Tracy Smothers - A Career Retrospective



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Early career (1984)

After growing up a fan of Memphis wrestling, Tracy Smothers was trained by Steve Keirn and Stan Lane and made his debut in 1982. He later made an appearance at the combined promotional effort Pro Wrestling USA, making his debut at a TV taping on September 18, 1984 that was held in Memphis, TN. He teamed with Keith Eric in a losing effort against The Road Warriors.

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 22nd. 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. He ended his run with a time limit draw against The Spoiler at a Memphis, TN house show on January 5, 1986.

Universal Wrestling Federation (1986)
Smothers jumped to Mid South Wrestling on February 11, 1986, losing to Taras Bulba on television. 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.

On May 3, 1986 Smothers defeated a young Blade Runner Sting at a house show in Springfield, MO

Continental Wrestling Association (1986 - 1987)
Tracy Smothers returned to the CWA a month later, teaming with Pat Tanaka against The Hunter & The Strong Machine. 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. In 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.

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.

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.

Championship Wrestling from Florida (1987)
Tracy Smothers then traveled to 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 17th 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. Smothers and Armstrong held the belts until March 15th, when they were defeated by The MOD Squad. In June they unsuccessfully challenged for the NWA United States Tag-Team Championship, losing to The Midnight Express (Stan Lane & Bobby Eaton).

At this point the CWF were considered developmental, and the Southern Boys were on their way to being called up to Jim Crockett Promotions to replace The New Breed after Chris Champion was injured In an interview Smothers said that both wrestlers felt that they were underpayed and ultimately left the promotion after six months.

Continental Wrestling Association (1987)
The Southern Boys would make a stop in the CWA, where they faced Rough & Ready on October 1987.

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1988)
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. 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 - Tag 21 television show, where they lost to Kotetsu Yamamoto & Yoshinari Tsuji.

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. Soon after the promotion renamed United States Wrestling Association.

He formed a new team with John Paul and won the vacated CWA Tag-Team Championship from Action Jackson and Robert Fuller, a title that they would hold until losing the belts on May 4th to Brian Lee and Fuller. He would team with John Paul consistently and also wrestling in singles matches.

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

The Southern Boys would travel to Japan for a brief tour in January 1990, and afterwards would make their national debut in America's second most prominent wrestling promotion.

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World Championship Wrestling (1990–1992)

Following a January 1990 tour of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Smothers joined World Championship Wrestling alongside Steve Armstrong. The duo their debuts 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.

Three years after their program in the CWF, the Southern Boys faced off against the Midnight Express. On May 20 on the NWA Main Event the new team upset WCW United States Tag Team Champions 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 an outright feud with Cornette's charges. The Southern Boys faced the Express on July 13, 1990 at the Great American Bash 1990, where they came up short against the champions.

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).

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 24th 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 7th edition of WCW Saturday Night the Pistols teamed with former foes The York Foundation (Richard Morton & Thomas Rich) to face PN News, Brian Pillman, and The WCW Patriots. Wrestling for the first time as heels, the fell to the US Tag-Team Champions and their partners.

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The next day on WCW Main Event, Smothers and Armstrong 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.

The Young Pistols entered 1992 as champions and defeated The Patriots in another rematch on January 18th 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 schedule 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. One of their last matches together came on WCW Worldwide, where they faced Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham.

In April 1992 Smothers' partner Steve Armstrong left WCW, leaving Tracy to soldier on as a singles competitor. Now known alternately as "Young Pistol Tracy" or Tracey Smothers, 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 also faced Big Josh that month, again falling in defeat.

The losing streak continued as Smothers descended down the card; however the streak was finally snapped on June 27th on WCW Saturday Night when Tracy Smothers, Richard Morton, & Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker defeated Brian Pillman, Tom Zenk, and Johnny B Badd via disqualification. At this point Smothers contract was soon to expire. He knew that Bill Watts would not resign him at that time, as the new WCW Vice President was intent on shedding as much cost as possible and was scrapping guaranteed contracts wherever possible. On July 25, 1992 WCW booked an interesting match where Smothers faced the older brother of his former partner Steve in Brad Armstrong in a battle for the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship. Armstrong would retain his title and the announcers never spoke of the connection between the two competitors.

