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Tracy Smothers
Tracy Smothers.jpg
Smothers in November 2007
Birth nameTracy Stanton Smothers
Born(1962-09-02)September 2, 1962
Springfield, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedOctober 28, 2020(2020-10-28) (aged 58)
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.
Cause of deathLymphoma
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Freddie Joe Floyd
Jason the Terrible
Shaquille Ali
Tracy Smothers
Billed height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)[1]
Billed weight235 lb (107 kg)[1]
Billed fromNashville, Tennessee
"Nashville, Italy" (ECW)
Southern Italy (ECW)
Bowlegs, Oklahoma
(as Freddie Joe Floyd) Cheyenne, Wyoming
Trained byStan Lane
Steve Keirn

Tracy Stanton Smothers (September 2, 1962 – October 28, 2020) was an American professional wrestler, best known for his appearances with World Championship Wrestling, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation, and Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Early life

Smothers was from Springfield, Tennessee. He graduated from Springfield High School, where he played football, golf, and wrestled. Smothers was the first person in Springfield High School history to go to the state championship in wrestling.[2]

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1982–1984)

Smothers started his career in 1982 after being trained by Steve Keirn and Jerry Jarrett.[3] He later appeared in the combined promotional effort Pro Wrestling USA, making his televised debut at a taping on September 18, 1984 that was held in Memphis, TN. He teamed with Keith Eric in a losing effort against The Road Warriors.[4] At the same event, he also wrestled Mr. Saito and teamed against Dory Funk and Harley Race.

Continental Wrestling Association (1984–1986)

A month later the rookie traveled to the Continental Wrestling Association, making his debut in Memphis, TN on October 22. Teaming with John King, they lost to The Nightmares. The young wrestler spent 1985 as an enhancement talent appearing on Saturday morning television. He wrestled such talents as Danny Davis, Kareem Muhammad, Jerry Bryant, and Eddie Gilbert. He gained his first victory on March 12, 1985 when he defeated Billy Travis at a house show in Louisville, KY.[5] He ended his run with a time limit draw against The Spoiler at a Memphis, TN house show on January 5, 1986.[6]

Universal Wrestling Federation (1986)

Smothers jumped to Mid South Wrestling on February 11, 1986, losing to Taras Bulba on television.[7] Shortly thereafter Mid-South became the Universal Wrestling Federation. While Smothers still lost the majority of his matches, he also gained victories over Bulba and Gustavo Mendoza.[8] On May 3, 1986 Smothers defeated a young Blade Runner Sting at a house show in Springfield, MO.[9]

Return to Continental Wrestling Association (1986–1987)

Tracy returned to the CWA in June 1986, teaming with Pat Tanaka against The Hunter & The Strong Machine.[9] For the first time in his nascent career, Smothers began to receive a noticeable push. He gained wins over Danny Davis, Gypsy Joe, Ron Sexton, and David Haskins. On August 11, 1986 he entered a tournament to crown the vacant NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Championship. After defeating Mr Universe in the quarterfinals and Ron Sexton in the semi-finals, Smothers captured his first ever singles championship by defeating Basher.[10]

He successfully defended the title against Sexton and The Great Kabuki, before losing it to The Ninja on September 20. Tracy regained the championship six days later and held it until October 10, 1986 he finally lost the title at a house show in Memphis, TN to Boy Tony.[11][12]

While in Continental, Smothers wrestled an unmuzzled bear that was announced as 550 lbs; Tracy took the bear to the mat several times. The bear, incapable of understanding the situation, thought they were playing.[13][14]

Championship Wrestling from Florida (1987)

See also: The Southern Boys

Smothers joined Championship Wrestling from Florida in February 1987 and immediately formed a tag team with Steve Armstrong as "The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys". Their first match came on February 17 in Tampa, FL, where they lost to The New Breed. However four days later The Southern Boys defeated The New Breed to gain their first ever championship, the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship.[15] Smothers and Armstrong held the belts until March 15, when they were defeated by The MOD Squad.[15] In June they unsuccessfully challenged for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship, losing to The Midnight Express (Stan Lane & Bobby Eaton).[16][17]

Second return to Continental Wrestling Association (1987)

See also: The Southern Boys

The Southern Boys would make a stop in the CWA, where they faced Rough & Ready in October 1987.[18] During this time they feuded with The Stud Stable.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1988–1990)

After a brief stop again in the CWA without Armstrong, the Southern Boys went on tour in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Smothers first match for the promotion was as a singles wrestler, where he defeated Osamu Kido on July 15, 1988 at the NJPW Summer Fight Series 1988 event. [19] As a team the Southern Boys experienced success, beating Kantaro Hoshino & Osamu Kido, Kuniaki Kobayashi & Norio Honaga, Kensuke Sasaki & Norio Honaga, and Seiji Sakaguchi & Tatsutoshi Goto. Their final match came on December 9, 1988 at the NJPW Japan Cup Series 1988 – day 21 television show, where they lost to Kotetsu Yamamoto & Yoshinari Tsuji.[20] On April 17, 1989, Smothers in a singles match lost to Japanese veteran Antonio Inoki.[21] By 1990, Smothers went more into a singles coemption before heading back to the States.

United States Wrestling Association (1988–1989)

Tracy Smothers made a jump back to the CWA three days later, defeating Mike Davis in his debut at a house show in Memphis, TN on December 12, 1988.[22] Soon after the promotion renamed United States Wrestling Association. Teaming with John Paul he won the vacated CWA Tag Team Championship from Action Jackson and Robert Fuller.[23] They would drop the titles on May 4 to Brian Lee and Fuller.[24] He would team with John Paul consistently and also wrestling in singles matches.[25]

Steve Armstrong eventually joined up with Smothers and reformed the Southern Boys, and they became embroiled in a feud with The Stud Stable.

