WWF Superstars Review, November 21 1992

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“Card subject to change” would be the theme of this episode of Superstars, the final edition before Survivor Series. The big story concerned a huge alteration to the featured tag team match at Survivors, which was set to pit The Ultimate Maniacs (Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior) against Ric Flair and Razor Ramon.

But, due to a change in circumstances (i.e. Warrior being suspended and then fired for drug-related reasons), Savage suddenly no longer had a partner, and given that the upcoming TV tapings had already taken place, there was barely any opportunity to a) find a replacement and b) make an official announcement. Therefore, in a pre-taped segment on the previous Monday’s edition of Prime Time Wrestling, we had the big angle that would change the main event at Survivor Series …

Live via satellite, speaking to the usual panel, Savage proclaimed that he wanted his new partner to be Mr. Perfect, who of course was aligned with Ric Flair and Razor Ramon, as well as fellow panel member (and his former manager) Bobby Heenan. At first, Perfect laughed off the suggestion as did Heenan, until some gentle nudging and unintentionally derogatory comments by The Brain swayed Perfect the other way. Perfect decided that he would indeed side with Savage to face Flair and Ramon, making his WWF in-ring comeback at the PPV (the idea being that Heenan and pals had prevented Curt Hennig from wrestling in order to not overshadow Ric Flair), and to complete his sudden babyface turn, Perfect poured water over Heenan’s head.

Though the situation was unplanned, the turn was executed perfectly (no pun intended), with Mr. P going from Flair’s business associate to his enemy within moments. The only issue is that all of this took place on PTW, and the WWF must have assumed that everybody watched Prime Time, because while Vince McMahon and The Brain (replacing Perfect, who was said to be in training for SS) on commentary discussed the line-up change throughout the show, and we had the clip of Savage suggesting that Hennig team up with him (on a special bulletin hosted by Mean Gene Okerlund), the big babyface turn itself was not shown. We did, however, get pre-taped promos from both squads ahead of the huge tag team match. We also had no further word on why The Warrior had dropped out, and Survivor Series week would be the last time that Warrior was even referred to on WWF television until early 1996.

In hindsight, and though the timeframe was brief, it would have been more sensible for the WWF to bring back Hulk Hogan for this encounter. Imagine the excitement surrounding a Mega Powers reunion, against old foe Flair no less. This could have allowed the Flair/Perfect alliance to continue, with the potential for Hennig to resume in-ring activity at a later date. It also would have led to an increased buy rate for Survivors, and a Hogan appearance here might have softened the blow of how the Hulkster would be re-introduced to the Fed in 1993, primarily the events of WrestleMania IX. Nevertheless, this was a huge jolt for the product, and people were definitely intrigued to not only see Perfect back in action, but in a fresh babyface role.

In the meantime, we also had a very rare WWF Championship match on Superstars, as Bret Hart successfully defended against Virgil in a fairly brief opening bout. With both men being babyfaces, the action was of a sporting nature, as Hart gained another notch on his belt ahead of his title defence against Shawn Michaels at the PPV. Speaking of which, Michaels had just claimed the Intercontinental Championship against British Bulldog; in this case, we did get full footage of the finish to that title defence from Saturday Night’s Main Event on an Update during the show (along with clips of Bret beating Papa Shango on the same night), which would be repeated on a Survivor Series Showdown the next night.

It was all happening at this point: Michaels’ title win would mark The British Bulldog’s exit from WWF television for identical reasons to those of the Warrior. Davey Boy Smith was gone, just three months after winning the main event at SummerSlam 1992 in front of 80,000 in his home country, and he wouldn’t return until SummerSlam 1994. The SNME action had actually been taped on the same night as Superstars several weeks earlier, though nobody could have foreseen the departures that would occur in the subsequent fortnight or so. Since he was no longer IC Champion, this meant that his PPV clash with The Mountie was off, which was just as well because he had also departed the company by this point. As if all that wasn’t enough, the aforementioned SNME was the last such special until it was revived by WWE in March 2006, over 13 years later. Indeed, this period marked an important stage in a crucial transitional period for the company.

All of this overshadowed the remaining in-ring action: we had Yokozuna’s second Superstars victory (and a note of his open challenge for Survivors), and wins for The Natural Disasters and Lance Cassidy (whose match was the basis for another appearance by Doink; during the bout, his pre-taped comments had the vintage cheesy line “if you want to take a chance, just get in the ring with Lance!”). In addition, Bam Bam Bigelow announced that he would be in action the next week in his first televised match for the Federation since 1988, we had the final Survivor Series Report (which announced High Energy vs. The Head Shrinkers for the PPV), and The Undertaker putting his finishing touches on Kamala’s coffin for their big clash the following Wednesday. Oh, and Sean Mooney was back in the Event Center, which was obviously the most important development of this episode (though Lord Alfred Hayes was still on Report duties).

So, there was a lot going on here, all in addition to the usual nutty pre-taped comments from various personalities. This was a must-see edition due to the huge changes not only to Survivor Series, but to the product as a whole: Mr. Perfect was back in action, Ultimate Warrior and British Bulldog were written off television (sort of), and we had a new IC Champion in Shawn Michaels. If you were planning on watching Survivor Series, you simply had to watch this episode of Superstars.

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