What the World Was Watching: Smoky Mountain TV – September 16, 1995

Chip Kessler and Les Thatcher are doing commentary and they are finally kicking off a new set of television tapings at the Cookeville Community Center in Cookeville, Tennessee.  According to prowrestlinghistory.com, the tapings took place on September 5 and drew 400 fans.

Opening Contest:  The THUGS (9-3) defeat Killer Kyle & Larry Santo when Tracy Smothers pins Santo after a double Bucksnort Blaster at 2:41:

Kyle’s stock in the promotion crashed after the Gangstas left and he lost a feud to Boo Bradley.  Here he gets to go toe-to-toe with Tracy Smothers before tagging Santo to take a long, methodical beating from the THUGS.  A sloppy double big boot knocks Kyle out of the picture and the THUGS use a double Bucksnort Blaster to win their tenth match of the year.

After replaying the THUGS beating of the Heavenly Bodies after Fire on the Mountain, Thatcher interviews the THUGS.  The Dirty White Boy admits that he aimed to break Dr. Tom Prichard’s leg in that attack, justifying his actions by saying that Jim Cornette started using dirty tricks first.  Smothers blames the loss at The Super Bowl of Wrestling on emotional distress.

Commissioner Bob Armstrong announces that he is disgusted by Cornette’s Militia beating of Buddy Landel in Barbourville, Kentucky, and the THUGS beating of the Bodies.  As a result, the Punisher, Terry Gordy, Tommy Rich, Jim Cornette, and each member of the THUGS are fined $1,000 that will come out of their future paychecks.  He also announces two new rules.  First, any wrestler striking a referee during a match will receive a $250 fine.  And second, any wrestler bringing a deadly weapon to the ring will receive a $500 fine.  With regards to the last rule, Armstrong says that includes his baseball bat.

Thatcher interviews SMW Tag Team Champions the Heavenly Bodies, Jim Cornette, and the Punisher.  Each member of the Bodies has a tag team title belt, so Cornette either had another one made or received it back from Ricky Morton.  Cornette points to Dr. Tom Prichard’s right boot that he says is specially made to fix his broken ankle.  The boot has a special color since it is silver, and Prichard’s other boot is black.  Each member of the Bodies puts over Prichard’s resilience, which is so over the top it clues the audience in that this injury is exaggerated.

Non-Title Match:  The Heavenly Bodies (SMW Tag Team Champions w/Jim Cornette & the Punisher) (2-1-1) defeat Ron Davis & Chris Michaels when Dr. Tom Prichard pins Davis after hitting him with a loaded boot at 3:56:

The point of this match is to get over the Bodies new loaded boot gimmick.  Thatcher hints at it when the match starts and then explains it to the audience for the finish.  Michaels puts up a good fight, distinguishing him as the better member of the team, but like the first match on today’s show his partner allows things to fall apart.  The Bodies have a wonderful variety of double team moves but this squash makes them look worthless because the jobbers keep getting up after them.

Al Snow complains about how hard things have been in SMW over the last few months.  He claims that SMW Champion Brad Armstrong brings people together because they hate his title reign so much, going as far as to say that Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff have urged him to go after the title.  Snow says that if he comes up short against Armstrong in today’s main event that he will leave SMW.

Chip Kessler kicks off a new segment called “Kessler’s Corner” and interviews Buddy Landel.  Landel says Jim Cornette hated that he was his own man.  He warns Cornette that in comparison with his fight against drugs and alcohol, kicking his ass will be easy.

Thatcher talks with Jim Cornette, Tommy Rich, and the Punisher.  Rich repeats his argument that Landel is jealous of him because Landel’s parents liked him more and Rich is a former NWA World Champion.  Cornette argues that Landel will be lost without his guidance.  After insulting Landel’s wife, Landel interrupts the segment and hits the Punisher several times with a chair.  Commissioner Bob Armstrong jerks the chair away from Landel, but tells him that he will pay his $500 fine because he respects Landel for the beating he took in Barborville, Kentucky.

Robert Gibson tells Thatcher that he is searching for a new tag team partner.  He says he was impressed by Chris Michaels earlier in the show and requested that they get a tag team title shot against the Heavenly Bodies.  Commissioner Bob Armstrong agreed, so that sets up a match for next week’s show.

