What the World Was Watching: Smoky Mountain TV – June 17, 1995

Chip Kessler and Les Thatcher kick off a new round of television tapings in Sevierville, Tennessee.  According to prowrestlinghistory.com, the tapings took place at Catan’s Chapel Elementary School and drew 300 fans.

Opening Contest:  The Headbangers defeat Larry Santo & Mike Mason after the Stage Dive when Thrasher pins Mason at 2:45:

The Headbangers, Mosh (Charles Warrington) and Thrasher (Glen Ruth), got their start in New Jersey in the early 1990s.  Both were trained by Larry Sharpe and they started teaming in 1994, working as the Spiders for the NWA, ECW, and USWA.  Fans remember them for wearing face paint and skirts, but in this debut match they are wearing jean shorts and t-shirts.  Thrasher is sloppy, dumping Mason right on his head instead of over the ropes when he tries a modified stun gun.  The Headbangers wrestle as heels, getting a shot in on Mason behind the referee’s back, and they finish with the Stage Dive, a powerbomb-flying leg drop combination move.

Thatcher interviews the Headbangers.  Mosh says the Headbangers are in SMW to bang some heads and Thrasher proclaims them the team of the 1990s.

Thatcher talks with the THUGS about the triple threat tag match that will take place in Knoxville, Tennessee on June 16.  Tracy Smother stumbles as he explains that PG-13 is an up and coming team and how impressed he is with the Headbangers finisher.  The Headbangers are replacing the Gangstas, who abruptly left the promotion.  This promo was unnecessary because the Knoxville show happened the day before this promo aired.

SMW Tag Team Championship Match:  The Dynamic Duo (Champions) (5-4-1) defeat the Wolfman & Lee Thomas after Unabom pins the Wolfman after a slingshot splash from the apron at 2:55:

The Duo are defending the titles because they have not defended them on television in a while.  Or at least that is the explanation that Al Snow gives.  Thomas was a longtime regional jobber, working some shots for SMW throughout its existence.  Kessler announces that there is going to a Thunderdome cage match between the Duo and the Rock N’ Roll Express on July 8 in Johnson City, Tennessee as part of the Summer Blast tour.  In that match, one member of each team will be handcuffed to the cage and will have to be unlocked by their partner, who will have to scale a pole to get the key.  The jobbers are methodically dismantled by the champions, with Snow having the Wolfman beat after the Simply Sensational Dive.  He pulls his opponent off the mat, though, so Unabom can do his own modified version of the move for the win.

Thatcher chats with the Duo.  Snow is not interested in talking about the Thunderdome cage match, preferring to talk about what was stolen from the champions last week.  A taped promo of the Rock N’ Roll Express airs, with Ricky Morton having a tape recorder in his hand.  Morton says that the Express will bring it to next week’s show and use it as leverage to get another tag team title shot.  Snow responds by saying that the Express are criminals and he is still not convinced to give the team a title match.

A video hypes The Super Bowl of Wrestling, a supercard that will take place at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Friday, August 4.  Title matches from the WWF, SMW, USWA, NWA, and others are promised.

Jim Cornette’s Militia shows up for an interview with Thatcher.  Cornette is dressed in military gear to match the name of his new group.  Cornette says that a wrestler called “Armstrong’s Avenger” is facing SMW Champion Buddy Landel in title matches throughout the Summer Blast tour.  A new member is welcomed out to join the Militia:  Terry Gordy.  Fans seem to forget that he is joining a heel faction as he gets a babyface reaction coming out.  Gordy tells fans that he is back, and people should not mess with him.

Boo Bradley (15-4) beats D’Lo Brown (1-1) after a splash off the top rope at 1:42:

With the Gangstas gone, Brown has some space to wrestle on his own and develop an independent character.  However, in this match he is treated as a jobber as Bradley does not struggle to put him away.  The Killer Kyle feud seems to have slowed Bradley’s momentum as fans do not react to much of what he does in the ring.  The result does mark his fifth straight singles win, though.

