Throwback Thursday: WWF Superstars (April 3, 1993), As Seen on WWE Network and Peacock

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This week Throwback Thursday continues to celebrate the long, storied history of WrestleMania by taking a look back at the WrestleMania IX go-home edition of WWF Superstars, as seen on the WWE Network and Peacock, that aired 31 years ago this month!

 

It was rough sailing for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the early spring of 1993.

The constant drumbeat of sex, drug, and steroid scandals, coupled with a national economic recession that greatly diminished the expendable income of the WWF’s core family audience, had taken a heavy toll on the WWF’s business.

Ratings for the WWF’s syndicated programming (once the lifeblood of the promotion) and the groundbreaking Saturday Night’s Main Event had declined, with the latter being canceled in the winter of 1992, as buyrates for the WWF’s pay-per-view events continued to sink.

Every leading financial indicator—from merchandise sales to live event attendance to sponsorships—was trending in the wrong direction.

While cable television could be made to fill the void of syndication, and the now-canceled Saturday Night’s Main Event could be retooled and repackaged, pay-per-view was a more pressing concern.

In an effort to boost the WWF’s numbers and build for the future, the WWF (with the help of select focus groups) embarked on what would become known as the “New Generation” initiative.

Moving away from the established, aging stars of the 1980s, the WWF began pushing lighter, younger stars to the top of their cards, relying only on a select core group of legends that included names like Randy Savage, Bob Backlund, Mr. Perfect, and (of course) Hulk Hogan.

New stars like Undertaker, Shawn Micheals, Razor Ramon, Yokozuna, and WWF Champion Bret Hart provided the Federation with a sorely needed infusion of new blood.

To combat lagging live event attendance in the U.S. the WWF was ramping up their foreign touring schedule, with a greater emphasis on Europe and the UK.

Europe, and in particular the UK, had been a reliable hotbed for the WWF since the mid-80s. Now, with the U.S. market experiencing an unprecedented recession and contraction, the UK audience would be asked to back the WWF as never before.

To that end, in an effort boost awareness and draw attention to the upcoming WrestleMania IX event, Vince McMahon signed Hulk Hogan to a short-term contract.

Hogan’s deal would include, at the very least, appearances at WrestleMania IX and the inaugural King of the Ring PPV event in June, with options for SummerSlam ’93 and beyond.

Perhaps more importantly, the deal (on paper) put the “Hulkster” front and center for the important European cards the WWF had scheduled in April and August of that year.

So it was only fitting—with McMahon preparing to play the odds on a calculated risk in the event’s closing moments, one that McMahon and company hoped would ignite genuine renewed interest in the WWF—that Las Vegas was to play host for WrestleMania IX.

For if there was ever a time for Vince McMahon to gamble on the future of the World Wrestling Federation, it was now.

 

 

The top story in the WWF the week this edition of WWF Superstars aired was the upcoming WrestleMania IX event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The top matches heading into the event included the WWF Championship showdown between “1993 Royal Rumble” Yokozuna and reigning WWF Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart as well as the World Team title grudge match between Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake (“The Mega Maniacs”) and World Tag Team titleholders Money, Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster)

Other top matches at WrestleMania IX included the grudge match between Undertaker and Giant Gonzalez, the WWF Intercontinental title match-up between Tatanka and Champion Shawn Michaels, the grudge match between Doink the Clown and Crush, and Lex Luger’s battle with Mr. Perfect.

Now let’s head on over to the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and see how well this WrestleMania IX go-home edition of WWF Superstars holds up 31 years later!

Edits are not an issue with edition of WWF Superstars on the WWE Network and Peacock. Context, meanwhile, is strong. All prior editions of WWF Superstars (dating back to the series’ relaunch on April 18, 1992) and Monday Night RAW, as well as all past editions of WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event and all prior WWF pay-per-views, are available for you to enjoy right now on the WWE Network and Peacock!

