Throwback Thursday: WWF Superstars: King of the Ring ’96 Preview Special (June 22, 1996), As Seen on WWE Network and Peacock

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This week Throwback Thursday celebrates the rich legacy of one of the World Wrestling Federation’s most beloved events, the King of the Ring, by revisiting the King of the Ring ’96 go-home edition of WWF Superstars, as seen on the WWE Network and Peacock, that aired 28 years ago this month!

 

In the eight months since the start of the so-called “Monday Night Wars” the entire landscape of professional wrestling had changed.

As the business continued to awaken from its early ’90s stupor, in which numerous scandals, trials, and economic downturns threatened its very future, fans hungered for something fresh, exciting, and new.

The steady rise of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) throughout 1995 provided fans, one way or the other, with exactly what they had been craving.

In real time, fans of the “Big Two” (WCW and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF)) watched as tired, dogmatic booking philosophies were thrown asunder in favor of new, innovative, untested ideas. Attempting to better meet the needs and broadening tastes of a rapidly changing fan base, they were redefining the very definition of professional wrestling as they went.

For those who did not connect with either of the “Big Two” there was Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), who by June 1996 was experiencing their best year yet as they tested every boundary they could find, reminding many fans why they had fallen in love with the sport in the first place.

But business, as they say, was about to pick up. Since Memorial Day 1996, WCW had been building its biggest story yet: The New World Order (nWo).

With former WWF stars Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) and Kevin Nash (Diesel) leading the way, WCW was producing the kind of frantic, chaotic live television fans had been pining to see, seamlessly blurring the lines between “rasslin’” and reality.

The prior week, on June 16, 1996, at WCW’s Great American Bash ’96 event, the “Third Man” challenge had been laid out, setting the stage for the biggest swerve in wrestling history and igniting a monstrous wrestling boom that would help define pop culture for the next 25 years.

While WCW had captured lightning in a bottle, the WWF was trying to find their path forward. After openly attacking WCW, attacks that included the infamous “Billionaire Ted” skits, the WWF put their head down and began building the next wave of stars.

June of 1996 was a creative high-point for the WWF. While elements of the “New Generation” still lingered in the air, the WWF was moving steadily towards more edgy, violent, and adult oriented programming.

Beneath the cartoonish Jerry Lawler/Ultimate Warrior fiasco of the moment worked a slew of future hall of famers like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Mankind, Undertaker, Vader, Goldust, Davey Boy Smith, and WWF Champion Shawn Michaels.

The upcoming King of the Ring ’96 event, coming just one week after WCW’s Great American Bash event, would mark the true start of the meteoric rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin.

In hindsight—with the dust settled and the “Monday Night Wars” long over—it could be argued that the war between the WWF and WCW was decided the moment Steve Austin won the 1996 King of the Ring Tournament and uttered the instantly iconic “Austin 3:16” line.

As big as the nWo became and as hot as WCW would run, it was Steve Austin and Austin’s unique connection to fans across all socioeconomic lines, forged at the 1996 King of the Ring event, that ultimately turned the tide and won the war for Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation.

 

 

The top story in WWF the week this edition of WWF Superstars aired was the upcoming King of the Ring ’96 pay-per-view event.

Top matches on the card, aside from the “King of the Ring Tournament” itself and Jake Roberts Cinderella story, included the grudge match between Jerry Lawler and Ultimate warrior; the war between Undertaker and Mankind; and the WWF Championship showdown between Davey Boy Smith and WWF Champion Shawn Michaels.

Now let’s head on over to the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and see how well this King of the Ring ’96 go-home edition of WWF Superstars holds up in 2024!

Edits for this edition of WWF Superstars are not an issue on the WWE Network and Peacock. Context, meanwhile, is excellent. All prior editions of WWF Superstars—dating back to the series relaunch on April 18, 1992—and Monday Night RAW, along with all past WWF pay-per-view events, are available for you to enjoy right now on the WWE Network and Peacock!

