WWF Superstars Review, January 16 1993

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WWF Superstars

One of the best things about WWF Superstars during this era was when a big angle would take place. Occasionally, a moment would occur which Vince McMahon and co. would treat as being truly shocking, villainous, historic and so on. One such incident occurred here, even though it ultimately had little in the way of a long-term impact.

Crush had already confronted Doink two weeks earlier, sending him a warning due to his pranks on both fans and fellow wrestlers. Here, the Kona, Hawaii native had picked up a typically easy win (well it was Superstars), when Doink made his presence known. The clown had revealed the previous week that his arm was in a sling, though crucially we were never told how he suffered the injury or, more tellingly, whether or not the injury was real. Therefore, when Doink told his new adversary “I’ve got a bad arm” and offered him a flower, a resistant Crush ultimately took it and handed it to a fan at ringside.

However, then came the ruse: in an attack which appalled Vince McMahon and Randy Savage, and which even had heel announcer Jerry Lawler non-plussed, Doink revealed that the arm which had been in a sling was in fact a fake, and he walloped Crush in the back of the head with the prosthetic. With fans looking on in shock, Doink continued pounding the back of Crush’s head while he laid face-down in the aisleway. After repeated blows, Doink was ushered away by referees, though the evil clown – who had revealed his true colours here after months of capers which could have been disguised as him merely having fun – managed to not only relish his opportunity at assaulting Crush in this manner, but he laughed about it maniacally. What a heel!

Though the beat-down itself was effectively delivered, what I appreciated was that this suddenly became the focus of the entire programme. Indeed, the camera focused on Crush being knocked out cold for ages (Crush sold the idea of unconsciousness very convincingly) while we waited for EMTs to help him, as they placed a neck brace on him and carted him to the back of the aisleway. This lasted so long that we went into the next match, with Yokozuna picking up a squash win (at this stage it wasn’t obvious that Yoko would win the Royal Rumble eight days later, so this was a subtle way to continue promoting the sumo warrior without giving the Rumble result away, in contrast to how PPV results are often telegraphed nowadays). Only after that bout was Crush finally whisked away in an ambulance.

As if all that wasn’t enough, we even had Mean Gene Okerlund discussing how disgusted he was by Doink’s actions during his Royal Rumble Report, as well as casting doubt on whether or not Crush would be able to make the Rumble match itself, having seemingly been one of the favourites upon his participation being announced (he was ultimately left out). Now, if Crush had been the WWF Champion or at least a top-line babyface, all of this would have been logical. However, he was an upper mid-carder at best by this stage, which makes me think that the WWF had major plans for Crush in 1993. Otherwise, why would they make such a big deal out of what was basically an angle to set up a mid-card rivalry? And as alluded to earlier, it didn’t really go earlier: Crush would return and eventually face Doink at WrestleMania IX, but he lost that bout (albeit due to the hilarious “two Doinks” moment), and he would never regain the momentum that he had built up slowly through the second half of 1992. A memorable and well-executed angle, then, but one which didn’t achieve much in the long-run.

Because this dominated the content of Superstars so much, the rest of the show is barely worth mentioning, but I’ll give it a quick run-down. We had wins for Tatanka, The Nasty Boys and, in the first match, Razor Ramon; the latter was still being chastised by Bret Hart, whose opening monologue vowed revenge for Razor’s previous attack on Owen Hart during the first episode of Mania. I realise that feuds were stretched out during this era, but Razor beating up Owen was virtually old news by this stage, though it was obviously designed to remind fans why Bret needed to defeat Ramon at Royal Rumble eight days later. Speaking of which, the Report revealed a few more new entrants, though the likes of Skinner were hardly worth rejoicing over. Still, at least Ric Flair could remind us yet again that he won the previous Rumble in one hour and ten minutes, a very specific time to repeatedly give when you consider that it was inaccurate anyway. In addition, Shawn Michaels chatted about his plans to defeat Marty Jannetty at the Rumble during an interview with Raymond Rougeau. Finally, Reverend Slick and Kamala discussed the latter’s babyface turn last week, with Harvey Whippleman vowing that he would soon “drop a bomb”, partly due to The Undertaker playing a role in Kamala’s change of attitude. Hmm. (If you think that was referring to a debut for Adam Bomb, you’d be wrong, and disappointed too.)

Overall, then, this episode of WWF Superstars was all about the Crush-Doink angle. And while it did little to benefit Crush when you really break it down (at least Doink got an entertaining eight-month heel stint out of it), it was still an important moment that would plant the seeds for a WrestleMania IX match, as well as reminding fans that Superstars remained must-watch for WWF fans during a week that a new Federation broadcast premiered called Raw, which would soon become the A-show and, eventually, the most famous weekly wrestling programme of all-time.