Smothers contract expired in August, and he departed from World Championship Wrestling following matches against Brian Pillman and Nikita Kollov.

Smother was now done with World Championship Wrestling. However a meeting with a former on-screen foe would prove decisive. Smothers would not be inactive for long, and would soon find himself the cornerstone of a new promotion that was about to rise to prominence.


Three weeks after his contract expired with World Championship Wrestling, Tracy Smother resurfaced in his old stomping grounds of the United States Wrestling Association. He made his return on September 14, 1992 and faced Dutch Mantell, losing via disqualification. That night he would also team with Mr. Hughes in a losing effort against Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jeff Jarrett. However although Smothers was home, he would not be long for the promotion.

Prior to departing WCW he had an encounter with former on-screen foe Jim Cornette. The boisterous Cornette had been highly critical of the Jim Herd regime and had quit WCW along with Stan Lane in October 1990, and had more recently formed a partnership with music producer Rick Rubin. With Rubin's financial backing, he was forming a new regional territory, one modeled after 1980s wrestling. Having already secured timeslots and buildings, the last step was to acquire talent. Thanks to the relentless budget cuts by current WCW Vice President Bill Watts there was talent available, and soon more to come. Cornette approached Tracy Smothers with the idea of his reuniting with former partner Steve Armstrong as the Southern Boys in this new promotion - Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Ultimately Steve Armstrong declined and instead joined the World Wrestling Federation that fall as "Lance Cassidy" for what would ultimately be a brief run. Smothers accepted, and would find himself cast as a singles star and a pillar of the promotion.

As Smothers was envisioned as a top babyface, and due to his national presence as a heel in WCW throughout 1992 booker Jim Cornette decided some groundwork needed to be laid before his run proceeded. An on-screen interview was aired on Smoky Mountain television where Smothers explained that he and Steve were forced by "television executives" to renounce their Southern roots and to recast themselves as cowboys. Neither were happy of it, and they grew resentful of the rebranding and had forgotten where they had came from. Ultimately they had taken their frustrations out on the fans, and Tracy realized he wasn't true to himself or his fans.

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.

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. 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.

While a mainstay for Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Smothers also made two separate tours of All Japan Pro Wrestling in 1993. He made his debut at the AJPW Summer Action Series II 1993 - Tag 1 television event on August 20th, teaming with "Doctor Death" Steve Williams in a losing effort against The Eagle and The Patriot in a match emanating from
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Smothers would team with Williams frequently on this tour, and Tracy's final match came on September 9th when he partnered again with Williams in a match against Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa

In November 1993 he did a second tour of All Japan Pro Wrestling, making his return on November 13th at the AJPW Real World Tag League 1993 TV event. He teamed with Stan Hansen and Ted Dibiase in a losing effort against Akira Taue, Giant Baba, and Toshiaki Kawada. Smothers would wrestle numerous opponents during this tour, facing Dory Funk Jr. & Tamon Honda and Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas in tag-team encounters, as well as defeating Satoru Asako and Takao Omori in singles matches.

Tracy 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. He became embroiled in a feud with Candido, emerging victorious in non-title matches at house shows. Weeks before the WWF had their first televised ladder match ever at WrestleMania X, Smoky Mountain Wrestling brought the concept to the forefront when Smothers faced Candido on March 19, 1994 in a ladder match with a check for $2,500 held above the ring. Smothers would prove victorious in this encounter.

After numerous rematches on the SMW house show circuit, the two would have a rematch on April 1, 1994 at Blue Grass Brawl II in Pikeville, KY. To the delight of the fans, Smothers again defeated Candido to win the match.

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 beat defeated Bruiser Bedlam, Killer Kyle, and Jim Cornette in numerous handicap matches. He closed out the year feuding with Bryant Anderson.