 

WWF Superstars #219: King of the Ring ’96 Preview Special (WATCH)
Date: June 22, 1996 – Location: N/A
Attendance: N/A – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: N/A – Interviews: Jim Ross & Todd Pettengill

IN POP CULTURE:
Number One Song: “Tha Crossroads” (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony)
Number One Album: Load (Metallica)
Number One on Television: Seinfeld (NBC)
Number On on Cable Television: Coming to America (Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, & Shari Headley) (USA Network)
Number One Film in Theaters: Eraser (Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Vanessa Williams, James Coburn, & Robert Pastorelli)
U.S. President & Vice President: Bill Clinton & Al Gore

CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Shawn Michaels (March 31, 1996, WWF WrestleMania XII, from Bret “Hitman” Hart; this was a “60-minute Iron Man” match and the first to be aired on WWF TV to that point)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Goldust (April 1, 1996, WWF Monday Night RAW, defeating Savio Vega to win the vacant Intercontinental title; the title was held up after the April 15, 1996, title bout on Monday Night RAW (taped April 1, 1996) between Goldust and then-Champion Savio Vega ended in a no contest)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart) (May 26, 1996, WWF In Your House 8: Beware of Dog Free For All, from The Godwinns (Henry O. & Phineas I.))

 

Following the “Viewer Discretion” warning and the “revolutionary force” signature we get a campy, cringe inducing King of the Ring Special open that truly must be seen to be believed.

 

We then head inside WWF Studios where Todd Pettengill, with Mr. Perfect, welcome us to the show.

Pettengill hypes the King of the Ring WWF Championship rematch between “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, in which Mr. Perfect will be the guest referee, and hypes the “exclusive” face-to-face we can expect to see on this week’s show.

Mr. Perfect and Pettengill then hype the rest of the non-tournament action to come this Sunday night, including the Mankind/Undertaker war and the Warrior/Lawler grudge match.

Later in the hour, Mr. Perfect assures us, he will address his relationship with Shawn Michaels.

 

Pettengill & Perfect then move on to the 1996 King of the Ring Tournament itself and we get a look at the bracket heading into the show, with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin facing “Wildman” Marc Mero in the first semi-final and Jake “The Snake” Roberts taking on Vader in the second.

 

Pettengill then sets up and tosses to a vignette highlighting Marc Mero’s run in the King of the Ring Tournament thus far.

We see highlights of Mero defeating Skip in the opening round of the tournament two weeks ago.

We then see highlights of Mero defeating Owen Hart in the second round just last week, including Owen’s post-match attack that left Mero unconscious at ringside.

We are assured, however, that Mero, despite the attack will be ready for this Sunday’s semi-final showdown with Steve Austin. The “King of the Jungle”, Mero says, is looking to become the “King of the Ring”.

Back in the studio Perfect and Pettengill wrap the Mero vignette, chatting about the role Sable may or may not play in the bout, before setting up and tossing to a vignette for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

 

We see Austin put away Bob Holly in the opening round three weeks ago on RAW before we see Austin hit the Stunner on Vega last Monday Night on RAW to advance to the semi-final round to face Mero tomorrow night on PPV.

It’s a “cryin’ shame” that Mero has to face Austin next in the tournament because while Mero may be a “good talent” Austin is more “direct and focused” without Ted DiBiase.

Austin guarantees a win over Mero thanks to Austin’s “win at all cost attitude. Austin will start with Mero and then go on to “the next victim” because “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is the next “King of the Ring”, and that’s the “bottom line”!

 

We then head to our first Peacock ad-break with Pettengill hyping a look at the other semi-final bout in which Vader hopes to end Jake Roberts’ “inspirational run”, the exclusive face-to-face between Bulldog and WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, and a look at the grudge match between Jerry Lawler and Ultimate Warrior.

 

Before heading to break, however, we get our first “King of the Ring Memory” segment as we flash back to 1993 when Bret Hart defeated Bam Bam Bigelow to claim the inaugural PPV tournament before being viciously attacked by Jerry “The King” Lawler.

 

After the break we get a classic King of the Ring PPV promo with Jerry Lawler choking on turkey and meeting a variety of “kings” in what turns out to be hell, complete with a Vince McMahon lookalike as the devil.

 

Back in the studio Mr. Perfect and Todd Pettengill chat about the Warrior/Lawler match before Pettengill turns his attention to the “king among men” and “true leader” of the WWF, Ultimate Warrior.

 

Pettengill then sets up and tosses to a history package that details the history of both Ultimate Warrior and Jerry Lawler before recapping the events that led up to their match tomorrow night on PPV, including the infamous picture frame smashing incident from two weeks ago on Monday Night RAW.

Back in the studio Pettengill & Perfect put a bow on the Warrior/Lawler vignette before tossing to the “Slam Jam” with Dok Hendrix.

