Wrestling legend Tracy Smothers has died, aged 58.
Known primarily for his superb run in the Southern Boys tag team alongside fellow underrated workhorse Steve Armstrong, Smothers worked one of the very best tag team matches of the 1990s - and that includes All Japan Pro Wrestling's seminal entries into the genre - in a classic opposite the Midnight Express at the 1990 WCW Great American Bash. This is mandatory viewing for anybody with an interest in the form.
Less known but of equal artistic excellence was his run in Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Almost in parallel with the World Wrestling Federation, Smothers set the benchmark for the Ladder match. His excellent series with Chris Candido in the spring of 1994 isn't as famous as the other landmark genre offering, but it was innovative pro wrestling of the highest order. As a beloved top babyface in the territory, Smothers and his incandescent fire highlighted an era of pro wrestling that wore an out-of-time patina, but was, in reality, timeless in its brilliance and forward-thinking in its approach.
After a run in the WWF as Freddie Joe Floyd that stigmatised him as an enhancement talent, Smothers revealed the depth of his range in ECW as a member of the Full Blooded Italians. Amusing in the role, Smothers was billed from "Nashville, Italy" in a wry nod to his real background.
Diagnosed with lymphoma in 2019, the news that Smothers passed away on October 28 has compelled many wrestlers to pay tribute on Twitter, including Kazarian, who wrote that Smothers was "a great wrestler and a kind soul always willing to lend a hand or drop some knowledge."
WhatCulture Wrestling passes on their condolences to his loved ones.