While now a cornerstone for Smoky Mountain, Smothers took time to also return to Japan for a brief tour in the fall of 1994. Wrestling under a mask as "The New Jason the Terrible", Smothers had his first match for IWA Japan on September 18, 1994 in Tokyo. While on this tour he would face the original Jason the Terrible, as well as Johnny Gomez, Chiaki Matsuyama, Dick Murdoch, Shoji Nakamaki, Nobutaka Araya, and The Headhunters.

Back in SMW, 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 "T.H.U.G.S".

The T.H.U.G.S. 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. Tracy Smother would make appearances for the USWA and was cast as a babyface. However during a Texas Death Match between USWA Tag-Team Champions PG-13 and SMW's Rock n Roll Express, Smothers turned heel.

On June 16, 1995 in Knoxville, Tennessee the T.H.U.G.S. defeated PG-13 in a non-title match. They would eventually capture the USWA Tag-Team titles and became a focus point for the interpromotion war.

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 T.H.U.G.S. beat Snow and Unabomb in a loser leaves town match. That fall they continued to feud with the Heavenly Bodies, until the promotion abruptly closed in November 1995.

United States Wrestling Association (1995–1996)

Smoky Mountain Wrestling closed in November 1995, a victim of being too big for the market that Cornette and Rubin were limited to, but too small to grow into larger, more lucrative areas. Smothers unexpectedly found himself a free agent. However he was a hot property based upon the recent inter-promotional war between SMW and the United States Wrestling Association. It was logical that he would make the jump to the Jarrett territory, and in December 1995 he did so.

Smothers formed a new team with the youngest brother of his former Southern Boys partner, Steve, creating a partnership with Jesse James Armstrong (the latter Road Dogg). 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. Smothers and Armstrong would hold the belts until January 3, 1996 when they would lose them to Doug Gilbert and Tommy Rich.

They would feud with PG-13 throughout the spring, and would later face each other for the vacated USWA World Heavyweight Championship.

International Wrestling Association Japan (1996)
Smothers then toured for the International Wrestling Association of Japan (IWA). He made his first appearance teaming with masked USWA wrestler Doug Gilbert (wrestling as Freddie Krueger) in a losing effort to Cactus Jack and Takashi Okano. He would also team with Tiger Jeet Singh, and later in the tour faced Nobutaka Araya and Cactus Jack in singles competition.

World Wrestling Federation (1996–1997)
Meanwhile in Connecticut, the World Wrestling Federation was faced with the challenge of a insurgent WCW that was rapidly expanding. Touring downscaling the previous year had meant a more limited roster, and with a talent pool that now numbered in the low 40s came more limited creative opportunities. Former Smoky Mountain Wrestling promoter Jim Cornette was now on the WWF's booking committee, and he suggested that a number of the remaining unsigned wrestlers be brought in to flesh out the roster. Many of the targets were former SMW alumni, and the company reached out to Smothers, Tony Anthony, Bill Irwin, Alex Porteau, Tom Brandi, Jim Neidhart and Chris Jericho. All but Jericho accepted.

Each wrestler save 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. The Brisco Brothers both hailed from Bowlegs, Oklahoma, which in turn was where Freddie Joe Floyd was billed as being from. 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. 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 defeated 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.

On the November 10th episode of WWF Superstars, he teamed with Bart Gunn and defeated the makeshift duo of Billy Gunn and T.L. Hopper.

Entering 1997 he wrestled numerous singles matches on house shows, facing Headbanger Mosh, old SMW opponent Glen Jacobs (now wrestling as the New Diesel), 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.

His final WWF match came on June 2, 1997 in Huntington, West Virginia, where he defeated T.L. Hopper. However by this point he was no longer a regular with the World Wrestling Federation, and it was earlier in the year that talent exchanges with two other companies came into play. Smothers would re-emerge, and ultimately enter another career defining period.

Months after joining the World Wrestling Federation, Tracy Smothers found himself in a situation similar to the end of his WCW tenure four years earlier. He had slid down the card and was being utilized primarily as an enhancement talent. This was a mammoth change from being the foundation of WWF booker Jim Cornette's old Smoky Mountain Territory, and he was not alone in his situation. Former SMW stars Tony Anthony and Al Snow found themselves in similar positions. However lifelines would be thrown that would revitalize Smothers career, and key changes began as he entered 1997.

