July 10, 2010
In the Fall of 1986, the WWF updated their syndicated television offerings, dropping the long running (and generically titled) Championship Wrestling and All Star Wrestling. All Star was the B show and was replaced by the new Wrestling Challenge, while Championship Wrestling, the A show, was replaced by what Iím covering here today, Superstars of Wrestling. The main change was that the tapings were now taken on the road to mid level arenas across the country instead of being taped at the same venue month after month. The larger crowd (at a time when most regional shows were taped in TV studios in front of small audiences), touring nature of the show, and increased production values made the WWF look far more major league than its competition, there by increasing the lead they were already building in the war. Thatís actually a testament to the cosmetic nature of pro wrestling because the format of the show went virtually unchanged through this transition, but I think the show comes across better than when it was Championship Wrestling.
Superstars of Wrestling, September 6, 1986 (Taped August 26, 1986, Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI)
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura, & Bruno Sammartino
One other change of note is that Jesse Ventura was promoted to A show colour commentator. Prior to this, Vince and Bruno had done Championship Wrestling together while Jesse had been a fill in on that show and a regular on All Star, but for the new show they decided to go with a three man booth.
Ricky Steamboat & Sivi Afi vs. Terry Gibbs & Roger Kirby
The jobbers attack, but end up falling victim to stereo hiptosses and atomic drops. After it settles down, Kirby and Gibbs actually work a heat segment on Afi, which is definitely odd for a squash. Afi escapes and makes the hot tag to Steamboat, who runs wild for a bit and then they finish off Kirby with a Steamboat back suplex followed by an Afi top rope splash at 3:06. Not bad for a short TV match. *
Then itís update with Gene Okerlund on the return of Superstar Billy Graham. Graham cuts a promo from the desert with spiders crawling on him hyping the comeback that would end up, other than one match, being delayed until the following year.
The Hart Foundation (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Koko B. Ware & Paul Roma
This is Kokoís WWF debut, and this is a pretty odd way to debut him. He does get a musical entrance to establish that heís not just a job guy, but it seems that most of the fans donít know him at all. As usual for matches like this, Koko controls Neidhart using speed, but then makes the mistake of tagging the jobber partner. Roma gets taken over and beaten on, including a modified Demolition Decapitation. After a bit, Bret comes in without a tag and they hit the Hart Attack for the 3 count at 2:00. They try a beatdown on Koko, but he cleans house on them with a series of dropkicks and ends the segment celebrating with his music playing. The fact that there was no tag before the finish is important because the referee here was Danny Davis and it gave Vince the chance complain about the lousy officiating early in the slow burn to Davisí heel turn. Ĺ*
Hillbilly Jim & Cousin Luke vs. Ron Shaw & Pete Doherty
Not much to say here. After a short bit of down home scuffliní, Jim makes Doherty submit to the bearhug at 1:47. DUD
Kamala (w/King Curtis Iaukea & Kimchee) vs. Tom Sharpe
Our second nothing match in a row sees Kamala beat Sharpe down and then finish him off with a splash (which saw him nearly wipe out coming off the ropes) at 2:08. DUD
Then we have The Flower Shop with Adrian Adonis, who brings out his guest, Rowdy Roddy Piper. They start talking about TV ratings (What is this, TNA?) and Piper reads off a sheet that says The Flower Shop is the number one cure for constipation because everyone is in the bathroom while itís on. He then hands over a note read by Jimmy Hart that says The Flower Shop will not be seen next week and will instead be replaced by the return of Piperís Pit, which gets a big pop from the crowd.
The Rougeau Brothers vs. Bob Bradley & Mike Fever
This match gets a bit better as the Rougeaus get to show off some stuff including a double dropkick. They finish Fever off with a Cannonball off the top at 1:59. Ĺ*
We then get a recap of last weekís Flower Shop where Bobby Heenan inspected the Machines to try and prove that Giant Machine was in fact Andre the Giant, only to be confused by the appearance of the new Big Machine.
King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Corporal Kirchner & Special Delivery Jones
The first part of the match is spent beating down Kirchner with Studd and Bundy tagging in and out several times. Kirchner makes a few comebacks, but keeps getting cut off. Finally he makes the tag to Jones, and itís Wrestlemania all over again as Bundy quickly gets him with the Avalanche and pins him at 2:57. DUD
So thatís the big debut. There was some pretty good stuff here with seeds being planted on the Danny Davis angle as well as an early bit of the Piper/Adonis feud that would last until Wrestlemania III. The matches werenít great, or with the exception of the opener, anything Iíd call good, but TV gets held to a much lower standard so I canít complain too much. Iíll say the show is worthy of a Thumbs Up.