Smoky Mountain Wrestling was a wrestling territory based out of Knoxville, TN that operated from October 1991 to December 1995 and it was run by one of the best talkers in the business James E. Cornette.
Smoky Mountain was a traditional southern style wrestling territory that ran with the simply black and white formula of the good guys vs. the bad guys at a time when wrestling was beginning to shift to shades of gray.
The top stars of the promotion were Brian Lee, The Dirty White Boy, Tracy Smothers, The Rock N Roll Express, The Heavenly Bodies and more. The Heavenly Bodies has two incarnations, the first of Stan Lane & Dr. Tom Pritchard and the second Jimmy Del Ray taking over to Stan Lane. Smoky Mountain was also the major American debut for Chris Jericho & Lance Storm as The Thrillseekers.
For me one of the most unique things that Smoky Mountain managed to pull off was in 1993 when Jim Cornette used his connections to get SMW wrestlers and matches on major WCW & WWE Pay Per View events just a few months apart.
SMW Tag Team Champions: The Heavenly Bodies: Stan Lane & Dr. Tom Prichard lost two matches to Robert Gibson & Ricky Morton the Rock N Roll Express the first by disqualification on the February 6th edition of WCW Saturday Night. The second was a non-title match at the Superbrawl III pay-per-view on February 21st.
Starting with at television taping in Alexandria Bay, New York on July 25, 1993 Smoky Mountain Wrestling started a working relationship with the WWE with Cornette appearing on WWE programing issuing a challenge to The WWE Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers on behalf of the Heavenly Bodies, now comprised of Dr. Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray. On this card The Heavenly Bodies defeated Bobby Who & Mike Bucci, this matched aired on the 8/9/1993 episode of RAW.
July 26, 1993 in Utica, NY Superstars television taping:
Dark Match: Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers defeated the Heavenly Bodies by disqualification when Jim Cornette interfered.
Aired 8/14/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated Bert Centeno & Rich Meyers
Aired 8/28/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated Tony Roy & Jason Headings
July 27, 1993 Plattsburg, NY Wrestling Challenge & All American Wrestling television taping:
Aired 8/15/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated Virgil & Glen Ruth
Aired 8/22/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated Darren Trujillo & Curt Sloan
Summer Slam, August 30, 1993 Auburn Hills, MI
Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers defeated The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette
August 31, 1993 Grand Rapids, MI Superstars television taping:
Aired 9/19/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated the Smoking Gunns after Cornette hit Bart with his tennis racquet.
Aired 10/2/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated Reno Riggins & John Paul
So Far the Heavenly Bodies were representing the Smoky Mountain Wrestling and the WWE built them as contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship, something that would never happen today. It would be like if REDragon: Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly from ROH were brought in and given a push to contend for the belts.
At the next set of tapings the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Champions: The Rock n’ Roll Express: Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson were brought in to build towards a match against the Bodies on a WWE PPV. That’s right WWE let another company build a program to between two tag teams that lead to a championship match on a WWE PPV something that would never happen today.
September 27, 1993 New Haven, CT Monday Night Raw taping:
Aired 10/4/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated Mark Taylor & Scott Thomas
Aired 10/11/93: SMW Tag Team Champions: The Rock n’ Roll Express defeated Duane Gill & Barry Hardy
September 28, 1993 Worcester, MA Superstars taping:
Aired 10/30/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated PJ Walker & Mark Thomas, during the match in an insert promo the SMW Tag Team Champions: The Rock n’ Roll Express cut a promo about facing the Bodies a the Survivor Series.
Aired 10/23/93 SMW Tag Team Champions: The Rock n’ Roll Express defeated Flex Armstrong & Richie Rich
September 29, 1993 Portland, ME Wrestling Challenge & All American Wrestling taping:
Aired 10/17/93: The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated Tom McNeany & Ray Roy
Aired 10/10/93: Well Dunn w/ Harvey Wippleman defeated the SMW Tag Team Champions: The Rock n’ Roll Express via count-out The Heavenly Bodies attacked Gibson in the aisle.
For some reason the WWE had the Rock n’ Roll Express do a house show tour leading up to the Survivor Series, and yet they had them lose every night.
November 18, 1993 Niagara Falls, NY House Show
November 19, 1993 Syracuse, NY House Show
November 20, 1993 Philadelphia, PA
November 21, 1993 Hartford, CT
The Headshrinkers defeated the SMW Tag Team Champions: The Rock n’ Roll Express in a non-title match
Survivor Series, November 24, 1993 Boston, MA Boston Garden
The Heavenly Bodies w/ Jim Cornette defeated SMW Tag Team Champions: Rock n’ Roll Express to win the championships. Jim Ross noted in commentary the Cornette had been feuding with the Rock n’ Roll Express for 10 years starting with the Midnight Express. Also because the match was under WWE rules there was no disqualification when Ricky Morton was thrown over the top rope to the floor, which was against the rules in Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
This essentially ended the run of Smoky Mountain Wrestling in the WWE. In Early 1994 the Bodies were the SMW Tag Team Champions and made a couple defenses on WWE Television against jobbers. Through-out 1994 The Heavenly Bodies competed in the WWE, the mostly defeated jobbers at television tapings and lost on the house show tours to either the Bushwackers or Smoking Gunns. They also continued to appear through the Summer of 1995 and appeared on a couple In Your House PPV’s. The Heavenly Bodies were the last Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Champions defeating The Dirty White Boy & Tracy Smothers on August 4, 1995 and reigning until the promotion folded on November 26, 1995.
After the loss at Survivor Series The Rock n’ Roll Express didn’t work for the WWE again until they went on a tour of Eastern European countries in July of 1994 where they jobbed to the Smoking Gunns each night. That seems pretty odd to me. The Rock n’ Roll Express would return to the WWE in 1998 this time as heels with Jim Cornette as their manager as they represented the National Wrestling Alliance as the NWA World Tag Team Champions.
I would like to thank and credit www.thehistoryofwwe.comfor the match results.
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