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Charles (Loss)

[1993-08-14-SMW-Fire on the Mountain] Rock & Roll Express & Bob & Scott & Steve Armstrong vs Heavenly Bodies & Bruise Brothers & Jim Cornette (Rage In The Cage)

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Take back what I said about Smothers/Lee, this is the best SMW match of the set to this point. Any match where Ricky Morton bleeds for a half hour while the crowd goes insane every time they tease handcuffing him to the cage is going to be fun, but there's lots to love here. Steve and Scott Armstrong are way better than they get credit for. Cornette picking his spots is awesome, and the buildup for Bob Armstrong finally getting his hands on Cornette is outstanding. Great finish with all the heels finally being handcuffed to the cage, leaving Cornette by himself against Armstrong. Not on the level of a War Games match, but really good by SMW standards.

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Agreed on the Armstrongs - they are a really underrated good tag team. One of the great "what ifs" I think with SMW is what if Steve Armstrong hadn't gone to All Japan in 1994. According to the WON at that time (and I assume this came straight from Cornette), they were going to turn heel, side with Cornette, and feud with the Rock 'n' Roll and their dad, which I think would have been AWESOME and would have resulted in great tag team matches. Instead, Steve Armstrong leaves, the Gangstas get the top heel tag team spot in the fall, and SMW starts its death spiral. Too bad.

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I'm usually not a fan of the handcuff gimmick, but here it worked pretty well. Morton bleeds a gusher, him and Pritchard are the standouts, but everyone plays his role well, including the Bruise Brothers who are not too much exposed in this kind of match. The Cornette beatdown by Bob Armstrong is the most satisfying moment in SMW history thus far. Great stuff, and better than most Wargames post 92. Fire on the Mountain was easily the best major show of 1993 at this point, blew away anything by WCW or WWF.

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War Games gets ripped off a lot. Just the one ring. Morton is of course one of the first guys in and to get blood. Cage does not look sturdy but it is able to handle guys getting thrown into it. Getting crowded in the ring which is good as disguising the Bruise Brothers but makes it hard to focus on some of the others. Scott Armstrong has the spectacular entry to match by hitting the four members of Cornette's team with a low blow each. No room for Cornette to hide with everyone in there. He is toast once Bullet Bob gets a hold of him. Everyone is happy.

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A worthy addition to the WarGames and WarGames-esque canon. Lots of highlights including Morton's gusher and the heels all dogpiling to try to protect Cornette after the match, but I think my favorite part was Scott Armstrong entering the ring and giving low blows to all four heels. Perfect build to Cornette first entering the cage and then Bullet Bob getting his hands on him. The handcuffed Gibson and Scott hold Prichard at bay and with the rest of the heels cuffed, Cornette quickly submits to a spinning toe hold. Chris Candido tries to free the heels afterward, but the Big Boss Man keeps the sides even. Satisfying payoff to the Cornette/Armstrong feud, which I know is far from over.

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Awesome, awesome match up there with the best SMW matches in history. Blood, selling, some comedy and overall smart finish. The handcuffed stuff worked out better here than in any other match in history and kept the sides fair to some point. Cornette's entire ring attire and involvement here is awesome. I know Hennan deservedly so gets praised for some of his wrestling performances we have on tape, but Corny has been very competent and effective in his role. Wonderful stuff all around. ****

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This was awesome, so many great moments, from Ricky bleeding a gusher, to Steve Armstrong coming in an immediately low blowing all the heels, and Bob's great punches. I don't know if this is the best US match of the year, but it's certainly my favorite.

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The Rage in the Cage is Smoky Mountain’s answer to War Games and as a result of Jimmy Del Ray defeating Steve Armstrong in the ‘status match’ earlier on in the card, ‘Cornette’s Criminals’ will have the advantage in the match. The Big Boss Man is the special referee whilst the order of entry was Tom Prichard, Ricky Morton, a Bruise Brother, Steve Armstrong, Jimmy Del Ray, Robert Gibson, the other Bruise Brother, Scott Armstrong, Jim Cornette and Bob Armstrong.

