Smoky Mountain Wrestling: Wikis

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Smoky Mountain Wrestling
Acronym SMW
Founded October 1991
Defunct December 1995
Style Rasslin'
Headquarters Knoxville/Morristown, Tennessee
Founder(s) Jim Cornette
Tim Horner
Stan Lane
Sandy Scott
Owner(s) Jim Cornette

Smoky Mountain Wrestling was a professional wrestling promotion that held events in the Appalachian area of the United States from October 1991 to December 1995, when it was run by Jim Cornette. The promotion was based in Knoxville, Tennessee, with offices in Morristown, Tennessee.

Contents

History and overview

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Formation

Cornette formed the promotion in October 1991 upon leaving World Championship Wrestling with Stan Lane, one half of the legendary Midnight Express, Tim Horner and Sandy Scott. The promotion was backed financially by music producer Rick Rubin.[1] The first events and TV tapings were held in October and November 1991. Matches from these shows were first shown in February 1992. The first Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Champion, "Primetime" Brian Lee, won the championship in a tournament held at Volunteer Slam on May 22, 1992, in Knoxville, TN. The first Smoky Mountain Tag Team Champions were crowned in a tournament final on April 23, 1992, in Harrogate, TN, when The Heavenly Bodies defeated The Fantastics.

Territorial reach

Cornette had initially envisioned a territory reaching from Kentucky into as far as South Carolina and Georgia. Though they did eventually run events over that large of a region, including a few shows at the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta, Georgia, the promotion's biggest towns included Knoxville, TN, and Johnson City, TN. SMW event tours also included high school gyms and fairs in cities such as Morristown, TN; Pikeville, KY; Beckley, WV; Paintsville, KY; East Ridge, TN; Lenoir, NC; Cleveland, TN; Saltville, VA; and Bluefield, WV.

Notable talent

The promotion featured some of the most popular wrestlers in wrestling and served as a platform for young talent, including Bob Holly, New Jack, Al Snow, Balls Mahoney, Chris Jericho, Glenn Jacobs (aka Kane), Lance Storm, Chris Candido, Tammy Lynn Sytch, Brian Gerard James (B.G. James / The Road Dogg) and D'Lo Brown, but ultimately like most independents was not financially successful. Cornette eventually signed a working agreement with the WWF to trade talent, manage and serve as an on-air talent for that company.

Brian Hildebrand was a Smoky Mountain mainstay, occupying such myriad roles as Head of Merchandise, referee (under his alter-ego Mark Curtis) and sound director.

Style and controversy

Cornette, a traditionalist, catered to fans that Mick Foley described as "old-time fans...who still believed in good guys and bad guys, and to whom cheating was still reason to get upset." This was in sharp contrast to ECW, WCW and the WWF, in which edgy angles, "tweeners" and anti-heroes increasingly took precedence over clearcut heroes and villains. Smoky Mountain was, however, the birthplace of the controversial "Gangstas" gimmick, where black wrestlers New Jack and Mustafa would cut promos about activist Medgar Evers, use fried chicken and watermelons as props and win matches as a result of a two count (rather than the conventional three count), which the Gangstas (kayfabe) insisted on due to Affirmative Action. In addition, an alleged race riot broke out at an SMW event in Wise, VA, in 1993, allegedly instigated by remarks Cornette made to black fans at ringside.

National Wrestling Alliance

The promotion had a brief association with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), whose flagship promotion Eastern Championship Wrestling had split away in autumn 1994, leaving the NWA with no World Heavyweight Champion. A 10-man tournament was held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey featuring many SMW wrestlers; the participants were Tracy Smothers, Devon Storm, Eddie Gilbert, Johnny Gunn, Chris Candido, Al Snow, Dirty White Boy, Jerry Lawler, Lou Perez, and Osamu Nishimura. The winner was Chris Candido, who defended his title mostly at SMW events.

Demise

Though the promotion was highly thought of, it struggled to get a profitable television deal, and operated throughout a wrestling recession that would not end until 1997. After years of operating in red ink, Cornette shut the promotion down in December 1995 to work full-time with the WWF. The last SMW show was on November 26, 1995 in Cookeville, Tennessee, and featured the entire SMW roster attacking Jim Cornette, who was then pinned by referee Mark Curtis.

