While Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW) was a nostalgic look at wrestling’s past, the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) stubbornly fought for its existence, casting itself as a major promotion that was on the same level as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) or World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Based in Memphis, Tennessee, a classic wrestling hotbed and arguably the only place to successfully fend off Vince McMahon’s territorial expansion in the 1980s, the USWA was created from a merger of the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) and World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) in 1989. The promotion tried to run shows along the East Mississippi and Texas in the early 1990s, but the venture proved unsuccessful. By the middle of the decade the USWA was back to running its weekly shows in towns such as Louisville, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana, as well as holding weekly supercards on Monday nights at the Memphis Coliseum. These events were heavily promoted on USWA TV, filmed at the WMC-TV 5 studio in Memphis. While that may have made USWA TV seem second rate, the company had a talented core with owners and bookers Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler, as well as announcers Lance Russell and Dave Brown (who had a full-time gig as WMC-TV 5’s meteorologist). They were supplemented by older territory stars such as Tommy Rich, Doug Gilbert, and Bill Dundee and a crop of new talent that included Lawler’s son Brian Christopher, PG-13, and wrestlers that the WWF and WCW sent for seasoning as the USWA had a working agreement with both.
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.
–Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan are doing their usual studio duties for today’s show. As the show opens, Heenan is on the telephone with an individual he refuses to name.
–Okerlund and Heenan plays pogs, with Okerlund winning everything that Heenan had.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING TV – SEPTEMBER 19TH, 1992
– Last week on SMW TV… The Dirty White Boy defended his SMW Heavyweight Title against “top contender” Newton Steffey, but it was revealed as a sham when the name he pulled was really Tim Horner’s… The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express assisted Dixie Dy-No-Mite and Danny Davis in upsetting The Stud Stable and have been granted a random title opportunity from Jim Cornette himself. If you don’t smell something fishy, I don’t know what to tell you… Someone is still out for Brian Lee’s blood, having sent a 2nd letter to Commissioner Bob Armstrong… Paul Orndorff and Ronne Garvin still hate each other, nothing is resolved, lather, rinse, repeat.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING TV – SEPTEMBER 12TH, 1992
– Last week on SMW TV… The Heavenly Bodies defeated The Fantastics to become the 2-time SMW Tag Team Champions when Jim Cornette assaulted Bobby Fulton with an ether-soaked rag. Whoops, sorry, he was treating a cut and that no-good alcoholic passed out in the ring. The win not only netted them the Tag Team gold but saved Mama Cornette’s $20,000 as well… Brian Lee’s been attacked again, but now we find out through an anonymous letter that the (games)master behind the attacks will reveal himself in due time. I think that hint gave it away, but it’s a reference that’s 30+ years old, so maybe it’ll jump over the heads of my readers… Tim Horner still wants a title shot, Dirty White Boy thinks Tim Horner is a bum, and the Piledriver War wages on between Mr. Wonderful and the Hands of Stone.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING TV – SEPTEMBER 5TH, 1992
– Last week on SMW TV… The contract is signed, and the stipulations are confirmed: The Fantastics defend the Tag Team Titles against former Champions, The Heavenly Bodies, where there will be No DQ’s, and the winning team takes home $20,000, courtesy the bank account of Mama Cornette. Oh, and Jim Cornette’s tennis racket is barred from ringside… The Dirty White Boy continues to be a fighting Champion, drawing “Nitro” Danny Davis’ name from a hat and barely getting by him after using a foreign object. Paul Orndorff and Ronnie Garvin still hate each other and are threatening to cripple the other with a piledriver. In the TV Main Event, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and Stud Stable fought to a Double Disqualification, prolonging their rivalry.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING TV – AUGUST 29TH, 1992
– Last week on SMW TV… The saga surrounding Brian Lee continues, as we found out there’s a $10,000 bounty on his head, as well as a second attack from the mysterious (and yet to be named) Mongolian Mauler… Jim Cornette offered $10,000 of his mama’s cash for the Fantastics to give them their rematch ASAP, but was turned down… Paul Orndorff and Ronnie Garvin wrestled another non-finish with the Piledriver as the center-piece of the match….The Dirty White Boy is offering a title shot to anyone who wants one, except Tim Horner, because he doesn’t deserve it, obviously… The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and Stud Stable are on a collision course and scheduled to meet this week.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING TV – AUGUST 22ND, 1992
– Last week on SMW TV, we got a detailed recap of all the big happenings at Fire on the Mountain, including Brian Lee being attacked by a mysterious man that looked like a Genie. The only new content from last week featured Tim Horner issuing a challenge for the SMW Heavyweight Title, and the Dirty White Boy successfully defending the title against Dixie Dy-No-Mite, with a little bit of help from the dastardly Killer Kyle.