 

Morton is a bloody mess early and he is so good in this, just selling his backside off. The match plays to the Bruise Brothers’ strengths where they can just kick and punch and look like a pair of ass kicking bikers, whilst following on the back of the Hot August Night in Mo-Town six man, the Armstrong boys again look great. Tom Prichard is, along with Ricky Morton, the MVP of the match as they both start, both bleed and both work the whole duration of the match. There is a nice touch when Morton is trying to handcuff Prichard and the heels start shaking the cage to make it trickier, whilst Scott has a great entry, immediately low blowing every member of the heel team. Not the tactics you would initially expect from him, but showing that it’s anything goes and he will do anything to win. Cornette is very reluctant to get in the cage and Mark Curtis has to pretty much force him in there. The handcuffed Gibson and Scott grab Prichard and the Bruisers Morton, leaving the Bullet and Cornette all alone in the middle of the ring where he quickly makes him submit to a spinning toe hold. Chris Candido comes to ringside with a key and starts to unlock the handcuffs of the heel team, which leads to the Boss Man uncuffing Armstrong’s Army and Cornette’s Criminals then quickly making an exit from the cage.

 

Excellent match, just a hate fuelled, violent, bloody brawl that came across as a fight. Everyone played their part perfectly.

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This was tremendous. I don't think it's quite a Match of the Year candidate overall, but it's definitely the SMW Match of the Year so far.

 

Morton deserves extra in his paycheck for starting the match and surviving to the end. I know Dr. Tom started with him, but he didn't bleed nearly as much as Ricky did. He had a target on his back for the Criminals the way Corny did for the Army, and they beat him to death.

 

The problem with having the handcuffed wrestlers stay in the ring was that there were too many bodies in the ring to follow the action clearly. Everyone tended to congregate in one corner or the other to use the cuffs, which only made things worse. That said, the handcuff rules probably should have been used back in the early days of WarGames, where if you saw that JJ Dillon was teaming with the Horsemen you knew the finish even before you got to the arena. Of course, Corny submits here to disprove my point, but in this case the entire match wasn't about the teams, it was about Bullet Bob and Corny, period. One had to beat the other, and Corny winning may have resulted in a legitimate riot.

 

Bossman didn't do much except kick at the cage to make sure no one tried to get in before their time and slug one of the Bruise Brothers. Still, he was a better choice for ref than poor little Mark Curtis, who might have gotten accidentally squashed or run over with everyone in the ring. That was another difference between this match and WarGames; in WarGames, the refs stayed outside. That probably would have happened here too if Corny hadn't gotten Bossman or someone similar to officiate.

 

The promos beforehand were about what you would expect, but I liked Corny trying to guilt-trip Bossman into taking the side of the Criminals by bringing up their past. Of course, it didn't work, but the fact that Corny kept trying showed attention to detail and continuity, which most promotions had either forgotten about or only used selectively by now.

 

I missed at least a couple of Scott's low blows on the way in due to the general confusion, but it's a hell of a way to enter the ring. My favorite entrance was Corny's; as you might expect, all of his bravado left him when his time came up, and Curtis had to literally shove him into the cage. Who could blame him, though? That wasn't exactly Cowabunga that he was getting in there with.

 

The commentary was first-rate, although Les and Dutch understandably had trouble following the action after a while. These two are a wonderful team, and as I said in another thread, Dutch is much better now that he doesn't have to lean heel quite so hard. I liked how he said that he had no empathy for either Morton or Corny, because they signed for the match and should have known what they were getting into, which is exactly right, as Les said. Both of them did a superb job setting up the inevitable confrontation between Bullet Bob and Corny, which of course was the whole point of the match. I liked Les going back into the history books to try and find someone who had bled worse than Morton, and wasn't it a coincidence that he just so happened to pick a match that Bullet Bob was involved in? :D

 

I liked the camouflage motif that the Army was supposedly going with, but I don't think Scott or Steve got the memo from their dad, at least that I could tell. Ricky and Bullet Bob looked good in it, but what was the deal with Gibson being the only one to wear a shirt in the ring (other than Corny, of course)?

 

Could Corny have been thinking about making Candido an Army member when he first came in, thus explaining why he was the one who brought the key to the cuffs to let out the Criminals? I know Chris and Tammy were a couple, and they're a great fit professionally as well, but why else would it be him in particular coming to Corny's aid? I guess Killer Kyle was long gone,

 

The submission may have been a little quick even for Corny, but as we've seen, this wasn't the end of the Bullet Bob-Corny feud or anything close to it. Call it the end of round one, if anything.

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