The Furious Flashbacks – Smoky Mountain Wrestling TV Episodes #1 & #2
Posted by Arnold Furious on 04.20.2007
Or How to Book Episodic Television Shows by James E. Cornette
The Furious Flashbacks – Smoky Mountain Wrestling TV Episodes #1 & #2
Or How to Book Episodic Television Shows by James E. Cornette
Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Formed in 1991 by former WCW employee Jim Cornette and his partner in crime Stan Lane along with Tim Horner and Sandy Scott. They started taping TV blocks in late 1991 and they began airing locally in March 1992. Though Smokey has a big reputation among wrestling historians it ended up as a failure thanks to it operating entirely during a wrestling recession. It closed its doors in 1995. Just one year before the nWo and the Monday Night Wars got the wrestling scene rolling again. Cornette went on to success as the booker for Ohio Valley Wrestling when it had a string of successes come out of its territory. Many of whom are presently big stars on TV. Including several world champions.
EPISODE 1. Airdate 15th March 1992.
We’re in Greenville, South Carolina. Hosts are Bob Caudle and Dutch Mantell.
Killer Kyle v Robert Gibson
Kyle is Mark Kyle. He’s about a 3 year pro at this point and is still wrestling today. He has a New York hitman gimmick. He even hails from Hell’s Kitchen. Gibson is better known as one half of the Rock n Roll Express, former 4-time tag team champions. Mantell suggests that Kyle is here to make a name for himself. Gibson uses his speed and it’s clear that Kyle isn’t great but the crowd aren’t too worried about that. They’re ready to cheer on Gibson because he’s a good old boy. Kyle beats him down for the requisite heat segment. Crowd doesn’t bite on the heat but go nuts for everything Gibson does, which is basically a Brisco corner roll up for the win. ½*. That was brief.
BACKSTAGE Bobby Fulton and Jackie Fulton cut a promo. The latter looks goddamn weird. Bobby Fulton competes against Ivan Koloff in tonight’s main event. We go back to Bob & Dutch who take us over to SMW commissioner Bob Armstrong. He’s here to lay down the rules. He says he doesn’t think much of wrestling these days and wants to bring back wrestling as it used to be, as it should be. He says it’ll be treated like a sport while he’s here and he’ll fine anyone who breaks the rules. He asks the fans to let them know what they want to see and he’ll listen.
Barry Horowitz v “Prime Time” Brian Lee
No prizes for guessing what the HEEL Horowitz is here to do. Lee was Smokey’s first big star. That was the plan anyway. The crowd reaction is weak for the blond haired superstar. The commentators are doing a great job of getting everyone over here. Just giving us bits of history and whatnot. Dutch points out that Barry was a collegiate wrestler. He’s also doing that neck slapping thing that lead him to about a million WWF losses. Lee actually takes a sound beating in the early going in another attempt at trying to get the crowd to react to heat. Barry with a belly to belly for 2. Dropkick and I’m really not used to seeing Horowitz dominate someone. Lee keeps kicking out of everything Horowitz serves up though until he misses a dropkick. Lee comes back with a backdrop and Horowitz goes to bail. Lee drags him back in and a savage beating ensues. Sitout backbreaker finishes in short order. ¾*. Another squash. They’re certainly keeping it simple in the early going here.
BACKSTAGE Ron Wright, wheelchair bound, tells us how wrestling has left him in it. He says he’s scouting wrestlers to manage them so he can earn money to have hip surgery. Nice concept but I really don’t know who he is.
Joe Cazana v Tim Horner
Horner is in there with a jobber to start his SMW career. Caudle screws up for the first time calling Tim “White Lightning Tim Lightning”. He used to job in WCW as Star Blazer. He went back there to job under his real name not long after this. Cazana’s strikes are very realistic, which suggests he’s probably just punching Horner in the jaw. Cazana puts the heat on Horner and again the crowd don’t seem too interested in that. Odd as normally heat gets big reactions in the South. Cazana goes up top, the first man to do so, but Horner throws him off. Horner gets a roll up with a Prawn Hold (YUS) for the pin. ¼*. That was piss poor.
BACKSTAGE Jim Cornette gets his first chance to talk. He says people are asking why he’s in a stinking backwater like South Carolina when he’s a big International star. He says wrestling is about selling dolls, getting juiced up on steroids and wearing stupid costumes. He reminds us he managed the greatest tag team in wrestling history, the Midnight Express, so he’s bringing a revolutionary tag team into SMW to once again set the standard. That promo was almost worth the admission alone. No punches pulled there.
