1. Chris Candido vs. Lance Storm (8/19/94) - A:3 J:3
A: What in the hell is Candido wearing on his head? Looks like something that an astronaut from the Apollo missions would wear during flight. This was titled as a “Beat the Champ” series match. Not sure what that meant, if anything. Pretty basic five minute TV match. I loved the big bump Candido took off the top rope from the Brian Lee interference.
J: Candido looked like a Koopa Troopa. Basic is the best explanation for this. There’s that inherent athletic look to the match, but neither guy stretched themselves at all. I’m guessing this was a shorter time limit match, hence them working as if they will go to it, as unremarkable as the last few seasons of “The Office.”
2. Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Dirty White Boy (5/6/94) – A: 2 J:2
A: Good god, Jake looks like complete shit, probably just came out of the bar. Whole match was built around Jake working over DWB’s bad eye. Bob Caudle on commentary said Jake had a hard mid-section. Looks pretty flabby to me. Some guy in a goofy looking costume interfered and ripped off DWB’s eyepatch. Jake was far from his best here and it really showed as he looked completely lethargic. Really terrible finish with Jake flashing a camera into DWB’s eye.
J: Yeah I hated this match’s soul. I get what they were doing here, that slow build, making every movement count but every movement was slow, weak and boring. Even this southern audience built up on this kind of action were nodding off or flirting with the young girl at the nacho stand. It’s never a good sign when your top face (White Boy? Hold on seriously?) is in a top program with a guy wearing a black bed sheet called the Samurai. And the camera would begin a series of ridiculous overbooked finishes.
3. Shawn Michaels vs. Buddy Landell (8/4/95) – A: 3 J:4
A: I was really looking forward to this match as I had no idea that Michaels even worked Smoky Mountain, so this is interesting just for that if nothing else. I mentioned this match to a guy I work with who used to work for Smoky Mountain and he has no recollection of this either. From the get-go, this was nothing more than a clip job as all the good stuff was cut out for the most part. Final two minutes was shown full and I really dug the nasty forearm from Shawn. I have to grade this on what is shown which was probably about half of a fifteen minute match.
J: When I think Landell, I think vomit. Not sure if it was being in there with young HBK but this has to be the best he’s ever looked. Michaels punches are usually shit-TAY, but he used the jab a lot here, which looked stinging and Landell had a great looping shot. Pace was fast and with clipped sections in the middle it was hard to get behind either guy’s momentum, nor did I believe for a second Landell had a prayer of winning so the screwjob ending was a huge middle finger to paying fans. Glad I wasn’t one of them.
4. Brian Lee vs. Paul Orndorff (5/24/92) – A: 3 J:3
A: I’m not an authority on SMW but I think this is from one of their first major shows. Another clip job this is. Orndorff was throwing some nasty bombs and Lee was a complete bloody mess. Weird finish with Bob Armstrong filling in for the bumped ref and calling for a DQ when Orndorff barely touched him. Not good, not good at all.
J: Really terrible lighting for something I bet would have been good. The clips really hurt a bout like this because with the Michaels match, there’s highs and lows and big moments. This is a straight brawl, so every time you clip it, it looks like they’re doing the same thing, you don’t get to see the momentum build up, which is a shame. Another shitty finish, realizing SMW is known for that.
5. Kevin Sullivan vs. Mongolian Stomper (1/9/93) – A: 4 J:4
A: Stomper is a crotchey, ancient old bastard. I liked this a lot. Just a stiff brawl between two really tough dudes. Sullivan getting tossed into the hockey boards was pretty rad. Sullivan has always been one of my favorites just because he doesn’t take any shit. The fireball spot looked like it was off a bit and the DQ hurt the score. Wonder if there was ever a rematch?
J: This I liked. Someone in the know, who the hell is Stomper? Liked how he used his gimmick too, where as this was just a fight outside most of the match, instead of punch after punch, he’d actually hoist his hairy withered leg up for a stomp here and there. Stomper could sell too, very realistic. Terrible finish continues the streak.
6. Brad Armstrong vs. Buddy Landell – Lumberjacks with Tennis Rackets Match (8/11/95) – A: 3 J:2
A: And yet again, we have a match that is clipped with only the last few minutes in its entirety. Lumberjacks did not come into play at all. This being the second Landell match I’ve seen on here, he SO wanted to be Ric Flair that it wasn’t even funny. Armstrong pretty much took a beating until the very end with Cornette interference and then hitting Landell with a racket.
