WWF Superstars Review, January 9 1993

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WWF Superstars

Because WWF Superstars was a one-hour weekly show during an era where storylines progressed slowly, it goes without saying that the headline acts wouldn’t appear every week. As a matter of fact, the big names would barely wrestle on television, though their feuds would still be developed during promos and segments like Event Center. What this meant, in a positive light, was that other wrestlers would receive sufficient opportunities to forward their own angles, and some of those would be fairly memorable too.

For instance, this episode of Superstars opened with footage from the previous week’s edition of Wrestling Challenge, where Kamala was being verbally admonished by Harvey Whippleman and Kim Chee; at that moment, Reverend Slick (who had recently turned babyface after being a heel manager for a long time) told Kamala to stand up for himself, and he also shouted “You are a man!” Yes, back in 1993, the WWF was still open to playing on racial stereotypes (and incredibly outdated ones at that), such as that of the Ugandan Giant, who was not only unable to speak English, but who couldn’t think for himself as a human being, it seems. This was backed up by Gorilla Monsoon (another stereotypical persona when you analysed his original run as a villainous in-ring performer), who echoed Slick’s words.

That led us to the opening match here, which Kamala participated in and won in next to no time. It was afterwards that things got interesting, though, because Harvey and Kim Chee again talked down to Kamala, and even shoved him as if he were a naughty child. This brought out Slick, who moved very speedily it has to be said (not that we saw Slick run many times during his career, but you get the point). Slick got in the faces of Kamala’s two handlers (incidentally, why did Kamala need two managers in the first place?), with Kim Chee cold-cocking Slick with a punch. This angered Kamala, who showed sympathy for the Reverend: slapping and rubbing his belly (his way of Hulking Up), Kamala reacted by attacking his managers and chasing them away to a big pop. Kamala had turned babyface, and he was now aligned with Slick, a man who could show him the light. Okay, this was hardly Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant on Piper’s Pit when it comes to timeless turns, but I enjoyed it back in 1993, and I enjoyed reliving it again in the current era, stereotypes aside.

Although the main eventers rarely competed on Superstars, as noted earlier, their rivalries could still be enhanced. Here, we had the full showing of an angle from the debut episode of WWF Mania, which we actually got a sneak peek of last week. That would be Razor Ramon interrupting an Owen Hart backstage interview by attacking him with a trash can, which was a way for The Bad Guy to get under the skin of WWF Champion Bret Hart ahead of their title bout at Royal Rumble 1993. This was a worthwhile booking decision, because up until this point, Bret vs. Razor felt like just another bout, so this unprovoked sneak attack gave The Hitman a reason to truly seek vengeance on his next challenger, though Hart lacked the required intensity during his reactionary promo here.

Elsewhere on this show, The Steiner Brothers (who had been mentioned on previous editions) made their Superstars debut with a dominant and impressive tag team victory. Lance Cassidy made what I believe what was his final Superstars appearance, having never progressed to the PPV stage. Doink cut his first live promo as he disagreed with Raymond Rougeau’s assertions that he was an evil clown that only made himself laugh while upsetting others; Doink came out with his arm in a sling, though as we would find out the following week, it would be a swerve (bro). Victories for The Undertaker and Bam Bam Bigelow, another Bobby Heenan promo to discuss the debuting Narcissus and the announcement of further Royal Rumble match participants in the Report completed the rest of this episode, along with the announcement of Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty at the Rumble, with Shawn’s former manager Sensational Sherri set to appear in a neutral corner. Oh, and announcers Vince McMahon, Randy Savage and Jerry Lawler mentioned a brand new WWF show premiering two nights later called Monday Night Raw. I wonder if that ended up succeeding?

WWF Superstars was typical nostalgic fun here. Kamala’s babyface turn was completed after being hinted at for numerous weeks, while The Steiners debuting and Doink’s first proper promo added to the sense of significance here. The rest of this show was missable, but the content of the programme as a whole made this worth watching.