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 3/14/85
Run Time: 47:14
JT: The opening segment takes it for me. Heenan, Studd and Patera are such good douche heels and they play it up here, carrying Andre’s shorn fro in a bag and then dangling the prize money for all to see as well. Sure we had to sit through the haircut match and angle again but it was so good, it doesn’t matter. Plus it helps catch up those newer viewers that may have missed out, hooking them in for WrestleMania. Tack on a sweet Piper’s Pit with that crew and this was strong way to kick off the episode.
Brian: The appearance of the Iron Shiek, Nikolai Volkoff, and Freddie Blassie was by far and away the most entertaining original segment on the show. It also did a great job hyping up the Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania.
Dan: I’m going to go with Hulk and Mr. T training in the gym. I love Hulk reaching his boiling point training with the Hollywood actor turned street fighter as he clubs his 11th sparring partner this week. Hogan appears outraged at having to pay hard earned dollars while painstaking searching for training partners to step in the ring with a loose cannon like Mr. T. He even calls T a maniac which in future years would go on to become a term of endearment when coming from the Hulkster. Gene hurting himself on the punching bag was also chuckle worthy.
Scott: I would say a tie between the John Studd segment and the prelude to WrestleMania match between the US Express and Sheik & Volkoff. That match was obviously placed properly by the WWF to give the fans a false sense of security about the champions retaining in two weeks. Studd was a top three heel for me in 1985 in the WWF, but sadly he would slowly fade into 1986.
JT: Hard to go against Hulk Hogan when he is at his peak. Watching him fire up T and then cut a great promo from the boxing ring really helps get you fired up for Mania while also making you wonder if T really is ready for this huge match. It was brief, but 1985 Hogan is the best Hogan and that is hard to beat.
Brian: Hogan’s promo to build up Mr. T was excellent. He put him over like a million bucks and in the fans eyes made him seem like a threat heading into their match at WrestleMania.
Dan: I like the trio of Studd, Patera and Heenan here. They just knew how to draw the heat leading into WrestleMania. Studd flashing the greenbacks to tempt the giant was one thing, but then to also come out with a bag of Andre’s hair, now that’s below the belt. Heenan definitely knows how to sell his charges as legitimate threats to the big guy. He even comments that the task that lays ahead for Andre could be next to impossible alluding to the fact that Studd is putting on more weight going into the MSG show. This was well done on all their parts and it makes you wonder how Andre is going to overcome these odds at WrestleMania.
Scott: I will echo my comments about John Studd. He was a beast (even though the Andre haircut clip gets tiring) and really put himself over and the match coming up at WrestleMania.
JT: I am surprised they allowed Lord Al to grope and lust all over Wendi Richter on national TV. I was also surprised and impressed at how well Richter did in studio, she was pretty solid on the stick. She really laid into Moolah with some stiff insults.
Brian: I’m surprised they brought Sarah the Soothsayer back. Even I would have figured it was too stupid for TNT to make a recurring bit but here we are. At least it was brief.
Dan: Really? Another Sarah the Soothsayer segment? Not to tell an old joke, but couldn’t they foresee this segment dying a slow and painful death the last time they did it?
Scott: Easily that Vince didn’t have the wherewithal to not say “Raping his dignity” when referring to Andre and the haircut. I mean all the racist jabs Paul Orndorff was saying was one thing because of the era and that he was a dopey athlete but Vince tried to be too dramatic sometimes and came off just as bad.
JT: I don’t really have any this week. I guess I would have liked to see more Hogan and T but that is a very minor quibble.
Brian: This show went heavy on recycled clips. I would have like to have seen more exclusive content here.
Dan: I could do with more new material rather than show us things we’ve already seen in previous episodes. The “Raping of the Giant’s Dignity” match was from a show in January and we didn’t need to see Abe Lincoln get his haircut again. It wasn’t as egregious as the Vachon wedding, but it led to me fast-forwarding a good chunk of this episode.
Scott: The show is two weeks out from WrestleMania and we are rehashing way too many clips. Considering the show has been cut in half when the year turned, they really couldn’t stay in studio for longer stretches, or get more guests? Where is Hogan and T? You’re the boss Vince, order them to show up.
JT: Anytime we get a visit from Heenan, Studd and Patera I am a happy panda; Studd lugging around the Ziploc bag full of Andre’s hair was great; Alfred gives some solid analysis of how Hulk Hogan went about training Mr. T; And speaking of, I always dig these training vignettes as they prep for WrestleMania; T slugging tomato cans is good fun; “The cunning efforts of Roddy Piper”; Vince’s suit this week is atrocious; “Lani Kai”; Lauper’s accent is something to behold; “Moolah’s seen her day”; The soothsayer stuff is odd but they keep it brief enough and move along, a bit improvement from the past with stuff like this; Yes! More Blassie, Sheik and Volkoff!; Blassie was still such a good talk even at this point, especially when he calls Lou Albano a “fat bellied idiot”; The tag team title match had tons of heat and it was a real treat to check that out as a preview for Mania; Sheik and Volkoff stripping down and posing while ranting is so tremendous
Brian: The show started off with a lengthy segment recapping the Andre the Giant/Big John Studd feud as Studd, Ken Patera, and Andre the Giant came on the set. Most of it was clips of stuff we’ve seen already, including the entire match where Studd cut Andre’s hair. I did like how Studd carried a wad of cash for the bodyslam challenge along with Andre’s hair. I liked the training segment with Mr. T and Hulk Hogan as Mr. T was knocking out locals to show how he is ready to fight. Hogan put him over strong as a tough guy. Cyndi Lauper constantly screwing up Leilani Kai’s name was amusing. I’ve always felt Richter was incredibly lucky to get her spot as she was not good in the ring and mediocre at best on the stick too. Sarah the Soothsayer was back again as it was just as useless as last week. I liked Blassie’s insults towards Capt. Lou Albano and they did a great job in building up the Tag Team Title match against Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo at WrestleMania. And, Sheik rambling on and on until Volkoff and himself ripped off their shirts and started chopping each other was wonderfully insane. We also get our second trivia question from Lord Alfred Hayes too as they did not scrap the contest that began last week.