World Championship Wrestling (1990–1992)

See also: The Southern Boys

Following a January 1990 tour of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Smothers reunited with Steve Armstrong and made their debuts for World Championship Wrestling on April 23, 1990 in a dark match at a Main Event/WCW WorldWide taping in Marietta, GA. Wrestling as "The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys", their first television appearance came on May 12 at a World Championship Wrestling taping where they defeated Kevin Sullivan and Cactus Jack via disqualification. On May 20 on the Main Event the new team upset WCW United States Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express in a non-title match. Later that month they entered a house show series against WCW World Tag Team Champions Doom, but were unsuccessful in their efforts.

On June 13, 1990 they faced off against The Fabulous Freebirds at the Clash of the Champions XI "Coastal Crush" show and were victorious. Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes were able to gain a measure of revenge by defeating them on the June 16, 1990 episode of WCW Worldwide after holding the tights. An appearance by the Midnight Express' manager Jim Cornette would transition the Southern Boys to their first feud. This led to the first PPV showing for Smothers and Armstrong, as they fell to The Midnight Express on July 13, 1990 at the Great American Bash 1990. Smothers and Armstrong would continue to feud with the Midnight Express before transitioning to a series against the self-declared "Southern Champions" The Fabulous Freebirds. In August they engaged in a "best of three" series against The Freebirds, and on September 5, 1990 they defeated Hayes and Garvin at Clash of the Champions XII "Fall Brawl: Mountain Madness".

On the September 22, 1990 episode of World Championship Wrestling the Southern Boys fell once more to The Midnight Express in a match where the winner received a United States Tag Team Championship shot. On the October 6 episode of The Main Event, the duo fell to the newly arrived Nasty Boys. Their televised slump continued at the Halloween Havoc 1990, where they were defeated by The Master Blasters after Jim Cornette interfered in the match. Cornette and Stan Lane departed from the promotion immediately afterwards, and there was no resolution to the Southern Boys/Midnight Express storyline. They moved instead to a house show series with the Blasters (Al Green and a rookie Kevin Nash).[26]

1991 saw an immediate reversal of fortunes for the young team. In January they opened the year with several wins over The Master Blasters, and on February 24, 1991 at WrestleWar 1991 they beat The Royal Family (Jack Victory and Rip Morgan). A few days earlier at TV taping in Montgomery, Alabama they were renamed The Young Pistols. In March they began a house show series against Moondog Rex and Dutch Mantell, the latter who would ultimately become The Desperados. On May 19, 1991 their televised win streak came to an end when they were defeated by The Freebirds at SuperBrawl I in a match to claim the vacated United States Tag Team Championship after "Badstreet" (a masked Brad Armstrong) interfered. This began a renewed feud with the Freebirds, and on June 12, 1991 they teamed with Tom Zenk to defeat Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, and Badstreet at Clash of the Champions XV.

That summer an injury to Scott Steiner led to the WCW World Tag Team Championship being vacated. On August 3, 1991 the Young Pistols participated in a tournament to crown new champions; they were defeated by The York Foundation. On September 21, 1991 they received a non-title match against the eventual winners of that tournament, The Enforcers (Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko but were unsuccessful. On the November 17, 1991 episode of WCW Main Event Smothers challenged Stunning Steve Austin for the WCW World Television Championship. That fall the Pistols continued to face The York Foundation on the house show circuit.

At Halloween Havoc 1991 the Pistols began to show the first signs of an attitude change, stating that they did not care who was the "WCW Phantom" (eventually revealed that night as Rick Rude), but were instead waiting for a United States Tag Team Championship title shot against The WCW Patriots (Firebreaker Chip and Todd Champion). On the December 8, 1991 episode of The Main Event they finally received their shot. After initially being declared the winners, the match was restarted and the Patriots won. The following week they declared that they were unconcerned with what the fans thought, confirming a heel turn. Later that night the Pistols defeated the WCW Patriots to win the United States Tag Team Championship.[27][28]

The Young Pistols entered 1992 as champions and defeated The Patriots in another rematch in the January 18 episode of WCW Pro. On January 25 on WCW Worldwide they beat former champions Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman. However their run with the titles ended on the February 16 episode of WCW Pro where they lost the championship to Ron Simmons and Big Josh. In February the Young Pistols moved to a house show series against The Steiner Brothers. They were scheduled to team with The Vegas Connection (Vinnie Vegas and Dallas Page) in an eight-man tag team match against El Gigante, Big Josh, Johnny B. Badd, and Mike Graham at SuperBrawl II on February 29; however the match was cancelled.

