Podcaster Conrad the Mortgage Guy confirmed Smothers’ passing in a tweet that read, “Keep the family of Tracy Smothers in your thoughts, today. We lost a great one.” Former WCW president Eric Bischoff tweeted, “Sorry to hear about the passing of Tracy Smothers. I saw him last about a year ago. He was so happy in the ring. He was a good man. RIP Tracy.”
Smothers’ daughter, Jessie Belle, updated her Facebook status on the morning of October 28 to say she was “feeling broken.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. During His Run With WWE, Smothers Defeated Triple H
Smothers, a native of Tennessee, began his wrestling career in Memphis before moving to Florida. Eventually, Smothers began competing with World Championship Wrestling in Atlanta in 1990 alongside Steve Armstrong. In 1992, Smothers moved to Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling where he would remain until 1995. Following a brief period at the United States Wrestling Association, Smothers began competing in the WWE as Freddie Joe Floyd, a wrestler with a barber gimmick. During his time with the company, Smothers managed to defeat Triple H via count-out.
Following his time with WWE, Smothers went to Extreme Championship Wrestling in Philadelphia where he competed as “The Main Man” Tracy Smothers. Smothers remained with the company until its demise in 2001. Aside from appearances with the Juggalo Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, Smothers spent most of his later career competing with independent companies.
2. Smothers Said When He Was Diagnosed With Lymphoma: ‘Life Is a Battle & I’m in it to Win it’
When Smothers announced his cancer diagnosis in December 2019, he said in a Facebook post, “Life is a battle and I’m going to win it.” At the time, Smothers said his first diagnosis came in November 2019 and that he was on his third round of chemotherapy which was “shrinking the rapid growing tumors.”
In same post, Smothers said doctors told him that he previously had a heart attack. Smothers said he never noticed having the cardiac arrest. Smothers added that doctors found that he had “lots of head, body trauma.” In 2016, Smothers was one of the several former WWE stars who sued the company due to the injuries they suffered in the ring. The lawsuit was eventually tossed out, reported Reuters at the time.
3. The Blue Meanie Said on October 2 That Smothers Was Hospitalized
On October 2, the man who fought Smothers at the WWE-produced ECW: One Night Stand in 2005 said in an Instagram post that Smothers was hospitalized due to his lymphoma and other issues. The Blue Meanie said, “My mind and heart are with Tracy Smothers tonight as I’m hearing of his battle with cancer and other complications have him hospitalized. This hurts my heart. I am who I am in wrestling because he helped mold me and countless others. I love you man! Keep fighting.”
A GoFundMe page was set up to help Smothers to pay for his various cancer treatments. The original goal of the page was $10,000. At the time of writing, the page has raised $14,268. According to an update on the page, as a result of his illness, Smothers lost 45% of his heart’s use.
4. Smothers Said in May 2020 That He Was ‘Doing Better’
In a May 2020 interview with Wrestling Inc., Smothers said he was “doing better” following six rounds of chemotherapy. Smothers said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, he was staying at home much of the time. Smothers said, “My immune [system] is still kinda low so I have to watch it.”
Smothers said that due to quarantine, he was feeling “stir crazy” and “restless.” He added, “You took for granted a lot of stuff, right? My gosh, just sitting down eating at a restaurant somewhere or going to a ball game. It’s crazy, the new normal.”
Smothers also said, “The saddest thing is that a lot of my friends are dead. It’s so sad…it just breaks your heart when you see their kids, widows, and things like that, it’s just terrible.
5. Infamously, Smothers Wrestled a Grizzly Bear in 1987
While competing in the Continental Wrestling Federation in 1987, Smothers once wrestled an unmuzzled grizzly bear. According to Pro Wrestling Stories, in his youth, Smothers wrestled a bear named “Ginger the Shooter” as part of an open challenge in Tenessee. Smothers said that he took part in the challenge in order to break into the wrestling business.
Smothers said that the bear he wrestled in CWF was a 10-month old Siberian grizzly bear that weighed 550 pounds. The bear was named Terrible Ted. Smothers said, “He was young. You don’t want to get crazy, and he’d never been in front of so many people for a wrestling show. You just didn’t know how it was going to react.” Smothers got through the match relatively unscathed.