Paul Miller v Black Scorpion
I don’t know who’s under the mask here as SMW reuses one of WCW’s worst ideas. Could be Ole’s son perhaps? Using his Dad’s bad gimmick. Whoever it is they totally, and I mean totally, dismantle Miller. The jobber gets nothing at all until he attempts a monkey flip, which Scorpion ignores and follows up with a huge clothesline. Then Miller pulls a small package out of his ass for the huge upset win. ½*. I like that they put the jobber over in the fourth match just to keep people guessing with the jobber matches. Meanwhile the total burial of Black Scorpion seems in line with Cornette’s decision to shit on stupid gimmicks.
BACKSTAGE Brian Lee gets his first interview spot. He says there’s a heavyweight tournament coming up and he plans to win the gold. Dutch Mantell chips in with some advice, which Lee doesn’t take too kindly to. “Some people can’t take constructive criticism” – Dutch.
Main event – Ivan Koloff v Bobby Fulton
Fulton gets the biggest response of the night so far. Koloff is a former WWF champion who ended the 7 year reign of Bruno Sammartino. Of course he was just a transitional champion beaten shortly afterwards by Pedro Morales. Dutch is still hot about Brian Lee’s attitude and says he’ll wrestle next week to show him how it’s done. At ringside is wheelchair bound Ron Wright. Fulton fares well against Koloff on the mat but Koloff takes over with cheating and short range striking. Fulton dropkicks him showing a speed advantage too. They run a spot where Koloff goes for a legdrop but Fulton moves so he stomps him instead. I like that. Fulton gets a crossbody for 2. They spill outside where Fulton gets distracted by Ron Wright and Koloff posts him. Fulton gets thrown into the rail too for good measure. Back inside the Russian Bear hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Dutch is blatantly siding with Ron Wright’s situation, which suggests he’ll be a heel manager. Wright “shakes hands” with Koloff who lays Fulton out with the International Object for the pin. Hahaha. Nice. **.
POST MATCH Jackie Fulton runs out here to kick Koloff’s ass and the referee spots the object in the ring and reverses his decision. The other Russian, Vladimir, runs out here and they choke Jackie Fulton with the Russian chain.
BACKSTAGE Bob Armstrong says that Foreign Objects will not be tolerated and he fines Ivan Koloff on the spot and books the Koloffs v the Fantastic Ones for next week. Bobby actually calls Ivan a commie. He says they’ll kick ass next week like they did against Saddam Hussein. He also threatens to kick Ron Wright “right in the booty”. More Bobby Fulton promos please!
EPISODE 2. Airdate 22nd March 1992.
BACKSTAGE to start and Jim Cornette interrupts Bob Caudle’s opening monologue. He says we’ll see the two main events booked from last week (Dutch v someone & Fantastic Ones v Koloffs). Cornette is on commentary this week because Dutch is wrestling.
Tim Fry v “Hollywood” Bob Holly
I never realised Bobcore had an earlier gimmick that didn’t involve Alabama in any way. He hails from California here. He also dominates Fry from the opening bell with an intensity that didn’t appear in the first episode at all. Ron Wright is out here again to watch. Fry gets an arm ringer and a hip toss into some arm dragging. Holly is on a selling rampage now. He looks a class apart compared to everything else in SMW. I’m legitimately surprised. Fry gets back to work on the arm and this has been fairly competitive. Holly comes back and hits the Bombs Away knee drop. He even has time to drop the straps before pinning with ease for the win. *1/2. Best jobber match so far with Holly looking great on attack and selling.
BACKSTAGE Ivan Koloff says this week he’ll finish the Fulton’s career. He says his nephew Vladimir is better than Nikita Koloff. We take an ad break and come back with Robert Gibson. He says he’s back from 9 months out with a bad injury and delivers a very low key promo. He’s back though.
Rip Rogers v Paul Orndorff
Ah, we have a name guy out here. Rip is fresh from some success in Global. Orndorff is on his way back up to the top after retiring the first time around. He worked for UWF before coming to SMW. Rogers gets beaten from pillar to post to rail to where ever. Orndorff looks hugely energised and you can see he’s enjoying himself. Rogers tries flipping around but Orndorff is too good to fall for that and goes to the armdrags to stop Rogers flipping around him. They head outside again for a small brawl on the floor where Rogers takes over. Back inside he hooks up the sleeper. Orndorff fights it and drags Rogers face first into the buckles. Inside cradle gets 2 for Orndorff. Rip eats a high knee and he begs off. Orndorff punches him into the ropes where he gets hung up. Orndorff with more punches so Rogers decides it’s no more Mr Nice Guy and he goes for a piledriver. Orndorff backdrops him out though and sits down for the pin. **. That was a real barnburner. Cornette reminds us that the piledriver is illegal in SMW.
