Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saturday Morning Ringside: WWF Superstars of Wrestling (1986)

When we were kids, the then-World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) had a regular presence on weekends. In the mid-80's, they actually came up with marketable titles for their weekly programs. What used to be known as Championship Wrestling was rechristened Superstars of Wrestling (later shortened to Superstars, a title revived two years ago for WGN America). Vince McMahon, long before he rebooted himself as the devious corporate baron in charge, was the play-by-play announcer, and assigned retired grappler Gorilla Monsoon the same task on Wrestling Challenge (formerly All-Star Wrestling). The genius pairing of Monsoon & manager-color analyst-house comic Bobby Heenan was a perfect counterpoint to McMahon's over-the-top announcing, regardless of who had to share the booth with him.

Let's take you back to 1986. Future Hall of Famers Jesse Ventura & Bruno Sammartino are in the booth with Vince:

As Monsoon would say, this wasn't a feast for the eyeballs, but it was escapist fun. A few years later, McMahon began transitioning his programming to cable, and thus the weekly squash matches showcased on this program and Challenge became a thing of the past. In time, McMahon would relaunch his syndicated programming under different titles, but pulled them from syndication again by 2005.

Rating: B--.

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