In April 1992 Smothers' partner Steve Armstrong left WCW, leaving Tracy to soldier on as a singles competitor. He began a house show series against Johnny B. Badd but was winless in each encounter. On May 17 he was pinned by Badd at WrestleWar 1992. That month he also formed a temporary partnership with Richard Morton following the dissolution of The York Foundation; the new tag team would face The Steiner Brothers, Freebirds, and WCW Patriots with no success. Remaining a heel, that summer he would face Dustin Rhodes, Brian Pillman, and Nikita Koloff in singles matches. He teamed once more with Morton, this time in a six-man tag team match alongside Dallas Page in an unsuccessful effort against Junkyard Dog, Big Josh, and Tom Zenk on June 20, 1992 at Beach Blast 1992. He left the company in August.[29]

Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1992–1995)

See also: The Thugs

Three months after departing World Championship Wrestling, and following a very brief period in the United States Wrestling Association,[30] Tracy Smothers resurfaced in Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion which was based out of Knoxville, Tennessee. It would be here that Smothers achieved his greatest singles success. Now billed as "The Wild Eyed Southern Boy" Tracy Smothers, he made his debut on the October 31, 1992 episode of SMW television, defeating Paul Lee. Competing as a babyface, he remained undefeated for the remainder of the year, defeating Robbie Eagle, Dutch Mantell, Jimmy Golden, Killer Kyle, and The Nightstalker. In December 1992, he won a tournament to be crowned the inaugural SMW Beat the Champ Television Champion.[31]

He began 1993 feuding with SMW Heavyweight Champion "Dirty White Boy" Tony Anthony, wrestling him to multiple time limit draws and later pinning him in non-title matches. He finally lost the Beat the Champ Championship to The Nightstalker on February 8, 1993.[32] At the "Bluegrass Brawl" major event in Louisville, Kentucky on April 2, 1993 Smothers defeated DWB in a chain match to win the SMW Heavyweight Championship. He would hold the Championship until 17 July, when he was pinned by "Prime Time" Brian Lee in Johnson City, Tennessee. Smothers would gain the (vacant) Beat the Champ TV Championship for the second time on December 11, 1993 by pinning the Jim Cornette henchman Jimmy Del Ray.

Smothers entered 1994 as the Beat the Champ TV Champion, but would lose it to Chris Candido on the January 8, 1994 episode of SMW television.[32] He became embroiled in a feud with Candido, emerging victorious in non-title matches at house shows. After a lengthy series of matches he transitioned to another feud with Kendo the Samurai. On the June 18, 1994 episode of SMW he defeated Kendo to win the Beat the Champ TV Championship for the third time. He would vacate the championship in July and transitioned into a feud with Jim Cornette's charge Bruiser Bedlam. On the August 5, 1994 major event "Night of the Legends", Smothers teamed with Road Warrior Hawk and Bob Armstrong to defeat Bruiser Bedlam, Terry Funk, and Dory Funk Jr. That month he began to frequently team with the veteran Bob Armstrong and defeated Bruiser Bedlam, Killer Kyle, and Jim Cornette in numerous handicap matches. He closed out the year feuding with Bryant Anderson.[33]

After winning his feud with Anderson in early 1995 he formed a team with another Armstrong brother, Scott Armstrong. The quickly began a feud with the newly arrived Gangstas and were winless. Smothers then formed a team with the Dirty White Boy as the Thugs. The Thugs then feuded with The Gangstas during the spring, but did not get a win until April 13. The war between them continued until June, when the Gangstas departed for Extreme Championship Wrestling.

That summer an interpromotional war broke out between SMW and the USWA; on June 16, 1995 in Knoxville, Tennessee the Thugs defeated USWA Tag Team Champions PG-13 in a non-title match. On July 6, 1995 the duo upended Al Snow and Unabomb to win the SMW Tag Team Championship. They successfully retained the titles against Snow and Unabomb, as well as The Headbangers before finally losing the titles at the "SuperBowl of Wrestling" major event in Knoxville, Tennessee on August 4 to The Heavenly Bodies. Eight days later the Thugs beat Snow and Unabomb in a loser leaves town match. That fall they continued to feud with the Heavenly Bodies, until the promotion closed in November 1995.[34]

International Wrestling Association Japan (1994-1996)

Smothers then toured for the International Wrestling Association of Japan (IWA) in 1994. He made his first appearance as the New Jason the Terrible teaming with Jason the Terrible. Later on they feuded with each other. Also teamed with Leatherface. In 1995 he, teamed with Cactus Jack winning the IWA World Tag Team defeating The Headhunters. A few days alter they dropped the titles to Tarzan Goto and Mr. Gannosuke. He returned in 1996 for a third tour teaming with masked USWA wrestler Doug Gilbert (wrestling as Freddie Krueger) in a losing effort to Cactus Jack and Takashi Okano.[35] He would also team with Tiger Jeet Singh, and late in the tour faced Cactus Jack in singles competition.[36]

United States Wrestling Association (1995–1997)

See also: The Nation of Domination

After SMW folded, Smothers continued to work for the USWA. Now teaming with Steve's youngest brother Jesse James Armstrong, the new duo defeated PG-13 to win the USWA Tag Team Championship on December 11, 1995 at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee.[37] Smothers and Armstrong would hold the belts until January 3, 1996 when they would lose them to Doug Gilbert and Tommy Rich.[38] They would feud with PG-13 throughout the spring, and would later face each other for the vacated USWA World Heavyweight Championship.[36]

In January 1997 he joined the USWA branch of the Nation of Domination, changing his name to Shaquille Ali (a take off of NBA star Shaquille O'Neal and legendary boxer Muhammad Ali). That same month he won a tournament defeating King Mabel in the first round, Brian Christopher semi round, and Bill Dundee in the finals where he was the Number One Contender for the USWA World Heavyweight title. Later that night he lost faced USWA World Heavyweight Champion Jerry Lawler where Smothers failed to win. He would leave USWA before its doors were shut down later that year.

