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 3/7/85
Run Time: 42:13
JT: Easy choice this week as we waste no time in rolling out Roddy Piper, Bob Orton and Paul Orndorff for a chat. Piper immediately ripping the band and telling Vince McMahon to call him “Big Rod” got the ball rolling right away. We also get a good dose of the War to Settle the Score footage as part of this as well. Piper is so amazing with his transitions from mumbling while Vince talks to just saying whatever the fuck he wants out loud. It was also great that Orndorff was so worked up that he just had to tear his shirt off while yelling at Vince… and then calls Mr. T a “suped up spider monkey” and says he is “black and greasy” and that he doesn’t like him. Unreal segment on many levels.
Brian: The opening segment with Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, and Cowboy Bob Orton was by far an away the best segment. Piper was great at getting people to hate him and we even got to see most of the “War to Settle the Score” match as well as that was a fun TV match that had tremendous heat.
Dan: You have to say the first half of the show and the build to what we now know as WrestleMania was clearly the best we’ve seen on this program. Piper demanding that he be known as “Big Rod” was good for a laugh and then we actually see the entire match and postmatch of Hogan vs. Piper from the War to Settle the Score. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this completely intact but that atmosphere was electric. I swear they needed all those police officers because Piper, Orton and Orndorff definitely could have been killed by that crowd. We also get another Orndorff blatant racist comment following his trademark gratuitous shirtless moment. This definitely started this show off on the right foot!
Scott: The heel trinity of Piper, Orton and Orndorff makes every TNT they appear on great. Veiled racism or not, those guys were ridiculously entertaining. They really brought the hype to the main event, since T and Hogan NEVER came on the show during this stretch. They saved the build for that main event since they were the only ones.
JT: I will go with everyone involved in the War to Settle the Score main event. The clips of the match were so great to see and then we got the heels in studio tearing it up followed by the always enjoyable training video with Mr. T and Hulk Hogan. The WrestleMania hard sell is underway here on TNT and just these few bits alone make that main event a must see.
Brian: Piper was the best tonight I thought. From his match at “War to Settle the Score” to the way he carried himself like a huge star, he stole the screen every time he appeared on the show.
Dan: Orndorff was at his crazy, though maybe a touch offensive, self again and it shows he is sufficiently hyped and geeked to be in this main event spot for this upcoming supercard. He looked ready to pummel Lauper for her involvement in Piper’s title match and then even admitted to taking joy in dropping a knee onto Hogan’s melon of a head. His “spider monkey” comment was shocking to say the least but you can just sense his anger that some Hollywood celebrity is “vulturing” in on his business. Piper expressed similar emotions during the interview too. He’s the perfect second in command to Piper and the heels look tremendous heading into this MSG show.
Scott: Fabulous Moolah was tremendous, bringing the hate to Cyndi Lauper as much as Piper brought the hate to Mr. T. Those were legit shoot comments because it’s clear the wrestling old timers can’t stand these rock and roll interlopers.
JT: Paul Orndorff chucking around racial slurs about Mr. T that were dripping with legit contempt was insane, even if it was 1985.
Brian: Despite the fact that professional wrestling was not politically correct by any means in the 1980’s, having Orndorff call Mr. T a “souped-up spider monkey” and how he was “black and greasy” was shocking even for this time period.
Dan: Just to be different, let’s address the elephant in the room… Oh sorry Rusty Brooks! Seriously, did this guy put on weight? Did he eat one of the other jobbers before fighting JYD? Has anyone seen Rick McGraw prior to this match? He makes Lou Albano look svelte for crying out loud! Poor bastard is falling out of his tights just before that ill-fated dropkick attempt he made. JYD is a freaken cruiserweight next to this guy. It’s so bad that my fat shaming completely distracted me from noticing that JYD won the bout. I can only hope that Brooks would go on to discover Buddy Rose’s Blow Away Diet several years later.
Scott: I was surprised (even for 1985 standards) that no one chewed Orndorff out for that Spider Monkey comment. I mean that’s nuts. I’m very surprised that clip wasn’t edited out of the show before it went to air.
JT: I am disappointed that Rusty Brooks chose those tights. I am also disappointed that JYD couldn’t have stayed in the shape he was in here, could have made him an even bigger and longer lasting star in New York.
Brian: Sara the Soothsayer’s segment was a complete waste of time. Nothing could have been done to save that.
Dan: WWF has a resident soothsayer? Could she have foreseen that this segment was going to bomb?
Scott: I’m disappointed that Mean Gene is so atrocious on commentary. He ruined a great War to Settle to Score show. On a side note, I’m also disappointed that WTSTS isn’t on the WWE Network, probably because of MTV rights.