 

After hyping tomorrow night’s King of the Ring PPV event Dok Hendrix turns to the WWF Tag Team title showdown between the Godwinns (Henry O. & Phineas I.) and the Tag Team Champion Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart).

 

We see footage of Sunny turning on the Godwinn’s on the May 26, 1996, Free For All ahead of In Your House 8: Beware of Dog event, helping the Smoking Gunns defeat the Godwinns for the titles.

 

Dok then tosses to a pre-taped promo from Sunny and the Smoking Gunns, Billy & Bart.

Sunny wonders out loud if either Godwinn really believed that Sunny had any true feelings in her heart for Phineas or if they really do deserve a rematch for the Tag Team straps.

They’ve beaten the Godwinns once, taking the straps, Sunny says, and it won’t be all that tough to do it again, especially with Sunny at ringside. The Gunns, Sunny says, will keep the belts for as long as Sunny wants them to.

Billy jumps in next, talking about nobody caring when Billy spent a month in the hospital unsure if Billy would ever wrestle again. The only ones who cared, Billy says, are standing with him now: Sunny & Bart.

Billy says that because they’re “gracious guys” they’re going to give the Godwinns one more shot at the titles. Bart is next, saying that it’s time to put the Godwinns “to pasture”.

 

Dok wraps the Tag title segment and hypes the King of the Ring event before we head to the next Peacock ad-break with Todd hyping more on the Goldust/Ahmed Johnson story, a look back at the controversial finish to the Bulldog/Shawn Michaels WWF title match at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog, and more on the Undertaker/Mankind feud.

 

Before we head to break, though, we get another “King of the Ring Memory”, this time featuring the finish to the infamous Roddy Piper/Jerry Lawler grudge match from King of the Ring ’94.

 

Coming out of the the break we head straight to the bowels of an unknown building where we find Paul Bearer and The Undertaker.

The “end is near”, Paul Bearer wails, and it’s this Sunday night. Mankind may think he’s lost his mind, Bearer says, but Mankind certainly doesn’t want the “Grim Reaper” in his mind.

“The air has grown so thick,” Undertaker says, “that you can’t even breath it.” The smell is “of death”. Mankind’s “tormented soul” will soon be the Undertaker’s, and Mankind will be “held accountable” for his actions.

In one “swift move”, Undertaker says, he will bring an end to Mankind’s “suffering” and “pain”, plunging Mankind’s “rotted soul” into the “deep crevices of the darkness” that Undertaker calls “home”.

The King of the Ring will be the end for Mankind. May Mankind “rest on peace”.

 

Back in the studio Todd Pettengill and Mr. Perfect discuss the Undertaker/Mankind match and how it will turn out, with Perfect saying that Undertaker has met his “match” in Mankind, something Pettengill agrees with.

 

Pettengill then sets up and tosses to a history package detailing the wild history that has led to the Undertaker/Mankind war at King of the Ring ’96, including Mankind’s debut assault on the “Phenom” and the frantic casket attack on the May 20, 1996, edition of Monday Night RAW.

We also see footage from In Your House 8: Beware of Dog of Mankind costing Undertaker his “casket” match against Goldust and Mankind’s brutal attack on Undertaker on the June 10, 1996, edition of RAW, after Mankind cost Undertaker his match with Davey Boy Smith.

Back in the studio Pettengill explains why fans were shown footage from Beware of Dog (thanks to a storm that ruined the feed) and assures fans that the only way they’ll see any of the King of the Ring event is if they order the PPV.

After Pettengill explains how to order pay-per-view and what kind of content fans will see if they do. Mr. Perfect then sets up and tosses to Jim Ross, “in the bowels of somewhere”, for an interview with Mankind.

 

We join Jim Ross as J.R. tries to track down Mankind. Once they’ve found one another J.R. jumps right into it, asking Mankind if Mankind is “prepared to pay the gravest price” against the Undertaker at the King of the Ring?

Mankind says he’s already “paid in full” and that now is Mankind’s turn to “cash in”. For those who ask if Mankind is “ashamed” of bringing pain to the Undertaker’s fans, Mankind says, “it’s about time!”

Mankind is “proud” of himself because when Mankind lays his head down at night Mankind knows that he didn’t “destroy an ordinary man”, Mankind destroyed the Undertaker, the “baddest man to walk the World Wrestling Federation”; until now.

Undertaker is like one of Mankind’s pet rats that Mankind strokes and cuddles and, at the King of the Ring, “steps on”! The King of the Ring is “a date with destiny”, Mankind says, it’s the “countdown” Undertaker’s extinction. “Have a nice day!”