USWA promoter Randy Hales puts over his company and calls SMW referee Mark Curtis “the scum of the Earth” because he does not know the rules.  Curtis walks out to defend himself against the taller Hales but is attacked.  Curtis recovers and chases Hales out of the building.

SMW Championship Match and if Armstrong Wins He Gets a Match with Jim Cornette:  Buddy Landel (Champion w/Jim Cornette & the Punisher) (11-9-1) defeats Steve Armstrong (3-1) after the Punisher interferes at 6:16:

Since Curtis is indisposed chasing Hales around the arena, Lee Thomas comes to the ring to serve as the replacement official.  Thomas is still wearing his wrestling gear too, which makes it seem like the match is more of a triple threat than a one-on-one championship match.  Landel uses rest holds early, giving him opportunities to cheat by reaching out to Cornette for leverage.  Armstrong rallies and comes off the top rope with a splash, but Cornette distracts the referee and the Punisher drops a fist on the back of Armstrong’s neck, allowing Landel to keep the belt.  Landel has difficulty wrestling with the intensity required of short matches and since he dominated a lot of the match it never felt like it got out of first gear.  Rating:  *½

Bob Armstrong is in the ring after the commercial break with a skinny masked wrestler.  The two are interviewed by Thatcher.  Armstrong says that the man with him will be his avenger, watching over his boys and facing Landel around the loop for the SMW Championship.  Cornette crashes the segment, laughing at the unimpressive physique of Armstrong’s Avenger with Landel.  Since time is expiring in the telecast, Landel says he is happy to wrestle the Avenger next week.

Tune in next week to see Armstrong’s Avenger take on Buddy Landel!  And the THUGS face off with Killer Kyle and D’Lo Brown!

The Last Word:  After several weeks of recap episodes, it was nice to see some fresh action from a new venue.  The infusion of new talent from the likes of the Headbangers and Terry Gordy should help, especially Gordy because it gives the company more star power.  However, it seems weird that D’Lo Brown would get squashed like a bug halfway through the show.  He moves well in the ring and has showed on supercards that he can wrestle just as well, if not better, than a lot of the talent on the roster.  At a time when the promotion needs new stars, SMW should be giving him more to do rather than making him look like a joke.  The finish of the main event should finish off Steve Armstrong as a main eventer, so hopefully the Avenger storyline paves the way for a challenger that can get some heat going around the SMW Championship.

Over the weekend, SMW ran several shows in Tennessee.  Here were the results of those shows, courtesy of prowrestlinghistory.com:

Knoxville, Tennessee – City Coliseum – June 16, 1995 (400):  Bobby Blayze wrestled Killer Kyle to a draw…Boo Bradley pinned D’Lo Brown…Buddy Landel & Jim Cornette beat Steve Armstrong in a handicap match…The Rock N’ Roll Express beat SMW Tag Team Champions the Dynamic Duo in a on-title, no disqualification match…The THUGS beat PG-13 and the Headbangers in a triple threat elimination match.  The Headbangers were eliminated first and the THUGS won the match when Tracy Smothers pinned J.C. Ice.

Morristown, Tennessee – Talley Ward Recreational Center – June 17, 1995 (350):    Boo Bradley beat Killer Kyle…The THUGS beat the Headbangers…Steve Armstrong beat SMW Champion Buddy Landel via disqualification…Steve Armstrong beat Jim Cornette via disqualification…The Rock N’ Roll Express beat SMW Tag Team Champions the Dynamic Duo in a non-title match.

Backstage News*:        The Gangstas abruptly left the promotion before finishing their last few dates, heading to ECW.  The departure might be linked to New Jack getting indicted on June 12 in Morristown, Tennessee on three counts of assault and one count of disorderly conduct for getting into an incident with a fourteen-year-old fan and two police officers.

*The Mark Curtis-Randy Hales feud got its start on June 16 in Knoxville when Hales refused to count the THUGS pinfall on PG-13 and then tried to count a PG-13 pin attempt on the THUGS, but Curtis intervened, broke up the count, and made a fast count later so that the THUGS would prevail.

*Backstage news is courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for June 26.

The Last Word:  Smoky Mountain TV for June 24!