United States Wrestling Association (1997)
Long relegated to a minor league feeder promotion to the World Wrestling Federation and even longer a frequent stomping ground for Smother, Tracy made his return to the USWA in January 1997. Although still appearing as "Freddie Joe Floyd" on WWF programming, he was billed as Tracy Smothers when he appeared. However his original ring name would not remain for long as he was brought in as part of the expansion of the Nation of Domination storyline into the Memphis promotion.

The USWA's Nation of Domination remained allegiant to founder Faarooq, but that was largely the only connection for the Memphis spinoff outside of PG-13. Several USWA mainstays were given new names - Spellbinder became Elijah, Big Black Dog was redubbed Hakeem Muhammad, and Reggie B. Fine received the new name of Kareem Olajuwon. Tracy Smothers joined the group as well, and was renamed Shaquille Ali. On January 9th, he had his first match back in the USWA and wrestled Brian Christopher for the USWA Heavyweight Championship. Ali fell in defeat, but the war between the Nation of Domination and the rest of the USWA had only begun.

On January 15, 1997 he made his wrestling return on USWA television, defeating Bobby Bolton.

Six days later he entered a tournament to crown the now the number one contender for the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship; he defeated Brian Christopher in the first round and eliminated King Mabel in the semi-finals. He defeated Bill Dundee in the finals to earn a shot against Jerry "The King" Lawler later that day but was defeated by the USWA Champion. On January 25th, 1997 Ali received another shot at Lawler on USWA television and beat "The King" by disqualification.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1997 - 1997)

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The USWA was not the only promotion that the World Wrestling Federation had a working arrangement with. The Paul Heyman-led Extreme Championship Wrestling had entered into an agreement with the WWF as well. And while they were not an official minor league for the struggling national promotion, there was an understanding where the WWF would send seldom used talent to ECW for freshening. The hope was that some of these wrestlers could be rebuilt under Heyman's groundbreaking creative vision.

It was into this situation that Tracy Smothers and soon Al Snow would step into. Smothers made his debut at ECW Cyberslam 1997 on February 22, losing via submission to Taz.

His next match came on March 15, 1997 when he teamed with "The Rookie" Chris Chetti in a losing effort against Little Guido and former NWA World Champion "The Big Don" Tommy Rich. The latter had formed the group The Full Blooded Italians (FBI), despite the fact that Rich was not Italian. After this match Smothers himself joined the FBI, with the group ultimately expanding to also (briefly) include the "Italian Stallion" J.T. Smith. Smothers, long associated with being a stereotypical southern wrestler, was billed as being from "Nashville, Italy" or "Southern Italy" during this time.
Although billed as Tracy Smothers, he was often mocked by the crowd with chants of "Freddy Joe!" regarding his WWF stint and was most notably remembered for doing a goofy dance, that ECW announcer Joey Styles often commented on by saying "what the hell is with that awful dance."

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 97 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.

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 98. On March 1st at Living Dangerously 98 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 98 Guido and Smothers were defeated by Super Nova and The Blue Meanie.

On May 16th 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 98 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 10th 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 31st edition of ECW television. After the match The One Man Gang was announced as the newest member of The F.B.I.

At Guilty as Charged 99 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 11th on ECW television they were beaten by Antifaz del Norte & Nova. He then faced Taz in another singles match.

On April 4th 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 24th edition of ECW television when he faced Kentaro Kanemura.

World Wrestling Federation (1999 - 2000)

Smothers appearances in Extreme Championship Wrestling began to be sporadic after the spring of 1999. Although he would not depart until December, opportunities began to open in the World Wrestling Federation. The once struggling promotion was now a juggernaut, having blown by the rival World Championship Wrestling to take a dominant position in the Monday Night War and having captured the lion's share of public attention. Smothers' previous gimmick of "Freddie Joe Floyd" now forgotten, he would be simply Tracy Smothers again. However gone were the theatrics of his ECW run - he would be portrayed as strictly a normal wrestler.

