What the World Was Watching: Smoky Mountain TV – January 7, 1995

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.

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