THE HEAVENLY BODIES
1992 - 1995
SMW Tag Team Champions
USWA Tag Team Champions
Written by Adam Zimmerman
There have been a few teams known as The Heavenly Bodies over the years but the one I want to spotlight today started in 1992 and consisted of veteran wrestlers, Dr. Tom Prichard and "Sweet" Stan Lane.
In the beginning, there was also the unofficial third member of the team -- Stan Lane's bad hairpiece.
Jim Cornette had just opened Smoky Mountain Wrestling and had been saying for weeks that he was bringing in a new, superstar tag team to manage. Cornette has said that when Stane Lane arrived at the building for the first time, the sun was behind him and Cornette thought that Lane was wearing a baseball cap. As Stan got closer, Cornette thought it was perhaps some sort of coonskin cap a la' Davey Crockett. Turns out it was Stan's new hair.
Lane had apparently gotten it sewn into his own hair in New Jersey and was quite proud of it. Cornette didn't think quite so highly of it. It turns out that after a few weeks, Lane realized he couldn't really work in it because you couldn't accidentally pull it or anything. At this point, he started wearing amateur boxing headgear and Cornette claimed that Stan had a problem with his eardrum (to explain the headgear) and told the fans not to cheer too loudly during The Heavenly Bodies' matches because it caused Lane great amounts of pain. This caused the fans to be super loud during the Bodies' matches, hoping to cause Stan Lane as much pain as possible. To give credit where credit is due; Cornette borrowed this gimmick/trick from the legendary, Archie "The Stomper" Gouldie a/k/a The Mongolian Stomper who used it many years before. Eventually, the hairpiece and the headgear disappeared.
Obviously, The Heavenly Bodies were supposed to be seen as a spiritual successor to The Midnight Express and they did a very good job of that. They worked well as a team and had fantastic, long-running feuds with the likes of The Fantastics and (naturally) The Rock 'n' Roll Express. They even wrestled The Rock 'n' Roll Express at WCW's Superbrawl III pay-per-view event.
In May of 1993, Stan decided to quit being an active wrestler and Tom Prichard's "cousin" "Gigolo" Jimmy Del Ray was brought in to be the second member of the Bodies. Del Ray was a veteran worker from Florida and Cornette said he gave Del Ray his name because Stan Lane's hometown was always announced as being Del Ray Beach, Florida.
Prichard and Del Ray also worked well together even though the Gigolo was relatively unknown outside of Florida. They competed In SMW and the WWF. They even had pay-per-view matches against The Steiner Brothers and The Rock 'n' Roll Express at 1993's SummerSlam and Survivor Series events.
When the Bodies returned to SMW in 1994, they had great matches and feuds with the likes of The Gangstas and The Thrillseekers (Chris Jericho and Lance Storm). Their match with The Thrillseekers from SMW's Night Of Legends is a particular highlight. In 1995, The Heavenly Bodies began to travel once again and wrestled in the USWA, winning the tag team titles there from PG-13.
Later that year, they also competed in ECW aligning themselves with Raven in his feud with The Public Enemy. Sadly, Smoky Mountain Wrestling went out of business in November of 1995 and since that was their "home territory", The Heavenly Bodies just sort of disbanded. They wrestled their last match together in a losing effort against The Public Enemy in ECW on December 9. 1995. Although perhaps not the greatest or most well-known team; The Heavenly Bodies deserve their time in the spotlight.