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Tracy Smothers, a legend in the wrestling world and key figure across many organizations during his career, sadly passed away this week at 58 years old. Smothers died on Monday of health complications following a lymphoma diagnosis he'd been fighting since 2019. Smothers, who wrestled under the name Freddie Joe Floyd while in the WWE, built up a legacy in the industry that has been celebrated by many veterans across the promotional spectrum.
Tracy Smothers took two young kids from Canada trying to 'tour' the southern United States, with $1.50 a day to spend on food, saw a dilemma we put ourselves in to try and get experience, and took us under his wing. He knew we wanted it. Because of that, and his huge heart, he drove us to make the next town so we could eat our next meal. He found floors, couches or other talent who had spare space in their hotel rooms for us to sleep. On those drives he dispensed his knowledge. Always with a laugh and a twinkle in his eye. And we soaked it up. He was a great man. He truly knew what paying it forward meant. I will miss him.
On the whole, the sentiment that Tracy Smothers was a good and benevolent athlete who bettered the profession of pro wrestling was shared by big names far and wide. Other sports-entertainment legends who rose up the ranks alongside Smothers also paid their respects and shared photos, such as Rock N Roll Express co-founder Ricky Morton.
During his time in various promotions like WWE, WCW, and ECW, Tracy Smothers served as a mentor to younger talents who would later become some of wrestling's biggest names. This includes CM Punk who, like Edge, had a lot of stories to tell about his years under the Smothers' guiding wing.
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. 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.
Tracy Smothers' wrestling antics are well documented in the wrestling world, with some mentioning the fact that he legitimately once wrestled a bear in the ring and lived to tell the tale. Even if he hadn't done anything else in the sport, that wild bear fight would still put him at "icon" status.
Legendary wrestling commentator Jim Ross paid his respects to Tracy Smothers and noted that he exited with the same honor and dignity that he experienced his entire career.
Though he won a couple of tag team titles across his runs in WCW and ECW, Tracy Smothers' years in WWE largely consisted of being a "jobber" to elevate up and coming talent. Smothers shared the ring with eventual mega-stars like Triple H, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, and he was also noted for being a bright and welcoming presence in locker rooms everywhere he worked, as noted by AEW's Taz.
There's certainly a journeyman vibe to the career of Tracy Smothers, and it's clear that while he wasn't one of the biggest names in wrestling, he's a guy that's been around various organizations so much he's been a friend to many in the business. One friend, in particular, Mick Foley, traveled with him a lot.
In fact, one may be hard-pressed to find an organization Tracy Smothers wasn't involved in throughout his 50+ years working in the industry. One surprising eulogy came from none other than the Insane Clown Posse, referencing the point when Smothers even managed to spent years as part of their Juggalo Championship Wrestling promotion.
When everyone from Jim Ross to ICP is giving shout-outs, that should speak for itself just how well-traveled Tracy Smothers was. Current WWE Intercontinental champion Sami Zayn decided to show that as well with his story, mentioning that even as he got older, Smothers about how even though he knew him in his older years, Smothers maintained a youthful outlook about his career that many others lose sight of.
Without a doubt, his was a wrestling career worthy of its own Hollywood story. Hopefully Tracy Smothers' legacy within the world of wrestling remains strong long after his passing, and that he can live on in spirit as a shining example to other pro wrestlers as they become mentors for up-and-coming talent. Both as a singles competitor and as one-half of tag teams such as the Southern Boys and the Young Pistols, Smothers is arguably one of the more ideal role models for current talent learning the ropes on leading a long career in the world of wrestling, and he will be missed.
CinemaBlend would like to offer its condolences to the family of Tracy Smothers and wish them well during this trying time. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more news on the world of wrestling, and for more television and movie news.