What the World Was Watching: Smoky Mountain Wrestling – June 24, 1995

Chip Kessler and Les Thatcher are handling the broadcasting duties and they are taped from Sevierville, Tennessee.

Thatcher interviews Commissioner Bob Armstrong and Armstrong’s Avenger.  Armstrong says he has faith in the Avenger against SMW Champion Buddy Landel.  He promises a surprise.

Opening Non-Title Contest:  Brad Armstrong beats Buddy Landel (SMW Champion w/Jim Cornette) (12-9-1) with a side Russian leg sweep at 6:06:

A switcheroo is played on Landel and Cornette as the Avenger that comes to the ring has a much better physique than the skinny guy who played the role last week.  The Avenger unmasks when they get to the ring to reveal Brad Armstrong, coming to SMW by way of WCW, which released him as part of the company’s downsizing in May.  According to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer on May 15, Armstrong’s release may have also been tied to a failed drug test.  Whatever the reason, Armstrong was popular in the Tennessee area and was a national name.  He started his career in Southeastern Championship Wrestling in 1980 and became a major talent in Georgia Championship Wrestling and Mid-South Wrestling later in the decade.  When Jim Crockett bought out Bill Watts’ operations, Armstrong made the jump and occupied a lower midcard role, wrestling under a variety of gimmicks like the Candyman, Arachnaman (a Spiderman ripoff gimmick that WCW had to eliminate due to copyright infringement), and Badstreet.  When WCW started a light heavyweight division in 1991, Armstrong got a new lease on life in a non-gimmick capacity and won the belt from Scotty Flamingo in 1992.  However, WCW killed off the division and Armstrong did not do much afterward.

Thatcher recognizes Armstrong’s past role in WCW, saying that he left the company to come to SMW and avenge his father.  Armstrong tears into Landel, but ends up in a figure-four leg lock two minutes in.  Unlike his brother Steve he does not submit, but that sequence appears improvised as a miscommunication occurs with a bodyslam-small package spot.  Landel works an armbar, but Armstrong fights out and applies a sleeper, prompting Cornette to get on the apron.  Armstrong knocks him off the apron, causing Cornette’s tennis racquet to fly into the ring.  Landel tries to use it, but Armstrong ducks and catches Landel with a side Russian leg sweep to prevail.  When Cornette tries to attack after the match, Armstrong knocks him out of the ring to stand tall.  The awkward submission work in the middle weighed the match down.  And while this finish gives Landel a zillion excuses, beating him and bringing his record closer to .500 hardly positions him as a strong heel champion who can draw.  Rating:  *½

Armstrong says that he is glad to be in Smoky Mountain because that is where his heart is.  He says by beating Landel he is showing everyone that he is now the man to beat in SMW.  Armstrong had good babyface fire here, but he was winded after the match and that hurt the flow of the promo.

After recapping the Randy Hales-Mark Curtis interaction on last week’s show, Curtis does a taped promo and hypes a July 15 match with Hales as part of the Summer Blast tour.

Thatcher interviews Hales, who hypes himself as a karate expert.  Despite his skinny frame, he says that he has been working the weights his entire life.  He threatens to buyout SMW and bring some real talent into the area.  Hales has an awkward speaking style, but he did a great job being an outrageously delusional heel here.

Thatcher talks with the Rock N’ Roll Express.  They bring the tape recorder they showed off on last week’s episode.  Commissioner Bob Armstrong comes to the ring with the Dynamic Duo, presenting the Express with a writ of habeas corpus to get back the recorder before it can be played.  That is an interesting use of the incorrect legal terminology.  The Duo are happy to get their property back, but Armstrong orders the Duo to defend the titles against the Express on July 15 in Knoxville, Tennessee because they have to defend them every thirty days.  To quell Al Snow’s outage over Armstrong’s decision, Ricky Morton says that if the Express do not beat the Duo that they will leave SMW.  Under those terms, the Duo agree to give the Express a title match.

After showing the ending of the Buddy Landel-Steve Armstrong match on last week’s show, Steve delivers a taped promo that hypes a match on July 15 with the Punisher, who was responsible for costing him his match against Landel.

Thatcher interviews Jim Cornette, Landel, and the Punisher.  Cornette says that Tommy Rich is coming to SMW to be part of his Militia faction.  A video shows Rich giving an intense promo, yelling about how Cornette is paying him good money to come in and the babyfaces of the promotion do not intimidate him.  Cornette notes that on July 15 in Knoxville that Landel will wipe out Brad Armstrong.  Landel vows to make Armstrong sip his food out of a straw.  He says he only lost to Armstrong earlier in the show because he had a 200-degree fever.

