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 3/21/85
Run Time: 44:37
JT: I will go with our first segment, which featured Andre the Giant in studio and a good chunk of Andre’s bout with Ken Patera from a January MSG house show. Back on set, Vince McMahon needled Andre about getting his hair cut and his having his “dignity raped” and then basically dared him to put something on the line, specifically his career. Andre finally snapped and cut a great promo to hard sell the whole program. Vince was amazing here hyping up the $15,000 Slam Match at WrestleMania, really selling the heat and anger behind it and Andre accepting the offer was a great closer.
Brian: Andre’s segment was the best for me. The way Vince goaded him by hinting that he was a coward set up for a great moment when an irate Andre stood up and grabbed Vince and went off about not being “yellow” and vowed to win at WrestleMania.
Dan: Andre segment all the way. I really enjoyed his match with Patera. The Olympian sold his ass off and the Giant looked simply dominant against one of the strongest men in the company. Then we really turn up the heat during the interview segment when Vince suggests that Andre would be considered “yellow” by some if he doesn’t put anything on the line in his Mania match with Studd. Geez Vince had some serious grapefruits, even in 1985. Andre takes exception to this line of questioning and grabs Vince by the throat and loses his mind on television. The Giant, off-air mind you, excepts the stipulation and a main event caliber match has been made. Just an awesome segment to further hype up this mega card at MSG.
Scott: The Andre segment was fantastic. he knew this was a huge show March 31 and Vince stoking the fire by in essence calling Andre a coward, and the Boss snapped. That was tremendous.
JT: As always, if Roddy Piper is involved, this award generally belongs to him. Jimmy “Schnooka” makes me laugh every time. Watching Hot Rod, Mr. Wonderful and the Cowboy jab away at Hulk Hogan and Mr. T is so enjoyable and it is done with such easy arrogance on their end. It just flows and they riff off each other so perfectly. Them prematurely celebrating Sarah’s premonition before she flipped it on them was a good comedy bit. Fun segment as usual, despite how brief it was this time.
Brian: Andre’s performance made the most impact on this show. He really made you want to see him at WrestleMania against Big John Studd. I thought he was great here.
Dan: I am such a sucker for Mr. T and Hogan antics during this time period. Mr. T is just is a few fries short of a Happy Meal and I absolutely love it. “Wheat grass makes you mean,” he shouts as Hogan can only sit there and watch as his WrestleMania meal ticket goes on a shopping spree. Hogan yelling at the juice lady to not put any milk in his protein because “milk is for kids,” was also a fantastic moment. Then to top it all off, Hogan makes a eating bananas/guerrilla warfare joke. I can only imagine what kind of nasty was in those cups that day and judging by Hogan’s reaction to the taste of his shake, I bet those drinks wound up in the trash or swirling in some toilet shortly after filming was done.
Scott: Like above, Andre is the Boss. I’m not sure without him WrestleMania totally succeeds like it did. Sure the main event was a big deal, but that was for the new school fans. Those older fans from the 70s loved Andre and wanted to see him slam Big John Studd. Appealing to that mix of old fans and new fans sold the show.
JT: I was surprised by the whole Greg Valentine and Jimmy Hart segment. It was cool that Valentine talked about how he found Hart in Memphis and talks about his past with the Gentrys. It was also odd seeing Valentine in a rock and roll t-shirt and leather coat looking all 80s cool. Fun segment that caught me off guard.
Brian: The biggest surprise was Vince challenging Andre the way he did. It was certainly not a common occurrence by Vince during this time.
Dan: It always surprised me how fat Rusty Brooks was and how he was able to move around the ring so well for a man of his size. I mean, the guy’s shadow must weigh like 42 pounds. His ass has its own zip code. After this bout, he actually dined on his tag team partner and still had room for dessert. I think Rotundo should have received $15,000 for slamming Rusty Brooks in that match. Seriously, he gained weight in the time it took you to read this paragraph.
Scott: I was very surprised that Vince actually called Andre out as “yellow”. Even in kayfabe I’d have decked him. Great storyline advancement and Andre putting his career on the line in the biggest match of his career. And Vince is still saying “rape your dignity”.
JT: I was disappointed we had to see Rusty Brooks’ terrible tights again.
Brian: I thought the Windham & Rotundo segment was incredibly awkward and a bore to watch. If you ever want to know why they paired these two up with Albano then watch this segment. Windham had not yet found a character he was good at while Rotundo looked as uncomfortable as anyone else I have seen on this show.
Dan: Windham and Rotundo’s inteview was coma-inducing. Seriously guys, try a cup of coffee every once in a while. You’re only about to have the biggest match of your career in another week or so. Watching my defroster take the chill off my Buick was more riveting than watching our tag team champions tonight.
Scott: The War to Settle to Score would have been so much better with Jesse Ventura on commentary and not Mean Gene. His over the top whining ruined what was already a nuclear show. Even get Bruno to do the commentary with Gorilla. That would have been a nice combination.
