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by on July 5, 2011

Thanks to a generous reader named Adam Brody, I was pleasantly surprised to get a note in my mailbox saying to go to the post office this morning as I had a package. That package? A huge bundle of discs, all labelled “Smoky Mountain TV”. I’ve skimmed around a few of them and realized, to the best of my knowledge, it’s at least the first full year of SMW’s television.

Because a reader was the one who sent me this present, I thought I’d give back, thus a THIRD blogject. Unfortunately, this one might not be as regular as the others since a brother only has so many hours in his day (am I right?), but I’m going to try my hardest to throw these up as often as possible since I’m as excited to see this stuff as anything. A note before we get into the nitty-gritty: I’ve NEVER seen a full episode of Smoky Mountain television outside of that one that aired on WWE Classics on Demand a year or so ago. I’ve seen a ton of angles and matches, but none of them in the order they were presented or in their original form. So, think of this from the perspective of a child of the 90’s with virgin eyes towards this product.

The video opening is so wonderfully 80’s, which I guess might be weird since this aired in 1992. Lots of small picture-in-picture boxes floating around a still image of the Smokies…

This legitimately looks nicer than WCW TV looked at the time:

We go to our commentators, Bob Caudle and Dutch Mantell. Dutch is a tremendous man for being able to gain employment as a wrestling commentator dressed like this:

They talk about the stars on today’s show, including Brian Lee, “White Lightning” Tim Horner and “Fantastics” Bobby Fulton (yep, Caudle said it like Fulton’s nickname was “Fantastics”). They also hyped THE BLACK SCORPION, which has to be some screwy Jim Cornette joke. In two minutes, they establish Brian Lee as THE guy in Smoky Mountain.

-Kyle was Mark Kyle, a long-time enhancement guy for the WWF and WCW (who, according to his Wikipedia entry, is only semi-retired after 23 years in wrestling), doing some sort of Big Bubba gimmick where he carried a ukulele (I think; it’s a tiny guitar case).

-The “one-half of a tag team taking the team’s name as a nickname” thing doesn’t end with Bobby Fulton, as Gibson is “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Robert Gibson…

-Correction: Kyle was carrying a violin case.
-Dutch Mantell is asking aloud whether the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express were ever a band, then said their album went plywood.
-Gibson goes over in quick order with a sunset flip out of the corner. It was very much like a World of Sport fall in that it was a quick finish that came out of nowhere (no heat, no comeback) and neither guy had enough offense done to them to have to sell being hurt by anything. It was different in a good way; I didn’t expect to see a match like this.

We go to a promo from Jackie and Bobby Fulton (who I guess are going to be the Fantastics team in Smoky Mountain and Bob Caudle just messed up the announcement). Interesting to see two guys doing a Nelson gimmick in 1992…

Bobby Fulton talks for the majority of the promo, talking about his upcoming match on this show with Ivan Koloff.

We go to an interview with Smoky Mountain Commissioner Bob Armstrong, who gets to speak Jim Cornette’s real-life manifesto about how new mainstream wrestling sucks and SMW is going to be wrestling done the right way. I’m glad that Bob was able to find part-time work to supplement his shop teacher income after school…

-True story: Barry Horowitz was the Global Light Heavyweight Champion when this was filmed. It tells you all you need to know about the GWF when they let their guys go on someone else’s television as enhancement talent.
-Lee came out to “Everybody Wants You” by Billy Squier, which makes him the coolest guy in the world.
– I really think Brian Lee is supposed to be cosplaying Lex Luger, between the long hair, black trunks and the commentators going nuts over how good-looking and muscular he is.
-Horowitz has Ahmed Johnson Syndrome going on…

-Lee goes over with the over-the-shoulder backbreaker, which Caudle said he calls “The Cancellation”. Even in the early-90’s, indie guys were giving their finishers silly names.

We go to a promo from Ron Wright, who was a legend in the Knoxville, Tennessee area for years. He’s calling for all of the wrestlers in Smoky Mountain Wrestling to impress him as he’s looking for proteges to manage so that he could earn money to have surgery so he can get out of his wheelchair. I might be more excited for the Ron Wright stuff coming up on this set than anything else.

