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|WWF Superstars of Wrestling|
|Created by||Vince McMahon|
|Starring||World Wrestling Federation alumni|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||60 minutes (inc. commercials)|
|Original network|| Syndicated (1986–96)|
USA Network (1996–2000)
|Original release||September 6, 1986 –|
August 19, 2001
|Preceded by||WWF Championship Wrestling (1972–86)|
WWF Superstars of Wrestling (later shortened to WWF Superstars) is a professional wrestling television program that was produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). It debuted on September 6, 1986, as the flagship program of the WWF's syndicated programming.
In January 2019, select episodes of WWF Superstars starting from April 1992 became available for streaming on the WWE Network.As of June 21, 2021, there are 106 episodes of Superstars on WWE Network, dating from April 18, 1992 to May 14, 1994.
In September 1986, Superstars replaced WWF Championship Wrestling . Before that, WWF Superstars of Wrestling was the name of a weekly recap show hosted by Vince McMahon (or Gene Okerlund) and Lord Alfred Hayes that lasted from 1984 through August 1986. The new version of Superstars was the program on which all the angles began and at times ended and on which the majority of title changes took place if not at a pay-per-view event (e.g. WrestleMania or SummerSlam). Matches primarily saw top tier and mid-level talent versus jobbers; pre-taped interviews with the WWF's roster of superstars; and promos featuring the wrestlers. At times, there was a "feature" match between main WWF talent. As with all syndicated WWF programming, another major aspect of the show was to promote house shows and TV tapings in each market.
During its syndication run, the program was re-branded and aired in some parts of Canada as Maple Leaf Wrestling (essentially replacing a program of the same name filmed in southern Ontario), despite having almost no Canadian content other than interviews promoting matches that were to be held in Canada, along with occasional program-exclusive matches taped at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario. However, this repackaging was, at the time, sufficient to allow the program to count towards Canadian content requirements for local television stations. Some Canadian viewers were able to watch American feeds of the show and/or "WWF Challenge."
The show also began airing in 1986 in the United Kingdom on Saturday nights on Sky Channel. For a short time, it was shown on Tuesdays on Eurosport. Early in the 1990s, it was featured in a Friday night time slot. In the mid-1990s, Superstars was then moved to a Sunday morning time slot. For most of it original run in the United Kingdom Gorilla Monsoon was the play-by-play commentator with various color commentators throughout its history.
Beginning with the April 18, 1992 episode, the program was renamed to WWF Superstars, due to a successful lawsuit by another promoter, Albert Patterson, who had claimed prior rights to the phrase "Superstars of Wrestling".Since then, archival footage of the program has usually been shown with the words "of Wrestling" blurred out where applicable.
In September 1996, Superstars left syndication and moved to pay TV channel USA Network in place of WWF Action Zone , which the network cancelled. Although for a brief period the show continued in its same format, as time went on more and more recaps of the WWF's other programming began to fill the hour. By March 1997, Superstars was solely a summary program and continued in that manner until its eventual ending.
In 1997, the format of Superstars as aired in the United Kingdom also changed and began to only feature weekly summaries of Monday Night Raw . Following the premiere of SmackDown! , Superstars served as a summary show for SmackDown! as well.
When the WWF moved its cable TV contract to TNN (later known as Spike, now known as the Paramount Network) in September 2000, Superstars moved with it. The show was then discontinued in August 2001. The show continued until December 2002 in the UK, until it was replaced by Heat in January 2003.
Many of these title changes were not aired for up to several weeks after they took place. As these shows were aired in an era before the Internet was popularized, the previous title holder sometimes defended his title at house shows as though he were still the champion until the title change was aired on television.
The commentary team on Superstars underwent many changes as the years passed. The hosts of Superstars are listed below in chronological order along with their debut episode.
