The SmarK Rant for WWF Superstars – 03.19.94
As I was talking about at the end of the last episode of this show, we are probably nearing the end for how long I can take doing this series because it’s getting harder and harder to find enough stuff to talk about with them. There’s only so many times I can go to the “Stan Lane might be Lauren Boebert’s secret father” well while I’m sitting through 2 minute MOM squashes. What I REALLY want is for the Network to stop with Superstars and go back and add more Wrestling Challenge or other stuff from THAT era, or Heat or anything else at this point.
Taped (but pretending to be live) from New York City on top of the Empire State Building, in advance of Wrestlemania X, which they’ve done a pretty piss poor job of getting me hyped for.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Johnny Polo, as Vince is dressed in a WWF jacket and baseball cap, looking as uncomfortable as one human being can look while wearing “casual” clothing. Sadly their introduction is interrupted by King Kong kidnapping “Faye Wray”, which is about the proper timeframe for pop culture reference for Vince.
LAST YEAR: Bret Hart gets screwed by Yokozuna and loses the WWF title, and then we don’t discuss what happens afterwards. Moving on, after NOTHING HAPPENED in the time period between March and July, I can’t stress that enough, Lex Luger shows up and slams Yokozuna on the Intrepid. And then Lex Luger drove around the country in a bus hoping to earn a title shot, and got one, but then blew it, but somehow ends up with another shot. Todd Pettengill notes that “ironically” Bret and Lex went over the top at the same time at the Rumble. That’s like Alanis type of irony. So corrupt old Jack Tunney tells us about the coin toss, although I’m more interested now in trying to see what his “golden videocassette” award is all about in the background. Is that a porn thing? I bet it’s a porn thing. This leads to last week, as Bret and Lex have a face off in the ring and Bret complains about being robbed of the WWF title and yet still claims to be the best. These days they’d just do a three-way match and be done with it, but 1994 was simpler times before we knew that ECW was a thing and women could vote.
Back at the Empire State Building, Vince and Johnny speculate to each other who the special referees are gonna be, although they whisper the answers so that we can’t hear their guesses. Oh man, now I want to buy the show all over again and find out the answers!
Meanwhile, Ronda Shear is going to be guest timekeeper. These were lean years for celebrities if you didn’t watch cable TV in the US, let me tell you.
Next up, we look back at the Shawn v. Razor feud, with corrupt and senile President Tunney stripping Shawn of the IC title and making a battle royale for the title instead where the last two people left fight for the belt. What a stupid idea that is. Whoever heard of a battle royale where the last two people fight for the title the next week? This does give us a flashback to Reo Rodgers during the couple of weeks when he was around as interviewer. See, at least THAT gave me something to talk about. Anyway, it’s a ladder match, which is another stipulation we’ll probably never hear about again.
Now to the Harley Davidson Café, as Vince has turned his baseball cap backwards to show he’s hip and relatable to the youth of today. I bet he turns his office chair backwards before he fires people, too. Meanwhile Polo is drinking something at the bar. I love shoot drinks that aren’t supposed to be shoot drinks.
Meanwhile, Todd raps about Men on a Mission as we get the laziest video package possible, basically just showing highlights of both teams squashing guys and that’s the entire buildup.
Vince and Polo are now walking the streets of New York while Polo eats a hot dog and Vince has sadly turned his cap forwards again, no longer hip to the lingo of today’s youth. And then he declares that Men on a Mission are going to win the tag titles, saying “Yo” to cap off his prediction and doing something with his hands that I think is supposed to be gang signs. And they wonder why 80 year people watch NXT 2.0. Polo is so upset that he spits out his hot dog. Todd clarifies that this is something called a “dirty water hot dog” because New York is a weird place. I would interpret this as cooking the dog in liquor-infused water if I had to guess because it’s Scott Levy, but apparently it’s slow-cooking them in some kind of ill-defined hot brine instead. That sounds horrifying.
Meanwhile, Sy Sperling readies a hair treatment plan for Mr. Fuji and gives us a wacky Photoshop payoff, for a guy who literally only started shaving his head about a year and a half before this. He already had a full head of hair for decades.