“White Lightning” TIM HORNER vs “Golden Boy” JOE CAZANA
-SMW seems to be where WWF and WCW enhancement guys go to wear their sillier costumes.

-Horner comes out to “The Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks. Should he use any other song?
-It sucks that Tim Horner wasn’t a colorful personality because, even at this point, he moved around the ring better than most guys. He did this leapfrog spot in the corner that was so damn quick and creative that you’d think it was in a World of Sport match (I didn’t expect to be referencing WoS so much in a SMW review).
-Dutch Mantell goes off on this rant about holding the world record for holding his breath under water when Caudle asked about being able to keep his wind in the ring. So weird.
-Horner wins with a bridging prawn hold in a really fun little match.

Bob Caudle interviews Jim Cornette, who pretty much cuts the heel version of the Bob Armstrong promo about how much corporate wrestling sucks. Cornette flat-out said (regarding the WWF and WCW), “It’s not about whether you can wrestle, it’s how juiced up you can get on steroids”. He hyped that he has a  dynamic tag team coming to Smoky Mountain very soon to get a real shot after WCW shoved them aside for not being able to sell toys or wear silly costumes.

-I enjoy how Cornette buried the WWF and WCW for making guys wear silly costumes, then in the next match, sent these two out:

-Scorpion should’ve just worn a shirt that said “I’m a rib on the WWF and WCW”, between his name, his constant flexing and insane bacne.
-HOLY CRAP. Miller just gave himself an invisible German suplex on a bump off of a missed dropkick.
– For someone I’m assuming they’re going to bury, the Scorpion sure is winning on his opponent a lot.
-Miller just won with a small package out of nowhere. Scorpion got right up and started berating fans like nothing had happened, which (if it was on purpose) is an incredibly hilarious spoof of how big the muscleheads of the time’s egos were.

Bob Caudle is standing by with “Prime Time” Brian Lee. Lee promotes the Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Title Tournament coming up before Dutch Mantell walks up to give Lee some unfriendly advice, to which Lee tells Dutch, “You would’ve wrestled it differently; you would’ve lost! You ain’t ready for ‘Prime Time’!”. Seriously, that’s the reason why they call him “Prime Time”?

-I feel so bad for old Ivan, having to work a show at his old age in Greenville and getting the jobber entrance. At least he got a picture-in-picture promo.
-Ron Wright is at ringside scouting. As someone who has worked at a nursing home, I can say he got the “senile old man in a wheelchair” thing so right it’s scary, which is especially great since his gimmick was that he was just playing senile and that he was an evil mastermind behind it.
-Hilarious spot where Ivan goes for a legdrop, Fulton moves and Ivan’s like “eff bumping for this spot, I’m old”.
-They’re alright punches visually, but Fulton might throw the loudest punches ever. I take that back, it might be how they’ve mic’d the ring, as Fulton was run into the ringpost and you heard a clear “DING!”.
– Koloff won when Ron Wright handed Koloff a foreign object, disguising it with a handshake.
-After the match, Jackie Fulton ran out to attack Ivan. It went so long that you might as well have assumed that Jackie was the heel attacking Koloff. Eventually, Koloff’s nephew Vladimir came out to even the odds and hang Jackie over the top rope with his chain. Vladimir looked JUST like 1992 non-peak shape Nikita…

With that, the show’s over. Judging by his first episode, obviously Brian Lee was going to be THE guy in SMW. Unfortunately, he had absolutely no star presence. He was a good-looking Southern boy with some size, so I could see why Cornette thought he could build around him, but if they ever thought of taking this thing more national than they ended up doing, Brian Lee absolutely would not have worked. As a first episode, it was alright but I didn’t like how no one was really established and they just assumed you knew who everyone was, save Lee. I understand that you don’t put over 45 guys on the first episode, but give me more backstory on these guys than “So-and-so won a title” once.

That being said, it’s fun in that way that most old Southern television wrestling was. It has this real charming down-home feel to it and nothing was embarrassing or stupid. Plus, the Tim Horner match was really fun stuff and Ron Wright is already my new favorite wrestling personality.


One Comment
  1. Love this. Can’t wait to see more.

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