WWF Superstars of Wrestling

WWF Superstars of Wrestling

Infobox Television
show_name=Superstars of Wrestling


creator=Vince McMahon
caption=
format=Professional wrestling
Sports entertainment
runtime=46 minutes per episode
starring=World Wrestling Federation alumni
country=USA
network=Syndicated (1986 - 1996)
USA Network (1996-2000)
TNN (2000-2001)
first_aird=1986
last_aired=2001
num_episodes=
website=
imdb_id=0261495
tv_com_id=8001|

"WWF Superstars of Wrestling" was a professional wrestling program that debuted on September 6, 1986 and was aired until 2001. "Superstars", as it would later be known, was the flagship of the WWF's syndicated programming from its inception until being eclipsed by "Monday Night Raw" in 1993.

History

Origins

In 1986, "Superstars" replaced "WWF Championship Wrestling". Before that, "Superstars" was the name of a weekly recap show hosted by Vince McMahon and [Alfred Hayes (wrestler)|Lord was where all the angles began and at times ended and where the majority of title changes took place if not at a pay-per-view (e.g. WrestleMania or SummerSlam).

Notable storylines

*1986: Randy "Macho Man" Savage (kayfabe) injures Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat with the timekeeper's bell.

*1986: The violent feud between "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Adorable Adrian" Adonis, over Adonis' establishment of "The Flower Shop" interview segment (in place of his own "Piper's Pit" during Piper's absence).

*1987: Corrupt referee Danny Davis makes obviously biased decisions in favor of heel wrestlers, particularly The Hart Foundation. WWF President Jack Tunney suspends Davis from refereeing for "life plus ten years" following the Hart Foundation's WWF Tag Team Championship win over the British Bulldogs when Davis ignored pin attempts by the Bulldogs, while allowing the Harts to break the rules before making a fast three-count. This sets up Davis' run as heel wrestler "Dangerous" Danny Davis.

*1987: André the Giant, flanked by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, turned heel on "Piper's Pit" and demanded a match against Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship at "WrestleMania III". The turn had been set up on two previous editions of "Piper's Pit", where Hogan had been awarded a large trophy for being WWF Champion for three years, and André getting a somewhat smaller one for "going undefeated for 15 years."

*1987: The Islanders (Haku and Tama) kidnap Matilda, the bulldog mascot of the British Bulldogs.

*1987: "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase announces his intention of buying Hulk Hogan's WWF World Heavyweight Championship belt, and Hogan's subsequent rejecting the offer, telling DiBiase he'll have to wrestle him for it.

*1988: Jack Tunney's announcement that the WWF Heavyweight Championship was being vacated (following Hulk Hogan's controversial title loss to André the Giant, and subsequent "sale" of the belt to DiBiase), to set up a 14-man elimination tournament at "WrestleMania IV".

*1988: "Ravishing Rick" Rude kissing women following his matches, but getting spurned by Cheryl Roberts, the (legit) then-wife of Jake "the Snake" Roberts. In subsequent matches, Rude began wearing tights with Mrs. Roberts' image on them. Roberts – who had warned Rude to stop wearing the tights – charged to the ring one night and stripped Rude of the tights. Although the footage was censored for television airings (to make it seem Rude had actually been stripped naked), the live audience saw Rude wearing a thong.

*1988: "Outlaw" Ron Bass attacking Brutus Beefcake and slicing Beefcake's forehead with his spurs. The television audience only saw a giant red "X" across the screen, accompanied by the word 'censored' (to create the illusion that Beefcake was gushing blood; in reality, he did not bleed profusely). The incident caused Brutus to miss his upcoming Intercontinental Championship match against the Honky Tonk Man, who lost to Beefcake's replacement, the Ultimate Warrior.

*1990: Earthquake blind-siding and injuring Hulk Hogan on "The Brother Love Show". Viewers are asked to send cards and letters to the "ailing" Hogan, who was said to be depressed over his injuries and considering retirement.

*1990: Rick "The Model" Martel (kayfabe) blinding Roberts with his "Arrogance" cologne. Roberts was blind for weeks, but continued to make appearances on "Superstars" attempting to take revenge on Martel.

*1991: Earthquake declares a war on animal mascots, then makes his point by crushing Roberts' pet python, Damien, in the ring.

*1991: The Undertaker and Paul Bearer locking the Ultimate Warrior in an air-tight casket on Bearer's "Funeral Parlor" set. Later, Jake Roberts offered to help Warrior in their feud with a series of psychological tactics, but wound up locking him into a chamber filled with snakes, turning himself heel.

*1991: Tugboat turning heel during a 6-man tag team match by turning on The Bushwhackers and joining Earthquake to form The Natural Disasters.

*1991: In post-"SummerSlam" '91 footage shown on "Superstars", Jake Roberts crashed the wedding reception of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. Elizabeth opens a gift package containing a live snake. The Roberts/Savage feud intensified throughout the fall of 1991, reaching a boiling point when Roberts enticed Savage, a color commentator at the time, into the ring, and proceeded to beat him down and release a cobra that bit Savage on the arm. Savage was just about to be "reinstated" to wrestle after having lost a retirement match to Ultimate Warrior at "WrestleMania VII". The (devenomized) snake actually did bite into Savage's arm during the segment.