Smothers made a surprise return on television, appearing on the July 17, 1999 edition of WWF Jacked and wrestling long-time veteran Michael Hayes, who was at that time managing The Hardy Boys.

He next was featured on the July 24, 1999 edition of Shotgun Saturday Night (taped July 12) and wrestled Chaz.

The following day Smothers appeared at Monday Night RAW and faced The Colorado Kid in a dark match. At the Curtis Comes Home event on July 30, 1999 he teamed with fellow former SMW wrestlers Tim Horner and Chris Candido in a losing effort against WCW's Revolution stable.

After wrestling for ECW and a handful of independents in the fall, Smothers resurfaced on the November 11th edition of Sunday Night Heat and faced the newly returning Rikishi Fatu.

Smothers next appeared in a dark match in Greensboro, NC, wrestling Tom Howard in a dark match on December 27th. He closed out the year facing Rikishi in house show matches.

On February 21, 2000 he teamed with Rick Michaels to face The Headbangers on Jakked. On March 20th he wrestled Scott Vick at a dark match in Chicago, IL at a RAW is WAR taping. He then appeared on April 29th, 2000 episode Jakked, facing former ECW opponent Taz.

His next televised match came on June 24, 2000 when he faced Val Venis on Jakked in a match that was taped on June 19th in Nashville, TN.

His final appearance came on June 20th, 2000, back in the familiar grounds of Memphis, TN where he once again faced Scott Vick. This would be the last time the Smothers wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation, but his legend would only grow in the years to come.

World Championship Wrestling (2000)
In between making appearances for the World Wrestling Federation, Tracy Smothers made a surprise appearance in World Championship Wrestling. On an episode of WCW Worldwide that was taped on January 19, 2000 in Cape Girardeau, MO but aired on January 29th, Smothers faced The Barbarian and was defeated

Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling (2000)
Two months later, still while working occasional independents as well as the World Wrestling Federation, Smothers jumped to Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling. He made his first appearance on March 27th, 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. 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. He also competed in singles competition, defeating Ricky Fuji on March 29, 2000 in Niigata, Niigata, Japan [54] and Hisakatsu Oya on April 3, 2000 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.

Xtreme Pro Wrestling (2000, 2003)
Smothers then jumped to Xtreme Pro Wrestling, defeating Tony Jones on May 26, 2000 at the XPW D-Day event in Los Angeles, CA. After defeating Jones in a rematch he then wrestled Perro Russo and Nosawa at subsequent events, defeating them both. Smothers lost to Kid Kaos on July 27th 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. 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.

IWA Mid-South (1996 - 2005)
"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

While otherwise engaged with the WWF, USWA, and ECW, Smothers would make occasional forays into IWA Mid-South. His first match came on October 10th, 1996 in former the former SMW stomping grounds of Louisville, KY at the event Start Of Something Big, where he lost to Reckless Youth. His appearances remained sporadic over the next three years, but he wrestled and defeated such opponents as Flash Flanagan, JC 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.

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. 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.

On August 18, 2001 Smothers unsuccessfully challenged Trent Baker for the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Title at The Night The Lights Went Out In Charlestown event. He next teamed with CM Punk to take on ICP and Sabu, winning the 3 on 2 match.

On November 22, 2001 he wrestled again for the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Title , this time falling to Chris Hero.

Entering 2002 he went back on a winning streak, reeling off victories against Chris Candido, JC Ice, Tarek the Great, Bobby Eaton, and Dave Donovan. On March 7, 2003 Simply The Best 4 in Clarksville, IN he defeated Shark Boy. 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.

Southern Comfort 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 30th in Hammond, IN they were defeated by Brad Bradley & Ryan Boz. Following this Smothers appearances in the IWA became much more infrequent, although he continued to wrestle for the promotion until 2005.

