WWF Superstars Review, January 2 1993

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WWF Superstars

We’re now into 1993, a brand new year for the WWF, and another new year for Superstars. This would actually prove to be a pivotal annum for WWF Superstars, because up until this stage, the programme had been the number one broadcast for the World Wrestling Federation since its inception as Superstars Of Wrestling back in 1986. (Okay, so Saturday Night’s Main Event carried greater significance, but SNME was only shown a few times a year.) But Monday Night Raw was about to debut, and though it took a few months, Raw soon started overtaking Superstars as the true must-see WWF weekly show. By the end of 1993, Superstars was still a priority, but it was now swerving as the SmackDown to Raw’s, erm, Raw; a happening programme, but not THE programme. So, in that respect, it’ll be a bit sad to watch Superstars slowly slide into second place on the WWF’s list of priorities as 1993 rolls on.

Still, at this stage, Superstars still had enough to offer WWF fans on a weekly basis. This was evidenced by our opening match, as Mr. Perfect squared off against The Berzerker in the first Superstars match involving two known competitors for a little while. Perfect had engaged into a feud with Ric Flair in November 1992, and their saga continued here as Flair strolled down the aisle not too long after the bell rang, primarily to distract Perfect. And though The Nature Boy was escorted to the bac, it did work, as Perfect was caught off-guard by two separate Berzerker knee-lifts. Not that it mattered much, as Perfect seemingly no-sold both attacks, and soon wrapped up the bout fairly easily. Mr. Perfect was on a roll, then, and he would soon put Flair in his place by sending him packing from the WWF, thus making this Ric’s final Superstars appearance within the arena itself.

Bobby Heenan had been closely aligned with both Flair and Perfect, but unfortunately Superstars fans who had enjoyed his commentary contributions in recent weeks would be disappointed as he had been replaced; instead, the three-man team now consisted of Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler and Macho Man Randy Savage. The latter had previously commentated on the programme in 1991 after his presumed retirement before he eventually returned to action. That he was back behind the announcer’s booth here, having just participated in one of the top Survivor Series matches and having been WWF Champion just four months earlier, was a surprise, and an unwelcome one when you consider that Savage’s in-ring days in the WWF were slowly beginning to cease. Though Heenan wasn’t going to sit alongside Vince and Lawler anymore, he did make a separate appearance where he announced the impending Royal Rumble arrival of a man named Narcissus, who was going to target Mr. Perfect.

Elsewhere on the show, we continued the build towards Royal Rumble, which included the announcement of a tag team match pitting new babyface tandem The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner, who would officially make their in-ring debut on Wrestling Challenge the next day) against The Beverly Brothers, now sans The Genius, who was arguably the most (unintentionally) entertaining part of Beau and Blake’s act. The likes of Tatanka and Bob Backlund vowed to win the Royal Rumble (the latter came much closer than most fans probably expected), while Bam Bam Bigelow made it clear that he would defeat The Big Boss Man in their announced Rumble clash. Marty Jannetty and Damian Demento picked up victories, as did Yokozuna, who would ultimately have the biggest win of all at the Rumble three weeks later.

Also garnering a triumph here was Crush, but his win was marred by another ringside Doink appearance, who was now starting to tease some of the spectators alongside the wrestlers he had recently tormented. This angered the proud Hawaiian babyface enough to threaten Doink at ringside by grabbing his arm firmly, essentially warning him not to pull any funny stuff (hah!) on innocent by-standers. Crush later told Raymond Rougeau that it’s one thing to pick on wrestlers (since they don’t matter after all), but trying that shtick on paying customers was no laughing matter, brah! This would set up a fairly famous angle involving the two men a fortnight later, which would ultimately set up a showdown at WrestleMania IX. Also, we had a snippet from the debuting WWF Mania show to be broadcast the next week, which showed Razor Ramon pummelling Owen Hart backstage. That we had to wait a week to see what happened in full was a decent hook, though we had kinda seen everything that we needed to see already here.

WWF Superstars began 1993 on a decent note, then. There was enough happening to keep fans intrigued, and the Golden Age roster still had a few familiar faces hanging around, meaning that the dearth of talent and colourful characters that would embody the New Generation was still some way off from setting in. And with a few angles being forwarded here along with further hype for Royal Rumble, this was a fun hour of sports entertainment on the whole.