As many of you are aware, WWE Network is pretty packed with all sorts of content. And as you may also know, we here at Place to Be Nation love long term, in depth projects. So, as part of this initiative, JT Rozzero, Chad Campbell, Jason Greenhouse, Scott Criscuolo & Dan McGinn are starting in 1975 and are planning to watch the entire offering of the WWE Network chronologically. They have plotted their course and after watching each program, they will share their thoughts, notes and recommendations with our readers. So, settle in and enjoy this epic ride through wrestling history!
Tuesday Night Titans 1/24/85
Run Time: 43:38
JT: It was really cool seeing a snippet of a very historical angle. Andre the Giant being laid out and left in a mess of his shorn hair was a powerful sight that was pushed up even more by the crowd rallying the beloved giant to get to his feet. SD Jones trying to explain what happened was a nice touch too. “A raping of a giant’s dignity.”
Brian: Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd, and Ken Patera giving that poor audience member a makeover was something else. I loved how they called him Andre and tied him into a chair with a rope as they shaved off his head, made fun of him (accused the guy of having lice) and dumped all sorts of products on him. Vince was going out of his mind and really trying not to laugh here as he made all sorts of odd noises. I also liked how the guy managed to break free and run away right before Heenan was going to shave his face.
Dan: Andre getting his ears lowered so to speak was definitely the highlight of this show. Bruno and Vince were on point illustrating how heinous this attack was and how disheveled our hero became as a result. There just was no stopping the trio of Bobby Heenan, Ken Patera, and the real giant of professional wrestling, John Studd from humiliating Andre. Vince described it best by calling it “the raping of a giant’s dignity.” Hemmingway couldn’t have scribed this better. Knowing Andre the way I do, someone is going to pay for this treachery.
Scott: For someone that’s been a fan as long as I have, I had actually never seen the clip where Andre’s hair gets cut by the Heenan Family. This clip is just the aftermath but still to see Andre helpless like that was very rare. Second place to the Jesse segment (including a rare piece of the debut PTW) but I’ll give it to Andre/Heenan Family segment.
JT: I will go with the whole Heenan Family. We got the clips of the remnants of their attack on Andre and then Bobby Heenan delivered a tight promo about the situation to open their segment. He says how he promised he would make a statement when he arrived in the WWF and now he has. I loved Studd and Patera’s cool barbs at Andre and wishing him luck in finding a tag team partner. That was followed by Heenan buzzing some poor jamoke while making fun of him the whole time. Good segment that ate up a lot of time on the show.
Brian: I’ll also go with the Heenan Family here. They were the stars of this show and coming off of the angle in which they cut Andre the Giant’s hair, they managed to keep their heel heat really strong tonight with their performance.
Dan: Bobby Heenan is the straw the stirs this drink and I couldn’t imagine anyone else being in that spot and performing better than the Brain. I appreciate how he dived into his role of manager of these two giants and not limiting himself to being just a disturbance at ringside. He spoke today about looking over their contracts with a fine tooth comb making sure that his men weren’t going to subject to unfair treatment by a crazed giant. He would see to it that Studd or Patera would get a favorable venue for their respective clashes with Andre and little things like that just don’t even get mentioned in today’s product. Plus his one-liners: “Who has been cutting your hair, the state?” That hair cutting segment was some of the best stuff we’ve seen on this show in weeks.
Scott: The Heenan Family destroying that poor bastard’s hair was classic. I mean he was a mess to begin with, and probably needed it but the tying him into the chair is pure heel. Great work by all three men.
JT: It was a nice treat to see some very early Prime Time Wrestling footage with Jesse Ventura and Jack Reynolds.
Brian: Nothing was really surprising here, although I was a bit shocked Jesse Ventura accused Lord Alfred Hayes of having herpes simplex due to a cold sore. Hayes’ reaction to that was great.
Dan: Who goes to Hoboken, NJ for a honeymoon? No wonder that marriage isn’t working out!
Scott: I don’t really see any surprises here. A typical TNT episode.
JT: I am done with Butcher Vachon. The joke is over, let it go, nobody cares about the Butcher at this point. And we definitely didn’t need to see the fucking wedding footage again.
Brian: Having Butcher Vachon come out to talk about his marital problems, and Sky Low Low hinting that was happening last week, just tells me they were using any excuse to show replays of that wedding.
Dan: Why won’t they just let the Butcher Vachon wedding episode die?! This is like a bad penny or psoriasis. They just won’t go away! Speaking of pennies, did that audience member look an awful lot like Abe Lincoln? That guy was the most calm scared person ever recorded on film. He was awful too and deserved his terrible hair cut just for his terrible acting alone!
Scott: I’m disappointed that after over a month we are STILL TALKING ABOUT BUTCHER VACHON’S WEDDING! For Pete’s sake can we move on from this? Having Vachon on to talk about their marital problems is a colossal waste of time. I understand that TNT is a tongue and cheek show but beating a dead horse like this isn’t doing the show any favors. None at all.