J: There could have been a good match in here but it wasn’t shown. Armstrong kind of flailed around as Landell, the most unimposing heel of all time, did his schtick. You know the LJ’s were involved in someway but it was so minute it wasn’t worth the time or funds to supply each with a racket. Cornette hasn’t added a damn thing to any match he’s been involved in and I’d love to see a match end cleanly. Hold on the face has to use an object to win and you think the fans like that?
7. Cactus Jack vs. Chris Candido (12/3/94) – A: 4 J:5
A: Wait a sec, J.R. is doing commentary for Smoky Mountain? Not much in the way of offensive highlights except the over the top rope cross body and a frankensteiner from Candido. His sell after missing a top rop headbutt was interesting to say the least. You know I watched this twice, trying to find anything of value that Cactus did but I really couldn’t. For a seven minute TV match, this was OK but nothing too grand.
J: I’m starved for action and this match provides it, no clean ending but guess that’s too much to ask. Their styles mesh really well, Candido is all about scared heel with Tammy comforting him and Jack is still kind of scary at this point, not the lovable teddy bear he became. JR added tons more effectiveness instead of Bob Caudle complaining about where the arm rests in a chinlock. Candido’s cross body was sloppy but the frankensteiner was cool and JR freaking out made it more so.
8. The Rock N Roll Express vs. The Heavenly Bodies (12/1/92) – A: NR J:N/A
A: Instead of one match, we ended up getting the end of four different matches from the Thanksgiving Thunder tour. Of all the matches shown, I liked the street fight the best as you really felt the hate between the two teams. Everyone but Gibson was busted open and the Bodies even tried the old plastic bag suffocation trick on Gibson. The match after was a barbed wire cage and the two main spots from the Bodies, using powder and ether, felt like a major rehash of previous matches.
J: Yes there were some cool highlights but I really don’t know how to rate this as we never even got anything resembling a full match; instead of the 4 cut to pieces like a teen at Camp Crystal Lake, I would have preferred one full match, hell even the shittiest one.
9. Tracy Smothers vs. New Jack (4/1/95) – A: 3 J:4
A: Very strange to hear JR calling a New Jack match. Even stranger to see New Jack competing in SMW. Wait, what the hell, is that D-Lo Brown at ringside with a do-rag on? Thought these two worked fairly well together andI especially enjoyed the DDT from Smothers. I’ve never really seen New Jack try to work a regular match without relying on weapons and such. I’m guessing he could probably do so here but Smothers pretty much controlled things.
J: Yeah it was, and I liked later on when Ross mentioned New Jack isn’t “as one dimensional as he once was.” More importantly, was that D’Lo getting choked out by Cornette’s racket? Dahahahaha, no one’s looked more foolish on the set so far. Okay, Balls is out there playing his “Boo Bradley” character; how do we know that? His t shirt has the word Boo printed all over it. This match looks like a carnival in Forest Park, Oh. Smothers completely controls all aspects of this and probably tells New Jack when it’s okay to execute a move, which his belly to belly was pretty good. Par for the course, a big fuck finish brawl and JR trying to put over some skinhead douchebag named Killer Kyle ( I wish I was making that up) who beat Balls’ ass at the end.
10. The Undertaker vs. Unabomb (8/4/95) – A: 5 J:4
A: Here’s another match that I rather enjoyed. Unabomb is the future Kane and from a distance, with the curly blond hair, looked like Sid. He took a lot of big risks too, including a top rope leg drop while Taker was draped over the rope. Taker took a hard back first bump into the post. That couldn’t have felt good. The unfortunate part of this is that it was clipped. Undertaker for his part worked a pretty safe and basic match. Good grief, the powerbomb that Unabomb attempted looked awful, almost as bad as the one Kevin Nash doled out to Triple H at Vengeance a few weeks ago.
J: For me, enjoyed may be too strong a word, it felt much like the Candido – Storm match earlier where it was all formula, but the crowd heat was molten to see such a big star in a Podunk arena. I liked Unabom’s look but the name is absolutely atrocious. Guess what the name of his finisher is? Haha, yep. The announcers kept pushing Al Snow would interfere but not really, and why were they afraid? At this point Taker was in the purple gloves and actually sold a lot more than I thought he would during this stage of his career. I liked the idea of that wild legdrop, and for big guys like that, probably did the best they could with it. I see why Kane had a mask for so long, guy needed to work on showing pain or just any kind of emotion while being beaten on by one of the most feared dudes in the industry.