 

WWF Superstars #51 (WATCH)
Date: April 3, 1993 (TAPED: March 7, 1993) – Location: Cumberland County Memorial Auditorium, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Attendance: >3,500 – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan – Interviews: “Mean” Gene Okerlund

IN POP CULTURE:
Number One Song: “Informer” (Snow)
Number One Album: The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album
Number One on Television: 65th Academy Awards (ABC)
Number One on Cable Television: Stolen Babies (Lea Thompson, Kathleen Quinlan, Mary Nell Santacroce, Mary Tyler Moore, & Brett Rice) (Lifetime)
Number One Film in Theaters: Cop and a Half (Burt Reynolds, Ray Sharkey, Ruby Dee, & Norman D. Golden, III)
U.S. President & Vice President: Bill Clinton & Al Gore

CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Bret “Hitman” Hart (October 12, 1992, WWF Superstars taping, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels (November 14, 1992, WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XXXI, taped October 27, 1992, from “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Money, Inc. (“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & “I.R.S.” Irwin R. Schyster) (November 1, 1992, WWF Wrestling Challenge, taped October 13, 1992, from the Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon))

 

We get a cold open to kick off this week’s edition of WWF Superstars as Vince McMahon, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and Jerry “The King” Lawler, outside of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, welcomes us to the show.

There’s “no telling” what’s going to happen this weekend at WrestleMania IX, McMahon notes, before Savage talks about Vegas being the place “where dreams come true”.

Momentarily they’re going to be joined by “The Narcissist” Lex Luger who, McMahon says, may feel right at home by reflecting pools where, Lawler notes, Luger will be able to look down and gaze at his own reflection.

First, though, we’re going to gaze at Luger’s WrestleMania IX opponent, Mr. Perfect, as we head to the ring for this week’s opening bout.

 

—Singles Match (0:49)
Mr. Perfect vs. Dwayne Gill

This is your typical squash of the era, with Perfect getting the better of Gill from the opening bell.

Mr. Perfect looks like a million bucks as he gains control of Gill. As Perfect takes the fight to Gill, Bobby Heenan grouses about not wishing to wear a toga at WrestleMania IX.

Late in the contest Gill sticks a finger n Perfect’s eye and attempts to get one over on Perfect. In the blink of an eye, however, Perfect reverses an Irish whip, sending Gill into a modified Stevens bump before eating a stiff lariat on the apron.

Soon enough Mr. Perfect brings Gill in the hard way before cinching up the Perfect-Plex for the 1-2-3 at 2:53.

WINNER is Mr. Perfect (Pin, 2:53)

 

After the match Mr. Perfect celebrates his win before we head back to Caesar’s Palace where Vince McMahon, Randy Savage, and Jerry Lawler interview “The Narcissist” Lex Luger.

Luger says it’s appropriate for the interview to be taking place in front of the reflective pool because after WrestleMania, when Luger defeats Mr. Perfect, Mr. Perfect will reflect on a career that is “no longer ‘perfect’” after meeting what “is beyond ‘perfect’” in “The Narcissist” Lex Luger.

 

McMahon wraps the interview and proposes that he, Savage, and Lawler do a bit of shopping. After hyping an appearance from the Mega Maniacs (Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake) we head to this week’s first Peacock ad-break.

 

Coming out of the break we return to Caesar’s Palace where, in front of the “Fountain of the Gods”, Randy Savage tells McMahon and Lawler about his money burning a “hole” in his pocket and that he must leave to continue his shopping.

With Savage gone, McMahon and Jerry Lawler talk about their upcoming interview with Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels before McMahon, laughing at Savage’s antics, tosses to an interview with the Mega Maniacs, Hulk Hogan & Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake (with Jimmy Hart).

 

We then cut to the North Charleston Civic Center in North Charleston, South Carolina, where “Mean” Gene Okerlund prepares to interview the Mega Maniacs, and Jimmy Hart.

Okerlund begins by quoting Douglas MacArthur: “I shall return”. At WrestleMania IX, Okerlund says, Hulk Hogan returns to the WWF.

