Before Monday Night Raw became WWE’s A-show, one of the company’s biggest shows was its weekly syndicated Superstars program. This week in Random Reviews, we go back and look at some not-so-choice picks from back in the day.
El Matador vs. Brian Donohue (WWF Superstars, taped December 4, 1991; aired January 11, 1992)
Ah, good old fashioned squash match action! Vince McMahon on commentary tries to have us believe that El Matador would make a fine WWF champion… at least Tito Santana made a more believable matador than those Puerto Ricans!
Standard jobber action as Brian Donohue (a chunky guy with a mullet and a three-leaf clover on his trunks), took El Matador into the corner, but didn’t enjoy much success before being whipped into the other corner and met with a dropkick. Matador works over Donohue with an armbar as we’re treated to an inset promo from the Texas Tornado, and we return to see Donohue fall like a tree following a punch to the chest.
Donohue tries to fire back with punches of his own, but el Matador sidesteps him as Donohue awkwardly lands from a back body drop. One El Paso del Muerte later (forearm smash to the back of a bent-over opponent), and el Matador collects the expected win. It was what it was – jobberiffic! **
Texas Tornado vs. Duane Gill (WWF Superstars, taped June 1, 1992; aired June 27, 1992)
Next up is the penultimate televised match in Kerry von Erich’s WWE career (he faced Barry Horowitz the next night in a match taped for Wrestling Challenge), as the Texas Tornado took on Duane Gill. Yes, the same guy who would become Gillberg some seven years later.
The Tornado powers Gill to the mat early on from a collar-and-elbow tie-up, and Gill actually gets tied up in the bottom ropes as a result of this. Wash, rinse, repeat. The Texas Tornado wrings Gill’s arm then clotheslines him to the mat, but Gill actually tries to mount a comeback, only to be whipped into the turnbuckles and rebound into a discus punch. **
A few weeks after this aired, the WWE released the Texas Tornado, who then returned to his Texas home with the Global Wrestling Federation, before taking his own life in February 1993.
Max Moon vs. Brian Costello (WWF Superstars, taped October 27, 1992; aired December 5, 1992)
We move onto Max Moon – the incarnation played by Paul Diamond, and not Konnan – and we’re treated to a concerned mother holding her son as Max Moon fires his cannons into the sky. Just what you want your babyfaces to do – make parents fearful!
Brian Costello is another “already-in-the-ring” jobber type, and was a common WWE jobber back in the day. He looks a little like Guy Fieri with a mullet, and he has the three-leaf clover on his trunks too. Wait a minute, have I just plucked two matches with the same jobber at random? Nope, they’ve tagged together before, so it seems they just share ring gear…
His first move is to be taken down with a Dragon screw after Max Moon catches an attempted kick. A couple of leg sweeps take down Costello, as does a bodyslam, and Costello throws a fit every time he takes an offensive move.
We’re shown a nameless clown (Doink) in the crowd, just because, and Max Moon gets even more distractions as we’re then treated to an inset promo from a bored Max Moon. Costello gets taken down with a spinning wheel kick, before falling to a rolling fireman’s carry and a cross-body off the middle rope for the win. Not bad, but not good either **¼
Razor Ramon vs. Brian Boyer (WWF Superstars, taped February 15, 1993; aired March 6, 1993)
Moving onto Razor Ramon, as he on Superstars duty against Brian Boyer – arguably the most athletic of the three Brians we’ve seen on enhancement talent duty this week.
Razor takes Boyer to the corner and pounds away from the off, before flattening Boyer with a side-slam that looked to be a mix of a Rock Bottom and a chokeslam. He toys with Boyer with a version of an STF, before hitting a belly-to-back superplex off the middle rope. One Razor’s Edge later, and we have our winner – two words: total squash. **
Jacques the Quebecer vs. Lex Luger (WWF Superstars, taped December 1, 1993; aired January 1, 1994)
We end our look of Superstars matches with a match not featuring a Brian! And even though this is Superstars, you can clearly see the Wrestling Challenge banners on the wide shots. Still, at least we’ve got Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon on commentary, perhaps the closest to a WWF dream team in the early 90s. Jacques was, of course, the former Mountie, and came into this match as one half of the tag team champions.
Jacques threatens to walk out of the match over the steel plate that’s in Lex’s arm, but we come back from commercial to see Jacques arguing with three referees as Luger’s music hits, and Jacques jumps Luger at the bell, before working on Lugers’ ribs.
Luger stumbles to the mat as he’s caught with Jacques clothesline coming out of the corner, before making a brief comeback, only to miss a clothesline of his own, sailing over a ducking Jacques and land on the ringside floor. After returning to the ring, Luger found himself caught in a lazy camel clutch, but eventually powered out.
Luger and Jacques then combined for the worst version of the “ram your opponents head into the turnbuckle” spot I’ve ever seen, with Luger waving his hand behind Jacques’ head, which apparently forced it into the turnbuckle. That was followed-up by an aborted corner ten-count punch, which Jacques powered out of after three strikes, before Luger whipped the tag team champion into the corner – taking out the referee in the process.
Luger went for the forearm smash, but got tripped by Johnny Polo as he went to the ropes, before both men went for a shoulder block, and crashed to the mat. That was the signal for Jacques’ partner Pierre to hit the ring and switch places, giving Luger a leg-drop and made the cover. Lex kicked out, then made a comeback, drilling Pierre with a forearm smash, and scoring the win.
As soon as the three count was made, Jacques came in to remonstrate with the referee, but quickly fell to another forearm smash, as Luger pinned both members of the tag team champions in a matter of minutes. Not sure how that helped, apart from burying the tag champions, but at least we now know this wasn’t an Attitude era phenomenon. Sadly, the match barely approached average, even for a TV outing **¼
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