Pikesville College Gym, Pikeville, Kentucky
Confession time: Your writer has been a fan of professional wrestling for over 25 years and yet never once sat down to watch a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show.
Sure, the promotion had always been on my radar.
Founded by Jim Cornette in 1991, the southern promotion served as the launchpad for a number of 1990s stars, with everyone from Chris Jericho and Lance Storm to Tammy 'Sunny' Sytch, Al Snow, Kane, Road Dogg and D'Lo Brown -among many others- all enjoying runs with the company early in their career.
Still, despite knowing all this, it wasn't until I discovered a bunch of their old shows on YouTube that I finally got to watch any of it.
Join me then, as I head to Pikeville, Kentucky in the year 1993 to watch my first Smoky Mountain Wrestling show.
Please Stand for 'My Old Kentucky Home'You know how wrestling companies will occasionally have the national anthem performed at the start of the show to add some gravitas and sense of importance to the occasion?
With that out of the way, Les Thatcher told us it was time to 'kick open the doors' on Bluegrass Brawl.
Standing center ring with his colleague, Lance Russel, Thatcher handed things over to Russel who gushed about being invited to participate in tonight's main event.
Running down tonight's card, Russel continually referred to the show as 'Bluegrass Ball.'
You have to forgive him, though, this guy was VERY EXCITED about being there.
Rob Morgan vs. The Mongolian StomperIf you think Shane McMahon's punches look weak, I dare you to watch this match. Compared to Rob Morgan's offense, everything Shane O' Mac does looks stiff as hell.
Seriously. Morgan attacked The Mongolian Stomper as he climbed through the ropes, beating him with punches to the gut and clobbering forearms to the back.
Not a single thing he did looked like it would hurt in the slightest, so it was no surprise The Stomper turned around and beat the living daylights out of his terrible opponent.
Poor, feeble Morgan didn't stand a chance. The Stomper threw him to the outside, beat his ass there, then took him back to the ring and knocked him out with the cobra clutch.
After those first few seconds of horrible punches, Morgan didn't get in another lick of offense in this short and forgettable nothing match.
Your Winner: The Mongolian Stomper
Anyway, Lee told interviewer Brian Matthews that he was ready for his Russian Roulette match with the dastardly Kevin Sullivan and that, tonight, Sullivan was about to get a taste of his own medicine.
Roll the dice...Make the Erm...DealAbout six months earlier, World Championship Wrestling had famously done their big 'Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal' gimmick in which the stipulation for a match between Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and Sting would be decided by the spin of a roulette wheel.
Here, Smoky Mountain Wrestling were set to do the exact same thing for 'Russian Roulette' grudge match between arch-rivals 'Prime Time' Brian Lee and Kevin Sullivan.
The only difference, of course, was that SMW didn't have nearly the same budget as WCW.
So, instead of a fancy roulette wheel, they simply rolled dice in the middle of the ring to determine what kind of match Lee and Sullivan would have.
According to Lance Russell, each number of the dice was linked to a different type of match.
1: A 'Prince of Darkness' (blindfold) match
2: A Stretcher match
3: A Handicap match in which Lee would have to face Sullivan & The Nightstalker
4: A 'Ring of Fire' (inferno) match
5: A 'Singapore Spike' match in which four boxes would be attached to the corners of the ring. One box contained a Singapore spike which could be used by whoever found it.
6: Brian Lee's choice
Lee rolled the dice and, naturally, it landed on six. At least, it did if you take SMW's word for it. The cameras never actually showed you a close up of the dice.
After all that, Lee opted for a Singapore spike match despite the fact he could have had *literally* any match he wanted.
Tim Horner is Ready for The Nightstalker
The two had been at war since getting involved in the Lee/Sullivan rivalry, with Horner helping out Brian Lee and Nightstalker serving as Sullivan's muscle.
Horner vowed to take care of his opponent in their upcoming match, then revealed that both of them would be handcuffed to different corners of the ring during the Lee/Sullivan.
"This means I might not be able to get at you, but I can definitely keep an eye on you," said Horner. It was the least menacing thing any wrestler had ever said in a promo.
Yep, you better watch out, Nightstalker. If you're not careful, Tim Horner is going to LOOK AT YOU.