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The Independent Circuit (2005 - 2010)

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. 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. [70] On June 1, 2005 Smothers defeated JC Bailey to win the BBW (Bad 2 The Bone Wrestling Heavyweight Championship in Central City, KY. [71] On August 10, 2005 Smothers briefly added the WOW West Virginia title to his collection, defeating Eric Steel in Whitesville, WV. He would lose the West Virginia title back to Steel at the WOW Summer Blast 2005 event two days later. 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 25th when they lost them to The Gambino Brothers Moving Company (Marshall Gambino & Mickey Gambino).

Smothers also appeared 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 would do the same on a July 1, 2005 event in Pittsburgh.

He also wrestled at all four of the Hardcore Homecoming events. On October 10, 2005 he traveled to the United Kingdom, where he wrestled The Blue Meanie at the A Cruel Twist Of Fate event.

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 6th at the event 1PW No Turning Back. [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 14th 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 ASW and faced Brad Thomas at an event in Gilbert, WV.

On December 11, 2005 he wrestled Phil Brown in the finals of the 2005 VCW Lutz Memorial Cup.

He then appeared in 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. On February 18th he teamed with George South to defeat Brad Thomas & Dylan Eaton at an event in Pickens, SC.

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. 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 26th in Northumberland he defeated Lance Thunder to win the WZW Heavyweight Championship. Smothers held the belt until vacating it on October 14th. On November 1, 2006 Smothers teamed with Tim Renesto to capture the CCW Tag-Team Championship, defeating Anthony Blaze & Buzz Dupp. They lost the title seven days later in a rematch to Blaze and Dupp, but would then regain them on November 22nd. 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.

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. He then traveled to the CCW, where he defended his CCW Heavyweight Championship against Mitch Ryder, Lonestar and Chris Michaels. On July 18, 2007 he was finally defeated for the CCW championship by Ryder at an event held in Evansville, IN. 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. 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 12th in Cardiff, Wales.

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. He challenged for the IWW International Heavyweight Championship on October 28th 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.

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. In June, he reformed Southern Comfort once more and competed at the Steel City Wrestlefest event on May 24th 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.

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. After returning from Japan, he then participated at the Ted Petty Invitational 2008, where he lost to Dave Taylor in the first round.

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. 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. The FBI would hold the titles for a month, losing them on December 13, 2008 to Azrieal & Dixie at the JAPW 11th Anniversary Show in Rahway, New Jersey.

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. 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. He wrestled frequently for the remainder of the year, appearing in NWA Main Event, IWA Mid-South, BWF, and MECW (Main Event Championship Wrestling).

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. 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. In the next week's episode TNA president Dixie Carter gave each member of EV 2.0 TNA contracts in order for them to settle their score with Fourtune.

Juggalo Championship Wrestling (2007–2011, 2015)
While busy touring the independent circuit, Tracy Smothers made his debut 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. On February 25, 2007 he wrestled the PWU Hardcore Champion Corporal Robinson and won in his debut match.

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. 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. Per storyline, Smothers was arrested just days before Tony's return on the eighth episode, leaving Tony with no way to seek revenge. At Bloodymania, Smothers lost to Ron Killings.

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. Two weeks later, Tracy caught Isabella listening to Boondox, the rapper who sings 2 Tuff Tony's entrance music. The following week, 2 Tuff Tony attacked Tracy after his match. Tracy later caught Isabella engaging in a relationship with Boondox, through storyline, and assaulted him.Tracy and Isabella Smothers were then scheduled to face Boondox and 2 Tuff Tony at Bloodymania II. 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 on August 14, 2010, Tracy was defeated by "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. The following night at Bloodymania IV, he lost to Booker T, who was accompanied by Boondox.

He then formed a tag-team with former opponent Bull Pain, with the duo dubbing themselves The MOB. On July 20, 2011 The MOB defeated The Ring Rydas (Ring Ryda Blue & Ring Ryda Red). They also competed at Bloodymania V on August 14, 2011 in a four team matchup to determine the tag-team champions, but were unsuccessful.

After a four year absence Smothers made two more appearances, defeating Necro Butcher on April 19, 2015. He final match came at Bloodymania 9, where he was beaten by Rude Boy.

