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 4/4/85
Run Time: 45:37
JT: Hard to argue with our opening segment being the best we saw tonight. Fred Blassie, Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik are always fun when they show up and this week they get to brag all about their big championship win at WrestleMania. We also get a hefty clip of their win in MSG, which makes this segment that much better, because it was a pretty good match with lots of heat. Tack on the post match interview with Gene Okerlund and that meant a large chunk of the episode was spent on this whole package. These guys were awesome
Brian: The opening segment with Freddie Blassie, Nikolai Volkoff, and Iron Sheik was the best of the show. They had tremendous chemistry too. We got to see just about all of their Tag Team Title win at WrestleMania and the post-match interview. I also got a kick out of Vince asking Nikolai why he continues to wear the same suit as Nikolai stated he has five of these suits and wears them because they are the colors of his country.
Dan: It’s always a pleasure to see Blassie and his boys rubbing it in all our faces that they now reign supreme in the tag team division. While normally I frown on seeing re-run matches from a show we have already seen, I can understand that many people probably weren’t near a close-circuit theater for WrestleMania so seeing the titles change must have been a treat for the TNT viewer. It was one of the better matches on the card so no complaints from me in seeing it again. I loved Sheik admonishing Vince about asking too many questions about suits. These guys were fantastic and it’s a shame their reign couldn’t have been even longer.
Scott: I enjoyed the Tag Team Champions flaunting their new found titles to everyone. At least there was some post-WrestleMania coverage, including video clips.
JT: I thought Ricky Steamboat was quite good here. I really liked him dissecting his usage of karate and then narrating his way through the photos of his gym. He was really precise in explaining why the exercises he was utilizing were important for wrestlers. Plus he was smooth as always in the ring. Good intro for the Steamer to the TNT audience. Honorable mention to Sheik, Volkoff and Blassie too of course.
Brian: I found everyone to be solid tonight and they did a great job in getting Steamboat over but I’ll give the nod to Sliwa here for the best performance. For a complete unknown to the wrestling world, she handled herself well on the TNT set. Her demonstrations gave her some credibility and she also showed off a lot of charisma and personality. I also found her to be quite likable too but sadly, she did not become a wrestler. Plus, the joy Vince had in watching Sliwa rough up poor Lord Alfred was hilarious. I’ll admit I probably liked her segment more than most but her charisma was undeniable.
Dan: I love me some Hillbilly Jim! Even while nursing a serious leg injury, that guy just oozes positivity and seizing the day. I definitely felt like he was moved by all those questions and delivered heartfelt answers to sooth the viewers who may worry about his health and well-being. Myself being one of them. Get well soon Hillbilly and keep working on that bear hug!
Scott: As quiet a guy as he is, Ricky Steamboat really showed how great a babyface is and how excellent a wrestler he is. We will see more of him in future episodes.
JT: I was surprised by how moving it was to watch Hillbilly Jim solemnly play his guitar while his broken leg was wrapped in a cast. I was prepared to hate this segment but it was a poignant way to open it up. He also showed some good subdued anger over Brutus Beefcake and his injury during the fan mail bit. I was also surprised to see Vince bump around for Lisa Sliwa.
Brian: I was shocked they showed such a long clip of a WrestleMania match this soon after the show. Usually it was a couple of weeks after something major would air when we got to see it on TV.
Dan: I’m surprised Vince didn’t break his hip when Lisa Sliwa threw him like a rag doll onto those gym mats. Kudos to the chairman and wannabe talk show host for taking a bump like that in his fancy orange suit. Meanwhile, Alfred I think liked the pain just a little too much when he was taken to school by the sexy Guardian Angel. Who can blame him? Ms. Sliwa could put me in a hammer lock anytime she likes!
Scott: I am DEFINITELY surprised he haven’t had a Hulk Hogan and Mr. T appearance after their big win at WrestleMania. It was obviously taped after the show if Sheik & Volkoff were there with the straps. I know this is a common issue with me, but Hulk Hogan is your WWF HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. He should be on at least every 4th or 5th episode, and he definitely should have been on this episode.
JT: I am disappointed that they took a Hillbilly Jim segment that I was actually enjoying and then made it drag on too long. It started off well and then just kept going, if it was a bit more brief, it would have been more effective.
Brian: This convoluted trivia contest was a giant waste of time. I cannot imagine anyone caring about this when it happened live.
Dan: Nobody cares about your stupid trivia contest! Too bad the internet didn’t exist back then as this easily could have been a WWE.com exclusive segment that no one would watch. I’ll be honest, I started typing this before the closing credits. At least we got a rare 1985 appearance by Ivan Putski to show for it.
Scott: I’m disappointed that we’ve seen so much of Hillbilly Jim and all of these vignettes building his character, then we DON’T see him at WrestleMania (maybe he should have been in the faces corner instead of Snuka) and now he’s back taking up space on TNT? It makes no sense.