World Wrestling Federation (1996–1997)

Faced with an expanding WCW and their own limited talent pool, Jim Cornette suggested that a number of unsigned wrestlers be brought in to flesh out the WWF roster. This ultimately led to the signing of Tracy Smothers, Tony Anthony, Bill Irwin, Tom Brandi, and Alex Porteau. All but Porteau were given new names, and Smothers was given the monicker "Freddie Joe Floyd". The name was a rib on WWF front office officials Freddie Joe Brisco and Gerald Floyd Brisco. Both Briscos came from Bowlegs, Oklahoma (the same home town Freddie Joe Floyd was billed as being from).[39][40] He made his debut on the June 29, 1996 episode of WWF Superstars, defeating Justin Hawk Bradshaw. On the July 13, 1996 episode of Superstars, Bradshaw pinned him in a subsequent rematch.[39] His first Monday Night RAW appearance came on July 22, when he was defeated by Mankind.

Initially used primarily for television tapings, Floyd rebounded to defeat Uncle Zebekiah on the August 3 episode of WWF Superstars. Two weeks later he teamed with Savio Vega and beat both Zebekiah and Justin Bradshaw. Floyd faced Vader, Steve Austin, and Crush in singles matches over the next month and was winless. He began a house show series in September 1996 against T.L. Hopper (former SMW partner Tony Anthony). Smothers made his first Madison Square Garden appearance when he faced Hunter Hearst Helmsley on September 29. He later scored a count out win over Triple H, thanks to Mr. Perfect distracting Helmsley.[39][41] He later got a shot at the Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley but lost to match to Helmsley on Superstars January 5, 1997 episode.

Entering 1997 he wrestled numerous singles matches on house shows, facing an old SMW opponent Glen Jacobs (now wrestling as "the New Diesel"), Headbanger Mosh, and Headbanger Thrasher. In the spring he began teaming with Barry Horowitz; on the April 7 edition of Monday Night RAW the duo faced The Headbangers. On April 12, Smothers defeated his partner Barry Horowitz on a house show in Kuwait. His final WWF match came on June 2, 1997 in Huntington, West Virginia, where he defeated T.L. Hopper.[42]

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1997–1999)

See also: The Full Blooded Italians

While still a part of the WWF, Floyd joined Extreme Championship Wrestling on February 22, 1997 as "The Main Man" Tracy Smothers. On March 15, 1997 at Hostile City Showdown he teamed with "The Rookie" Chris Chetti against The Full Blooded Italians (FBI), Little Guido and former SMW rival "The Big Don" Tommy Rich. During the match, Smothers turned on Chetti and joined The FBI (despite not being Italian). Smothers, long associated with being a stereotypical southern wrestler, was billed as being from "Nashville, Italy" or "Southern Italy" during this time. He began doing a goofy dance, that ECW announcer Joey Styles often commented on by saying "what the hell is with that awful dance." Smothers was often mocked by the crowd with chants of "Freddy Joe!" regarding his WWF stint.

Smothers became an ECW regular, frequently teaming with Little Guido that spring in matches against The Pitbulls. On June 7, 1997 they were defeated by the Pitbulls at Wrestlepalooza 1997 in Philadelphia, PA. Smothers and Guido faced numerous opponents that summer, including Balls Mahoney & Axl Rotten. On October 17, 1997 they defeated Mahoney and Rotten on ECW television. A day later Smothers and Guido upset John Kronus and New Jack to win the ECW Tag Team Championship. As the year wound down they successfully defended their titles against Mahoney & Rotten, as well as New Jack and Kronus. Their reign however came to an end on December 5, 1997 when they were beaten for the titles by Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon.[43]

Guido and Smothers began 1998 having moved to a house show series with Tommy Dreamer, Balls Mahoney, and Axl Rotten but were unsuccessful. On February 21, 1998 he wrestled former SMW opponent Al Snow at CyberSlam 1998. On March 1 at Living Dangerously 1998 he teamed once more with Guido to face Jerry Lynn & Chris Chetti. Smothers was pinned after Tommy Rich mistakenly struck Smothers with the Italian flag. The two began arguing after the match as a result but the stable remained intact. At Wrestlepalooza 1998 Guido and Smothers were defeated by Super Nova and The Blue Meanie. On May 16 the F.B.I. attacked Nova and Meanie, coming to the ring to the strains of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" (Sinatra had died two days earlier. Smothers and Guido continued to feud with Nova and Meanie through the summer.

Smothers and Guido faced Balls Mahoney & Masato Tanaka on October 30, 1998 on ECW television but were defeated. At November 1, 1998 in New Orleans, LA at November to Remember 1998 he faced Tommy Rogers but was defeated. He then entered a successful house show series where he and Guido defeated Rogers and Chetti in numerous matches. On December 10 on ECW TV he teamed with Guido and The One Man Gang to defeat Tommy Dreamer, Chris Chetti, and Nova. The duo ended the year defeating Danny Doring and Roadkill on the December 31 edition of ECW television. After the match The One Man Gang was announced as the newest member of The F.B.I.[44]

At Guilty as Charged 1999 in Kissimmee, FL on January 10, 1999 the F.B.I. (Guido and Smothers) faced Rotten & Mahoney and Roadkill and Doring in an elimination match but were defeated. On February 11 on ECW television they were beaten by Antifaz del Norte & Nova. On April 4 on ECW television Smothers got a singles opportunity and wrestled Jerry Lynn to a no contest after Rob Van Dam interfered. Smothers would face Lynn several more times that summer on the house show circuit. On December 2, 1999 he faced Rob Van Dam for the ECW Television Championship on ECW on TNN but pinned. His final match came on the December 24 edition of ECW television when he faced Kentaro Kanemura.[45]