Independent circuit (2011–2019)
Now one of the most veteran wrestlers, 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. 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 the FCW WrestleRock 3. 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. On September 3, 2011 he teamed with both Jessie Belle and Isabella Smothers to defeat Lady JoJo, Lennox Norris & Taryn Shay.

Smothers next appeared in 2013, wrestling 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. After making appearances for the Cleveland-based Absolute Intense Wrestling as a singles wrestler, he then appeared at the The JT Lightning Invitational Tournament on May 25, 2013. At the event he wrestled Jock Samson but was defeated by disqualification. 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. Smothers then traveled to Destination One Wrestling, where he unsuccessfully challenged Lennox Norris for the D1W Heavyweight Title at an event in Charlestown, IN.

However a month later he faced Norris in a three way match with Hy-Zaya. This time Smothers was victorious, and at age 51 had captured yet another title. Smothers defended the D1W Heavyweight Championship against Adam Gooch and Brian Christopher, before facing challenger Mad Man Pondo at at the D1W Mad Man Pondo's Birthday Bash on June 25, 2014 in New Albany, IN. Pondo defeated Smother to gain the championship, and then beat him in a lumberback rematch on July 5th.

Smothers 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. Smothers returned to Absolute Intense Wrestling, this time with Little Guido as The F.B.I. The duo wrested at the The JT Lightning Invitational Tournament 2015 and were defeated by champions Cheech & Colin Delaney. Later in the year The F.B.I. wrestled Tracy Williams & Tyson Dux at AIW's Big Trouble in Little Cleveland event. 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.

In March 2016 Smother appeared in HLW (Heroes And Legends Wrestling), where he teamed with Bobby Fulton. At age 54, he became a titleholder once more as the two defeated Jake Omen & Scotty Young to with the HLW Tag-Team Championship. This would not be the only surprise from the aged veteran. 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.

On October 15th he defeated Ian Rotten to retain the championship, and in November would beat Chris Hero in title matches as well. He was finally defeated for the title by Mitch Page on December 22, 2016 at the IWA Mid-South Winter Tryout Show. 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.

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. On September 16, 2017 he challenged for the FPW Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated by CJ O'Doyle. 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.

Entering 2018 he began to wind his appearances down, and only wrestled sporadically during the year. Now an elder statesman on the tour, on February 28, 2019 he attempted to regain the IWA Mid-South Championship but was defeated by Aaron Williams at The Heartbreak Ends event. But the cagey veteran had one last round of surprises in what would be his final year of performing. At the HLW Heroes And Legends XII event on April 20, 2019 he defeated D-Lo Brown at age 57 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 in his thirty seven year career came at the HLW Heroes And Legends XIII show at Fort Wayne, IN, where he dropped the HLW Legends title to Dru Skillz.

In December of 2019 it was announced that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma on November 14, but that it was not terminal. Over the next few months Smothers was found to have had a heart attack, and he ultimately passed away from the illness on October 28, 2020 at the age of 58.

Tracy Smothers death came as a shock to the wrestling community. Jim Cornette said he was a man born just a few years too late, that he would have been the perfect cornerstone for a traditional late 70s to early 80s wrestling territory. He also spoke of how Smothers would give his heel opponents a share of his merchandise money when he was in SMW, and often would give it away for free to kids. His fellow wrestlers who he had travelled the roads and backstreets with over his career paid tribute as well.

Rip Tracy smothers thank your for all the knowledge you taught me and everybody else in the business!!! U helped everybody you came across!! U will be missed!! - Little Guido

His shadow boxing to warm up is legendary. I can hear it now if I close my eyes. I watched him try to take a guys eye out once, then immediately start brushing his teeth. One time he grabbed nachos from a fan and I was so terrified he was going to dump cheese all over me and I’d have to drive home from kentucky covered in concession stand nacho cheese (no showers in IWA) but he said, “block it, hit me with the cheese, kid”. He wrestled bears. He was in the greatest tag match of all time with Brad vs the Midnights. He was a THUG. T is for terrible, H is for hell, U is for ugly and G is for jail because a thug can’t spell! I can recite his SMW promo vs Candido from the coal miners glove match by heart. Most IWA shows he would look out the curtain and say“well if they riot, we got em out numbered boys!” Fresh from a shower, covered in soap and barely holding a towel to his body he fought police dogs during a riot in ECW. He was one of a kind.The Wild Eyed Southern Boy, and he left his mark on the wrestling business. I love Tracy Smothers. Rest in power Tracy, watch the cheese - CM Punk