Dan: Somehow $15,000 dollars doesn’t look as impressive here as it would a few weeks later when it’s placed in a WWF duffle bag. Heenan is already putting over the MSG show as “bigger than the Super Bowl.” He just needs to practice saying the name correctly as here he awkwardly calls it something like “Wrestling Mania.” I love the guy but SD Jones was a pretty useless tag partner to Andre. He can’t even get past Heenan! Why didn’t Hillbilly rush the ring to save the Giant. That would easily catapult him up the card wouldn’t it? I’m sorry, but Vince losing his mind when the bad guys spray Abe Lincoln’s pants in the barber’s chair always makes me laugh. Piper totally blew up Heenan’s spot by promising that Studd would bring the $15,000 with him to the ring during his matches. That definitely would have been a different match had Patera been allowed at ringside for the Mania match. Definitely a good Wrestling “What if.” Someone should do a podcast on this. Woohooo! Volkoff singing again! Boy, Windham and Rotundo loved their dropkicks! Did Volkoff practice his tackle of the referee by mauling grizzly bears in the U.S.S.R.? I don’t think I’ll ever have a friendship in my lifetime like the one shared by Volkoff and Sheik. I’ll never have someone in my life who will demand I take my shirt off and smack me around while the two of us pose for a camera the way they do. Somehow, I feel like I’m missing out on something really special.
Scott: Vince is so verbose and babbling sometimes. John Studd asks a single question and Vince goes on an endless ramble of adjectives; We’ve seen the hair get cut from Andre’s head. Why do we have to watch the entire match over again? This was the problem with TNT sometimes. Instead of bringing fresh stuff to the show, they have to rehash entire matches? If they wanted to show the clip of his hair being cut, then just show that; We were always used to Studd wearing red boots and red stars on his tights, but the black suits him for the dastardly deed in this match; Vince says “raping of dignity” not once, but twice; So for the THIRD time we see the Heenan Family destroy this poor schlub’s hair. They really do love to eat up time on this show with the same repeating segments. Maybe we can throw more of Butcher Vachon’s trash bag wedding clips; I want that WWF table that Piper had on his Pit; Wow Vince really did love to hear himself talk, complete with the purple Joker suit; The Hogan & T workout vignettes are great, with T knocking out a bunch of bums in training; Wendi Richter looked awesome in her first visit to TNT, but this time she whipped out the putty knife for this makeup job; I love when Cyndi Lauper used to say “Lanny Kai” when referring to Lelani Kai; I don’t think I’ve ever seen this Sheik/Volkoff vs. US Express match, a prelude to WrestleMania; This trivia contest is an utter mess. They made things way too difficult for themselves back then
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: This was a damn good episode that picked right up where we left off last week. Lots more WrestleMania build and the studio was filled with strong talkers that advanced big time angles. The two times we left the studio were positive as well, with the Hogan/T sparring session and the tag title match both providing solid entertainment. The soothsayer was the only goofiness but that was really brief. Off course, the trivia contest continues to be a disaster but again it wasn’t enough to tank the good we saw here. Chopping the show to an hour was the first step in rehabbing TNT but it has also been improved by adding the importance and heaviness of WrestleMania into the mix. Plus, using strong promo guys like we saw this week as opposed to jobbers and mush mouths helps a ton too. Good, solid episode here as we roll right into WrestleMania. Final Grade: 6.5/10
Brian: Despite the over reliance on clips, the episode was entertaining and covered the top matches at WrestleMania. For those unfamiliar with this era and want to catch a glimpse of the angles that led to WrestleMania, this is a great episode to watch. Final Grade: 6/10
Dan: I’m liking it TNT. You have a purpose finally! You single out 3-4 different angles in under an hour and you’re getting me excited for this once-in-a-lifetime mega show coming up in a few short weeks. The builds to these matches has been terrific and it sure beats the pointless interviews with jobbers of the cooking segments with guys going nowhere we got a year ago. They are making me care which seemed impossible when we first started watching TNT. You lose points for soothsayers and rehashed clips, but otherwise, this wasn’t an offensive effort. Is it possible I’m looking forward to seeing this mega MSG show at the end of the month? Stay tuned! Final Grade: 6/10
Scott: This episode is right down the middle. John Studd is an awesome heel and Cyndi Lauper butchering Lelani Kai’s name makes me laugh out loud. But there is way too may clip rehashing. We get it, Andre’s hair is cut. He wants Studd. If anything at least that match is promoted. Not having Hogan and T on is a mistake in my opinion. The vignettes are nice but a live interview wouldn’t hurt. I’m probably splitting hairs about the show’s content because Vince was still in his relative infancy with this kind of stuff but with a show coming up that will make or break him he really needs to pump the hell of out it, and he… sort of is. We will see if it gets better next week for the go home show. Final Grade: 5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!