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING TV – August 15th, 1992
– Last time on SMW TV, we covered the “Fire on the Mountain” Super Card that took place on August 8th, 1992 from the Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City, TN. It’s been a while since we’ve covered some Smoky Mountain Wrestling. In the last recap I published, I noted there might be a delay in the follow-up episodes due to Hurricane Irma, and yes, for a couple of weeks, I did lose electricity, and doing recaps was the furthest from my mind. At the same time, I found out my fiancée and I were expecting our first child together, and suddenly my time to watch wrestling has dwindled. I continued to do projects elsewhere, but the coverage of SMW went quiet… until now. Due to unpopular demand, we shall pick up where we left off, almost 16 months ago, as we cover the fallout from Fire on the Mountain. Hopefully another natural disaster doesn’t interfere with things.
by Logan Scisco
tells Owen Hart not to mess with their business and Triple H says that Shawn
Michaels will have a message about the Undertaker’s family later tonight.
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are broadcasting from Penn
State University. This is the fifth
anniversary of RAW being on the USA Network.
Four Corner Contest: The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat The Godwinns, The Headbangers, and
Sniper & Recon when Billy Gunn pins Phineas after hitting him with a
foreign object at 4:12:
crowd’s skin, since Florida defeated Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. This is not under elimination rules, so the
first team that gets a fall wins. In a
nice spot, all of the teams pound away on the Outlaws when they get into the
ring, so the tag team champions bail. I
never understand why teams bother to tag out in these matches since tagging in
another team prohibits you from registering a pin or a submission to win. The crowd really gets on the Outlaws case,
working up a large “We are Penn State!” chant and going wild for the attacks by
other teams on them. The ending makes
zero sense as the other two teams see Gunn hit Phineas with a foreign object,
but sit on the apron and let the referee count the fall. Finish aside, I’ll give this a point because
of the crowd. Rating: *¾ (1 for 1)
hypes the Legion of Doom, who will face the New Age Outlaws for the tag team
titles at the Royal Rumble. The Legion
of Doom have not been on television since the Outlaws attacked them a month ago
and shaved Hawk’s mohawk and powerbombed Animal through a table.
up to the arena in his pickup truck as the crowd goes crazy.
shown being tended to in the back by WWF officials because Austin attacked them
during the commercial break.
Austin, who complains that he won the Royal Rumble last year “fair and square”
and didn’t get credit for it. He has an
awesome line in this interview by saying that Vince McMahon might own the ring,
but if a wrestler dares get into it he is going to make sure they get tossed
out of it. Austin takes a pen from Cole
and draws a target on his chest to let everyone in the locker room know how to
find him. Great short interview. 2
Celebrity Death Match on a house show is shown.
arena in their limo, but a WWF production truck is blocking the car entrance,
so they have to get out and walk around it.
Match: Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) defeats
Lance Diamond & Joey Cicero at 2:26:
was engaged in a lengthy feud with Cheetah Master. He won the ECWA’s Super 8 Torurnament in 1998
as well. Kurrgan has to defeat both men to
win this handicap match, which he accomplishes with ease. Kurrgan finishes Diamond off with the
Paralyzer and pins Cicero after a suplex.
After the match, Kurrgan tears apart a Penn State football helmet for
some cheap heat. This was a good squash
and it effectively disguised Kurrgan’s weaknesses. If this was the 1980s Kurrgan would have had
a token feud with Hulk Hogan. The Jackyl’s
commentary also made it tolerable. 3 for 3
Hart is shown attacking Triple H in DX’s limo, but Shawn Michaels and Chyna
jump in and the limo drives off.
Marc Mero (w/Goldust) by disqualification at 3:10:
Sable, but the mic is not working and Mero doesn’t know it, so he talks in
silence until Sable’s music hits.
However, instead of Sable coming out it is the Artist Formerly Known as
Goldust dressed like Sable. Ross loses
his mind about all of this. In the
middle of the match, Sable predictably comes out and kicks Goldust in the
thigh. Mero gets her to leave, but this
lets Vader recover from a low blow.
However, after he hits a Vader Bomb, Goldust hits him in the back of the
head with a coconut and that draws the disqualification. There was not a lot of in-ring action in this
one, but the extracurriculars made it entertaining. Rating: *¾ (4 for 4)
hype the house show circuit.
arena in their limo, but where’s Owen?
pushing Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble is the 1-800-COLLECT Slam of
pain in his locker room, a victim of Steve Austin’s rampage.
& Mark Henry wrestle The Rock & D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) to a no
contest at 3:08:
attack at the hands of the Nation of Domination on Shotgun Saturday Night two
weeks ago and Ken Shamrock made the save before too much damage could be
done. Henry is wearing a “Rocky sucks”
t-shirt and the Rock pledges to rip it off of him before the end of the match. Shamrock wrestles the entire match, which
gives away where this is going, and sure enough, one Shamrock puts the Rock in
an ankle lock, Henry turns on Shamrock and helps the Nation destroy him in the
middle of the ring. The Rock plants
Shamrock with a Rock Bottom and Henry does the three count and then rips off
the “Rocky Sucks” t-shirt to reveal a Nation of Domination t-shirt. Great pacing to this match while it lasted
and Henry’s beatdown on Shamrock looked devastating. Rating: ** (5 for 5)
to get all three “Faces of Foley” t-shirts for $49.99 (plus $9 shipping). If you only want one of them they will cost
you $25 each (plus $8 shipping and handling)!
recap Mark Henry’s heel turn. Backstage,
the Nation of Domination is interviewed by Cole and the Rock tells Faarooq that
he recruited Henry for him and just wants him to be grateful.
hour two, Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in charge of the announcing
Triple H says that Owen Hart got dumped into a sewer and then makes lewd
comments toward sorority girls on Penn State’s campus. Shawn Michaels warns Mike Tyson to stay out
of his business at the Royal Rumble.