Smothers wrestled at both of the June 2005 ECW reunion shows, defeating The Blue Meanie at Hardcore Homecoming with the help of J.T. Smith, and accompanying Little Guido to ringside for his match with Yoshihiro Tajiri and Super Crazy at ECW One Night Stand 2005. On June 18, 2005 at a Championship Wrestling event, Smothers challenged WWE employee John "Bradshaw" Layfield to a fight after JBL shot on The Blue Meanie during a brawl at the end of One Night Stand. He also wrestled at all four of the Hardcore Homecoming events.[46]

Return to World Wrestling Federation (1999–2000)

Smothers made a return to the World Wrestling Federation in 1999. The "Freddie Joe Floyd" now forgotten, he wrestled under his long-time name and faced former Freebird Michael Hayes on the July 17, 1999 episode of Shotgun Saturday Night. Smothers would work as a jobber against Chaz and The Colorado Kid. On November 21, 1999 he made an appearance on Sunday Night Heat, falling to Rikishi. At the end of the year he wrestled Rikishi on house shows.[47]

On February 21, 2000 he teamed with Rick Michaels to face The Headbangers on Jakked. On March 20 he wrestled Scott Vick at a dark match in Chicago, IL at a RAW is WAR taping. He then appeared on April 24 on Jakked, facing Taz. Then he lost to Val Venis on Jakked taping on June 19. His final appearance came on June 20, 2000 in Memphis, TN where he again faced Scott Vick.[48]

Return to World Championship Wrestling (2000)

While making appearances for the World Wrestling Federation, Smothers also made a surprise appearance in World Championship Wrestling. In an episode of WCW Worldwide that was taped on January 19, 2000 in Cape Girardeau, MO but aired on January 29, Smothers faced The Barbarian.[49]

Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling (2000)

While at the same time working occasional independents as well as the World Wrestling Federation, Smothers jumped to Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling in March 2000. He made his first appearance on March 27, teaming with Balls Mahoney, Chocoball Mukai, and Crazy Boy in a losing effort against Hideki Hosaka, Hido, Hisakatsu Oya & Kintaro Kanemura at the FMW Winning Road 2000 PPV that was held in Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.[50] Smothers would find himself frequently teaming with fellow ECW alumni Masato Tanaka, wrestling such various combinations as H, Jado & Kintaro Kanemura, H, Yoshinori Sasaki, and & Tetsuhiro Kuroda.[50] He also competed in singles competition, defeating Ricky Fuji on March 29, 2000 in Niigata, Niigata, Japan [51] and Hisakatsu Oya on April 3, 2000 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.[51]

Xtreme Pro Wrestling (2000, 2002–2003)

Smothers then jumped to Xtreme Pro Wrestling, defeating Tony Jones on May 26, 2000 at the D-Day event in Los Angeles, CA.[52] After defeating Jones in a rematch and then Perro Russo and Nosawa at subsequent events, Smothers lost to Kid Kaos on July 27 in a loser leaves town match.

He would return to the promotion in December 2002. He formed a tag team with fellow SMW and ECW alumni Chris Hamrick known as "Southern Comfort". Their first match would come on January 17, 2003 in Philadelphia, PA when they defeated Angel and Shark Boy.[53] Their stay in the promotion was brief, their last match coming at The Battle at the Burgh event in Pittsburgh, PA on March 8, 2003 when they wrestled in a three-way match with Josh Cross & Matt Cross and Danny Doring & Christian York.[54]

IWA Mid-South (1996–2010, 2016–2019)

"Tracy was the first name I ever worked. He taught me so much just that first night, and continued to do so for years. He loved working shows full of young kids and always helped share his knowledge. Always asked if I was swimming and eating cans of tuna."

CM Punk in a Twitter post following Smothers passing [55]

While otherwise engaged with the WWF, USWA, and ECW, Smothers would make occasional forays into IWA Mid-South. His first match came on October 10, 1996 in former the former SMW stomping grounds of Louisville, KY at the event Start Of Something Big, where he lost to Reckless Youth.[56] He would spend most of his career in IWA Mid-South. His appearances remained sporadic over the next three years, but he wrestled and defeated such opponents as Flash Flanagan, J. C. Ice, and Bull Pain. On September 11, 1997 he defeated Pain to win the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Title, but would lose it the following day to fellow WWF roster member Salvatore Sincere.[46]

After wrestling a handful of shows in 1998 and 1999 for IWA Mid-South, Smothers became a full-time regular after the completion of his XPW tour. In his initial matches he would find himself competing against other ECW alumni; at the An IWA Odyssey event on January 6, 2001 in Charlestown, IN he defeated Sabu and Ian Rotten in a three-way dance.[57] Over the next two months he would also face Taz, Spike Dudley and former partner Little Guido. An April 14, 2001 he faced a young CM Punk, and the eventual superstar would credit Smothers for teaching him so much.[58]

On August 18, 2001 Smothers unsuccessfully challenged Trent Baker for the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Title at the Night The Lights Went Out In Charlestownevent.[59] On November 22, 2001 he wrestled again for the title, this time falling to Chris Hero.[60]

Entering 2002 he went back on a winning streak, reeling off victories against Chris Candido, J. C. Ice, Tarek the Great, Bobby Eaton, and Dave Donovan.[61] On March 7, 2003 Simply The Best 4 in Clarksville, IN he defeated Shark Boy.[62] After competing as a singles wrestler for most of 2003, Chris Hambrick joined Smothers in the IWA and reformed their Southern Comfort tag team. On the May 29, 2004 a tournament was held to crown the IWA Mid-South Tag Team Championship. Southern Comfort defeated The Wild Cards (Eddie Kingston and Jack Marciano) in the quarterfinals, then beat B-Boy and Homicide in the semis. In the finals they would defeat The Second City Saints (CM Punk & Colt Cabana) to win the tag team championship. Their reign however lasted only a day; on May 30 in Hammond, IN they were defeated by Brad Bradley & Ryan Boz. He then participated at the Ted Petty Invitational 2008, where he lost to Dave Taylor in the first round.[63]

On October 19, 2008 in Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South's Double Death Tag Team Tournament, Smothers teamed with Corporal Robinson to face Cult Fiction's Vulgar Display of Power, Brain Damage and Deranged managed by Halfbreed Billy Gram. Smothers turned on his partner and joined Cult Fiction.Following this Smothers appearances in the IWA became much more infrequent, although he continued to wrestle for the promotion until 2010.

