Tuesday, July 7, 2015

THEY WERE ONE "HOT" TAG TEAM

THE INFERNOS with Manager J.C. DYKES

JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, throughout the 1960s, was known in the professional wrestling world as the top territory for tag team wrestling. Probably more than ninety percent of the time, a JCP card was topped off with a tag match.

The list of main event teams who worked the MID-ATLANTIC area is a 'Who's Who' of the greatest combos ever in the business.

Other than THE BOLOS, the best masked team to ever hit the Carolinas and Virginia was a couple of guys who went by the ring name of THE INFERNOS. Along side them was a red-headed manager J.C. (Jimmy) DYKES.

There were, through the years, several incarnations of the INFERNO team (and countless impersonators), but the original two 'blue tigers' (as Dykes often called them) were FRANKIE CAIN and ROCKY SMITH. Neither men were big in stature by wrestling standards, but could they ever work!

In interviews, DYKES claimed the duo was European and spoke little English. He was the only person who could really communicate with them well, and did much of it by the use of blowing a whistle during their matches to give them strategic commands.

The wrestling fans, to create problems for the evil trio, soon began bringing their own whistles to the matches. The areas would become deafening with several hundred whistles being blown at the same time. A great way for the fans to be involved in the match.

DYKES also carried a metal canteen to the ring, giving his men a needed refreshment between falls of their matches. Naturally, the metal canteen often found its mark on the noggins of many a 'babyface' opponent.

And it was not beneath the dignity of J.C. to throw an occasional fireball at their adversaries. I recall George Becker and Les Thatcher at the receiving end on two different occasions.

But the 'gimmick' of THE INFERNOS that got the most heat (and this team's heat was as hot as the sun) was the loaded boot.


THE INFERNOS and DYKES drew big money in every territory they appeared, be it the Carolinas and Virginia, Florida, Texas, etc. They headlined countless wrestling cards facing each area's top teams (including other 'heel' teams).

J.C. DYKES died in 1993. ROCKY SMITH has also passed away. FRANKIE CAIN was the first to leave the team when he became pro wrestling's THE GREAT MEPHISTO.

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