We then head to the next Peacock ad-break with hype for a look at Jake Roberts chances to win the King of the Ring Tournament, the controversial Ahmed Johnson/Goldust saga, and the exclusive face-to-face between Davey Boy Smith and WWF Champion Shawn Michaels.

 

Before the break, however, we get another “King of the Ring Memory”. This time we head to 1994 where, after winning the King of the Ring Tournament, Owen Hart (with Jim Neidhart by his side) proclaims himself to be the “King of Harts”.

 

After the break we get another “King of the Ring Memory” of Yokozuna defeating Hulk Hogan in 1993 to win the WWF Championship in what turned out to be, at the time, Hogan’s final televised match in the WWF.

 

Back in the studio Todd Pettengill & Mr. Perfect tie the last “King of the Ring Memory” to the present day, noting that titles can and do change hands at the King of the Ring event.

Before Mr. Perfect talks about his role as guest referee for the HBK/Bulldog WWF Championship match, Mr. Perfect says he needs to explain why Perfect’s services are needed in the first place.

 

We then see a great replay segment that painstakingly details the unique double-pin that occurred at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog when two different referees counted each man’s shoulders down for three as HBK landed a bridging back suplex on Davey boy Smith.

As both men argued they were the rightful WWF Champion, including Davey Boy’s wife Dianna, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon called the match a draw, returning the title, and ordering a rematch at the King of the Ring.

We then see how an innocent shove by Gorilla Monsoon to Clarence Mason (and the threat of legal action) led to Davey Boy’s manager Jim Cornette being able to pick the guest referee for the HBK/Bulldog King of the Ring rematch.

Finally we see a clip of the brawl between HBK and Bulldog on the go-home RAW after Bulldog called HBK out before returning to the studio.

 

Pettengill then begins to interview Mr. Perfect about his role as guest referee for this Sunday night’s WWF Championship bout at the King of the Ring.

When asked how he will call the match, given recent encounters Perfect has had with Jim Cornette, Perfect says he can only call it “down the middle”. Perfect has nothing against Cornette, Davey Boy, or Shawn Michaels.

Pettengill brings up Perfect’s referee job at WrestleMania X, where Perfect disqualified Lex Luger for touching Perfect, and Perfect says that’s what a referee is supposed to do.

When Cornette received the short list of referees Mr. Perfect’s name was on that list. Perfect says he has a lot of respect in the WWF as both a wrestler and a referee. If anybody puts their hands on Perfect during the bout or has their shoulders down Mr. Perfect is going to call it that way. Perfect wants the world to know that he will be “right down the middle” during the course of the bout.

When confronted with the chatter that “professional jealousy” with Shawn Michaels may not be sitting too well with Mr. Perfect, Perfect says some of those people “may be right”.

A fired up Mr. Perfect says he has “a lot of respect” for HBK but wants to “leave it at that”. Regardless, Perfect says, if Michaels makes a mistake, puts his hands on Perfect, or his shoulders are down Perfect will call it the same as if it were Davey Boy Smith.

Pettengill wraps the interview and hypes the big showdown between Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith before setting up and tossing to the Superstars‘ exclusive face-to-face between the combatants.

 

We then cut to Jim Ross for our exclusive “Face-to-Face” segment between WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (with Jim Cornette).

J.R. starts by asking Davey Boy Smith about his physical state heading into the WWF Championship rematch this Sunday night. Davey says that physically he’s “fine”.

Mentally, though, Davey Boy is “disturbed” because he got “ripped off” last month at Beware of Dog and Davey Boy should be the WWF Champion and Shawn Michaels should be the challenger.

Michaels jumps in then, shouting that if anybody was “ripped off” it was his fans, “the clique”, and all the fans of the WWF. Michaels freely admits that his shoulders were down but claims he pinned himself after being “careless”. That may have happened once, Michaels says, but it “will not happen again”.

Cornette jumps in then, telling Shawn that his excuses would bring a “tear to a glass eye”. The fast is, Cornette says, Shawn was beat. Just then J.R. takes control of the interview and asks Cornette about the appointment of Mr. Perfect as guest referee.

Cornette calls Perfect a “perfect referee”, though Michaels might want one of the “stupid clique” to be the referee so Michaels could have somebody on his side.

Cornette goes on to blame the referee bungle at Beware of Dog for why Davey Boy isn’t the WWF Champion today, that the original referee, who was knocked to the floor, had to no business making any kind of count in his state.

