Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Smoky Mountain Wrestling!

So I started Goodhelmet's SMW set last night. Well, I started it like three years ago and watched a bunch of the extras, but this is me starting it again and going through the main matches.

Tim Horner v Paul Orndorff (5/22/92)

Horner's mullet is the stuff of legends. There is no doubt in my mind that people in Knoxville talk about it the way people in Liverpool talk about Graeme Souness' moustache and Brazilians talk about Socrates' headband (I assume). At a glance, SMW is crazy heel-heavy at this point. Orndorff isn't a megastar, but he's certainly a "name" and he'd been a headliner in the WWF. They had Pritchard and Lane managed by the most recognizable person in the company in Cornette. Fuller and Golden had been kicking about the south for years and had that stint in the AWA (even if it was dying days AWA). You had Landel and Dirty White Boy. Mantell was there, even if I think it was mostly commentary. That's a pretty fucking nice lineup for a spin off territory based out of Tennessee. On the babyface side you've got Brian Lee, Tim Horner and Robert Gibson. They had the Fantastics, but the Fans without Rogers just isn't the same so it was really Bobby Fulton and his little brother. Dixie Dynamite and Danny Davis? Sheeeeeeit. They were clearly waiting for Morton and then they eventually brought in Smothers, but early doors there was a definite lack of notable/worthwhile babyfaces. Anyways, this was good. Horner is perfectly fine. He has good timing and his offence looks crisp and he gets fired up...but he doesn't really have any charisma. He's a pretty bland little guy, all in all. But hey, Orndorff was kinda badass in this! His strikes looked great and I was more entertained by him working as methodical Harley Race kneedrop clone than I regularly am by HHH, plus he was not afraid to show major ass and stooge for Horner early on. And I liked the finish as well. Match felt a bit out of place in 1992 wrestling, but Smoky Mountain as a whole felt like one of those "lost in time" things. It's part of its charm.

Heavenly Bodies v The Fantastics (7/11/92)

This is an impromptu match that kicks off after a Bodies squash, and it felt suitably hectic in the beginning. Did I mishear or is Stan Lane rocking the headgear because he has earache from the crowd noise? Every time they get on his case he clutches his ears and tells them to quieten down, so I'm assuming that's what's going on. If so: awesome. This was really solid and Jackie Fulton did an admirable job selling his knee being torn to bits in the absence of Tommy Rogers. Mantell on commentary implies that Jackie is a retard and I can already tell he's gonna be fun to listen to.

Heavenly Bodies v The Fantastics (Street Fight) (7/17/92)

The arena is suuuper dark and it's kind of hard to see what's going on, but this was absolutely wild. It's more of a handicap match with how much Cornette and his tennis racket get involved, so there are a bunch of moments where a Fulton brother chucks a trash can or a plank at him and Cornette has to scurry away. Pritchard was great in this with the way he'd stumble around like he's lost six pints of blood. He bumps like he's not actually taking a pro-wrestling bump and that he really got hit hard enough in the head with a cowboy boot that it sent him flying into the turnbuckle. At one point the Bodies and Cornette tie Bobby to the ring post and both Lane and Pritchard try to smother Jackie with a plastic bag. Someone gets hurled head first into a table, but the table doesn't break down the middle like it usually does and instead the person just goes all the way through and it leaves the table with a big hole right in the middle where they were bodily flung through it.

Heavenly Bodies v The Fantastics v Stud Stable v Danny Davis & Dixie Dynamite (8/8/92)

Fun 4-team elimination tag. Danny Davis was busting out a bunch of rapid matwork that I wasn't expecting. He would just grab a guy's head and yank them over and not let go, doing everything with a real snap. Dixie Dynamite was in for about twenty seconds. He looked not good and Mantell intimated that he, also, was retarded. I'm digging Pritchard using the loaded boot trick as a finisher.

Stud Stable v Rock 'n' Roll Express (8/8/92)

Yeah, this was the stuff. God damn are the RnRs over like crazy in Tennessee. The heat for stuff like the Bodies/Fans street fight was up there, but this is another level. Match is total southern tag formula and of course I loved it. Morton and Gibson run Fuller and Golden in circles early, Fuller and Golden take even with underhanded tactics and Morton gets busted open, Morton plays Ricky Morton for a little while, then hot tag and run to the finish. They're not reinventing the wheel, but it's the exact match the crowd want to see and all four know how to work the hell out of it.

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