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 2/21/85
Run Time: 43:45
JT: I will go with everything featuring the US Express. I enjoyed all the girls mobbing them as they came out and then sitting on the stage fawning over them during the interview. We also got the cool footage of the big tag title change too. The girls then freaking out and pulling the champs away at the end was a good way to close the segment. It was easily the best stretch of the show.
Brian: The US Express & Albano segment was the best. It was a good way to put them over strong by presenting them as a credible team and as heartthrobs while Albano talked them up. I also liked how they had a bunch of girls rush up on the stage and how they let them sit on the edge during the segment.
Dan: As I can attest from personal experience, there is nothing like getting mobbed by a bunch of pretty women. Tonight it was the US Express doing their best Beatles impersonation and the end result was a terrific segment of television. Poor Windham lost a t-shirt on that deal but the new hottest team in wrestling can now add tag team champions to their growing resume. It was a fun interview seeing the youngsters get some shine and I’m glad they gave us the footage of them claiming the belts against the formidable duo of Adonis and Murdock.
Scott: The US Express win over Murdoch & Adonis is really the only highlight of this otherwise waste of 45 minutes. I had never seen it before and it was a great moment in my home state. I am patiently awaiting some New Haven Coliseum matches.
JT: I am going to go with Jim Neidhart and Mr. Fuji. I thought they did a nice job getting Neidhart over as a player and pushed the gimmick of Fuji teaching him to be devious and embracing pain concisely and clearly. The match clip was fine too.
Brian: I’ll go with Lord Alfred Hayes, who made the segments with Hillbilly Jim & Granny Kim somewhat watchable. He was pretty damn funny during the dinner scene.
Dan: Jim Neidhart looks like a force to be reckoned with from the word go. That trademark laugh, that imposing figure, Mr. Fuji teaching him to enjoy dishing out pain and suffering. He looks like a major player on this show. For once a new guy comes onto this show and he doesn’t look like he’s breaking a sweat under the hot lights in the studio. I think he also almost killed Jose Luis Rivera. What a powerhouse!
Scott: I will give all hillbillies the strong performance, even though the entire episode was about them and a colossal waste of time.
JT: I was surprised to see Jim Neidhart looking fairly svelte out there on set and in his match. It was also cool seeing one of his appearances with Mr. Fuji by his side. The match was fine but Neidhart showed some solid mic skills during his visit to the studio.
Brian: I was shocked at just how much time they spent on Hillbilly Jim. More than half of the show revolved around the guy and his grandma. It was overkill and ridiculous seeing how they had a lot of buzz going on coming off the heels of “War to Settle the Score.
Dan: Jim Neidhart could throw an excellent dropkick in 1985. What might have been if he didn’t have that Bret guy to drag him down all those years later.
Scott: I am very surprised we aren’t talking about The War to Settle the Score and everything that came from it. As a matter of fact this TNT should have been taped the following day and aired that Tuesday. Or better yet if they talked with the USA Network they should have aired this episode live with highlights. It’s time to start treating this show like something used to advance storylines and promote shows and not for cheap parlor tricks and very bad acting.
JT: I am all for character development and enhancement but I don’t need any minutes of life spent watching Granny Kim pluck a chicken or whatever the fuck she was doing. Everything else in the barnyard was mind numbing as well. I am Hillbillied out.
Brian: There was entirely too much Granny Kim on this show. She added nothing at all to the product. The barn segment at the beginning of the show was just terrible.
Dan: For the love of all that his holy, stop putting Granny Kim on this program! Who’s actual grandmother or crazy cat lady aunt does this woman belong to over at WWF and why is she constantly put on my television?
Scott: Having said what I said in my last comments, I’m disappointed we didn’t get more out of the Sweder, Swede Hansen. I love how he pretty much sat down in the middle of the segment and had a free meal, without even saying much.
JT: Welp we waste no time with more Granny Kim nonsense; We get to check out more training sessions with Hulk Hogan and Hillbilly Jim and Jim gets Hogan’s boots as a gift; Interesting seeing Mr. Fuji out as Jim Neidhart’s manager and thankfully it was something fresh; Neidhart taking off his shirt was great as was him trashing Hillbilly; I actually thought Fuji fit well with Neidhart with the gimmick of teaching him the dark side and how to embrace pain; The chicks in the audience mobbing Windham and Rotundo while the funk music played was really good; The lighting for the tag title change was atrocious; The Big Sweder!; NO MORE GRANNY KIM!
