While Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) paved the road for wrestling’s future by the end of the decade, Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW) was a product yearning for the past. Started by former Midnight Express manager and Louisville native Jim Cornette, and bankrolled by record producer Rick Rubin, in 1991, SMW billed itself as “professional wrestling like it used to be and the way you like it.” Running shows in the Appalachian areas of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas, the promotion’s presentation and booking mirrored the territory days, with a traditional babyface-heel alignment and the adoption of Southern wrestling customs like disqualifications for wrestlers who tossed their opponents over the top rope. SMW relied on older NWA talents to boost houses, reviving the careers of the Rock N’ Roll Express and Buddy Landel, but it also became a haven for new acts that would later make their mark in the big time as Chris Jericho, Chris Candido, Tammy Sytch, Boo Bradley (the future Balls Mahoney), D’Lo Brown, the Gangstas, Lance Storm, and Unabomb (the future Kane) spent time in the company.
While the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) were locked in a fight for national supremacy for much of 1995, a renegade promotion based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania built a cult-like following. Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) relished challenging wrestling’s norms and conventions. When Jim Crockett sought to revive the prestige of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1994, ECW star Shane Douglas threw the title on the canvas in disgust after winning it in a tournament final against 2 Cold Scorpio. While the WWF tried to tone down violence in its product by not allowing the use of chairs or ladders as weapons, ECW encouraged its brawlers to put each other through tables and use weapons liberally. And whereas WCW sought to take wrestling back to the 1980s with a revival of Hulkamania, ECW’s owner and booker Paul Heyman – known at this time by his television name Paul E. Dangerously – tapped into the 1990s Jerry Springer-like zeitgeist with risqué storylines and promos that featured colorful language.
After a bit of a delay this year, the Blog of Doom has cast its votes for the best (and worst) wrestlers and moments of 2019.
I included the top three finishers for each category below, but if you wish to see the entire spreadsheet and how many first place, second place, and/or third place a choice received, go to this link:
Keep in mind that not all voters cast a ballot with three choices for each category and some voters did not vote for certain categories (everyone voted for Wrestler of the Year, though). Participation in Doomie voting was down for the second straight year, with twenty-three ballots cast versus thirty-nine last year (and fifty-three two years ago).
There were no new bouts on WCW Prime, so we head to WCW Pro with Chris Cruise, Dusty Rhodes, and Larry Zbyszko doing commentary. They announce that Ric Flair is the new world champion.
Note the typo on the video cassette box, which says “1996” instead of “1995.” I guess this goes in the “because WCW” category?
–Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes are doing commentary and they are live from Nashville, Tennessee. Heenan appears to have put aside his complaints about working with Dusty, which drove him from WCW Saturday Night earlier in the year.
If you have not already, do not forget to vote for the Doomies.
–Eric Bischoff, Steve McMichael, and Bobby Heenan are in the booth for this Christmas edition of Monday Nitro and they are taped from Augusta, Georgia. This is also the go-home show for Starrcade, which takes place in two days.
If you have not already, do not forget to vote for the Doomies.
–Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan handle studio duties for the last Main Event episode of 1995 to feature new matches.
I hope that everyone is having a great Super Bowl weekend. After getting through a busy January, the Doomies are taking place a little later than previous years but we will hold them again to measure the best and worst of the wrestling world. Ballot information is included after the jump.
We will be debuting some new categories this year per people’s requests from last year. These will include votes for best/worst commentator, a new category for best Blog column that is not written by Scott (although Scott’s columns are still eligible for Column of the Year), and a renaming of the “Poster of the Year” category to “Commenter of the Year” because there was confusion over the last few years about whether the former referred to people who post columns here. Voting information is included after a brief history of the awards:
–Tony Schiavone and Dusty Rhodes in the booth and they are taped from Atlanta, Georgia. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, these matches took place on November 29 and 30.
–Schiavone announces that Hulk Hogan has been suspended from WCW because of his actions on Monday Nitro.
WCW Prime for December 18 featured a couple of original bouts, with Chris Cruise and Dusty Rhodes on commentary. They are sporting Santa hats for the show.
–Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, and Steve McMichael are in the booth and they are live from Augusta, Georgia. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, 8,100 fans attended the show, with 3,000 paying to do so.
–Madusa interrupts the announce crew, holding the WWF Women’s Championship. She says she will always be Madusa and she dumps the WWF Women’s title in the trash can. The promo was terrible, but this was a HUGE shock at the time since Madusa had just competed at Survivor Series weeks earlier and plans called her for to face Aja Kong at the Royal Rumble. This incident had long-term ramifications too as Vince McMahon feared Bret Hart would do the same to the WWF title if he retained at the 1997 Survivor Series, thereby leading to the Montreal Screwjob. Also, the WWF would not restart its women’s division until 1998. WCW would attempt to create its own women’s division with Madusa as a centerpiece, but it never worked out.
–Tony Schiavone and Dusty Rhodes are calling tonight’s action and they are taped from Atlanta, Georgia. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, these matches took place on November 29.
–Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are in the booth and they are taped from Orlando, Florida.
Note: Sorry about missing Friday’s column. I was down with the flu near the end of last week and am on the mend. I will be posting information about the Doomie’s at the end of this week.
WCW Prime on December 11 featured a new bout, with Chris Cruise and Dusty Rhodes calling the action.
–Eric Bischoff, Steve McMichael, and Bobby Heenan are in the booth and they are live from Charlotte, North Carolina. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, 4,500 fans attended the show, with 3,900 fans paying for tickets.
–Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan handle today’s studio duties. Okerlund implies that Heenan’s new suit came from Sonny Onoo.
–Tony Schiavone and Dusty Rhodes are in the booth and they are taped from Atlanta, Georgia. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, these shows were taped on November 16 and 29 at Center Stage.
–Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are doing commentary and they are taped from Orlando, Florida.
WCW Prime for December 4 featured a few new matches that will be recapped before WCW Pro.
–Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, and Steve McMichael are in the booth and they are live from Phoenix, Arizona. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew 9,000 fans, 3,000 of whom paid.
–Bischoff announces that the WCW Executive Committee decided forty-eight minutes ago that Hulk Hogan, the Giant, and Ric Flair are all on probation and if they do something wrong, they could be indefinitely suspended.