JT: Every TNT should open with Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff and Bob Orton; “Big Rod”; The crowd was so molten hot for Piper vs. Hogan, it is amazing to watch even 22 years later; Gene calling Orndorff a “psychopath” made me chuckle; Cowboy Bob’s vest is awesome; Junkyard Dog always exudes “cool” when on set; Big Rusty’s dropkick attempt was certainly interesting; Interesting discussion between Vince and JYD talking about going after Greg Valentine’s IC Title and how Tito Santana had his shots and came up empty, allowing JYD the chance to step in and challenge the Hammer at MSG; It was great to see some of the Hogan & Mr. T training video, including T calling the fans “amigos”; Gene Oklerlund finally says the word “WrestleMania”, its debut on TNT; The soothsayer stuff was random but at least it helped build Mania some more; Piper calling the soothsayer “Mrs. Hogan” was funny; The heat for Leilani Kai’s title win was wild too and the finish of the match was well done, with David Wolff cradling Cyndi Lauper at ringside as Richter takes the loss; Moolah and Kai held their own well enough in studio here, especially when Moolah trashed Lauper
Brian: This show was all about hyping up WrestleMania, which is still just being referred to as a “Madison Square Garden” show. We saw action from “War to Settle the Score” along with a Mr. T & Hulk Hogan training video where Hogan tries to prevent Mr. T from having any more tacos. The Junkyard Dog was brought up and briefly spoke about how he would beat Greg Valentine at MSG as we saw him squash Rusty Brooks in a match from “Championship Wrestling.” Fabulous Moolah brought out Leilani Kai and talked trash about Cyndi Lauper as we saw a clip of her costing Wendi Richter the WWF Women’s Title. The action was pretty bad actually but the heat was off the charts in that match. We ended with Lord Alfred giving us the details and prize info for the trivia contest, which had a nice prize to be honest.
Dan: Hey TNT has a new sponsor just in time for Mania! Castrol! Gorilla and Gene were gushing over the celebrities who took time to watch the Hogan/Piper clash. Such giants of the entertainment world were in attendance including Mr. T, Danny DeVito and who can forget Joe Piscopo! They also were total honks for the babyfaces. Piper couldn’t do a single move without them calling it illegal. Everything was a choke hold to those two clowns. If someday I start working out and get jacked like Orndorff, I’m going to start taking my shirt off all the time and say that I can do anything I want with a body like this. Piper calls Mr. T a “cartoon character” but wasn’t Piper one of the villians on Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling by this time? Has anyone ever successfully trained for athletic competition by eating tacos besides Mr. T? I love the story that Hogan will train T as a wrestler in exchange for Mr. T teaching Hogan the ways of the streets. I wish my day-to-day activities were chronicled in a “Real American” montage. Nice bonus to this episode having the drama in the ladies division as we have a new champion in Leilani Kai thanks to Moolah. They set up the rematch perfectly for the March 31st show. Does anyone know the answer to the trivia contest? Will formerly from Texas, I’m looking in your direction!
Scott: The triumvirate of awesome heels start the show, with Piper having Vince call him “Big Rod”; We immediately go to highlights of War to Settle the Score, so the WrestleMania build does begin now; According to Mean Gene on commentary, Piper was choking Hogan on the pin attempt, but he wasn’t even close. Okerlund was awful on match commentary, forcing the face-heel issue even when it wasn’t there. Stick to interviews; Man that MSG crowd was utterly nuclear; Is it a problem that Paul Orndorff called Mr. T a “black, greasy spider monkey?” At least he didn’t compare him to Willie B at the Atlanta Zoo; Vince is promoting this big show at MSG, but we haven’t heard the word “WrestleMania” yet; So later in the show Mean Gene officially says “WrestleMania” during the Hogan/T training vignette; MTV must own some of the rights to “The War to Settle the Score” because I can’t believe this show isn’t on the Network; Moolah cut a great promo on Cyndi Lauper. She, like Piper with Mr. T probably isn’t too fond of these rock and rollers traipsing around the WWF like they own the place; Lord Al’s trivia contest doesn’t hold a candle to the Place to Be’s contests but that MSG prize package is pretty sweet
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 quite the enjoyable episode of TNT. We got tons of WrestleMania hype for three big matches on the card, including footage from The War to Settle the Score. Everyone in studio did a hell of a job getting over their big matches and we didn’t have to deal with any forced bits or skits (outside of the brief soothsayer segment) to do it. We just had quality talents sitting and doing their thing and helping sell the company’s biggest show in its history. Vince was really on point here too, nudging everything along and ebbing and flowing with his cadence as needed.There is clearly a big difference in the quality of these shows when there is a main end goal in place. Final Grade: 6.5/10
Brian: This was a god show that breezed right by. It hyped up the top matches for WrestleMania and we got clips of “War to Settle the Score” too. The hype for WrestleMania would continue to intensify in the next few weeks as the WWF product was red hot. Final Grade: 6/10
Dan: Wow! Not only are we actually building to this WrestleMania thing, but we’re actually now allowed to call it by it’s proper name thanks to this episode! Gene let the cat out of the bag during the training segment but you get the idea. For the first time ever on this adventure, we can finally say that Mania season is upon us! This show did a wonderful job of showcasing three of the marque matches on the card. You had to be salivating over the main event after T jumped on the apron and Hogan helped him chase Piper and Orndorff back to the showers. Piper’s hatred of celebrities barging in on his business was unmistakable. His crew was angry and they wanted to teach the Laupers and T’s of the world a lesson. We even were treated to rare footage of a women’s title change. I like this episode. I know they won’t always be like this, but it’s great to be pleasantly surprised with the quality when expectations are low. No, that’s not what she said! Final Grade: 7/10
Scott: This was a fun show that finally started to bring the build to WrestleMania. Piper, Orndorff & Orton were a great trinity of heels that brought the heat, as well as Moolah bringing it for this Women’s Title match. Hopefully these episodes get better as we move along in terms of the push for WrestleMania. Perhaps we will get a Hogan/T appearance on the show to really give it the juice. After that mess two episodes ago, these past two have been better and been more informative for Wrestlem\Mania, and the trivia contest was cool, although slightly convoluted. A solid show as March 31 approaches. Final Grade: 6/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!