Inside the Ropes is saddened to report that Tracy Smothers passed away this morning at the age of 58 after losing his battle with cancer.
Earlier this month, we reported that Smothers had been hospitalised with complications stemming from his battle with the disease.
Tracy Smothers began his career between the ropes in 1984 on Pro Wrestling USA, a joint show held by the NWA and AWA. In his first documented bout, he teamed with Keith Eric to challenge The Road Warriors for the AWA World Tag Team Championships. Though unsuccessful, his talent for the business was undeniable.
Harley Race, Mr. Saito and Dory Funk Jr. were all a part of Smothers’ resume before he moved on to Continental Wrestling Association and Universal Wrestling Federation where he battled Buzz Sawyer for the UWF Television Championship on April 26, 1986. Wars against Rick Steiner, The Sheepherders and Kamala began to get him noticed elsewhere.
Championship Wrestling From Florida was where Smothers began to find his niche in the industry and not long after his arrival formed The Southern Boys with Steve Armstrong. Targeting NWA Florida Tag Team Champions, The New Breed, Smothers and Armstrong finally overcame the duo to capture the straps in February 21, 1987.
Though their reign was brief, losing the gold to The MOD Squad one month later, The Southern Boys had already captured the imagination of fans everywhere and would later contest the NWA United States Tag Team Championships with The Midnight Express in a thriller on June 13, 1987.
Smothers and Armstrong temporarily split after Tracy left Championship Wrestling From Florida for a stint with Continental Wrestling Federation, but the duo reformed for a tour of New Japan Pro Wrestling in the late eighties and World Championship Wrestling in the early nineties after Smothers had spent time in the USWA.
Immediately inserted into the WCW World Tag Team Championship picture, The Southern Boys challenged Doom for the gold on two separate occasions upon their signing before falling into feuds with both The Midnight Express and The Fabulous Freebirds, who they defeated seven times in a row on NWA World Championship Wrestling.
Following a forgettable mini-feud with The Master Blasters, The Southern Boys became The Young Pistols in 1991 and entered the biggest match of their careers at WCW SuperBrawl on May 19 when they again challenged The Fabulous Freebirds for the vacant WCW United States Tag Team Championships.
Following a heel run in the division, The Young Pistols finally snagged gold when they defeated The WCW Patriots to capture the WCW United States Tag Team Championships in the Dark Match of the November 23 WCW Worldwide.
All good things must come to an end. And Smothers left WCW in 1992 after a period treading water in the singles division.
Stints with Smokey Mountain Wrestling followed where captured the SMW Television Championship and feuded with Dirty White Boy over the SMW Heavyweight Championship before he claimed the top prize in a Chain Match at the promotion’s Blue Grass Brawl on April 2, 1993.
After trading the strap with Dirty White Boy and Brian Lee and splitting his time between Smokey Mountain and All Japan Pro Wrestling, Tracy Smothers found his way to the World Wrestling Federation via USWA where he was repackaged as the energetic Freddie Joe Floyd.
Though his time with the WWF was largely forgettable, Smothers did the job for the company’s top stars on television and was always a reliable hand to help boost the career of the next big project. Vader, Mankind, Steve Austin and Hunter Hearst Helmsley all benefitted from his experience and willingness to put them over. His biggest victory while with the promotion was over Helmsley via countout on the October 14, 1996 Raw.
An exit from the WWF saw Tracy land in ECW as ‘The Main Man’ and he soon found his place in the hardcore haven as a member of the Full Blooded Italians alongside Little Guido, Tommy Rich and John T. Smith.
Following the collapse of ECW, Smothers wrestled on the indies, found his way to TNA/IMPACT Wrestling and fought his final bout on October 19, 2019, for Heroes and Legends Wrestling.
The wrestling world has lost a true legend.
Inside the Ropes sends its deepest condolences to Tracy Smothers family and friends.