In 2016, Smothers returned to IWA Mid-South after a six year hiatus. On October 6, 2016 at IWA Mid-South's Mid-South 20th Anniversary Show, Smother defeated JJ Garrett to win the IWA Mid-South Championship.[64] On October 15 he defeated Ian Rotten to retain the championship, and in November would beat Chris Hero in title matches as well.[64] He was finally defeated for the title by Mitch Page on December 22, 2016 at the IWA Mid-South Winter Tryout Show. On February 28, 2019 he attempted to regain the IWA Mid-South Championship but was defeated by Aaron Williams at The Heartbreak Ends event.[65] His last match in IWA Mid-South was a tag team with Jordan Kage defeating Amazing Maria and Lincoln Moseley on April 11, 2019.

Independent circuit (2005–2010)

Smothers in 2008
Smothers in 2008

Now more than twenty years a veteran of the industry, Smothers had become a universally well-regarded figure to the crop of young wrestlers growing up around him, passing on wisdom in car trips and finding places for them to stay.[66] In late 2005 and early 2006, Smothers worked a full-time schedule at various independent promotions in Tennessee and around the midwest and eastern United States, including the IWC (International Wrestling Cartel), SSW (Southern States Wrestling), WOW (Wrestlers of West Virginia), VCW (Vanguard Championship Wrestling), NWA Wrestle Birmingham and NWA Midwest. On February 25, 2005 he teamed again with Chris Hamrick at the IWC event Showdown in Utown in Uniondale, PA. Southern Comfort defeated Matt Cross & Josh Prohibition that night; the day afterwards Smothers challenged Shirley Doe for the IWC World Heavyweight Championship but was unsuccessful. He would wrestle Doe again on April 9, 2005 at the IWC Night of Legends 2 event, but again was unable to capture the title.[67] On June 1, 2005 Smothers defeated JC Bailey to win the BBW (Bad 2 The Bone Wrestling Heavyweight Championship in Central City, KY.[68] On August 10, 2005 Smothers briefly added the WOW West Virginia title to his collection, defeating Eric Steel in Whitesville, WV.[68] He would lose the West Virginia title back to Steel at the WOW Summer Blast 2005 event two days later.[69] On August 25, 2005 Southern Comfort won the IWC Tag Team Championship in a ladder match at IWC Summer Sizzler 2; they would hold the belts until November 25 when they lost them to The Gambino Brothers Moving Company (Marshall Gambino & Mickey Gambino).

In January 2006 Smothers and Hamrick traveled to 1PW (One Pro Wrestling) in the United Kingdom and defeated The JOB Squad (Al Snow & Blue Meanie) on January 6 at the event 1PW No Turning Back.[70] Southern Comfort would visit the UK on multiple occasions, where they would also compete in a tag team ladder match for the Tag Team Championship against Team SHAG (Darren Burridge and Colt Cabana) and Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch, eventually losing to Team SHAG. On July 29, 2006 they won a match against Team Supreme (Dave Moralez & Jack Storm) to become the #1 contenders to the 1PW Tag Team Championship. On October 14 at the 1PW First Anniversary Show in South Yorkshire faced Team SHAG and champions Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm for the titles, but were unsuccessful.

Back in the United States, Smothers journeyed to CCW (Coliseum Championship Wrestling). In a match held on January 11, 2006 in Evansville, IN he defeated Chuck Taylor in the main event to win the CCW Heavyweight Championship.[71] On February 26, 2006 Tracy Smothers was declared the inaugural OPW (Omni Wrestling Promotions) Heavyweight Championship; he lost the title the same night to Chuck Taylor.[72] He also appeared that year for the HWA (Heartland Wrestling Association), wrestling numerous times against opponents such as TJ Dalton, Tack, and The GP Code (Andre Heart & Deja Vu). In September 2006 he traveled overseas again, this time to WZW (Wrestle Zone Wrestling). On September 26 in Northumberland he defeated Lance Thunder to win the WZW Heavyweight Championship.[73] Smothers held the belt until vacating it on October 14.[74] On November 1, 2006 Smothers teamed with Tim Renesto to capture the CCW Tag Team Championship, defeating Anthony Blaze & Buzz Dupp.[75] They lost the title seven days later in a rematch to Blaze and Dupp, but would then regain them on November 22.[76] In December 2006 Smothers traveled to CAPW (Cleveland All Pro Wrestling). Competing at CAPW Seasons Beatings 2006 he defeated champion Claudio Castagnoli and Jason Bane to win the CAPW Heavyweight Championship.[77]