JT: Good start to the show with Volkoff, Sheik and Blassie rolling out into the studio, carrying their newly won Tag Team Titles; Pretty cool that we get WrestleMania clips here, nice treat for those that missed the show, especially since we get a big chunk of the Tag Title bout; Vince calling out Nikolai for always wearing the same suit with Nikolai saying he has five suits of the same color was a funny bit; Nice TNT debut for Ricky Steamboat here and I enjoyed him discussing when and why he breaks out his karate and the photos of his gym; His match with Steve Lombardi was fine too, and Steamer was as smooth as always; Vince calling Hillbilly “A Price of a Guy” made me chuckle; The Lisa Sliwa stuff seemed random and aimless for their big post WrestleMania show; That said, hache mache; Vince dragging out USA executives for the big trivia contest finale was unreal;
Brian: The show started off with the new Tag Team Champions coming out as we were treated to a lengthy clip of that and the post-match interview with Blassie playing dumb over his cane being used always cracks me up. The piece on Ricky Steamboat was well done for the most part and they put him over as an exciting, clean-cut babyface but man some of those photos were awkward, especially when he was on the phone at his gym and when he was in the sauna. I did like how he told Vince he only busts out his karate as a last resort because he does not want to hurt people. He showed off his tremendous ability in the ring against Steve Lombardi as he really got over instantly as a midcard babyface. It also helped the company was really weak on the babyface side too. We got more Hillbilly Jim stuff here. They dragged out what should have been a 90 second segment to around five minutes with him playing the guitar on his porch. The point of this was to show he was out due to injury at the hands of Brutus Beefcake and Johnny V. This legit injury was the end of the mega-push he was receiving at this time. I was a fan of how Sliwa handled herself and she was a lot more natural when speaking compared to top babyface Wendi Richter. The show ended with the trivia contest nonsense and it was a snoozer.
Dan: I’m sure it’s happened before but is this one of the first “pencil-necked geeks” references during our Excellent Adventure? Seeing Sheik again in the tag match makes me wish more and more that he stayed in shape and kept off the drugs. Gorilla always cracks me up when he gets angry over Sheik’s “illegal” boots. Another go-to for Monsoon was always telling us when a guy applied an abdominal stretch incorrectly. Blassie: “What cane, I didn’t have no cane?” Still one of my favorite moments from WrestleMania. Good look into Steamboat’s character as he is a perfectionist who takes pride in his work. He must have borrowed the studying film of his opponents bit from Jimmy Garvin from World Class. Steamboat just looks like a stud Vince will quickly push. Even a match with Steve Lombardi was interesting. He has definitely bought in to his new job proclaiming that the best talent from around the world resides in New York. Lisa Sliwa? DAMN! Did you know, she later became a general assignment reporter with Fox 5 in NYC? I’ll give her an assignment… whoa ho ho, look at the time!
Scott: At least this is a fresh TNT episode, post-WrestleMania as Sheik/Volkoff indeed have the tag team titles; I wouldn’t say this is a “clip show” per se but they definitely will recap the show with lots of clips; Vince never comfortably went to break on these shows, just say, “We’ll be back with more TNT” and move on; Ricky Steamboat was as exciting as a glass of water, but damn he was always a great worker; Why for the love of pete do we have more Hillbilly Jim crap here? This is the WrestleMania post-show! Where’s Hogan & T? Where’s Wendi Richter & Cyndi Lauper? As much as Vince was expanding his empire and trying to start a new era, he still was in the dark ages on some of the TV shows; Having said that, Hillbilly Jim does pick a mean guitar; The trivia contest was such a mess; So that’s why they actually don’t say “Tuesday Night Titans” anymore, because the show moved to Fridays;
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 week’s episode was a pretty breezy watch, with nothing dragging but nothing substantial going down either. We get a bit of WrestleMania recap but we also see just as much random filler too, which was a weird way to go. I liked the introduction to Ricky Steamboat as well as the first few minutes of the Hillbilly Jim stuff before it dragged on. Lisa Sliwa was fine but way out of place on this episode. Save her for the doldrums of summer. Overall, an easy watch but it had nothing must see in any way. Final Grade: 4/10
Brian: This show was alright I suppose. They did not give away any other WrestleMania match results besides the Tag Team Title match and they hyped up Ricky Steamboat but the trivia contest stuff and the Hillbilly Jim segment drag on for too long. If you are expecting fallout from WrestleMania to be the theme, prepare for disappointment. Final Grade: 4/10
Dan: This show was just sort of there. Yes, we get some recap of a huge happening at WrestleMania and we got to know the newest babyface on the block, but otherwise, nothing substantial came of this episode. I liked it and it didn’t drag. Nothing was terribly pointless like those awful soothsayer segments. But nothing jumped off the page either. Seeing the tag title change would have been a bonus for those that missed Mania live. Sliwa was wonderful eye candy the likes of Greg Valentine’s wife from many months ago. Steamboat is a star on the rise and Hillbilly is still smiling despite a busted leg. But following such a huge card, I think we all wanted just a little bit more. Final Grade 4.5/10
Scott: After the show that got the WWF out of the dark ages and into the new Sports Entertainment era, we get some analysis and post-show appearances but definitely not enough to really push the new storylines and the winning (and losing talents). Well we get a little of that with Sheik & Volkoff but then we have more Hillbilly Jim nonsense. Why have all these vignettes and then NOT have him at WrestleMania? It makes no sense at all, and it lowers the grade of what would have been a great TNT to only a good TNT. Final Grade: 5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!