Hogan says the “everybody knows” the eagle is “flying slow” and the flag is “hanging low”. But if you train, say your prayers, eat your vitamins, believe in yourself and in Hulk Hogan, that means you “believe in the youth of America” and “Hulkamania”.

Hogan can see no better time than this Sunday for the Mega Maniacs, Hulk Hogan, and America to “do a three-sixty and turn this thing around”, starting with Money, Inc.

But Hogan wants President Bill Clinton to “sleep easy” after WrestleMania IX. The first thing Hogan & Beefcake are going to do after they “bankrupt” Money, Inc. is “seize” their assets, throw them in a semi-trailer, and drag it back to Florida.

Jimmy Hart, meanwhile, will toss Money, Inc.’s money off the top as they travel, thereby “easing the deficit” for the President. This is something the “Hulkamaniacs” can “take to the bank”.

Jimmy Hart is up next, telling Hogan that Hart is busy lining up all the “major” tag teams in the WWF because there’s “no doubt” that Hogan & Beefcake will mop the floor with Money, Inc. Then it’s on to the “Mega Maniac World Tour”, where Hogan & Beefcake will hit all the big arenas and coliseums.

Beefcake is next, telling Jimmy Hart not to worry, that Beefcake is the “detail man”, making sure the title belts look “just right” on he and Hogan’s motorcycles so that when the lights of Caesar’s Palace strikes the belts the fans all over the country will know that the Mega Maniacs are “on the money”.

Lastly Beefcake brings up the old cliché of “when in Rome do as the Romans do”, saying that he and Hogan should feed the “carcasses” of DiBiase & Schyster to lions.

Hulk laughs at the joke, saying the “lions” in this case are the “hungry ‘Hulkamaniacs’” who “can’t wait” for the Mega Maniacs to “take over” Money, Inc., and “run wild” over the WWF.

In closing, Hogan says, there’s one final fact Hogan wants to let fans in on. Fans, Hogan said, shouldn’t be worried about “Bionic” Beefcake’s “ugly, twisted up mug” because Hulk and Jimmy Hart have put Beefcake’s “bionic” face to the “’Hulkamania’ stress test”.

Hogan says he busted up everything but Beefcake’s face and tested the face mask by hitting it with a Halliburton case, which we get a chance to witness first hand.

Hogan gives us the “what’cha gonna do” shtick as the music hits and Hogan poses for the fans as Monsoon hypes the World Tag title match at WrestleMania IX as well as an appearance from Bam Bam Bigelow to come this week.

 

Next we cut to a promo hyping the return of Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania IX before heading back to the ring for the next contest.

 

—Singles Match (14:06)
Glen Ruth vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Bam Bam Bigelow was preparing to face Kamala at WrestleMania IX, a match that because of time constraints never actually happened.

The match, meanwhile, is a squash. Bam Bam takes the fight to Glen Ruth from the opening bell, mauling Ruth before landing the big top rope flying headbutt for the pinfall at 1:27.

WINNER is Bam Bam Bigelow (Pin, 1:27)

 

Following the match Bam Bam celebrates his win before we head to the next Peacock ad-break.

Coming out of the break we head to the pool outside Caesar’s Palace where Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler find Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels soaking up the sun in an elevated beach chair.

Shawn turns to face McMahon and Lawler, telling than that when you’re the WWF Intercontinental Champion, and the “sexiest man alive”, you sunbathe “head and shoulders” above everyone else.

McMahon is quick to point out that Michael’s opponent at WrestleMania has pinned Michaels on two separate occasions, which we see as the interview unfolds.

Tatanka, Michaels says, has “a lot in common” with the “losers” who visit Las Vegas. They rely on “one hundred percent luck” while HBK relies only only on “skill”. Everybody knows, HBK says, that eventually “your luck runs out”.

When asked if he’s concerned at all about the match, HBK says that he is “concerned” about one thing: Walking into WrestleMania with a “tan line”. Just then HBK opens his black robe to reveal the Intercontinental title belt he’s sunbathing with.