WWE abandoned the Superstars of Wrestling trademark when they changed the show's name to WWF Superstars in the early 1990s. Albert Patterson, a Wisconsin independent wrestling promoter, successfully trademarked the phrase in 1993.Although there has been litigation between the WWE and Patterson, WWE has not been able to settle with Patterson for the usage of "Superstars of Wrestling". Due to this issue, WWE blurs the Superstars of Wrestling banners when archival content is shown on the WWE Network.
Bret Sergeant Hart is a Canadian-American retired professional wrestler, amateur wrestler, writer, and actor. A member of the Hart wrestling family and a second-generation wrestler, he has an amateur wrestling background, wrestling at Ernest Manning High School and Mount Royal College. A major international draw within professional wrestling, he has been credited with changing the perception of mainstream North-American professional wrestling in the early 1990s by bringing technical in-ring performance to the fore. Hart is widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time; Sky Sports noted that his legacy is that of "one of, if not the greatest, to have ever graced the squared circle". He was a face of the World Wrestling Federation during the New Generation Era. For the majority of his career, Hart used the nickname "Hitman".
The American Wrestling Association (AWA) was an American professional wrestling promotion based in Minneapolis, Minnesota that ran from 1960 to 1991. It was owned and founded by Verne Gagne and Wally Karbo. The territory was originally part of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), becoming an independent territory in 1960.
Curtis Michael Hennig was an American professional wrestler, manager and color commentator. He performed under his real name for promotions including the American Wrestling Association (AWA), the World Wrestling Federation, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, also using the ring name Mr. Perfect in the WWF/E. Hennig is the son of wrestler Larry "The Axe" Hennig, and father of wrestler Curtis Axel.
Jonathan Anthony Wisniski is an American professional wrestler, better known as Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. He is the son of wrestler Johnny Valentine.
Jacques Rougeau Jr. is a Canadian former professional wrestler best known for his appearances in the 1980s and 1990s with the World Wrestling Federation. He began his career under his real name as half of the tag team The Fabulous Rougeaus with his brother Raymond Rougeau. In 1991, he began a singles career as The Mountie, winning the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship once. In 1993, he formed three time WWF Tag Team Championship winning tag team The Quebecers with Pierre Ouellet.
James Ray Hart is an American professional wrestling manager, executive, composer, and musician currently signed with WWE in a Legends deal. He is best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he used the nickname "The Mouth of the South".
Roy Wayne Farris, better known by the ring name The Honky Tonk Man, is an American retired professional wrestler. He previously wrestled for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wrestling Federation. He is best known for his first run with WWF, where he held the WWF Intercontinental Championship for a record 64 weeks before losing it to The Ultimate Warrior at the 1988 SummerSlam. He is the cousin of fellow professional wrestler and color commentator Jerry Lawler.
The Rockers were a professional wrestling tag team consisting of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty who teamed from 1985 to 1992. The team worked for NWA Central States Wrestling, the American Wrestling Association, Continental Wrestling Federation, Continental Wrestling Association and the World Wrestling Federation. In 1992, the team had a violent kayfabe breakup that helped propel Michaels into the singles ranks with "The Heartbreak Kid" gimmick that he used until his retirement in 2010. After the breakup Michaels and Jannetty had an on again, off again feud due to Jannetty leaving the WWF on more than one occasion. In 1996, Jannetty teamed up with Leif Cassidy to form The New Rockers, but the team never achieved much success in the WWF and ended later that same year.
Pat Patterson was a Canadian–American professional wrestler and producer, widely known for his long tenure in the professional wrestling promotion WWE, first as a wrestler, then as a creative consultant and producer. He is recognized by the company as their first Intercontinental Champion and creator of the Royal Rumble match. Patterson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 1996.
WWF Championship Wrestling is a professional wrestling television program produced by the World Wrestling Federation. It aired from 1972 to August 30, 1986 and was the original television show of the WWF. Originally produced under the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) banner, Championship Wrestling featured all the stars of the WWF, interviews and championship matches. It was the flagship program of the WWWF/WWF's syndicated programming until it was replaced by Superstars of Wrestling in 1986.
