mic and thanks Armstrong for helping him get even with the Gangstas.  Not heeding the crowd’s calls, Armstrong does not keep his guard up and Cornette throws a fireball in his face, setting up a two-on-one beatdown by Cornette and Funk.  Eventually, Steve Armstrong runs in to save his father but SMW Champion Buddy Landel intervenes to thwart it.  Bobby Blayze tries his hand but his put in a full nelson but a tall talent no one has seen before.  Boo Bradley tries his hand, but suffers the same fate.  All of this appears to be setting up a new Cornette-led stable.

Scaffold Match:  Ricky Morton (2-2) beats Al Snow (1-1-1) at 8:56:

Morton is still sporting a neck brace as he walks to the ring.  Probably recognizing that scaffold matches are usually awful, Morton and Snow fight before they climb the structure, brawling around the ringside area.  On top of the structure, with room to maneuver small, the terrified punch and kickfest the personifies scaffold matches develops.  Snow tries to do a splash after balancing himself on Morton’s midsection, but the landing does not work since he hits the scaffold with his knees.  Unabom comes out and climbs the scaffold as the Dynamic Duo work to finish Morton, but Robert Gibson ruins those plans.  Snow then tries to do a piledriver, but Morton blocks it, knocks Snow off his feet, and punches him off the scaffold to prevail.  Scaffold matches are usually terrible but there was more action in this one than most.  Rating:  **

Following the match, the Rock N’ Roll Express and the Duo brawl.  The Duo get their heat back by putting Morton in a noose and raising him up with the help of the scaffold.

The Last Word:  As noted above, this card drew a disappointing house as Smoky Mountain was hoping Terry Funk’s participation and Jim Cornette’s $50,000 “money back guarantee” would bring in a crowd comparable to what the Undertaker pulled at Bluegrass Brawl.  Instead, they got a major indictment of what the promotion could draw with its existing talent without the WWF’s help.  The show itself was well-paced, with only the Jersey Dog Fight match overstaying its welcome.  However, Jim Cornette going heel again on Bob Armstrong seems like a step backwards for the company since that feud was played out the previous year.  At least Buddy Landel’s affiliation with Cornette might elevate the SMW title out of midcard status.

Up Next:  Smoky Mountain TV for May 20!