What the World Was Watching: SMW Charlotte Memories

Like Volunteer Slam IV, footage of this show comes from a fan cam.  It took place on Saturday, May 20 at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.  According to prowrestlinghistory.com, the show drew a paltry 200 fans.

Opening Falls Count Anywhere Contest:  Boo Bradley (14-4) beat Killer Kyle (6-4) after a schoolboy roll up at 14:26:

The stipulation for this match was determined via random draw because it was booked as a May Mayhem match.  Since there are tons of empty chairs in the crowd, Kyle figures why not use them for a spot so throws Bradley into them for a near-fall.  Slow, methodical brawling is the style of this bout and some of the match is not viewable since both men brawl into one of the concession stands that the fan cam does not follow.  The match is not helped by Bradley’s lack of comebacks either.  Finally, after fourteen boring minutes, Bradley pushes off of Kyle’s shoulders to prevent being rammed into the wall and then schoolboys his opponent on the floor to win.  Hopefully this ends the feud between these two.  Rating:  ¼*

Afterward, Kyle attacks Bradley in the ring but Bradley backdrops out of a piledriver, drops a leg, and covers but awkwardly gets up because he realizes he has already won the match.  Why was this necessary?

Tommy Young comes out to referee his first match in five years.

Jim Cornette walks to the ring and tells the crowd he turned heel the previous night, so he is not going to be in the THUGS corner when they face the Gangstas.  The Charlotte crowd that showed up is partisan to the heels, though, so they cheer this announcement, only to boo when Cornette insults the city.  Cornette says that he has signed on to be SMW Champion Buddy Landel’s manager.

SMW Championship Match:  Steve Armstrong (2-1) defeats Buddy Landel (Champion w/Jim Cornette) (11-8-1) via disqualification after Landel uses Cornette’s tennis racquet at 13:12:

Cornette and Young work in some comedy spots early, with Cornette teasing confrontations with the old NWA referee and Young consistently getting one over on him.  After eight minutes of stalling, the match picks up, with Armstrong tying Landel up in various pinning combinations but not inflicting enough damage beforehand to beat the champion.  Armstrong also throws some really weak clotheslines as his arm just stops after he hits Landel and does not follow through with the rest of the move.  After Armstrong hits a flying clothesline, Cornette hops up on the apron and although Armstrong knocks Cornette off his perch, Cornette tosses Landel his tennis racquet.  Landel proceeds to use it as a weapon in full view of the referee and gets disqualified.  Rating:  *½

After the match, Landel and Cornette do a small beatdown on Armstrong until the Rock N’ Roll Express make the save.

SMW recognizes past Charlotte wrestling legends like Tommy Young, Sandy Scott, Abe Jacobs, Swede Hanson, Johnny Weaver, Tim Woods, Nelson Royal, and Magnum T.A.  Poor Magnum cannot get into the ring with the other legends because of physical limitations from his automobile accident in the 1980s.  All of them get polite applause but no one gets a huge pop.  They also do not get anything special to commemorate the occasion like a plaque.

NWA World Championship Match:  Dan Severn (Champion) beats Bobby Blayze (11-2-1) via submission to a cross armbreaker at 5:25:

Buddy Landel and Jim Cornette come out to scout Severn, hinting at a possible match between the two down the road.  The match is worked very old school, even by SMW standards, as they work through a variety of takedowns and amateur wrestling positions and holds more reminiscent of the Lou Thesz era.  It is a unique template that plays to Severn’s strengths, but the crowd quickly gets bored with it.  That is compounded by Severn’s lack of follow up when he scores a takedown or lands a suplex and by Blayze’s lack of selling, so fans think the match is not going anywhere.  After one takedown, Severn locks in a cross armbreaker and Blayze cannot get to the ropes, so he taps out.  If there was some back and forth in this match, it would have been better.  As it was, Blayze was outclassed.  Rating:  *

Street Fight Match:  The THUGS (2-1) beat the Gangstas (w/D’Lo Brown) (4-3-1) when the White Boy pins Mustafa after heel miscommunication at 9:24:

Weapons litter the ring before the opening bell but the entrance music does not keep playing, jarring for viewers who are more familiar with New Jack’s ECW career.  Like Killer Kyle in the opener, Smothers sees there are tons of empty seats, so he tosses Jack into them when the teams pair off and go into the crowd.  Weapons shots litter the contest and few wrestling moves are used until the end, when Brown tries to splash the Dirty White Boy after the White Boy covers Mustafa after the Bucksnort Blaster and accidentally splashes Mustafa instead, allowing the THUGS to triumph.  It is hard to remember the last time the Gangstas won a meaningful match.  Rating:  *½

After the bell, the THUGS and Gangstas and Brown keep brawling, with the THUGS standing tall at the end.

Cage Match for the SMW Tag Team Championship:  The Dynamic Duo (Champions) (4-4-1) beat the Rock N’ Roll Express (4-2) when Al Snow pins Ricky Morton after Unabom hits Morton with Jim Cornette’s tennis racquet at 6:18:

After falling off the scaffold last night in Knoxville, Snow is wearing a neck brace.  The Duo tear apart the ring, with Snow taking off the corner turnbuckle and using it as a weapon against the challengers.  The Express mount a late rally and hit Snow with their double dropkick, but their attempt to regain the titles is thwarted by Jim Cornette, who comes to ringside and tosses Unabom his tennis racquet, which is used on Morton to help the champions retain.  Both teams seemed to be going through the motions here as this was a match more befitting of a television taping than a big event.  Rating:  **

Following the bell, the Duo keep attacking the Express but are eventually driven from the ring by the challengers.  Morton gets into a verbal altercation with one fan at ringside who was jeering him throughout the main event and he almost takes a swing at another woman who grabbed him after he left the ring.

The Last Word:  So, what if a promotion held a legends show and no one came?  That question was answered here, with a sad measure of fan support in a city that once supported the style of wrestling Smoky Mountain showcased.  Going against a NASCAR race did not help attendance, but this show was another bad omen for a promotion that was reeling from a disappointing turnout for Volunteer Slam the previous evening.  By itself, the show was not good, with lots of poor matches.

Backstage News*:        The screwjob finish to the PG-13-THUGS match at Volunteer Slam is setting up a rematch between the two teams for June 16, where the promotion is planning to book the two teams with the Gangstas in a triangle match for the USWA Tag Team Championship with Mark Curtis and Randy Hales as dual, special guest referees.

*Aside from going head-to-head with NASCAR, some of the poor attendance in Charlotte is being attributed to the legends being too old or the fans only remembering some guys as prelim workers.

*SMW does not plan to do a new television taping for three weeks, so they will be recycling footage from Volunteer Slam and Charlotte Memories for those broadcasts.

*The promotion is holding its third Fan Week from August 4 to August 12 and its August 4 show in Knoxville will be called The Super Bowl of Wrestling.  At that show SMW plans to have titles from the WWF, USWA, NWA, and SMW defended.  Fire on the Mountain will take place on August 12 in Johnson City, with a major show in Barbourville, Kentucky planned for August 5 and a show called Carolina Chaos planned for Lenoir, North Carolina on August 11.

*In talent relations news, the Punisher, who made his first appearance at Volunteer Slam IV, is Sunset Sam McGraw from the Georgia independent scene.

*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for May 29.

Up Next:  Smoky Mountain TV for May 27!