Under the Reagan administration, deregulation from the FCC saw the use of a new practice called barter syndication. Using this newly available business model, the WWE created a national broadcast through the use of syndication and national sponsorships. In the fall of 1986, WWE launched a new syndicated program called WWF Superstars of Wrestling. This was the A-show of their syndicated programming.
Reshuffling the Syndicated Lineup:
Prior to this version of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, the WWF had a recap show on the air for two years by the same name. In 1986, that show was renamed Wrestling Spotlight. The new version of Superstars of Wrestling replaced the program WWF Championship Wrestling. The B-syndicated show WWF Wrestling Challenge replaced WWF All-Star Wrestling. All of these shows were one-hour long.
The original announcers of this show were Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura, and Bruno Sammartino. For the vast majority of the programs syndicated tenure, Vince was an announcer and through the years, his co-hosts included Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Curt Hennig, Jim Ross, Bobby Heenan, Jerry Lawler, Stan Lane, Dok Hendrix, and Jim Cornette.
National Yet Local:
The show featured the start of many feuds that would play out on the house show circuit. While fans throughout the country would see the same matches, the interview segments during the show would be localized to feature wrestlers talking about fighting in your local arena. Sometimes, during the matches the commentary would cut out and a message from Howard Finkel talking about a local event in your area would be heard.
The Rise of Cable:
As the growth of cable TV grew during the '80s and early '90s, the importance of the syndicated program became less important. Having a program on the USA Network meant everyone would see a program on the same day and at the same time. With syndicated programming, there was no set day or time for the show to air. In some parts of the country, the hyping of a Saturday Night's Main Event could air after the broadcast of that show.
The Birth of Monday Night RAW:
When the WWE created Monday Night RAW in 1993, that show immediately became the A-show for the WWE. WWF Superstars of Wrestling, which at some point was renamed WWF Superstars, stopped being syndicated in the fall of 1996 and moved to the USA Network. A few months later, the show was repacked into a recap show. It moved to TNN in 2000 but was canceled the following year.
The Superstars name was brought back to life in 2009. Starting in April 2009, WWE Superstars began broadcasting on WGN America. The show began out by featuring first-run matches featuring stars some of the biggest names from RAW, SmackDown, and ECW battling each other members of their own brand. After a while, the show just began featuring matches involving only the lower-tiered talent of the RAW and SmackDown brands. The show stopped airing on WGN America in April 2011 and was moved to wwe.com.
Title Changes to Take Place on WWE Superstars:
6/2/87 - The Honky Tonk Man beat Ricky Steamboat
4/23/90 - Curt Hennig beat Tito Santana in the tournament final for the vacant title
11/19/90 - Curt Hennig beat Kerry Von Erich
4/13/94 - Diesel beat Razor Ramon
World Tag Tam Championship
1/26/87 - The Hart Foundation beat the British Bulldogs
10/27/87 - Rick Martel and Tito Santana beat the Hart Foundation
10/2/89 - Demolition beat Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard
12/13/89 - Andre the Giant and Haku beat Demolition
Sources used include: thehistoryofwwe.com, tv.com, nytimes.com, and imdb.com