Terry Gordy (w/Jim Cornette & the Punisher) pins Lee Thomas after a powerbomb at 1:30:

Gordy broke into the business in the Cleveland-based International Wrestling Association at the age of fourteen in 1975 and then formed the famous Fabulous Freebirds faction with Michael Hayes in 1979.  The group would achieve fame in Memphis, Mid-South, and World Class, with the Freebirds drawing big money against the Von Erich family in the latter company during the 1980s.  Gordy also made a big name for himself in All Japan Pro Wrestling, winning the Triple Crown Championship twice and teaming with Steve Williams as part of the Miracle Violence Connection.  He and Williams came to the United States in 1992 when Bill Watts ran WCW, winning the WCW and NWA tag team titles.  By 1995, Gordy’s best years in the wrestling business were behind him due to suffering permanent brain damage after he overdosed on pain medication in 1993.  Despite his limitations, he still tried to mount a comeback and after working for the USWA and Global, he arrived in Eastern Tennessee.  Gordy struggles through the squash, throwing some awkward clotheslines and then struggling to steady Thomas after he lifts him up for his powerbomb finisher.  He still has good presence, though, and SMW desperately needs that.

After the match, Gordy and the Punisher beat on Thomas until Boo Bradley and Steve Armstrong make the save.

It is announced that at The Super Bowl of Wrestling in Knoxville on August 4 NWA World Champion Dan Severn will defend his title.  Also, the WWF Intercontinental Champion will face the SMW Champion.  And the USWA Tag Team Championship will be on the line.

Thatcher talks with Commissioner Armstrong, who announces that Boo Bradley will wrestle Terry Gordy on next week’s show.  He adds some extra hype for The Super Bowl of Wrestling.

The Headbangers cut a taped promo where they forget their own names.  Thrasher puts them over once again as the team of the 1990s as Mosh smashes his head into a locker multiple times.  Based on what we know today about head injuries, that might be why these men cannot remember who they are.

The THUGS (3-1) defeat Killer Kyle & D’Lo Brown when the Dirty White Boy pins Brown after heel miscommunication at 5:24:

It seems strange to have Boo Bradley squash Brown last week if SMW wanted to feature him in a main event the next as all that does is make the THUGS look weak by comparison.  Brown flies all over the place to try to sustain the crowd’s interest, but his frog splash allows the White Boy to get to the hot tag.  When all hell breaks loose, Kyle holds Tracy Smothers in place for a flying clothesline but heel miscommunication results, allowing the White Boy to schoolboy Brown for the win.  This match was rushed and the babyfaces never seemed in real danger of losing.  Rating:  *½

After the match, Kyle argues with Brown, but nothing comes of it.

Thatcher talks with the THUGS.  They say they want the Dynamic Duo’s tag team titles.

Tune in next week to see Boo Bradley collide with Terry Gordy!

The Last Word:  Brad Armstrong’s arrival finally gives the company a credible top babyface that could win the SMW Championship and draw some money.  This television taping is doing a good job building new feuds and thereby strengthening the midcard, something the promotion has struggled with since February.

SMW ran several high school venues in Kentucky and Virginia during this week of its history.  Here were the results of some of those cards, courtesy of prowrestlinghistory.com:

Jenkins, Kentucky – Jenkins High School Football Field – June 22, 1995 (450):  Boo Bradley pinned Killer Kyle…Steve Armstrong beat SMW Champion Buddy Landel via disqualification…The THUGS beat the Headbangers…The Rock N’ Roll Express defeated SMW Tag Team Champions the Dynamic Duo in a non-title match.

Bland, Virginia – Bland High School – June 24, 1995 (250):  Boo Bradley beat Killer Kyle…SMW Champion Buddy Landel pinned Steve Armstrong…Tracy Smothers & Bobby Blayze beat the Headbangers when Smothers pinned Mosh…The Rock N’ Roll Express beat Buddy Landel & Unabom.

Backstage News*:        Matches that are scheduled for The Super Bowl of Wrestling on August 4 include Chris Benoit against Al Snow, Shawn Michaels (who is likely to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Jeff Jarrett at In Your House II) against Buddy Landel, NWA Champion Dan Severn against Bobby Blayze, Brad Armstrong facing whomever is the USWA Unified World Champion, USWA Tag Team Champions PG-13 defending the titles against either the Rock N’ Roll Express or the THUGS (with the other team probably facing the Headbangers), the Undertaker vs. Unabom, and Tommy Rich and Terry Gordy facing Boo Bradley and a mystery partner.

*The Gangstas got a lot of heat for the way they left the promotion because they were supposed to stay until the first week of July.  However, sources allege that they were complaining to others about payoffs.

*SMW is planning to do a combined show with the USWA in Louisville on August 8.  Ron Wright will be honored at Fire on the Mountain, which is scheduled to take place in Johnson City, Tennessee on August 12.

*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for July 3.

Up Next:  Smoky Mountain TV for July 1!