Today In Wrestling History 8/26: Ultimate Warrior Suspended After PPV, 1st Superstars Taping, & More

* 29 years ago in 1986, the WWF held the first ever taping of their new top syndicated TV show, Superstars of Wrestling, at the Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. For the first few years of the WWF national expansion, the syndicated lineup consisted of Championship Wrestling (A-show shot in Poughkeepsie, New York), All-Star Wrestling (B-show shot in Brantford, Ontario), and the original Superstars of Wrestling (C-show mixing recaps and house show matches). For the Fall 1986 TV season, that all changed. The A-show and B-show were moved from the same small venue year-round to a new major arena every four weeks and all three shows were rebranded: the A-show obviously picked up the Superstars of Wrestling name, while the B-show became Wrestling Challenge and the C-show was renamed Wrestling Spotlight.

At these tapings:

Jesse Ventura returned from filming "Predator" as part of a three-man announcing team with Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino. In another presentation change, They introduced new female ring attendants, The Federettes.

Two young wrestlers who trained under Dominic DeNucci in Pittsburgh had some of their first matches. In one, Troy Martin (the future Shane Douglas) lost to Randy Savage. In the other, Jack Foley (Mick Foley using his dad's name) teamed with Les Thornton in a loss against WWF Tag Team Champions the British Bulldogs. This was Foley's second pro match, and he's talked about realizing how in over his head he was when he saw Thornton and Davey Boy Smith open the match with beautiful chain wrestling. He also made the mistake of asking Dynamite Kid if he could get in his flying elbow, the one move he was really doing well. Dynamite decided to break his jaw with a clothesline.

Kpkp B. Ware also made his WWF television debut, teaming with Paul Roma in a losing effort against the Hart Foundation. Ware was never really used well in the WWF, probably thanks to his height. He was a tremendous worker as both a singles and tag team wrestler, plus he had developed into a really likable babyface with his "Birdman" gimmick, but he never got the push he deserved in the WWF, or even opportunities to have great midcard matches.

In the long-run, though, nothing was more important than the presentation changes. WWF wrestling now looked bigger and more important than any other wrestling on television.

* 24 years ago in 1991, the WWF broadcast the fourth annual SummerSlam pay-per-view live from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Billed as "The Match Made in Heaven and The Match Made in Hell," it featured the most unique double main event in company history: The Match Made in Hell went on in the semifinal spot, and was a handicap tag team match with Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan (Adnan Al-Kaissie), and Col. Mustafa (Iron Sheik) with the debuting Sid Justice (Sid Vicious/Sycho Sid) as special guest referee. The Match Made in Heaven, which closed the show, was the on-screen wedding of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth several years after Randy Poffo and Elizabeth Hulette actually got married.

The wedding came off really oddly in that it was played completely straight, Savage's outfit excepted. It seemed like a much bigger deal to the women in the crowd than anyone else. To them, it was the culmination of their favorite storyline after years and years. To the viewers at home it was kind of boring, and ia lot of the fans in the building left before the end of the show. They saved the angle (Jake Roberts attacking Savage) for the reception, which was taped that night for airing on TV the following weekend. When they legitimately got divorced the following year, the wedding angle meant that it had to be acknowledged, so Savage wrote an open letter to the fans in WWF Magazine.

The Match Made in Hell was all about getting Sid Justice over and getting the Ultimate Warrior out of the way. Why was the latter an issue? Warrior had demanded a ton of pay increases and days off after Vince McMahon made him record an apology video for a young fan wh whose autograph request he requested...and who happened to be the son of an important TV station manager. Really, what he asked for was parity with Hogan. Vince agreed..but only because ads for SummerSlam were out. Insisting he was under duress, he refused to honor the agreement and suspended Warrior as soon as he got to the locker room.

Also on the card, there were three title changes: Bret Hart beat Mr. Perfect to win the Intercontinental Championship in one of the most legendary matches of the Hogan era to establish himself as a singles wrestler.Perfect's back was thrashed and he was effectively retiring, but he put on an amazing performance on the way out. Also, the Legion of Doom defeated the Nasty Boys to win the Tag Team Championship in a street fight, and Virgil defeated Ted DiBiase to win the unsanctioned Million Dollar Championship. The pop Virgil got was incredible, and it was incredibly satisfying to see another moment years in the making pay off that night. Between the match quality and the booking, it's easily one of the best of the earlier WWF pay-per-view events.

Comments