As Shawn Michaels tries to jump in Cornette says that Mr. Perfect will be the “perfect referee” and see things “the right way” for Davey Boy. The match will be a “walk in the park”, Cornette says, “Central Park”.

“Good,” Michaels says, “we’re all satisfied with the situation” and Cornette & Davey Boy have they referee they want. That way, when Michaels kicks Davey teeth down his throat, Cornette & Davey Boy won’t have any “excuses” for losing.

Davey Boy tells Shawn Michaels to bring his “anger” with him this Sunday night because Michaels will need “every single ounce of it” to pin the British Bulldog.

Cornette closes things out by assuring us that Davey Boy has no “glass jaw”, but Micheals says Davey’s jaw will “shatter” “regardless of what he’s got”.

 

We then cut to a great promo package for the Davey Boy Smith/Shawn Michaels WWF Championship rematch at King of the Ring ’96 before heading to the next Peacock ad-break.

 

Coming out of the break, after a bit of the ol’ “promotional considerations”, Todd Pettengill & Mr. Perfect chat about the King of the Ring event and the tournament itself, focusing now on the second semi-final that sees Vader face the inspirational Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

 

Pettengill then sets up and tosses to a Jake Roberts vignette that details Jake’s defeat to the Undertaker at WrestleMania VIII, his three year exile, and Roberts’ shocking return to the WWF at the 1996 Royal Rumble.

Throughout the vignette Roberts gives us his side of the story, including his dark history with drugs (“I didn’t miss anything but heroin”), and what pulled him back from the brink.

Along the way we see footage of Jake defeating Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the opening round of the King of the Ring Tournament on the June 3, 1996, edition of RAW and then beating Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw on the June 15, 1996, edition of WWF Superstars, setting up his showdown with Vader in the semi-finals tomorrow night on PPV.

Roberts talks about Vader’s size and toughness, but says that we can expect Jake to leave his mark “somewhere, on somebody” but “preferably in the finals.”

Back in the studio Pettengill puts over the “inspirational story” of Jake Roberts before Mr. Perfect brings the cold water, warning Roberts that Vader is going to “run right over” Jake tomorrow night on pay-per-view.

 

Pettengill then sets up and tosses to a great vignette highlighting Vader’s recent path of destruction both in the WWF and the King of the Ring Tournament itself.

We see Vader defeat Ahmed Johnson in the opening round of the King of the Ring tournament on the May 27, 1996, edition of RAW, thanks to help from Owen Hart blasting Johnson with his cast, and explains why Vader receives a bye to the semi-finals after the Warrior/Goldust match ended in a double count-out on the May 27, 1996, edition of RAW.

Vader, Pettengill tells us, wants nothing more than to take Jake Roberts’ Cinderella story and “smash it like a rotten pumpkin!” Cornette calls Vader the “new king” and the “new sheriff” in the WWF.

 

Pettengill then hypes more on the Goldust/Ahmed Johnson story before we get another “King of the Ring Memory”.

This time we head to last year’s big event where, in one of the event’s marquee bouts, Bret Hart made Jerry Lawler kiss the “Hitman’s” foot. Moments later Bret forced Lawler to kiss his own, funky foot, which Lawler had been specially preparing for Bret.

 

After the break we head back to the studio where Todd Pettengill & Mr. Perfect turn their attention to tomorrow night’s controversial Intercontinental title bout between Ahmed Johnson and Intercontinental Champion Goldust.

Perfect notes that no one has heard from Ahmed for a while and says that Ahmed Johnson is “ready to explode” while Pettengill says no one knows what’s going to happen.

Ahmed Johnson has, Pettengill says, “been raging” since one of the “most disturbing moments ever” in the WWF took place on the May 27, 1996, edition of Monday Night RAW. Pettengill then sets up and tosses to a history package of their feud thus far.

 

The package opens with the “mouth-to-mouth” incident from the May 27, 1996, edition of RAW when Johnson, knocked out by Owen Hart’s cast at the end of Johnson’s King of the Ring first-round match with Vader, was “revived” by Goldust.

We hear Goldust’s excuses for what he did before we see Ahmed Johnson lose his mind looking for Goldust, including the incredible moment Johnson shoulder tackled one of Goldust’s “guards” through a metal door.