Before Michaels can talk about Kane, Owen appears on the Titantron with
his face scratched and bloody and he says that he is going to make DX’s life
hell. Triple H dares Owen to come out
and Owen does, but WWF officials intercede before he can get to the ring. This segment was going somewhere, but when
Owen got involved it fell apart. That’s
not an indictment of him, but this would have been better served having
Michaels get to his bit about Kane. 5 for 6
8-Ball beat The Rock N’ Roll Express (w/Jim Cornette) by disqualification at
surreal seeing Cornette working in tandem with the Rock N’ Roll Express. The Express get the Rockers old theme music,
which does not fit at all. The crowd
doesn’t care because this is the Northeast, so it comes off like the Smokey
Mountain tag team title match that was held at the 1993 Survivor Series. Skull & 8-Ball use their power to
dominate the action and Cornette tries to run in and nail 8-Ball with his
tennis racket, but gets caught by the referee and that produces a
disqualification. Cornette eats a right
hand for Skull, but the Express do a small beatdown on the members of the
Disciples of Apocalypse before Chainz makes the save. This was largely
forgettable. 5 for 7
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the rumors that Hulk Hogan will be in the Royal
Rumble. I never recall hearing this
rumor around this time.
shown walking around the grounds of Beaver Stadium and he recaps his death
match battles with Terry Funk in Japan.
He says that Funk’s idea to call himself Chainsaw Charlie might be
silly, but it was his choice to take on that gimmick and they just want to
brutalize the New Age Outlaws.
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 25
and is dressed like Dude Love. Mankind
quickly puts Goldust in the Mandible Claw, but Steve Austin runs out and gives
both men Stunners before giving a “hell yeah” into Jim Ross’s microphone.
appears on the Titantron and is booed.
McMahon says that Mike Tyson has been invited to the Royal Rumble and
will be on Raw next week where he anticipates a special announcement will be
cheerleader garb to do guest ring announcer duties.
Jesus beat Taka Michinoku & Scott Taylor when Jesus pins Taylor after a
reverse superplex at 4:36:
admit that he likes younger women except when he has to drop them off at
school. Ross is not sure how to play
that so he just goes along with calling the match. After watching a good chunk of Michinoku’s
matches from this period, I have to come to the conclusion that he has one of
the best bumps off of a powerbomb that I have ever seen. The light heavyweights go to the air one too
many times near the end of this encounter, as Savio catches Michinoku’s
moonsault attempt on the floor and slams him and Taylor gets crotched and
finished with a reverse superplex. That
ending sequence was awesome and this is why tag team wrestling can easily fill
TV time. Rating: **½ (6 for 8)
flashback to Bam Bam Bigelow pushed Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
segment is Shawn Michaels winning the 1995 Royal Rumble.
to be interviewed by Cole. Michaels
introduces Kane as the next member of DX, but the Undertaker comes out instead
and tells Michaels to leave his family out of their feud. This is the segment where the Undertaker
chokes Michaels out of nowhere, which is a clip Botchamania uses a lot. The Undertaker then goes to chokeslam Chyna,
but before he can do that all members of DX beat him down. The light go out and Kane’s music hits and
the crowd goes crazy as Kane gets in the ring and makes the save. After the Undertaker recovers, Kane and the
Undertaker exchange their unique “one knee, hand to the air” salute. Have I mentioned that the booking of this
whole Kane-Undertaker issue is awesome? 7 for 9
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest! It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
the Royal Rumble is next, but since there is very little time left it is
doubtful whether any drawing will take place.
Chaos unfolds when Ken Shamrock comes in and attacks Mark Henry and
Goldust and Vader start going at it. The
Honky Tonk Man comes out, signaling that he will be in the Royal Rumble match. Steve Austin’s music hits and everyone wants
a piece of him, but Austin comes out from the crowd and gives Phineas Godwinn a
Stone Cold Stunner and then tries to leave.
As most of the superstars brawl in the ring, the Rock, Savio Vega, and
D-Lo Brown attack him to play us out.
Not really a great take home segment, but it was important to show
Austin with some vulnerability heading into the pay-per-view. 7
going to get long main event matches, but entertaining segments and wild
behavior makes up for that. Goldust’s
antics continue to get wilder and the Rock is really coming into his own on the
microphone and in the ring. The winner
of the Royal Rumble is pretty clear since they really have not given any other
participant much billing, but the casket match for the WWF title has some
intriguing scenarios now that Kane’s loyalties appear to be with his brother
against D-Generation X.