JT: Vince shilling marital issues between the Newlywed Vachons to open the show was quite the tease; Ken Patera’s hair; John Studd calling Andre “Andrea”; Heenan talking about how he enjoys manipulating minds instead of mixing it up in the ring was nice character work; Pretty shrewd move to have Hillbilly Jim living in such a tiny house so he looks ever more massive; “Granny Kim”; Showing in ring action is not the best way to get Ventura over
Brian: The show started off with clips of Ken Patera and Big John Studd cutting Andre the Giant’s hair after their match from the 12/1/84 “Championship Wrestling” show. In that match, SD Jones was the surprise partner of Andre. It was a great angle and helped set up the grooming segment we saw later on in the show. And this poor schmuck they got from the crowd really had a terrible look. We then got to see Hillbilly Jim at home in Kentucky with his grandma, who did not care for Jim putting her hound dog in a headlock. Jim also set up his training mat, which was a twin mattress in front of a wooden stove as he performed several elbow drops. The Butcher Vachon segment was a waste as we learned his wife opted to honeymoon in Hoboken, NJ instead of Africa or Montreal. Vince laughed at that and probably wrote that segment himself for all I know. Jesse Ventura came out at the end and kept calling both Vince and Lord Alfred “Jack” in a funny bit. They also showed a clip of Ventura and Jack Reynolds from “Prime Time Wrestling,” which made its debut on 1/1/85. Not even Jesse could make Reynolds seem interesting. Anyway, Jesse was brash but entertaining throughout and really came off like a major star.
Dan: We get a new layer to the Studd/Andre rivalry on this show. Bobby explains that they initially just wanted to make Andre out to be a buffoon so he’d flee the WWF for France leaving Studd as the undisputed giant in professional wrestling. They’d humiliate him and rob him of his dignity thus proving Studd to be the giant to fear in the company. With Andre getting up and going after Heenan and his crew, now they have shifted to hurting “Andrea” and silencing him once and for all. Why do I get the feeling we’re going to be subjected to even more Granny and Hillbilly packages? Can’t wait! If Jim wants to wrestle dogs so badly, I will gladly volunteer my pup, Basil, for the job. I may try applying bear hugs on tires now that I’ve watched this show. What does it say about you as a man if your newlywed bride is running off with Lou Albano of all people? We can all thank Jack Reynolds for being the reason why Jesse always calls people “Jack” based on that last segment. Am I crazy or was that the first ever “herpes simplex” reference on our adventure?
ScottI don’t think I’ve actually ever seen when Andre’s hair was cut by the Heenan Family, although this clip was the aftermath; Probably wouldn’t go over well now if an announcer said “The raping of one’s dignity” like Vince said about Andre; Bobby was very different when he first arrived than what he would become. He was much more serious when he first got there, like he was in the AWA; Wow that guy’s hair is incredibly bad. They must have had the guy grow his hair for months just for this segment. No one’s hair is that bad; We have to see more video clips of that stupid Butcher Vachon wedding, which means MORE ALBANO! Even when he’s not there live we have to suffer with him; We actually get a clip from the debut episode of Prime Time Wrestling, with Jack Reynolds and Jesse Ventura; I like how Jesse just calls everybody Jack in this segment;
Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine, Dog Collar Match (NWA Starrcade 1983)
Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Rashcke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: My God, has the chop to one hour made this show so much more watchable. It just flies by now and if you get one good, long segment it can carry the show nicely enough. I really enjoyed the whole Heenan Family stuff, from the clips to Heenan setting the stage to the hair cutting, it all worked. After that the show took a bit of a dive. The Hillbilly stuff was good and quick but I am so far beyond done with the Vachons. Jesse was fine too but didn’t really go anywhere and he can be tough to hear sometimes too. The show clearly has shaken up its format and is showcasing the newer stars and storylines but it is still hit or miss at times. Just less hits and misses now with the time cut. Final Grade: 4.5/10
Brian: I thought this was a solid offering. The stuff with the Heenan Family to hype up the feud with Andre the Giant took up almost half of the show and it was good. Jesse Ventura was entertaining and they had another Hillbilly Jim segment, who was unbelievably hot at this point for the WWF. With TNT now being an hour long, these shows are a lot more palatable. Final Grade: 6/10
Dan: I am so glad these shows are shorter as previously documented. It makes you feel like you didn’t completely waste your night when we do these columns. That being said, sometimes we are treated to some awesome segments like the haircutting demo that make up for some of the more horrifying and downright brutal ones. We even get a glimpse into our future with a new program called “Prime Time” that could feature a new, edgier announcer most of us will grow to love. Sadly I’m still deducting serious points off for the Vachon crap that I hope we’ll never see again. Final Grade: 5.5/10
Scott: Other than the Vachon wedding crap, this was a solid episode. The development of the Heenan Family and the Andre storyline was huge. Something fresh needed to get on the show and Bobby needed to be highlighted more as one of the best managers in the business. We needed a big hunk of Jesse Ventura, as another personality that perhaps will bring younger viewers in. The days of Vince Sr’s cronies filling up spots needs to end and the younger audience needs to be drawn in. This episode is a harbinger of that. No mention of that March “supershow” yet, but we’re getting close. Final Grade: 6.5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link