Ahmed has been on a roll, Pettengill tells us, winning the first-ever 16-man “Kuwaiti Cup Tournament” on May 12, 1996, in Kuwait City, Kuwait, after Ahmed defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the finals, footage of which we see.

Johnson was poised to win his King of the Ring opening round match against Vader on May 27th as well before Owen Hart knocked Johnson out cold with his cast.

While Johnson has remained silent, Goldust keeps talking about what he will do to Ahmed Johnson and how Goldust will be in the “golden spotlight” at the end of the night, representing Johnson’s “deepest, darkest, innermost fantasy”.

Back in the studio Pettengill says that if Ahmed Johnson can bottle the rage then Johnson will annihilate Goldust, becoming the new Intercontinental Champion.

Mr. Perfect calls Goldust a “master psychologist” who will use Johnson’s rage against him. “Somehow, someway”, Perfect says, Goldust will find a way to walk out the victor tomorrow night on PPV and keep the Intercontinental title.

 

Next we cut to another “Slam Jam” with Dok Hendrix. After hyping the King of the Ring PPV once more Hendrix hypes the Free For All pre-show that will feature the New Rockers (Marty Jannetty & Leif Cassidy) taking on the Body Donnas (Zip & Skip).

 

Dok then brings on Skip, via telephone, for an interview, asking about the Body Donnas’ search for a new manager. Skip says that after receiving “hundreds of thousands” of responses the team has “narrowed it down”, finding their new manager.

While Skip admits he may tell his good friend Dok who their new manager is “in private”, Skip wants the rest of the world, especially Sunny and the New Rockers, to find out tomorrow night who Skip & Zip have selected as their new a manger.

Skip refuses to give even a single clue, but promises that their new manager will take them back to the top of the WWF and the World Tag Team titles because, unlike Sunny, their new manager only cares about winning, not photo shoots or personal relationships. They plan on getting back to the top and staying there.

Dok wraps the interview and hypes the Free For All before giving us a rundown of the semi-final matches to come in the King of the Ring Tournament to crown the fourth “King of the Ring”. Dok then hypes the PPV one final time before sending us to our final Peacock ad-break.

 

After the break we get a rerun of Jerry Lawler’s King of the Ring PPV promo, complete with “Devil Vince” lookalike.

 

We then head back to the studio where Todd Pettengill asks Mr. Perfect about the newly signed Brian Pillman, who signed with the WWF at a press conference on June 10, 1996.

At the time, Pillman was recovering from a injuries sustained in an April 15, 1996, automobile accident in Kentucky. The accident left Pillman in a coma for a week and forced doctors to fuse Pillman’s shattered ankle into walking position, greatly diminishing Pillman’s range of motion.

At the time Pillman signed with the WWF Pillman was one of the most sought after free-agents in wrestling, with ECW and WCW (where Pillman began the “Loose Cannon” story that would never be resolved) vying for Pillman’s services, even after news of the April 15, 1996, automobile accident broke.

Interestingly enough, Brian Pillman was only the second wrestler to ever sign a guaranteed contract (after Marc Mero) in the history of the World Wrestling Federation.

Pettengill notes the “different sides” of Pillman and how Jim Ross has labeled Pillman a “loose cannon” before Mr. Perfect responds.

Every time someone new comes in to the WWF who has the “guts” and “courage” to self-promote or “is a little bit different”, Perfect says, they “scare people” like Pettengill.

Perfect says he thinks Brian Pillman is “a true Superstar” who will “make big waves” in the WWF.

Pettengill then hypes the King of the Ring event one last time, giving us a rundown of the announced card to come, before wrapping the show and bringing this week’s edition of WWF Superstars to a close!

 

Final Thoughts

Despite not featuring a single wrestling match, this edition of WWF Superstars is an excellent preview show for what would turn out to be one of the most important night’s in the modern history of the WWE.

The vignettes and history packages are fantastic, but the “Face-to-Face” segment between Shawn Micheals and Davey Boy Smith is one of the highlights of the show.

Few shows can better capture a moment in time like this edition of Superstars does. The growing pains the WWF was going through and the evolution they were making in real-time is on full display.

Even with no matches featured and almost no new promos, this is an exciting, engaging, engrossing hour of WWF TV that sets the stage perfectly for the King of the Ring event to come!

So if you haven’t seen this King of the Ring ’96 preview edition of WWF Superstars, or it’s been some time, this is a show well worth your time. Don’t be surprised if you end up checking out the 1996 King of the Ring directly afterward. 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 King of the Ring ’96 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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