On February 25, 2007 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Smothers defeated Corporal Robinson to win the Pro Wrestling Unplugged Hardcore Championship. Meanwhile, in CAPW, Smothers remained champion until he was defeated by the Blue Meanie on June 3, 2007.[78] He then traveled to the CCW, where he defended his CCW Heavyweight Championship against Mitch Ryder, Lonestar and Chris Michaels.[79] On July 18, 2007 he was finally defeated for the CCW championship by Ryder at an event held in Evansville, IN.[80] In CAPW, Southern Comfort challenged titleholders Chris Faith and Vincent Nothing for the CAPW Tag Team Championship on August 5, 2007 at the A Night of Legends event, but were beaten.[81] Following a one-shot appearance in IWA Mid-South, Smothers traveled in October 2007 to Wales in the United Kingdom to wrestle for the CW (Celtic Wrestling). After winning a battle royal to become the Number One contender for the title, Smothers defeated Maddog Maxx to win the CW Heavyweight Championship on October 12 in Cardiff, Wales.[82]

While CW Champion he continued his international tour, next entering into competition in the IWW (Irish Whip Wrestling) promotion. He wrestled numerous opponents, including El Generico and Dillon Jones.[79] He challenged for the IWW International Heavyweight Championship on October 28 at an event in Dublin, Ireland against champion Vic Viper but was unable to win the title. On November 1, 2007 he lost the CW Championship to former titleholder Maddog Max at the CW All or Nothing event held in Aberfan, Wales.[83]

Smothers returned to the United States and competed in a variety of independent promotions in 2008, including CCW, MPW (Mad-Pro Wrestling), XCW Wrestling Mid-West, and IWA East Coast.[79] On March 18, he defeated former SMW and ECW rival Al Snow at IWA East Coast. In June, he reformed Southern Comfort once more and competed at the Steel City Wrestlefest event on May 24 in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania. Southern Comfort defeated Antonio Dinero and Julio Dinero. On July 9, 2008 he wrestled at PWX Summer Assault 2, a joint event being held by Pro Wrestling eXpress, National Wrestling Alliance East, and the National Wrestling Alliance. He challenged Crusher Hansen for the NWA National Heavyweight Championship but was defeated.[84] In August 2008, Smothers returned once more to Japan to appear at and XWF event, teaming with Raven and Super Leather in a match against Kintaro Kanemura, Masato Tanaka & Tetsuhiro Kuroda.[85] After returning from Japan, Smothers closed out the year by reforming his FBI partnership with Little Guido and appearing in JAPW (Jersey All Pro Wrestling), where they won the JAPW Tag Team Championship on November 15, 2008 at an event in Jersey City, NJ.[86] The FBI would hold the titles for a month, losing them on December 13, 2008 to Azrieal & Dixie at the 'APW 11th Anniversary Show in Rahway, New Jersey.[87]

Tracy Smothers began to wind down his schedule in 2009. After making appearances in IWA Deep South, IWA Mid-South, and XCW between January and June, he would not wrestle again until April 17, 2010. Teaming for the last time with Chris Hamrick, Southern Comfort challenged PWF Tag Team Champions Jay Shaft & JD Hogg but were defeated.[88] During the year he won the Mid-American Heavyweight Title. On July 9, 2010 at the CAPW 17th Anniversary Show, Smothers lost the championship to Jerry "The King" Lawler at an event held in North Olmsted, Ohio.[89] He wrestled frequently for the remainder of the year, appearing in NWA Main Event, IWA Mid-South, BWF, and MECW (Main Event Championship Wrestling).[89]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2010)

On August 8, 2010, Smothers took part in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's ECW reunion show, Hardcore Justice, where he, Little Guido and Tony Luke defeated Kid Kash, Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger in a six-man tag team match.[90] On the following edition of Impact!, the ECW alumni, known collectively as Extreme, Version 2.0 (EV 2.0), were assaulted by A.J. Styles, Kazarian, Robert Roode, James Storm, Douglas Williams and Matt Morgan of Ric Flair's Fourtune stable, who thought they didn't deserve to be in TNA.[91][92] The following week TNA president Dixie Carter gave each member of EV 2.0 TNA contracts in order for them to settle their score with Fourtune.[93]

Juggalo Championship Wrestling (2007–2015)

Tracy Smothers debuted in Juggalo Championship Wrestling by cutting a series of promos in which he insulted the company, the owners (Insane Clown Posse), and the Juggalo fanbase.[94] Tracy quickly became the company's main villain by defeating much of their roster and ending most of his matches by choking out his opponents.[94] He attacked hero 2 Tuff Tony in the sixth episode of the internet wrestling show SlamTV!, causing Tony to be knocked out of action for several weeks.[94] Per storyline, Smothers was arrested just days before Tony's return on the eighth episode, leaving Tony with no way to seek revenge.[94] At Bloodymania, Smothers lost to Ron Killings.[95]

Tracy and 2 Tuff Tony continued their rivalry into season two. In the first episode, both men faced off in a match which saw Tracy win after a fast count by the referee, who was later revealed as Tracy's illegitimate daughter, Isabella.[96] Two weeks later, Tracy caught Isabella listening to Boondox, the rapper who sings 2 Tuff Tony's entrance music.[97] The following week, 2 Tuff Tony attacked Tracy after his match. Tracy later caught Isabella engaging in sexual actions with Boondox, through storyline, and assaulted him.[98] Tracy and Isabella Smothers were then scheduled to face Boondox and 2 Tuff Tony at Bloodymania II.[99] However, Isabella was replaced by Bull Pain after she injured her leg, and Smothers and Pain lost to Tony and Boondox.