Terry Gordy and Jim Cornette talk about how the SMW Championship belongs to Gordy.  Dropping bombs must have been the “it” thing to say in 1995 because 2 Cold Scorpio was echoing that rhetoric in ECW.

SMW Championship Match:  Brad Armstrong (Champion) (10-1) beats Al Snow (2-5-1) after a side Russian leg sweep at 8:41:

Snow gets no Militia support for this match.  He also gets no entrance, boding ill for his chances against the champion today.  Although both men are technically proficient, this is a disappointing, run of the mill television main event that carries a slow, disjointed pace.  Terry Gordy comes to the ringside area, carrying Armstrong’s SMW title belt.  Armstrong does a weird block of a Snow springboard move, setting up the Russian leg sweep finish.  Snow’s promise to quit SMW is forgotten about by the announcers as SMW officials pour into the ring and separate Armstrong and Gordy, with the latter eventually tossing Armstrong his championship belt.  Rating:  **

Thatcher interviews an enraged Armstrong, who says he is happy to face Gordy anytime.

Tune in next week to see the Heavenly Bodies defend the SMW Tag Team Championship against Robert Gibson & Chris Michaels!  Also, the Punisher faces Boo Bradley!

The Last Word:  The main event was a disappointment as Snow never seemed to be on the verge of winning the SMW Championship from Armstrong.  This marked the end of his SMW run as he would head to the WWF and wrestle under a mask as Avatar.  That gimmick would be short-lived and he would reappear on WWF television as Leif Cassidy, Marty Jannetty’s partner in the New Rockers tag team, in 1996.  Snow’s departure – in a list of many – is starting to give SMW headaches since they cannot plug the acts with suitable replacements.  Aside from Terry Gordy the heel side of the roster is weak, creating problems for Buddy Landel’s new babyface push.

SMW continued to do pretty good business at local fairs, getting a great gate in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Bookending that show were cards in North Carolina and Morristown, Tennessee that drew smaller crowds.  Here were the results of those shows, courtesy of prowrestlinghistory.com:

Hickory, North Carolina – Neal Clark Gym – September 14, 1995 (175):       Robert Gibson pinned Killer Kyle…SMW Champion Brad Armstrong pinned Al Snow…Buddy Landel wrestled Tommy Rich to a double disqualification…SMW Tag Team Champions the Heavenly Bodies beat the THUGS.

Knoxville, Tennessee – Tennessee Valley Fair – September 15, 1995 (2,500): Chris Michaels & Flash Flanagan beat the Headbangers…Butch Cassidy pinned Bad Boy Bully…Robert Gibson beat Al Snow…Tommy Rich wrestled Buddy Landel to a double count out…Brad Armstrong defeated Terry Gordy via disqualification…SMW Tag Team Champions the Heavenly Bodies beat the THUGS.

Morristown, Tennessee – Talley Ward Recreational Center – September 16, 1995 (275):      Robert Gibson pinned Al Snow…SMW Champion Brad Armstrong defeated Terry Gordy via disqualification…SMW Tag Team Champions the Heavenly Bodies beat the THUGS…Tommy Rich wrestled Buddy Landel to a double count out.

Backstage News*:        In local promos for the Saltville, Virginia market Tracy Smothers called out Ricky Morton, who lives in the area.

*There have been rumors that Jim Cornette might align SMW with the NWA, but Cornette is saying those rumors are founded on a simple discussion he had with friends Dennis Coraluzzo and Howard Brody.  Cornette also put down rumors that he would only join the NWA if Brad Armstrong was made NWA Champion instead of Dan Severn, although he admitted that Severn is limited in his role as champion because not a lot of people can credibly challenge him or take the title.  Severn also has the limitation of only being able to work an amateur-like match, which was on display in his matches against Bobby Blayze at Charlotte Memories and The Super Bowl of Wrestling.

*In talent relations news, SMW might bring in Koji Kitao of Japan’s Wrestle Association-R promotion for a swing through Ohio in mid-October.

*Backstage news is courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for September 25.

Up Next:  Smoky Mountain TV for September 23!