Let us take you back to Crush and Macho Man establishing their issue and then getting ready to settle it at Wrestlemania as Crush’s Hawaiian accent switches based on which week we’re recapping. Still an awesome feud though and this is actually a recap that makes you want to see it.
Vince and Johnny take a carriage ride through Central Park, as Vince tries to act all hip and casual and keep up with Johnny.
WRESTLEMANIA REPORT! WITH TODD PETTENGILL! EXCLUSIVELY ON WWF SUPERSTARS!
Hasn’t this entire episode been a Wrestlemania hype session? Todd promises SUPER GLITZ and MEGA GLAMOUR for the weekend, along with celebrities like Burt Reynolds, still years away from his comeback on Boogie Nights. Little Richard was not exactly an A-list celeb in 1994 either. Todd runs down all the same matches we’ve been hyping for the entire episode, but really we know that the important part is that some chick who hosts a show on USA is there as timekeeper.
Vince and Johnny carry on with Polo annoying Vince by noting that their pony was actually a singer, but is unable to perform due to being a little…you know, forget it, I’m not even going to dignify his terrible dad jokes here with a recap of the punchline. Is he even a dad? That he knows about?
Next up, we take a look back at the Bret v. Owen feud as Owen kicks the leg out of his leg and turns heel. As Bret noted in his book and elsewhere, this was a really delicate balance because Bret had to be able to get revenge on his little brother without “punching down” and looking like a bully.
Vince and Johnny wrap things up at the Hard Rock Café with the hard sell, while Vince talks about “pomp and pageantry” while wearing a cheap WWF jacket and baseball cap. And then we get a rap from Men on a Mission to really sell the show in case that didn’t do it for you.
And hey, as a bonus, here’s a repost of the March to Wrestlemania rant…
The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – March to Wrestlemania X (03.13.94)
Well this is an unsurprising addition to the Hidden Gems this week. Not sure why they don’t just dump them all at once, but I guess you gotta make people want it.
Taped from whatever shithole was hosting Wrestling Challenge. It was apparently Locksheldreke, NY, before a giant crowd of 1600 people according to the History of WWE site, taped THREE WEEKS beforehand. Jesus.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Johnny Polo. This should be interesting.
Lex Luger v. Jimmy Del Ray
Like seriously, it looks like they’re taping in a fucking Costco or something. And there’s random Coliseum Video banners in the background! Luger overpowers the Gigolo and blocks a hiptoss attempt with a clothesline. Polo has a soundboard that allows him to add sound effects at random points, which is pretty funny in a juvenile way. Luger with a press slam and he slugs away, but he charges and hits the floor while Polo plays a hockey organ to cheer on the Bodies. OK, this might go all the way around from stupid and become funny again. Back in, Del Ray works on the back while the crowd reaffirms that we are indeed in the USA. OK, you know which country you’re in, good for you. Dr. Tom chokes Lex out behind the ref’s back and Del Ray goes to a surfboard as Luger gets really impressive sustained babyface heat, to the point where you’d almost think he was over. Almost. Del Ray works the back in the corner while Luger does his melodramatic selling and goes ‘AAAAAAARRRRRGH!’ after every shot to really reinforce the pain. Gut wrench bomb gets two. Luger makes a comeback and Del Ray cuts him off and chokes him out, but then goes up and misses a moonsault. Luger makes the ICOPRO COMEBACK, showing us how much he’s gotta want it, and it’s a BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK body drop. Powerslam sets up the torture rack to finish at 8:33. Cornette tries for the sneak attack and Luger spanks him with his own racket and the crowd is so insanely hot for this that you’d think Luger would be winning the title at Wrestlemania. The match was OK but with tremendous heat out of all proportion for some reason. **
And then YOKOZUNA, the World champion himself, comes out to defend the honor of his manager, but Lex Luger wants to do it RIGHT NOW and Yokozuna does not, so he leaves while the crowd continues reinforcing which country they are currently in. AMURICA!
Bam Bam Bigelow v. Ben Jordan
So now we switch to the RAW taping from Poughkeepsie, with Stan Lane and Gorilla on commentary. Stan clarifies that Bam Bam has promised to clean up the Dink mess at Wrestlemania.