At Flashlight Wrestling: Legends and Loonies, Tracy was defeated by "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.[100] The following night at Bloodymania IV, he lost to Booker T, who was accompanied by Boondox.[100] In the summer of 2011 he lost to former ECW star Rhyno on July 28 and former F.B.I. teammate Tommy Rich on August 16, 2011. Afterwards he left he company and continued on the independent circuit.

He returned to JCW on February 16, 2013 for a one-night appearance teaming with Isabella Smothers as they lost to Ring Girl Randy and the Weedman in Detroit. In 2015 he made a couple of appearances where he defeated Necro Butcher on April 19. His last match for JCW was on July 26 where he lost to Rude Boy.

Return to independent circuit (2011–2019)

Tracy Smothers continued to wrestle on the independent circuit in the new decade. On January 15, 2011 he teamed with JD Maverick to face Bill Dundee & Brian Christopher at a MECW event in Monroe City, Indiana.[101] He formed a new version of The F.B.I. with Romeo Valentino, and on July 9, 2011 unsuccessfully challenged for the FCW Tag Team Championship at WrestleRock 3.[102] Smothers then jumped to Ohio Valley Wrestling, where on August 31, 2011 he teamed for the first time with his daughter Jessie Belle Smothers in a victorious televised mixed-tag match against CJ Lane & Mysterie.[103] On September 3, 2011 he teamed with both Jessie Belle and Isabella Smothers to defeat Lady JoJo, Lennox Norris & Taryn Shay. He did not wrestle any matches in 2012.

Smothers next appeared in 2013, wrestling in JCW and in appearing at the new CWA's CW Night Of The Legends event on May 4, 2013. Teaming with Matt Yaden, the duo defeated Wolfie D and Chris Rocker.[104] He lost to Greg Excellent at Combat Zone Wrestling's Proving Grounds on May 11. After making appearances for the Cleveland-based Absolute Intense Wrestling as a singles wrestler, he then appeared at The JT Lightning Invitational Tournament on May 25, 2013. At the event he wrestled Jock Samson but was defeated by disqualification.[105] On June 16, 2013 at the Brad Armstrong Memorial Event in Knoxville, TN, Tracy Smothers teamed with old partner Steve Armstrong for the first time in over twenty one years. The reunited Southern Boys teamed with Doug Gilbert to defeat Paul Lee, The Storm Trooper & Vordell Walker.[106] Smothers then traveled to Destination One Wrestling, where he unsuccessfully challenged Lennox Norris for the D1W Heavyweight Title at an event in Charlestown, IN.[107]

However a month later he faced Norris in a three-way match with Hy-Zaya. This time Smothers was victorious, and captured yet another title.[108] Smothers defended the D1W Heavyweight Championship against Adam Gooch and Brian Christopher,[89] before facing challenger Mad Man Pondo at the D1W Mad Man Pondo's Birthday Bash on June 25, 2014 in New Albany, IN.[109] Pondo defeated Smother to gain the championship, and then beat him in a lumberback rematch on July 5.[110] He then split time between D1W and IWA Mid South to close out the year.

On March 8, 2015 he appeared at the annual CW Night Of The Legends event, wrestling Chris Rocker.[111] Smothers returned to Absolute Intense Wrestling, this time with Little Guido as The F.B.I. The duo wrestled at The JT Lightning Invitational Tournament 2015 and were defeated by champions Cheech & Colin Delaney.[112] Later in the year The F.B.I. wrestled Tracy Williams & Tyson Dux at AIW's Big Trouble in Little Cleveland event.[113] On December 12, 2015 he appeared in the CWA, teaming with Chris Rocker in defeat to Jerry Lawler & Bill Dundee at the CW Christmas With Legends event.[114]

In March 2016 Smother appeared in HLW (Heroes And Legends Wrestling), where he teamed with Bobby Fulton as they defeated Jake Omen & Scotty Young to with the HLW Tag Team Championship.[115] This would not be the only surprise from the aged veteran. As for the HLW Tag Team Championship, Fulton and Smothers retained the belts until being defeated by Alexander Kirk & Matt O'Hare at HLW Heroes & Legends VII on October 22, 2016.[116]

Smothers continued to wrestle frequently in 2017, making appearances in the PWA (Pure Wrestling Association) in Canada, as well as RCCW (Rocket City Championship Wrestling), ZERO-1 USA, and IWA Mid-South. On May 25, 2017 he competed at WrestleJam V in Ringgold, GA, winning a battle royal.[117] On September 16, 2017 he challenged for the FPW Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated by CJ O'Doyle.[118] Smothers traveled to Japan for a final time on November 23, 2017 when he appeared at the Junichi Sato Retirement Memorial Show; Smothers teamed with Doug Gilbert to defeat Great Kabuki & Masao Inoue.[119]

Entering 2018 he began to wind his appearances down, and only wrestled sporadically during the year. At the HLW Heroes And Legends XII event on April 20, 2019 he defeated D-Lo Brown to win the HLW Legends Championship. Then on September 27, 2019 he appeared at the Supreme Surviving The Steel 2019 event and defeated Josh Lewis to win the AWA Central States Championship. His final match came at the HLW Heroes And Legends XIII show at Fort Wayne, IN, where he dropped the HLW Legends title to Dru Skillz.[120]

Personal life

In July 2016, Smothers was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE.[121] US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant dismissed the case in September 2018.[122]

Smothers announced on his Facebook page in December 2019 that he was diagnosed with lymphoma after he visited a doctor the month prior, but that it was not terminal.[123] Despite this, Smothers died from the illness on October 28, 2020 at the age of 58.[124] Smothers was survived by his three sons, Tony Shook, Kyle Smothers and Austin Elliot.

Championships and accomplishments


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