Brian: This show was all about Hillbilly Jim. However, Jim would slip and break his leg chasing Johnny V. around during a Hogan vs. Beefcake match in San Diego on 2/25 and never reached this height of popularity ever again. But at least he got to come back with even more family members. We also got another Hillbilly Jim training session with Hulk Hogan, who gave Jim the same pair of wrestling boots he used while training. AJ Petruzzi made an appearance here putting Jim in a hammerlock. After that we had Jim Neidhart make his TNT debut with then manager Mr. Fuji. He had a brief singles run at this time that did not go anywhere. He did show some personality here and talked up his football career as we saw him beat Jose Luis Rivera in a match from “Championship Wrestling.” Oddly enough, Neidhart was managed by Jimmy Hart at the “All-Star Wrestling” taping that occurred the day before this show aired. Windham & Rotundo were the only youthful team in the WWF Tag Team Division so it made sense to give them this sort of push. Letting Albano do the talking for them was a smart idea as they were not too strong on the mic at this point in their careers. The final segment was dinner at Granny Kim’s with Vince, Hillbilly Jim, and Lord Alfred Hayes, who was hysterical here in spitting out Granny’s “white wine” then trying to pawn off a big glass of it to random guest Swede Hanson, who turned out to really like it and chugged an entire glass. We also saw the finish of Swede’s match against S.D. Jones from the 2/19/83 Philadelphia Spectrum show believe it or not. Swede was not on TV during this point so it was quite odd to see him here.
Dan: Vince’s range of humor had deteriorated to the point where he can now only make fun of Alfred by comparing farm animals to members of his Lordship’s family. I think I want Hogan saying “Aw Hillbilly, that’s terrible” to be the sound that’s made when I get a text message. Perhaps a drop in a podcast? Hint, hint! We get the historic moment of Hogan giving Hillbilly his first pair of wrestling boots on this show. Why the hell does Vince want to milk a goat? Oh right, to make Alfred look like an idiot again for the 3,000th time on this series. Neidhart’s NFL background involved participating in practices and preseason games for both the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Raiders. He sadly could not be found on the Pro Football Reference website.
Scott: Ugh, more hillbilly nonsense to start this show. It’s post-War to Settle the Score. Shouldn’t be we getting down to business and talk about the big feuds?; I love that Hogan is teaching Hillbilly Jim moves that Hogan would NEVER use in a match of his own; So even when he was moderately in shape, Jim Neidhart enjoyed walking around shirtless. Some things never change; So here begins the run of that freeloader Lou Albano glomming onto all the babyface tag team champions so he can pad his career stats; Another gem I’ve never seen, is the US Express’ first tag team title win over the iconic Dick Murdoch & Adrian Adonis, in my second home base, the Hartford Civic Center. It’s great to have the Network for things like that; Now to add to this episode is an appearance from JR’s and my favorite 80’s antique, THE SWEDER! Swede Hansen; As I’m watching, you can tell this was probably taped the same day as the previous episode, which is why none of the Hogan-Piper stuff is being mentioned. The next episode will probably have all that;
Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine (NWA Starrcade 11/24/83)
Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Rashcke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: I am actually a bit torn on this episode. I am so fucking sick of Hillbilly Jim and Granny Kim and they ate up a ton of time on this episode so that hurts the grade. But, the Neidhart and US Express segments were good enough that it takes a bit of the sting away. Getting to see a clip of the tag title change was a nice treat too. It is weird that they are barely discussing WrestleMania or the War to Settle the Score but for what it is, this was fine. I mean it’s not good because the Hillbilly nonsense takes up most of the show but it’s not the worst we have seen as far as top to bottom TNTs go. Stop the fucking Hillbilly shit though… please! Final Grade: 2.5/10
Brian: More than half of this show revolved around Hillbilly Jim and those parts were awful. Its like these segments existed solely for Vince’s entertainment and literally no one else. Lord Alfred got me through the dinner segment and the interviews with the U.S. Express and the Anvil were okay but not memorable and Neidhart was a nobody at this point. After last week’s awesome show we had a really big letdown here. Final Thoughts: 2/10
Dan: Wow this show sucked! We had Alfred milking goats and Big Swede chugging “wine” and way too much Granny Kim. Not a peep about Piper vs. Hogan. No idea what might have happened at the huge show they were pimping at MSG on our last program. There is talk of this “WrestleMania” coming up. Oh wait, no there really isn’t but at least I can see SD Jones do an impressive airplane spin. Granny Kim is plucking chickens and Vince is making Alfred look like a jackass repeatedly. But hey, at least we have new tag team champions and were actually allowed to see how it happened unlike on other TNTs. Thank you US Express for saving the day. Unfortunately no amount of screaming ladies can get this to an even mediocre grade. Final Grade: 2/10
Scott: This is one of the worst episodes ever, for one simple reason. The WWF is on the verge of its major national expansion. They just had a mega show at MSG and are planning an even bigger mega show at MSG on March 31. So the WWF should be focusing on all the major storylines and feuds leading into this mega show. Instead we get a canned pile of crap with stupid hillbillies and other useless dated garbage. With Vince wanting to blow the WWF out of the stone age of professional wrestling, he should have had the foresight to do a taping the day after the WTSTS, or maybe (if USA allowed it) a live show on this night recapping what happened that Saturday night before. This is crap from top to bottom, and my grade will show no mercy. Final Grade: 1/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!