'White Lightning' Tim Horner vs. The Nightstalker
Here, the big man displayed plenty of charisma and a reasonable amount of athleticism as he locked up with Horner in what turned out to be a pretty fun match.
OK, so this was far from a five-star classic, but the crowd were solidly into this one and as a result, every single move, no matter how basic, seemed like a very, very big deal.
After taking a pounding at the hands of his larger opponent, babyface Horner had the crowds solidly behind him as he mounted a comeback, eventually leaping onto Nightstalker's back and slapping on a sleeper hold.
With nowhere to go, 'Stalker headed for the ropes and dumped his opponent over the top to the outside.
Since throwing your opponent over the top was illegal here in SMW, that gave the win to White Lighting.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Tim Horner
'I'm not evil,' claimed Sullivan, 'I'm just misunderstood.'
Despite his protest, Sullivan then cut a fun promo in which he insisted his upcoming Singapore spike match would be just as much fun as the time he went around clubbing baby seals.
Singapore Spike Match
Before the bell, the ring announcer reminded us of the rules:
Kevin Sullivan (w/ The Nightstalker) vs. 'Prime Time' Brian Lee (w/ Tim Horner)
Four boxes were placed on the corners of the ring, one containing a spike, the other three containing 'nothing but air.' The object was to find the spike and beat up your opponent with it.
Instead of running straight for the corners, both men instead laid into one another with a flurry of rights and lefts, building up what turned out to be a very enjoyable brawl.
We had steel chairs, we had Sullivan whacking Lee with a random sandbag, and we even had a hammer come into play.
Unfortunately, the one thing we didn't have was a solid ending.
Somehow, The Nightstalker ended up with the spike and gave it to Sullivan. The spike got dropped, 'Stalker picked it up again and this time refused to give it to his man.
The distraction allowed Horner to pull down Sullivan's tights and get the three count thanks to a roll-up.
Yes, this hotly-anticipated blood feud came to an end with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Tim Horner
Afterward, Sullivan got into it with The Nightstalker. It would have been more dramatic had there not been a problem with the handcuffs used on The Nightstalker.
For some reason, they couldn't get him free so they literally had to take down the second turnbuckle to free him. When he finally got free, 'Stalker saw off Sullivan, effectively turning babyface in the process.
Tracy Smothers is From the South
A fired-up Smothers wasted no time laying into his opponent Dirty White Boy. The two would face later in a chain match for the world title in front of what Smothers over-optimistically called 'millions of people.'
Despite forgetting his lines a couple of times, the Wild-Eyed one did cut a mostly compelling promo as he promised to get revenge on White Boy for costing him the TV title and $5,000, and for doing something unsavory to his rebel flag.
This last heinous deed was a particularly sore point for Smothers because he took great pride in being a southerner from the south who liked southern things, and if you didn't know that already, the southern wrestler did at least take the time to tell you all about how southern he was in every other sentence.
Take my Chain...
With the world champion Dirty White Boy standing by, Wright lifted a big heavy chain from what was literally a plastic bag you'd get from the grocery store.
Telling us all about how he'd kept this chain in great condition ever since he'd been bound to a wheelchair, the retired star made out like this chain was his most prized possession, which makes you wonder why he kept it in a dirty plastic bag.
Anyway, the whole point of this was that Wright was now gifting this chain to Dirty White Boy in a weird and trashy passing-of-the-torch ceremony.
'I Won't Bring Shame to the Chain'
The Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Champion gave smothers a verbal beat down, promising that he wouldn't 'bring shame to the chain' given to him by Ron Wright, but would instead use the chain to beat Smothers' brains out.
After taking some time to insult all the people of the Smoky Mountain region, White Boy then proceeded to take the chain and whack it into a bag of flour, a pineapple, a melon and a bottle of beer, all of which were supposed to represent his opponent in some way.
Finally, after a brief catch-up with our announce team, it was on to the match itself.
Tennesee Chain Match for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
I'll be honest with you, I wasn't expecting much from this, but man was I ever wrong.
SMW Heavyweight Champion Dirty White Boy (w/ Ron Wright) vs. Tracy Smothers
The challenger took the advantage early on, beating the champion from pillar to post and back again, all to the delight of the Tennesee faithful. Eventually, however, Dirty White Boy regained the upper hand, beating his rival to a bloody pulp and ramming the chain violently into the gash on Smother's forehead.
