WWF Superstars: January 19, 1997

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BigDaddyLoco: You are right about this version of Austin being better in a lot of ways than the Austin we all know and love. He was just a pissed off dude, not a guy playing a pissed off dude and Funk was money in the old man rambling drunk mode.
That’s what we call Money. Watching today’s product, you genuinely start to get the feeling they have lost all concept of what a character is; specifically to be a character you have to BE a character, and lord knows Austin is a bloody character. Unbelievably, beyond the over-scripted, over-thought, over-hashtagged RAW, they actually DO have people who still get this concept working in NXT. I haven’t watched much of their product, as evidenced by the fact that the last time I tuned in Daniel Bryan was a part of their show, but I did check out their last Takeover outing and was blown away (forgive me, I’m slow). Sami Zayn, the plucky babyface, fighting with all his heart to capture the title that has eluded him for over a year. Kevin Owens, the old indy vet, finally getting his chance on the big stage after nearly a decade of destroying his body, and he’s ready to find a new gear and make you believe. The finish to that match was stolen directly from WrestleWar 89, with a modern day flair, and I loved every second of it.
It really gave me the kind of hope for the future, that IF they ever accept the fact that what’s not working isn’t working, they’ll be able to find new live in the same vein of what 1997 is about to bring us as the year progresses.
But first, we have a little Superstars to worry about.

JIM ROSS is wandering aimlessly through the Alamo Dome. He does not come across Sid, who was last seen in here, and that feels like a missed opportunity. The idea of him spending the week, looking up at the Royal Rumble sign, and smiling like a jackass would not be REMOTELY out of character.
DOC HENDRIX introduces us to the Dome, while TODD PETTENGILL rides around the stadium on a bicycle, screaming like a banshee. Since this makes no sense, it’s apropos it leads into a recap of Shotgun Saturday Night. Riveting.
Hype for tonight’s main event. Not enough shots of Pete Lothario being sent to the coroner.
SHAWN MICHAELS has woken up early, and has the flu. Despite this, JIM ROSS stands close enough to Shawn to contract venereal diseases let alone the flu. Shawn refuses to use his illness as an excuse, making it a real strange thing to spend so much time discussing in that case.
More Shotgun footage, featuring Austin and Funk.
TODD PETTENGILL finds GEORGE and ADAM passed out across a bunch of arena seats. How in the hell did they get in there? Security was ok with this? Todd wakes them up by shouting at the top of his lungs, and Adam falls down about 4 rows in horror. George asks for a Todd autograph on his forehead, making this the first time anyone has asked Todd to sign anything since he inked his ill-conceived contract.
DOC HENDRIX picks Pierroth or Crush to win the Royal Rumble. I, sadly, probably would have bought into this when I was a teenager and genuinely believed the Rumble could be used as a device for any wrestler to become a star. I was with a group of about 30 other guys watching the 2000 Rumble, and for a while we somehow convinced ourselves Crash Holly had it cinched. I won’t lie, I miss that naiveté.
BRET HART has also woken up early to meet with JIM ROSS, and I don’t hear him complaining about any ailments that resemble the symptoms of a hard night of drinking like a certain someone else. You know, it took about 2 shows, but my full on hatred of Shawn Michaels has come flooding back, and I don’t see that getting better anytime soon. Bret ignores Doc’s “top 10 contenders” list, but figures he’s going to be targeted anyway. He refuses to take anymore backwards steps, and vows to prove tonight that he’s still the best in the world.
After some last minute pitches to ORDER NOW, SYCHO SID has bumped into JR, and … is he wearing a kippah?
You know, at this point, there’s nothing about Sid I wouldn’t believe. Ross asks Sid if the pressure has gotten to him. Sid starts whisper-shouting, even though there’s nobody here. He starts carrying on about some story about carrying about a rock, until tonight when 70000 people will see Shawn’s fear. He remains the master and ruler of the world, as well as the Hebrew people apparently.
STEVE AUSTIN busts in on DOC HENDRIX and TODD PETTENGILL’s wrap up, to remind everyone he’s here in the “Aloe Dome” and he’s gonna kick the hell out of someone. Oh PLEASE be Todd! Sadly, he wanders off in a bad mood before we find out his plans, but maybe tonight my wishes will be filled.

Rumble next!