*1992: Papa Shango casting "witch doctor" spells over the Ultimate Warrior, resulting in severe vomiting and convulsions.

*1992: Nailz (kayfabe) injuring the Big Boss Man with a nightstick as payback for Boss Man's allegedly beating him while Nailz was incarcerated under Boss Man's watch.

*1994: Bob Backlund snapping, and turning heel after he loses his championship match against Bret Hart.

Notable title changes

"Note: Many of these title changes were not aired for up to several weeks after they took place. In some instances, the previous title holder defended his title at house shows – as though he were still the champion – until the title change was aired on television (before the internet very few fans were aware of this).

*The Hart Foundation beating the British Bulldogs for the WWF World tag team championship February 1987 (taped January 26, 1987).

*The Honky Tonk Man defeating Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat for the WWF Intercontinental title in June 1987 (taped June 2, 1987).

*Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana) beating the Hart Foundation for the World tag titles in October 1987 (taped October 27, 1987).

*Demolition defeating the Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) for the Tag Team titles in November 1989 (taped October 2, 1989).

*The Colossal Connection (André the Giant and Haku) beating Demolition for the Tag Team titles in December 1989 (taped December 13, 1989).

*Mr. Perfect defeating Tito Santana for the vacant Intercontinental title in May 1990 (taped April 23, 1990).

*Mr. Perfect beating Kerry Von Erich for the Intercontinental Championship in December 1990 (taped November 19, 1990).

*Diesel defeating Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship in April 1994 (taped April 13, 1994).

Repackaged

"Superstars" ended its syndication run in September 1996, moving to the USA Network. Beginning with the March 9, 1997 episode, the format of "Superstars" was changed from original matches back to a recap show. In addition, the show got a new theme song performed by the DX Band. This version of "Superstars" aired on the USA Network until 2000 when the WWF moved all of its programming to TNN in the fall of 2000. "Superstars" would continue to air on TNN until it was canceled in the summer of 2001. Along with its sister show "WWF LiveWire", "Superstars" was replaced by "WWF Excess", which aired on Saturday nights. September 2008 WWE Superstars returns to TV. It currently airs in Australia on Fox8 on Mondays from 3:30-4:30PM AEST. The first episode aired on the 8th of September, hosted by Todd Grisham. It is focused more on stories about the wrestlers with a few past matches.

"Superstars" hosts

The commentary team on "Superstars" underwent many changes as the years passed. With a few rare exceptions, the team would always consist of one or two commentators who supported the face wrestlers, and one who supported the heels (this presentation is, to a lesser extent, still used today). The hosts of "Superstars" are listed below in chronological order with the debut episode of the team in parentheses:

*Vince McMahon, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, and Bruno Sammartino (September 6, 1986)
*McMahon and Ventura (March 26, 1988)
*McMahon and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (August 25, 1990)
*McMahon, Piper, and the Honky Tonk Man (November 8, 1990)
*McMahon, Piper, and Randy "Macho Man" Savage (March 30, 1991)
*McMahon and Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig (November 30, 1991)
*McMahon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (briefly, after Mr. Perfect's face turn in 1992)
*McMahon, Heenan and Jerry "the King" Lawler
*McMahon, Savage, and Lawler (December 11, 1992)
*McMahon and Lawler
*McMahon and Reo Rodgers (for one week only)
*McMahon and Stan Lane
*McMahon and Johnny Polo
*McMahon and Dok Hendrix (April 15, 1995)
*McMahon, Jim Ross, and Lawler
*McMahon, Ross, and Hennig (December 2, 1995)
*Ross and Hennig
*Ross and Jim Cornette
*Todd Grisham (current host from September 2008)

Internationally

Canada

During its syndication run, the program was repackaged and aired in Canada as "Maple Leaf Wrestling", despite the fact that it contained almost no Canadian content other than interviews promoting matches that were to be held in Canada.

United Kingdom

"WWF Superstars of Wrestling" began airing in 1986, Saturday nights on The Sky Channel. And for a short time, it was shown on Tuesdays on Eurosport. In the mid 1990s, "Superstars" was moved to a Sunday morning timeslot, now used as the B Show, under "Monday Night RAW". In 1997, "WWF Superstars" was used as a "RAW IS WAR" recap show, just like "Livewire". It also featured matches from "Shotgun". From 1998 until 1999, some matches from "Sunday Night HEAT" were also shown. "HEAT" matches were also shown in 2002. From 1999 onwards, "SmackDown!" was also recapped with "RAW is WAR". In January 2003, the UK version of "WWE Superstars" was replaced by "HEAT".

In 1986-87, some regions of ITV showed "Superstars of Wrestling" early on a Thursday morning. Whilst this show was not "Superstars" but a UK version of "Wrestling Challenge" hosted by Gene Okerlund and Judo Al Hayes. The matches of that first show were Bret Hart vs. Raymond Rougeau, Muraco/Bob Orton vs. Mike Kelly/Nick Kiniski, Outback Jack vs. Jimmy Jack Funk, and Hulk Hogan/Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage/Honky Tonk Man in the main event


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