“Very sad to learn that Tracy Smothers passed. He was a great wrestler and an even better person. He was always cutting up and busting chops in the locker room…just a fun talented dude always smiling. A spectacular career wrestling everywhere you could imagine over his years!” - Taz

“I’m trying to process this one. I saw it coming but it still doesn’t HURT any less. Myself and a lot of wrestlers owe their careers to Tracy Smothers. He was a leader and a teacher who gave more than he received. Rest in peace Tracy. I love you more than words can convey.” - The Blue Meanie

Tracy Smothers helped teach so many of us in pro wrestling during the past 20+ years, especially young talent on independent shows, to whom he owed nothing, but gave so much. - Dave Pazak

My great friend Tracy Smothers has passed, it is with a heavy heart that I share the news. Lots of great times with Tracy, I had just spoke with him last week RIP my friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Tracy's family and loved ones at this time. - Ricky Morton

My great friend Tracy Smothers has passed, it is with a heavy heart that I share the news. Lots of great times with Tracy, I had just spoke with him last week RIP my friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Tracy's family and loved ones at this time. - Frankie Kazarian

Rest In Peace Tracy Smothers. A true gentleman who never failed to bring a smile to my face. - Christopher Daniels

Tracy Smothers was a total sweetheart every time we crossed paths. Which is amusing, because he LOVED being the bad guy. “You staying busy, maaaan? Doing well? Good good good. I like to hear that, brother.” My heart goes out to his friends, and family. - Arik Cannon

RIP Tracy Smothers....a legit man’s man who just passed and with courage and dignity. - Jim Ross

This really sucks. Tracy Smothers was the man, plain and simple. I wish I had had the chance to be around him a lot more. My thoughts go out to his friends and family. - Kevin Owens

Hearing the news of the passing of Tracy Smothers is incredibly heartbreaking. Tracy was one of the kindest and happiest guys I’ve ever known in this business. I can’t recall ever hearing a bad word about him. He’s gonna be missed by a lot of people. RIP my friend. - Hurricane Helms

There will never be another Tracy Smothers. He was the epitome of keeping pro wrestling fun. You couldn't be around him for more than two minutes without coming away with a hilarious "Tracy story" or two...or three...or four. - Colt Cabana

There will never be another Tracy Smothers. He was the epitome of keeping pro wrestling fun. You couldn't be around him for more than two minutes without coming away with a hilarious "Tracy story" or two...or three...or four. - Marek Brave

I just heard the sad news about Tracy Smothers passing. We lost a good one today - a great worker who made everyone he worked with better. Tracy was a good friend for 30 years - we worked together in CWF, WCW, ECW, WWE, IWA Japan, and countless indies. - Mick Foley

At the end of every single interaction I ever had with Tracy Smothers, I left with a smile on my face. Without exception. We lost a good one today. Godspeed, Tracy, and echoing the voices of countless brothers and sisters: THANK YOU. Rest well, my friend. - Adam Pearce

As Cornette had said, Tracy Smothers was a man born for the wrestling territories of old. And while he never achieved main event headline status at a national level, his career became much more than being a Southern Boy or a comedic member of an Italian stable. He became a backbone to the growing independent circuit this century, and far from being one to hold his position he helped to elevate and put over a generation of new talent. Smothers would become the mentor and friend to so many of the wrestlers who cut their teeth in these small territories before rising to national prominence. Many wrestlers are remembered for single iconic moments on a national level that are cherished by the fans. Smothers had these as well....the Southern Boys vs The Midnight Express at the 1990 GAB for instance....but in a position that not many performers achieve he is remembered for his career as a whole. For almost all of it was memorable, and most importantly for a wrestler, it was entertaining for the fans.

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