 

—Singles Match (18:30)
Tatanka vs. Barry Hardy

Tatanka, who was still undefeated at this point in time, was preparing for his Intercontinental Championship match with Champion Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania IX.

This match is, as one may suspect, a squash. Tatanka takes the fight to Hardy in and out of the ring until Hardy goes to Tatanka’s eyes.

Hardy tries to mount some kind of offense but Tatanka fires up, going on the “war path”, before dropping Hardy with a trio of chops. In a flash Tatanka has Hardy up for the End of the Trail, scoring the pinfall win at 3:15

WINNER is Tatanka (Pin, 3:15)

 

After the match Tatanka celebrates his victory before Monsoon tosses us to our first “Event Center” with Sean Mooney.

Sean Mooney hypes WrestleMania IX before setting up and tossing to a Razor Ramon promo ahead of Razor’s showdown with former WWF Champion Bob Backlund.

 

Razor Ramon calls WrestleMania IX the “big one” and says that time is running out for Bob Backlund. Backlund may have been a champion college wrestler and the former WWF Champion but, Razor says, that is the “past”. Razor is the “future”.

At WrestleMania IX, Razor says, the “Bad Guy” will carve Backlund up. Then, when Razor is done with Backlund, he’s going to come looking for Caesar.

 

Next we get a WrestleMania IX pay-per-view promo, voiced by Howard Finkel, before heading back in the studio where Sean Mooney hypes WrestleMania one more time to bring the “Event Center” to a close, sending us to the next Peacock ad-break.

 

Back from break we return to Caesar’s Palace where McMahon continues to voice his shock at the arrogance of Shawn Michaels. Moment later, though, the absent, shopping obsessed Randy Savage returns, red shopping bag in hand.

Savage mentioning how “good things” coming in “small packages” leads McMahon to talk about Doink the Clown attacking Crush with a prosthetic arm on the January 16, 1993, edition of WWF Superstars. As the trio discuss the incident we see a replay of the attack.

That won’t happen at WrestleMania IX, Savage says, and the proof is in Savage’s little red bag. As Savage peers into the bag and McMahon Lawler strain to get a peek we head to the ring for our next bout.

 

—Singles Match (24:58)
Doink the Clown vs. Dale Wolfe

Doink the Clown (with his incredible early theme music) was preparing for a memorable (some may say infamous) grudge match with Crush at WrestleMania IX.

The match, meanwhile, isn’t even close. Doink, the late Matt Borne, is almost surgical in his dismantling of Dale Wolfe. Soon enough, after having his fun at Wolfe’s expense, Doink lands a swinging neckbreaker before cinching in the painful Stump Puller for the submission at 1:00.

WINNER is Doink the Clown (Submission, 1:00)

 

Following the match the sadistic Doink tosses Wolfe to the floor where Doink slams a pie in Wolfe’s face. Suddenly the dark, disturbed Doink begins to laugh and celebrate as he disappears through the curtain and we head to our next Peacock ad-break.

 

Returning from break we head back inside Caesar’s Palace to find McMahon, Savage, and Lawler discussing “Lady Luck” not being with the Undertaker at the 1993 Royal Rumble.

Randy Savage says Undertaker was a “little bit frazzled” as he looked up at Gonzalez at the Rumble. Giant Gonzalez has been walking through the casino and everybody, Savage says, knows Gonzalez is a “high roller”. Savage’s money, though, is on the Undertaker at WrestleMania IX.

McMahon then notes the shock on the faces of the people in the casino as Giant Gonzalez, who will be joining them in a bit, made his way through the casino.

Jerry “The King” Lawler says that Undertaker is like the “jerks” playing the one-armed bandits. They all think they’re going to hit the “jackpot” and come out a winner, just like the Undertaker. But the “odds” are against Undertaker because Gonzalez will, according to Lawler, pop Undertaker’s eyes out of his skull.