WWF Prime Time Wrestling is a professional wrestling television program that was produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It aired on the USA Network from January 1, 1985 to January 4, 1993. A precursor to Monday Night Raw, Prime Time Wrestling was a two-hour long, weekly program that featured stars of the World Wrestling Federation. The program featured wrestling matches, interviews, promos featuring WWF wrestlers, updates of current feuds and announcements of upcoming local and pay-per-view events. In addition, Prime Time Wrestling would also air wrestling matches and interviews from other WWF programming such as Superstars of Wrestling and Wrestling Challenge. Episodes 61 to 227 of Prime Time Wrestling are available for streaming on the WWE Network.
WWF Wrestling Challenge is a professional wrestling television program that was produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, known at the time as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It was syndicated weekly and aired from 1986 to 1995. The show became simply known as WWF Challenge in 1995. The show featured matches, pre-match interviews, and occasionally, summarized weekly events in WWF programming. Matches primarily saw top-tier and mid-level talent versus jobbers. At times, there was a "feature" match between main WWF talent. As with other syndicated WWF programming, the show promoted WWF event dates and house shows in local media markets. It was the 'B' show of WWF syndication, meaning it generally only aired in markets where WWF had two weekly slots, with the other taken up by WWF Superstars of Wrestling. Select episodes of Wrestling Challenge are available for streaming on the WWE Network. As of May 17, 2021, there are 23 episodes of Wrestling Challenge on WWE Network, dating from its premiere to February 8, 1987.
Bret "Hit Man" Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be also known as The Bret Hart Story: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be is a best selling DVD documentary film released as part of a three-DVD set on November 15, 2005, by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The documentary chronicles the career of popular WWE wrestler Bret Hart. Hart collaborated with WWE to make the documentary, contributing hours of interview content to the film. This collaboration marked the first time Hart had worked in an on camera capacity with WWE since the Montreal Screwjob, which was Hart's last in-ring appearance with the company until his return on January 4, 2010. The documentary chronicles Bret Hart's wrestling career, from how he broke into the business as a member of the Hart family to his run in World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
SummerSlam was the third annual SummerSlam professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation. It took place on August 27, 1990, at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The card consisted of ten televised matches, including two main events. The Ultimate Warrior successfully defended his WWF World Heavyweight Championship against Rick Rude in a steel cage match, and Hulk Hogan defeated Earthquake by countout.
SummerSlam was the fourth annual SummerSlam professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation. It took place on August 26, 1991, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
The 1993 Royal Rumble was the sixth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation. It took place on January 24, 1993 at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California.
Survivor Series was the sixth annual Survivor Series professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation. It took place on November 25, 1992, at the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield Township, Ohio. It was the first Survivor Series that broke away from the traditional four on four survivor team matches and had typical one-on-one and tag-team matches instead.
The 1994 King of the Ring was the second annual King of the Ring professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation that featured the eighth King of the Ring tournament. It took place on June 19, 1994, at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. The tournament to determine which wrestler would be crowned King of the Ring actually began the month before the pay-per-view, as the wrestlers gained entry in the tournament by participating in qualifying matches. These matches were held throughout May 1994 on WWF television programs, although the WWF did not explain how wrestlers were selected to compete in the qualifying matches. The second, third, and fourth rounds of the tournament were televised on the pay-per-view broadcast on June 19.
The 1993 King of the Ring was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation and featured the seventh King of the Ring tournament. This was the first of ten King of the Ring events that was produced as a pay-per-view. The event resulted from the WWF's decision to make its annual King of the Ring tournament into a televised event. It took place on June 13, 1993, at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. The card featured ten matches, which resulted from scripted storylines and had results predetermined by the WWF.
The history of WWE Raw began as WWF's Monday Night Raw on January 11, 1993. Over the next two decades, Raw would become the promotion's flagship show, achieving numerous milestones along the way.