WWF Superstars Review, January 23 1993

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WWF Superstars

As you might have imagined, this episode of WWF Superstars was all about providing the final push for Royal Rumble 1993, which was held the following day on PPV. Since this was still the era of four PPV events per year (though that would expand to five later in ’93 with the inaugural King Of The Ring), the countdown to each supershow felt special because you knew that a truly major event was on the horizon, and this build-up proved to be no exception.

Indeed, the entirety of the programme reinforced that Royal Rumble was just 24 hours away, and that this would be the first Rumble bout whereby the winner would receive a WWF Title shot at WrestleMania. To that end, we had comments from a fair few of the participants dotted throughout the show, with perhaps the strangest feedback coming from El Matador, who noted that he would win the Rumble if he was the beneficiary of good luck on the night. Blimey, with an attitude like that, Matador had very little chance of coming out on top (which – spoiler alert – he didn’t). Strangely enough, Yokozuna wasn’t featured heavily (no pun intended) other than a quick promo from him and Mr. Fuji, which I guess made his Rumble match triumph something of a surprise.

The Rumble was also noteworthy due to the announcement that Crush would now no longer be a participant, stemming from the attack by Doink last week (which we were shown again here in its entirety, up to the point of the EMTs arriving anyway). In hindsight, Crush might have been a genuine favourite to win the 30-man match had he been involved, making this a blow for any fans of the Hawaiian star at that time. I should mention that co-commentators Randy Savage and Jerry Lawler bickered from literally start to finish throughout the show about the Rumble, with Savage taking jabs at Lawler so often that it almost made me feel sorry for The King.

Bret Hart made an appearance on this show to be interviewed by Raymond Rougeau (which made me think of the real-life heat between The Rougeaus and Bret’s cousins The British Bulldogs during the late 1980s), though his segment was quickly sabotaged by Razor Ramon, his Rumble opponent, who ran him down repeatedly while vowing to win the WWF Title. Interestingly, Razor stared not directly at the camera but towards the direction of Bret on the interview stand despite being backstage, which was a nice touch. Bret challenged Ramon to come out and fight him now, but Razor declined (what a heel). In response, Bret vowed to kick Razor’s butt on Sunday, which was as edgy as promos could be in the WWF of 1993.

In the ring, we had exhibition matches involving The Undertaker, Marty Jannetty, Papa Shango, Bam Bam Bigelow and Kamala, and if you need me to tell you that they all won, then you need smarting up to the WWF of 1993 (if you ignore The 123-Kid’s upset win over Razor four months later, of course). Of note here, Shawn Michaels spoke during Marty’s match to proclaim that, despite the reports, Sensational Sherri would stand in his corner when he fought Marty at the Rumble. Jerry Lawler responded to that by saying “Shawn told me that Sherri cooked like his mother but looked like his father!” Ouch. Also, Kamala’s match saw him accompanied by his new advisor Reverend Slick for the first time, with Slick and the fans encouraging The Ugandan Giant to turn over his opponent onto his back for the pinfall cover, something he often (kayfabe) struggled with. Savage during said bout said the bizarre line “Kamala’s looking a little loosey goosey, I like it!”

In final Rumble notes, Mean Gene Okerlund gave us the final Report ahead of the PPV which, considering the fact that the Rumble match line-up was far weaker than that of 1992, made me laugh due to his corker of a line “It reads like a who’s who: Papa Shango …” The segment also included a speech from Ric Flair where he discussed winning the Rumble again and going on to WrestleMania IX, which is amusing because Flair would wrestle his final televised match for the WWF just two days later and wouldn’t be seen on WWF TV again until November 2001. Meanwhile, The Berzerker seemed to steal Ric’s feud away from him by threatening Mr. Perfect for no apparent reason (Bobby Heenan would also refer to Perfect later on, seemingly making Perfect the most wanted man in the company). Incidentally, this show demonstrated which PPV matches were a priority; in other words, those which weren’t covered by the Report and were instead only covered by Sean Mooney’s secondary Event Center segment (such as The Steiner Brothers vs. The Beverly Brothers) clearly didn’t matter that much. Oh, and The Brain gave us one more teaser for Narcissus, though he ended it with this bombshell: he was now The Narcissist! I mean, wow!

As a straight wrestling show, this episode of WWF Superstars wasn’t up to much, but as a last-chance preview for Royal Rumble 1993, the programme was a success. Though the line-up was hardly the most exciting of the era, Vince McMahon, Mean Gene and the boys did enough to make me want to check out this PPV, especially given its implications for WrestleMania, an original concept at the time.