A Star Shattered: Chapter Four
Tammy and Chris were going to have their career paths take a drastic change. Tammy was finishing her second year at Monmouth University majoring in biology. Chris worked a show for Dennis again, but on this show SMW promoter Jim Cornette was in attendance and scouted Candido. Cornette liked what he saw in Candido.
Within a few weeks, Tammy and Candido found themselves working for Smoky Mountain Wrestling in Knoxville. They moved down to Tennessee as Tammy applied to attend the University of Tennessee. She had a 4.0 GPA, so she wasn’t worried about getting into the school. They found an apartment in Tennessee very quickly costing them only $395, which would have cost them roughly $800 in New Jersey.
While competing in SMW they had long drives lasting anywhere from three to six hours. The windy roads in the Smoky Mountains was kind of difficult. Tammy says that Candido surprised the fans of SMW by doing his highflying and fast pace offense. The crowd was accustomed to a more old school action, so the fans were surprised to see that kind of style.
Ricky Morton and Tracy Smothers pulled Candido aside to teach him how to wrestle a match in the South. Candido learned to work a whiny, cowardly heel style and it got over well with the SMW.
Tammy and Candido were brought out to dinner by Jim Cornette and his then wife, Kelly. During the dinner, Cornette told Tammy that he needed a valet to work the area and be a bitchy college student from up North. She wasn’t going to take six months off from school, but she agreed to give it a shot and make some money on the weekends.
Her first exposure in SMW was working with her first protege, Brian Lee. She says that Lee was a nice guy, and had a big physique, but he was dumber than a box of rocks and couldn’t cut a promo to save his life.
She was given four papers full of notes and memorized them in three minutes. Tammy delivered the promo perfectly and Cornette’s facial expression was that of a man who perhaps stumbled upon his next big star.
Cornette did in fact stumble upon his next big star. Actually, his next big heel for Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Tammy played the character of a rich white girl from Wellesley College, which is a private all female school. Her idol is Hilary Clinton. It was a perfect fit for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling crowd. She was absolutely hated in SMW.
Tammy recalls a time when she had to slap Ricky Morton and the amount of heat she received for doing so was as if she had slapped the Pope. She had a lot of heat on her and often times fans would try to get their hands on her. In fact, one time they were successful. A 400-pound woman with three teeth got her hands on Tammy in Barbourville, Kentucky. Tammy was taken down to the mat but Brian Lee made the save and prevented Tammy from attacking the woman with a championship belt.
Tammy proceeds to insult the people of Tennessee saying they all looked awful and suggests that incest was running rampant there. She also describes a woman who didn’t have pupils and a guy who constantly thought he was a dog and would often times bark.
Her first experience in wrestling another woman came in SMW when she worked with Tony “Dirty White Boy” Anthony and his wife, Kimberly. Kimberly hated Tammy from the start because she felt that Tammy stole her spot in the company before she got job. Tammy notes that Kimberly was too stupid to realize that she was known in the area and couldn’t do the role she was hired to play. Tony wouldn’t explain that to her, either.
Kimberly would often times take liberties with Tammy and it got to the point that Tammy confronted Jim Cornette and told him that it was either her or Kimberly. Cornette smoothed it over saying there were only a few weeks left in the program and then Tammy wouldn’t have to deal with Kimberly again. Tammy knew how important she was to Cornette and SMW as she was the top heel act for the company.
The final match was a mixed tag match and the way you lose was when you were stripped naked. Tammy didn’t like the idea of being stripped and came up with a plan. She wore multiple layers of clothing and stripped herself under the ring to give the illusion she was under the ring naked by the hands of Kimberly.
Tammy says that while her and Kimberly didn’t get along in 1993, she had recently found her on Facebook and they buried the hatchet.
She was making $175 a weekend while Candido was making $400. They were able to make a decent living since Tennessee was an affordable place to live. Together, they were able to save $12,000. She was still going to school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and studied on the weekends at SMW shows.
Everything was going great… and then she got a phone call.
Chapter 5 coming soon!
Checkout the newest episode of ICOPOD looking at the 1993 Royal Rumble event!