JT: Alfred butchering “soothsayer” in the intro and getting bagged on by Vince was a good start; Always great seeing Andre in the house; it was cool seeing the final stipulation for Andre vs. Studd added here; Big moment as we get Jimmy Hart’s TNT debut alongside Greg Valentine; I liked how Vince and Alfred took a few moments to themselves to breakdown the WrestleMania main event; Always a nice bonus to get some Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, and they don’t disappoint in mocking Hulk Hogan and Mr. T; I am about done with Sarah the Soothsayer; All of the Hogan and T training vignettes are enjoyable and they come off as so charismatic and larger than life throughout each one; These trivia contest segments are a weekly train wreck, at some point you think they could figure it out, especially on a taped show, and of course Vince snoring as Alfred reads the rules isn’t helping things
Brian: The WrestleMania hype was strong tonight. I liked the Valentine/Hart interview segment and how he even talked about finding Hart in Memphis and even brought up how he in The Gentrys. They trotted Sarah the Soothsayer out again and while it was the best out of all these installments, it’s still a weak segment that did not work the first time but they kept bringing it back anyway. We then had a bizarre segment that saw Mr. T and Hulk Hogan inside of a food store as Mr. T was shoving bananas into his mouth while talking about “Guerrilla Warfare.” Mr. T also said that nuts and raisins make you mean. The trivia contest continues as we saw a jumbled segment tonight that left me not caring at all about this when it ended. And, for as much as people love Okerlund as an interview, he was the exact opposite as a color commentator. He was just awful at the position.
Dan: Not to brag, but with my new soundbar up in the bedroom, Alfred actually sounds great today during the intro. Aww Geez, he just murdered the word “soothsayer.” Andre weighed 270 pounds at the age of 17? And I thought I was enormous the first time I got husky pants in my teens. Heenan was a savage going after Andre with those brass knuckles. I think he got in more offense than Patera in that match. Fans chant “Tito” during the Valentine/Powers match. Has anyone ever asked why they split up Valentine and Tito for Mania? Seems like a no brainer. Powers uncorks an enziguri in this match. Bruno then proceeds to piss on the jobber for not capitalizing on his one big move. I thought Bruno was a very underrated commentator for these matches. Did anyone else notice Vince say “Valentine drops the Hammer on Powers?” Sarah the Soothsayer is awful!
Scott: With this episode, Castrol has been added to the sponsors with Levi’s; Of all the superstars that have ever been on television, no one carried an aura of respect and authority like Andre did. He always carried himself like “The Boss.” I think even Vince was in awe; As much as the crowds and matches at MSG house shows during this era were loaded with electricity, Mean Gene’s atrocious commentary almost ruins it. I understand milquetoasty babyface, but he bitched and whined worse than heels did; Brass Knucks or not, seeing Bobby Heenan unloading with punches on Andre was a weird sight to see; There’s Vince with the “rape your dignity” quip again; Wow Vince sure pissed Andre off. You don’t call the Boss “Yellow”; So it was this episode where Andre accepts the stipulation that he will retire if he can’t slam Big John Studd at WrestleMania; Jimmy Hart’s debut on TNT managing the Intercontinental Champion Greg Valentine; We get the TV debut of future Young Stallion Jim Powers; Greg Valentine says that the JYD calls himself “The Baddest Black Athlete on the Planet”. At least he’s not a greasy spider monkey; Now the title “WrestleMania” is being used often, so we finally have the official branding; You can tell this Piper’s Pit was taped in an empty arena or studio because there’s no crowd noise in the background; This “Sara the Soothsayer” gag has run it’s course; They have definitely loaded up this episode with all the main players of WrestleMania, and for once the show doesn’t feel canned and stale; Mike Rotundo seems totally stoned during this segment; I’m not going to say anything about Mr. T eating bananas and calling himself a gorilla; I would think Vince should take this trivia contest seriously, but poor Alfred couldn’t tighten it up
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 Raschke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: This was a really good installment of TNT, a show that has pretty much been on a roll since 1985 started. The WrestleMania hype was full bore this week, with no wasted segments and plenty of storyline refreshers and final sells. The cast of guests was strong too, starting with a hot Andre the Giant segment right through the US Express calmly discussing the pressures of being champions and the big task ahead at Madison Square Garden. I thought Greg Valentine really stood out here, showing he could talk and have some swagger that he rarely showed off in the ring. And of course, the Hot Rod Trio was aces as always too plus we got more Hogan and T on the town training footage. This was a very enjoyable episode and has me locked in and ready to go for WrestleMania. Final Grade: 7.5/10
Brian: A lot of solid hype for WrestleMania here. However, the final 15 minutes or so dragged but what we saw before that point was really good. They’ve built up all the top WrestleMania matches to the point they are “must-see” stuff as the WWF was putting out an exciting and fresh product at this time. Final Grade: 6.5/10
Dan: This show, along with the clip show from 3/24, are definitely worth a watch to get you in the mood for a WrestleMania rewatch. The build for Andre’s possible retirement match was very well done. Anytime Piper and his cronies are on the screen, it is definitely must-see television. Hogan and T have been entertaining in their preparation for their big main event tag tussle. Celebrities and mainstream media are now taking notice of what Vince is up to. You honestly have no choice but to get excited about this supercard based on the building up of the angles on TNT the last couple weeks. Now, who’s ready to hit up MSG and witness Sports Entertainment history? This guy right here! Final Grade: 7/10
Scott: This was a great episode with a lot of promotion for WrestleMania with the branding all over the place. Andre the Giant was a star here and always will be. He and Studd have done a great job of selling their match as practically a main event match. Greg Valentine also is a beast, pushing his IC Title match. Ten days till the show that will make or break the WWF. The Verne Gagnes and Jim Crocketts of the world are praying this flops. Maybe it will or won’t, but at least with this episode the WWF did their best to get everyone ready for it. The go home episode of TNT the following week was a clip show so this is really the big sell, and I think they succeeded. Final Grade: 8.5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!