Moving on, Jordan tries to make a comeback and Bigelow just wallops him down and holds a side headlock while telling everyone to shut up. What a heel performance. Bigelow misses a blind charge and the jobber actually gets some offense for god knows what reason, but a stun gun finishes him at 3:35.
Meanwhile, Alundra Blayze prepares to defend against Leilani Kai by doing jet-skiing and what appears to be glamor photography on the beach. In all fairness, that’s about all the training you’d need for Kai at that point.
Meanwhile, Tatanka is backstage preparing to meet Yokozuna later tonight, but he’s all got all his little squaws with him to counteract Fuji and Cornette. I’m still picking Yokozuna.
So Vince and Polo have a weird discussion about some list of the “50 Greatest PPV Events of all time” and Vince brags that “more than half” of them were WWF shows. Given that it’s mostly boxing and concerts at that point, I’m not sure that only having half of the “greatest” shows is much to brag about.
Razor Ramon v. Tony DeVito
Back to the RAW taping for this one as Ramon works the arm, but DeVito pokes him in the eye and works him over in the corner. Razor fires back with his own shots and gets the abdominal stretch and holds it for a really long time for some reason. Razor with the backdrop suplex off the middle rope and the Razor’s Edge finishes at 4:10.
Owen Hart joins us for an interview with Johnny Polo, and he wants Crush to go easy on Bret Hart later tonight because he doesn’t want any excuses from Bret when he LOSES to Owen. Good luck there.
Meanwhile, some singer doing a ripoff of Johnny B. Badd’s gimmick is going to be singing the national anthem at Wrestlemania.
Earthquake v. The Executioner
This Executioner is just half of the usual team, and given he’s “Pain” I’m assuming that it’s Barry Hardy. I dunno, all jobbers look alike to me. I certainly wouldn’t let one marry my daughter. The Executioner tries to go up and gets hurled down by Quake, followed by a belly to belly and the butt splash at 1:54. Happy go lucky Quake was NO BUYS.
WRESTLEMANIA REPORT! WITH TODD PETTINGILL!
Todd is REALLY excited about all the celebrities and Hollywood elite, like…uh…Jennie Garth and the chick from that USA Network show.
Meanwhile, Bret bitches that he has to prepare for Owen, plus Yokozuna and Lex Luger, just in case.
Crush v. Bret Hart
Back to scenic Locksheldreke, with the amphetamine filled crowd. I’m assuming this was some kind of rich New York town where stimulants were easy to get. Bret gives his glasses to a kid as usual, and Polo quips “HA! Look at that mark! Maybe learn to brush your teeth, kid!” I wish Scotty Levy would have stuck around forever in this role. Polo calls Bret a crybaby and plays a crying baby clip to illustrate that. WITH TEARS IN HIS EYES! Crush wants a test of strength and Bret isn’t dumb enough to go for it, so we get the extended stall and even Vince is like “GET ON WITH IT!” Bret finally accepts the challenge and that goes badly for him even as the crowd is going nuts for Bret. Maybe they should shoot RAW in Locksheldreke sometime. Bret rolls out of the test of strength and hurts Crush’s wrists in the process, and we get another stall. Bret fires away in the corner and follows with the clothesline for two. Bret with a sleeper, but Crush slams him out of it, so Bret elbows Crush to the floor and we take a break. Back with Crush blocking a rollup and hitting a superkick to take over. Crush ties Bret up with a cross armbreaker and Bret taps repeatedly, but it’s only 1994 so it doesn’t count. Bret takes his turnbuckle bump and Crush goes to work with the bearhug and slugs him down. Bret gets tossed and Crush runs him into the stairs, which gets two. They slug it out with forearms, but Bret goes for a crossbody and Crush catches him with a backbreaker for two. Polo notes that “Bret is looking like Palooka Joe here” for your old timey reference of the show, as Bret gets a rollup for two. They slug it out in the corner and Crush runs into a boot, which sets up the bulldog for two. Rollup gets two. This has ascended to Vince McMahon’s version of a five star match, a SEE SAW BATTLE BACK AND FORTH! Bret with the legsweep for two. Middle rope elbow gets two and Bret goes to work on the back and slugs away in the corner, but Crush takes him down with an atomic drop and backbreaker. Crush goes up to finish, hopefully not hitting the ceiling on the way up, but he misses and Bret gets the Sharpshooter. Bret stops to take out Fuj the Stooge and gets a small package, but Owen Hart slides in, rolls them over, and Crush gets the pin at 13:45. This was a HELL of a match for a nothing show like this. ***1/2 Definitely worth checking out.