 

McMahon then quickly tosses to footage from Royal Rumble ’93 of Undertaker coming face-to-face with Giant Gonzalez.

We join the footage with Gonzalez, who was not an official entrant into the “Royal Rumble” staring Undertaker down before eliminating the Undertaker with a wide chop.

We then cut to Gonzalez hitting a crushing chokeslam on Undertaker before we head back to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

 

Back in Vegas, McMahon, Savage, and Lawler are joined by Gonzalez’s manager Harvey Wippleman, who introduces Giant Gonzalez to the set.

If Undertaker thought what Gonzalez did “did a number” on Undertaker at the Royal Rumble, Wippleman says, Undertaker had better “gear up” for WrestleMania. Gonzalez will destroy Undertaker, Wippleman says, along with Undertaker’s “little fat buddy” Paul Bearer “once and for all”.

Wippleman tosses to Gonzalez who, with the help of some decent gestures, tells Undertaker that the “Phenom” has just rolled “snake eyes”.

McMahon then sets up and tosses to “prior action” involving Giant Gonzalez and Virgil.

 

—Singles Match (28:25)
Virgil vs. Giant Gonzalez w/Harvey Wippleman

This match was originally taped at as part of the March 7, 1993, television taping that the rest of this card comes from in Fayetteville.

When the match failed to met expectations, however, it was re-taped the following day (March 8, 1993) at the Superstars taping in North Charleston, South Carolina. The second match is the one we see here.

Virgil tries to use his speed and quickness to evade the slow Giant Gonzalez and fluster the bigger man early on. But once Gonzalez gets a hold of Virgil the match is all but over.

After a unique Greco-Roman knuckle lock on the top and second ropes, Gonzalez opens up on Virgil, pounding on Virgil as he stalks his prey.

Soon enough, though, Virgil slides between Gonzalez’s legs and attempts to mount a comeback before Gonzalez swats away a dropkick attempt and blasts Virgil with a lariat.

Finally Gonzalez picks Vigil by the throat for a chokeslam to score the 1-2-3 at 2:58.

WINNER is Giant Gonzalez w/Harvey Wippleman (Pin, 2:58)

 

After the match Gonzalez delivers a second chokeslam to Virgil as referee Bill Alfonso calls for the bell. Rather than release the grip Gonzalez holds on, choking the life out of Virgil as a trio of officials hit the ring to try and break the hold.

Finally Giant Gonzalez releases the hold, scattering the referees, as we cut to the next Peacock ad-break.

 

—Tag Team Match (35:27)
The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) vs. Ricky Nelson & Unknown Wrestler

The Steiners were gearing up for their tag team showdown with the Headshrinkers at WrestleMania IX.

For whatever reason we are not given the names of the two wrestlers facing the Steiner Brothers here, though Heenan reveals the one to be Ricky Nelson. The match is, regardless, a squash.

Scott easily manhandles his foes, tossing them around the ring, before Rick enters and delivers more of the same. In the end Scott lifts Ricky Nelson to his shoulders for Rick’s top rope bulldog and the pinfall win at 2:06.

WINNER is The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) (Pin, 2:06)

 

Following the match, as the Steiner Brothers celebrate their win, we head to the final “Event Center” of the show.

After putting a bow on the Steiner Brothers victory, and hyping WrestleMania, Sean Mooney sets up and tosses to a pre-taped promo from Mr. Perfect, who was preparing to face “The Narcissist” Lex Luger at WrestleMania IX.

Though he’s not easily impressed, Mr. Perfect says that he was impressed when “Lex Loser” debuted at the 1993 Royal Rumble. But then Luger turned around and challenged Mr. Perfect to a “wrestling match” at WrestleMania IX.

Luger looks “fantastic on the outside”, Perfect says, but “the bottom line” is that the “sign outside the building says ‘World Wrestling Federation’” and wrestling is what Mr. Perfect represents.