From there, we got a good, solid championship match that kept the crowd fully invested from start to finish.
After a really entertaining brawl, the match ended the same way that just about every strap match ever ended:
The heel took charge and touched the first three corners, dragging the face behind him. The face, naturally touched all three corners too, then beat his opponent to the fourth 'buckle, winning the match -and the title- in the process.
If that sounds familiar to you, it's because it was the exact same ending that Stone Cold Steve Austin and Savio Vega would eventually use three years later in their match at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog.
Your Winner and NEW SMW Champion: Tracy Smothers
After celebrating with the crowd, the new champion made his way backstage where he was interviewed by Lance Russel, who called the preceding contest the best match he'd seen in his life.
Smothers was inclined to agree and spent the next two minutes rambling on about how it was the greatest match of his life. Before he could say anything else, however, Dirty White Boy showed up, knocked him down with a block of wood and kicked him square in the bollocks.
Personally, I don't know what White Boy was so mad about.
After all, he had a lucrative career in plumbing waiting for him.
Fighting WordsPrior to our three-team, nine-man street fight main event, we got backstage promos from each team.
Next, we heard from 'The Enforcer' An Anderson and his partners, Robert Gibson, Ricky Morton, and Ricky Morton's amazing mullet.
Anderson cut a ridiculous promo in which he likened the beatdown he was going to give his opponents to the feeling you get when you go without underwear or get a DUI and crash your car.
Apparently, those two things feel exactly the same as getting beaten up by The Enforcer.
I know Anderson is a legend and one of the greatest solid wrestlers of all time, but this promo was all kinds of stupid.
Finally, Jim Cornette and The Heavenly Bodies cut the most compelling promo of all, insisting that the Smoky Mountain tag team champions had never lost a street fight yet and weren't about to start today.
All the while, their partner, Beautiful Bobby Eaton stood in the background looking like he'd just randomly walked on set and didn't know why he was there.
Three-Team Street Fight
The Stud Stable (Robert Fuller, Jimmy Golden & Dutch Mantell) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) & Arn Anderson vs. SMW Tag Team Champions The Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane & Tom Pritchard) & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette
Unfortunately, any enjoyment didn't really translate when you watch this back on video.
With all nine-men competing at once, it was necessary to show the majority of the bout from the hard camera, which made it really hard to focus on anything at all. Instead, you just kind of sat back and looked at the screen as the combatants battered each other with trashcans, straps, and even a tyre.
At one point, Tom Pritchard got busted open. Admittedly, the resulting crimson mask looked pretty impressive, but the actual act of him getting his head caved in was lost amidst the rest of the carnage, severely limiting its impact.
At another point, Bobby Eaton's pants fell down. It was legitimately the most exciting thing in the match.
Eventually, The Stud Stable got taken out before Arn Anderson came in with a fire extinguisher. In the resulting mele, Tom Pritchard scaled the ropes and came down with a flying knee. True to their earlier word, The Heavenly Bodies ensured their run of success in street fights remained unbroken.
Your Winners: The Heavenly Bodies & Bobby Eaton
Afterward, the winning team were interviewed in the back by Brian Matthews, with Jim Cornette promising that The Heavenly Bodies would reign supreme over SMW for a long time to come.
You know, it's interesting. I've been a wrestling fan for over 25 years and yet this is the first time I've ever sat down to watch a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show. On the whole, I have to say that I did genuinely enjoy it.
OK, so it wasn't a classic, but it was far from the worst wrestling show ever produced and gave us some genuinely enjoyable wrestling in the form of Smothers vs. Dirty White Boy and even Nightstalker vs. Tim Horner.
Seriously, who knew Adam Bomb was so good at working a crowd?
Though the main event did disappoint in this fan's eyes, I will say that Bluegrass Brawl '93 did at least get me intrigued enough to check out more SMW shows.
Other 1993 pro wrestling reviews
- WWF Royal Rumble 1993
- WWF Wrestlemania 9
- WWF King of the Ring 1993
- WWF Summerslam 1993
- WWF Survivor Series 1993
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