BACKSTAGE Bob Caudle brings in Danny Davis who looks like a weirdo. He says how he’s a babyface now. We get Bob Armstrong for his weeks update. He says he’s negotiating with big names across the country. We get Brian Lee next. He says it’s easy to criticise from behind a desk, Dutch Mantell. Caudle says Lee will make a big impact in SMW.
Scott Armstrong v Dutch Mantell
Mantell comes out to the theme from the TV show Rawhide, which instantly makes me love him forever. Dutch struggles somewhat and gets armdragged and dropkicked quickly. Dutch takes over and hooks the Shades of Wilbur Snyder. Mantell, obviously, uses the ropes to cheat. Cornette says he’s “wiping sweat off the palm of his hand”. Hehe. Awesome commentating. The referee accuses him of cheating, which means Dutch breaks the hold to argue with him. Classic heel. He feels he can beat Armstrong anyhow. He clotheslines Scott and puts him in an armbar. Scott throws punches to get out of it. Dutch takes exception and pulls the hair to take him back down. Cornette suggests the referee should kiss Mantell’s feet for allowing him to officiate this match. Cornette is so awesome. Why the WWE can’t just have him on their shows I don’t know. Too outspoken, I guess. Dutch has gotten sick of this and gets his bull whip to wail on Scott for the DQ. 3/4*.
POST MATCH Brian Lee runs out here for the save. Dutch tells him to stop sticking his nose into Dutch’s business or he’ll whip 75lbs off him.
BACKSTAGE we get Bob Armstrong again. He says he’s fining Dutch Mantell for using the whip. He notices there’s an issue between Dutch and Brian Lee so he books them in a match next week. Cornette says he’d pay the fine just to see Scott Armstrong get bullwhipped. He won’t announce his tag team until they have a chance to get the belts, which don’t exist yet. He says his men are going right to the top whether all these “rednecks” like it or not. We have a new guest for Caudle. It’s Wally Yamaguchi. He’s a former All Japan referee. He’s the guy who managed Kaientai in the WWF. He says he’s interested in a talent exchange between Japan & SMW.
CLIPS – last week’s main event. Ron Wright retorts to suggestions that he handed Koloff a foreign object. He says he’s a poor old cripple who didn’t do anything wrong.
Ivan/Vladimir Koloff v Bobby/Jackie Fulton
Huge brawl to start that prevents the introductions from happening. The Koloffs bail and the crowd chants “USA”. I notice Vladimir never talks because he’s from North Carolina. His name is Carl. Bobby and Ivan work some chaining, which is nice to see. Bobby punks Vladimir out and the Fultons isolate Ivan. This would probably be a response to the lack of interest in heat segments from the crowd in the first weeks block of TV. Ivan suckers Jackie down the apron so when the referee comes to stop him Vladimir dives in there for the illegal double team. Vladimir tags in and he’s the big man so he picks off Bobby with a huge backbreaker for 2. Ivan comes back in and stops Bobby’s comeback by raking the eyes. Bobby with a dropkick but Vladimir is quick in to prevent a hot tag. The Koloffs cut off the ring and run some extended heat on Bobby. The referee gets misdirected by Jackie Fulton’s arguing and Bobby can’t even get a one count off a sunset flip. Koloffs hit a double suplex behind the referee’s back. They’re taking advantage of every time they position Jackie Fulton. Jackie manages to get a hot tag and he goes on a bodyslamming rampage. Not really a big response for that. This crowd isn’t the best. Bobby gets picked off in some double teaming again. Jackie hits the high crossbody for the pin on Ivan though. **1/4. Big moment for Jackie Fulton pinning a former WWF champion.
BACKSTAGE Bob Caudle talks to Jim Cornette some more. Cornette rants about all these crappy little towns he doesn’t want to go to. We have Terry Gordy here too. He says he’s been from Freebird Mountain to all around the world and now he’s in the Smoky Mountains. He says the bombs are starting to fall and tries to encourage Bob Caudle to lie down. He says the skies will be illuminated by his big bombs. That was…different. Bob then gets a word with Tim Horner. He says he’s happy to be back from Japan and he’s happy to be wrestling in his back yard. He flubs his promo badly two or three times talking about body building, rock music and how the wrestlers here compete at the level they’re capable of. It sounds like he’s putting everyone down but he’s not. That was two fine demonstrations of how not to cut a promo right there. Opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum but both messy.
The 411: While there aren’t a great deal of snowflakes floating around and there are a bunch of jobber matches this is good TV. The booking of the Koloffs-Fultons feud and the Lee-Mantell feud are good to watch. I really enjoyed the shows. Especially when Jim Cornette was on commentary. I’ll be doing more of these and I can’t wait until the crowd starts getting hot as I know it will. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been watching so many appalling WCW shows lately but this was a terrifically entertaining watch. I wish Cornette could take over booking TNA. I’d recommend watching anything he books just for the booking.