The Quebecers v. PJ Walker & Mike Bell
The jobbers actually clean house on the champs to start, but Walker gets clobbered from behind by Pierre and double-teamed. Pierre beats on PJ while Captain Lou joins us at ringside and Jacques slams Pierre onto Walker. Jacques backdrops his partner onto Walker while Lou clarifies that he “doesn’t like their tactics”. Legal double-teaming? He’s kind of a lousy manager then. Quebecers with the high-low and Pierre gets a corner clothesline before they finish with another double-team at 4:10.
Meanwhile, Vince chats with Macho Man, who is going to get his dignity back after he blew it against Yokozuna. He could have had it and gone to face Lex Luger and Bret, and at the risk of sounding egotistical, he would have beaten them both. TELL ‘EM, MACH! But Crush done fucked it up for him and robbed him of his third WWF title. But he’ll be back and get over the divorce and having his friends stab him in the back and all that. IT’S COOL, he says in a tone of voice that is decidedly not that of someone who is “cool”. So while Crush is basking in his glory, the sun is coming down on him because Savage might not be champion, but he’s going to BEAT HIM VERY DECISIVELY and maybe humiliate him as well. GUARANTEED. INTERVIEW OVER, VINCE! YEAH.
HOLY SHITBALLS WHAT A PROMO! Exhume the grave and put the title on him today, dig it!
WWF title: Yokozuna v. Tatanka
Johnny Polo on the headdress presentation to Tatanka last week: “Those geezers were so old that their Social Security numbers were roman numerals!” That’s OLD. Vince calls it a non-title match even though the ring announcer clearly called it for the WWF title.
Yoko attacks to start and Polo plays war dance music on his machine, to the disgust of Vince McMahon. These heels must have had the time of their lives on commentary annoying Vince to no end and scoring off the “toupee” and such. Tatanka dodges an elbowdrop and goes up with a flying bodypress, but he walks into a knee and Yoko gets the heat with the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DEATH. That headdress sitting in the corner makes me think Rick Martel should have come out and stolen it for old times sake. The nerve hold continues for quite a spell, but Tatanka fights up, so Yoko tosses him and undoes a turnbuckle as we take a break. WILL TATANKA SURVIVE? FIND OUT IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH!
Back with Yoko in control with another nerve hold as Polo declares that Tatanka is so stupid that he “failed Romper Room”, and then tops himself by playing his own laugh track to really sell the terrible joke. Heels laughing hysterically at their own jokes is one thing, but playing a laugh track for the terrible joke is another level. “I hope Yokozuna puts an end to this goofy Indian tonight. Sorry, we gotta be politically correct. I meant goofy Native American.” This man is the greatest hero in American comedy history. Tatanka makes a comeback and gets immediately cut off, but Yoko tries to take him into the exposed turnbuckle and Tatanka runs him into it for a cruel dose of irony that gets two. Tatanka makes the PISSED OFF RACIAL STEREOTYPE comeback with chops and goes up with the flying chop, and Yoko does a delayed sell off that, which gets two. Tatanka goes for the “Wig Wam Bomb” according to Polo, but Yoko is much too large and slams Tatanka down instead. This sets up the Banzai drop and that’s all for Tatanka at 9:16. WOOF. That one shut up the crowd but good! Another good match. ***
And the announce teams wrap things up before throwing to a WRESTLEMANIA RAP from Men on a Mission to end the show.
I really enjoyed this show and it did a hell of a job of hyping the Wrestlemania card, too! Check it out under Hidden Gems.