Luger may look good “on the outside” but, Perfect wonders, what does Luger have on the inside. At WrestleMania IX, Perfect says, the “whole world” will learn what Luger has on the inside.

Perfect say’s he’s “proven” himself, that Perfect is what he says he is and the world knows him to be: Mr. Perfect.

This is followed by another Howard Finkel WrestleMania IX promo and a quick wrap from Sean Mooney, who again reminds fans to set their clocks ahead an hour on WrestleMania Sunday, before we head back to Caesar’s Palace.

 

In front of the “Festival Fountain” Vince McMahon, with Randy Savage and Jerry Lawler, talks about Bacchus and Bret Hart knowing how to “party down”.

As thunder and lighting go off around the “Festival Fountain”, and Randy Savage grows more curious, Jerry Lawler says that just like Caesar’s “reign as Emperor” ended so too will Bret Hart’s “reign” as WWF Champion.

Savage, McMahon, and Lawler chat about the “Festival Fountain” coming to life in front of them as we quickly cut to our final Peacock ad-break.

 

We’re back in front of the “Festival Fountain” at the Forum Shops in Caesar’s Palace as we come out of the ad-break where, McMahon assures us, the “storms” have stopped and “the fun is just beginning”.

After hyping the “WrestleMania to end all WrestleManias”, and Savage reminds fans to wear their togas, McMahon introduces WWF Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart for an interview.

McMahon begins by reminding Savage of his match with Yokozuna last week and of Bret Hart’s contract signing with Yokozuna that resulted in Yokozuna hitting Bret with the Banzai Drop.

When asked, Bret says the move felt like a “bulldozer” had run him over, backed up, and stayed there. But Yokozuna, Bret says, is going to find out that just who Bret Hart is. At WrestleMania, Bret says, he’s not going to fall “for that stunt”.

It’s going to be a different “ball game” at WrestleMania, Bret says, because Yokozuna first has to get Bret Hart down, drag Bret to the corner, and deliver the move.

But it’s “not so easy”, Bret says, because Bret is going to be “excellent”. As far as any lingering issues from the attack Bret says he’s “a little sore” but that Bret’s been “a little sore before”.

Randy Savage, when asked what advice he’d give Bret Hart heading into the title match with Yokozuna, tells Bret that the Champion is “against all odds”, the “underdog”, but “that’s okay”.

Savage says that Bret is the WWF Champions and has nothing but respect for Bret. Yokozuna “rolled” over Savage just like he “rolled” over Bret at the contract signing, we all know that.

But tomorrow night Bret can get respect from the “zillions of fans” who support Bret going into this match. Savage shakes Bret’s hand, wishing Bret luck and telling Bret that Savage is in Bret’s corner.

In everybody’s hearts and minds Bret Hart is the WWF Champion and if going to defeat Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX, getting a round of applause from the assembled fans in Caesar’s Palace.

McMahon quickly wraps the segment before an awkward edit takes to a brief, show-closing graphic hyping the WWF Championship match between Yokozuna and WWF Champion Bret Hart at WrestleMania IX that brings this week’s edition of WWF Superstars to a end!

 

Final Thoughts

This is a fantastic go-home show for WrestleMania IX.

All of the big matches are covered and the stories are advanced that last little bit ahead of the big event.

While a lot of attention is paid to the “double main event”, every one of the ten announced matches is touched upon in some way, shape, or form, including the Kamala/Bigelow match that (thanks to time constraints) never actually took place.

Despite the goofy, over the top Mega Maniacs promo the show delivers where it counts. The action, while squashes, whet the appetite for real action and the promos geared fans up for what was to come at WrestleMania IX.

So what are you waiting for? If you’ve never seen this WrestleMania IX go-home edition of WWF Superstars it’s well worth your time. Who knows, you may end up liking it, and that’s never a bad thing!

Already subscribed to the WWE Network on Peacock? Then you can relive this classic WrestleMania IX go-home edition of WWF Superstars right now or experience it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below!

For pre-WNN editions of Throwback Thursday, click here!

 

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