The SmarK Rant for WWF Superstars – 07.30.94
Taped from Ocean City, MD, on 07.03.94. Apparently last week’s show was also taped from there, the first week of a new taping cycle.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
Diesel v. Dave Thornberg
Diesel puts the knees to Thornberg in the corner right away and beats him down, then follows with the Emerald City Slam and puts him down with a big boot to finish at 1:45. Man, every time they cut to anything but a hard cam shot of the “arena”, it looks like a literal high school gym. This was a better squash for Big Kev than usual, as he was starting to get over as something more than Shawn’s bodyguard. 1 for 1.
LIVE EVENT NEWS! WITH STAN LANE!
Stan recaps the “story” of the Undertaker v. Undertaker feud, such as it is.
WWF World title: Bret Hart v. Bob Backlund
Once again, crazy that Bob was only 43 at this point, but this was being portrayed as the semi-retired old gunfighter going for glory one last time. Meanwhile today you have guys like Bobby Lashley and Rey Mysterio working a full-time schedule who are years older, and in one case having their actual adult son wrestling on the same show. We get the intros and then they take a break and return wit the start of the match, TAKE A NOTE CURRENT PROMOTIONS. Backlund wins a lockup battle in the corner and hiptosses him into a bodyscissors and rollup for two. Bret bails and Bob throws him right back in and rolls him up again for two, and then fights off Bret’s attempts at taking Bob down. Bob takes him down off a test of strength and SWEEPS THE LEG for two as Bret gets frustrated. Bret takes him down and goes to the arm to slow down the Bob Backlund machine a bit. Bob fights him off, but Bret elbows him off a whip to the ropes and Bob hammers him with a stiff forearm for two. Bret headbutts him, but Bob fires back with his own and then hits Bret with a piledriver for two. We take a break and return with Bob trying another one, but Bret backdrops out of it and drops a leg on him. Bret goes for an abdominal stretch, but Bob reverses to his own and then tries another rollup, but Bret rolls out to the floor to escape. Back in the ring, Bret beats on the back, but Bob reverses him into the corner and Bret takes a good bump into the turnbuckles backfirst instead of chest-first like normal. Bob slams him for two off that. Bob tries another piledriver and Bret blocks him, so Bob puts him in a body vice instead, and Bret slips out and backslides him for two. Bob tries again and Bret bridges out for two, but Bob won’t let him go and bridges up into his own backslide for two. Bret runs him into the turnbuckles himself and hits the backbreaker for two, but Bob blocks the Sharpshooter. Bret tries a bodypress and misses, landing on the floor, so Backlund quickly sends him back in for two. Bob tries for the atomic drop and then goes with a back suplex instead, and both guys are down. Bret is up first and Bob catches him with a small package for two, but he celebrates prematurely and Bret gets his own small package to finish at 14:25. This wasn’t quite a classic level scientific match, although it was really good, because Bob seemed like he was blown up on a few occasions and there were some dead spots where they didn’t seem to know where to go next. Still, for a free TV match in 1994, it was excellent. ***3/4 and 2 for 2. And then in the last ever major angle on Superstars, Bob offers the handshake of sportsmanship and then SNAPS and PROCURES THE CHICKEN WING on Bret for the first time, leading to months of bonkers stuff that absolutely no one predicted. Best guesses at the time were that Bob was under hypnotic trance from a returning Papa Shango, but Crazy Old Bob Backlund got over so big on his own that he didn’t need it.
And YES I KNOW blah blah blah ACKSHULLY Steve Austin and Brian Pillman in 1996 was the last major angle. Counter-argument: Shut up.
SUMMERSLAM REPORT! WITH TODD!
Owen and Anvil talk about how Bret used to fight Owen in the Dungeon and Bret used to run away crying and beg for Stu to stop the beating. Huge if true. Also added to the show this week: Lex Luger v. Tatanka! Also does Tatanka know that CM Punk is ripping off his pose? Maybe that will be the subject of Punk’s next media scrum rant.
Adam Bomb v. Joey Sollins
I’m still trying to figure out what the hell the reference was with Adam Bomb’s weight being “292 and one half pounds” because that’s the kind of hyper-specific pun they usually make obvious and I can’t find anything. Bomb hiptosses Sollins and dropkicks him, then finishes with the move later called the Meltdown at 1:14. 2 for 3.
Next week: 1-2-3 Kid v. Jeff Jarrett have a rematch! Well, I guess that double countout last week DID have a point, such as it is.
“Undertaker” v. Matt Hardy
Thank god that Joey Marella isn’t refereeing an Undertaker match the night before he died, as it’s Tim White here instead. But of course the more notable appearance here is the jobber, a literal teenager at this point who gets tombstoned and pinned at 1:04. Thankfully they kept this one short and fast, which reduced the chances of exposing Brian Lee as a fake. 2 for 4. We still haven’t had any actual EXPLANATION of how and why there are two Undertakers. And the announcers just continue to treat this guy like he’s the real deal.
LIVE EVENT NEWS! WITH STAN LANE!
Yes, it’s the Summer Sizzler Tour, as they desperately try to get people to come to the crappy house shows by advertising special interactive features, like fans being guest ring announcers, guest managers and guest flag bearers. Plus prizes galore for the most enthusiastic sections! Also one lucky fan gets to meet a WWF superstar at their home and deliver a special envelope from Vince McMahon himself! Hold on, sorry, I’m being told that the last one is no longer being offered as a perk due to questions from the federal government. Well, damn.
Meanwhile, famous super-sleuth Leslie Nielsen orders Domino’s Pizza and it’s delivered by someone who seems to be the Undertaker.
Obviously a much better show this week than was usual for the time period.