Several SMW wrestlers would soon obtain work in the WWF, including Tracy Smothers, The Dirty White Boy, and Boo Bradley.

World Wrestling Entertainment now owns the SMW tape library.

Major events

1992

Event Date Venue City
Volunteer Slam May 22, 1992 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Summer Blast July 17, 1992 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Fire on the Mountain August 8, 1992 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
Thanksgiving Thunder November 27, 1992 National Guard Armory Welch, West Virginia
November 28, 1992 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
November 29, 1992 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee

1993

Event Date Venue City
Bluegrass Brawl April 2, 1993 Pikeville College Gymnasium Pikeville, Kentucky
Volunteer Slam II: Rage in a Cage May 9, 1993 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
The Last Tango in Tennessee May 15, 1993 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
Hot August Night in Mo-Town August 13, 1993 East High School Gymnasium Morristown, Tennessee
Fire on the Mountain August 14, 1993 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
K-Town Showdown August 20, 1993 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Big Apple Grapple October 1, 1993 Paintsville High School Gymnasium Paintsville, Kentucky
Thanksgiving Thunder November 25, 1993 Memorial Gymnasium Hazard, Kentucky
November 26, 1993 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
November 27, 1993 Knox Central High School Gymnasium Barbourville, Kentucky
November 28, 1993 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
Christmas Chaos December 25, 1993 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
December 26, 1993 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
December 27, 1993 Knox Central High School Gymnasium Barbourville, Kentucky

1994

Event Date Venue City
Sunday Bloody Sunday February 13, 1994 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Bluegrass Brawl II: The Famous Final Scene April 1, 1994 Pikeville College Gymnasium Pikeville, Kentucky
Volunteer Slam III May 20, 1994 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
The Night of the Legends August 5, 1994 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Fire on the Mountain August 6, 1994 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
Big Apple Grapple September 30, 1994 Paintsville High School Gymnasium Paintsville, Kentucky
SMW/NWA Championship Wrestling America (NWA World Heavyweight Championship tournament) November 17, 1994 Stanton Hall Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 18, 1994 Pleasantville, New Jersey
November 19, 1994 National Guard Armory Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Thanksgiving Thunder November 24, 1994 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
November 25, 1994 Paintsville High School Gymnasium Paintsville, Kentucky
November 26, 1994 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
November 27, 1994 Cobb County Civic Center Marietta, Georgia
Christmas Chaos December 25, 1994 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
December 26, 1994 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
December 27, 1994 Mulberry Street Recreation Center Lenoir, North Carolina

1995

Event Date Venue City
Super Saturday Night Fever January 28, 1995 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Brawl in the Hall February 25, 1995 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
Sunday Bloody Sunday II February 26, 1995 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Bluegrass Brawl III April 7, 1995 Pikeville College Gymnasium Pikeville, Kentucky
Fright Night April 8, 1995 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
Volunteer Slam IV May 19, 1995 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Charlotte Memories May 20, 1995 Grady Cole Center Charlotte, North Carolina
Summer Blast July 15, 1995 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Super Bowl of Wrestling August 4, 1995 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
Fire on the Mountain: Night of the Dream Matches August 12, 1995 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
Halloween Scream October 20, 1995 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
October 21, 1995 East High School Gymnasium Morristown, Tennessee
October 26, 1995 Collett Street Recreation Center Morganton, North Carolina
October 27, 1995 Cookeville Community Center Cookeville, Tennessee
October 28, 1995 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
Thanksgiving Thunder November 23, 1995 Civic Coliseum Knoxville, Tennessee
November 24, 1995 Knox Central High School Gymnasium Barbourville, Kentucky
November 25, 1995 Freedom Hall Civic Center Johnson City, Tennessee
November 26, 1995 Cookeville Community Center Cookeville, Tennessee

Final champions

Championship Final champion(s)
SMW Heavyweight Championship Jerry Lawler
SMW "Beat The Champ" Television Championship Bobby Blaze
SMW Tag Team Championship The Heavenly Bodies
(Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray)
SMW United States Junior Heavyweight Championship Bobby Blaze

† Lawler won the belt on a USWA show after SMW closed. The final champion as recognized by the promotion was Tommy Rich.

References

  1. ^ Meltzer, Dave (12-22), "WWE", Wrestling Observer Newsletter: 11 

External links


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