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 5/2/85
Run Time: 46:59
JT: I really enjoyed Rusty Brooks the most. They should have converted him into a weasel manager that could bump all around. He was so obliviously overconfident, talking about how easily his record could be better and then shitting all over Pedro Morales, he could have been a perfect smarmy manager. It also didn’t hurt that he looked like one of the faces on a Guess Who? card. Also, Pete Doherty came out here looking to start shit and wasted no time in doing so.
Brian: The Rusty Brooks, Jim Powers, and Jose Luis Rivera segment was the most entertaining on the show. Brooks carried the segment as he tried to act like he was above his fellow peers.
Dan: Almost all of this was pretty terrible but if you hold a gun to my head, I too will say the middle trio of Brooks, Powers and Rivera. You had the young guy, the old guy and the delusional fat guy in one pretty little package. Brooks shined as the arrogant, clueless heel and I waited for Rivera to just slap the gravy out of his mouth by the end.
Scott: All of the interview segments (not at atrocious comedy act), including the iconic Rusty Brooks saying that with Bobby Heenan he’d be a star, busting out of those pants that were way too small.
JT: Rusty Brooks took advantage of this rare spotlight and just kept answering every question. I loved him claiming his record could be better if he faced guys like Rivera and Powers. His unearned cool confidence and Southern drawl were a good combination for the absurdity of this episode. Rusty just trashing Pedro Morals was pretty funny too. Oh, and his fucking tights were tremendous. Also, shoutout to Vince McMahon, who did a great job steering what could have been a real disaster.
Brian: Rusty Brooks was the best on this show. He actually displayed a surprising amount of charisma and I loved how he ragged on Jim Powers and Jose Luis Rivera along with saying how he was in wrestling for money and championships.
Dan: I was going to say Steve Lombardi until Brooks out-Lombardi’d him in his own segment. He even stole Steve’s answer about needing management and how he could improve Bobby Heenan’s already impressive record if Rusty joined his stable. He even called Pedro Morales, a former World Champion, a has been while telling Rivera to his face that he’s a “never was.” Tubby had a one-liner for everything and definitely answered the bell when given the opportunity.
Scott: A tie between Rusty Brooks and the Duke of Dorchester. When are they ever going to be on this show again? Absolutely never, so why not ham it up. When Duke put the towel on his head I almost lost it. So hilarious.
JT: I was shocked that Mario Mancini was only 18 years old! Poor dude looks like he is in his 30s easily. I guess I could see why they thought he could maybe develop into something decent since he was so young. I was also shocked Johnny Fucking Rodz got offense in on Hulk Hogan!
Brian: The whole “unsung heroes” theme was a shock as they filled an entire show dedicated to enhancement talents capped off with a standup comedy routine.
Dan: Two things: Mario Mancini was only 18 (or so he says) and Rusty Brooks is only 342 pounds. Mancini easily looked to be in his 30s and I believe Brooks weighed 342 pounds when he was in high school. I think he was at least two bills at birth for the love of Pete!
Scott: I was surprised there was a show like this to begin with. Why Vince would give a crap about any of these bums is beyond me. Pin me, pay me I always thought. I guess with the levity of the show you might as well abuse these poor bastards on camera and in the ring.
JT: I thought the Duke started off really hot but devolved into trying way too hard to be shocking. Rusty Brooks stole the show with subtlety but Duke just went way over the fucking top. He still had some really funny lines and moments but it just felt forced.
Brian: The Crusher Comic was really awful. There was no need at all for this to last two segments, either. He even had some really politically incorrect stuff but watching him play Rock ‘Em Sock Em’ robots with Mario Mancini made me want to shut off the show.
Dan: The Crusher Comic was hideous and a waste of the final ten minutes or so of this show. I was sort of hoping he would unmask and reveal himself to be one of the main roster stars, but alas, he was just another unfunny time filler the likes of Sarah the Soothsayer.
Scott: The comedy segment was rough, and the guy was kind of a douche and not very funny. There was plenty more jobbers to interview, like Sal Gee, Gino Carabello and more!
JT: Well this should be an interesting concept episode as we showcase the “unsung heroes”; It’s not often that David Sammartino has a better looking body than his opponent; Vince calling Bobby Wade “a very courageous individual” cracked me up; Paul Roma doesn’t look thrilled being lumped in with this parade of schmucks; How the fuck is Mario Mancini 18?; I did like how they showed the jobbers in action to put over their struggles even more; Paul Roma had a heckuva positive attitude; Lombardi with some heelish foreshadowing, both in approach to wrestling and noting that he needs leadership, perhaps like a Bobby Heenan; Rusty Brooks looks like the camp counselor from Heavyweights; Vince lusting over Jim Powers’ arms; That is some suit on Jose Luis Rivera; Johnny Rodz saying he just plays everything by ear and whatever happens happens made me chuckle; “The Dukedom”; Hulk Hogan vs. Johnny Rodz is a hella weird match; Outside of one or two jokes, the comedian bombed but I think that was the goal; Mancini taking the chain match and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em battle seriously was a good last laugh
Brian: The show started off with Lord Alfred Hayes & Vince McMahon going over footage of David Sammartino dropping jobber Bob Kent on his head on a press slam as both men noted how Kent did not tuck his head and protect himself. This led to Lord Alfred talking about how he would have quit wrestling after his first match but did not as he signed a “ten match” contract and he’s glad he stuck it out as Vince tells us they are showing the “unsung heroes” of the WWF. The first three out are Steve Lombardi, Paul Roma, and the incredibly untalented Mario Mancini. I guess they wanted to group the three Italian-Americans together. Anyway, they talk to all three men after we see footage of them on TV in losing efforts. Lombardi, who was just about to turn heel, stated he could benefit from the guidance of Bobby Heenan. Well, that took 3.5 years and it still led to nothing but a never-ending feud with the Red Rooster. After that, Rusty Brooks, Jim Powers, and Jose Luis Rivera came out. Rusty acted like he was above everyone while Vince asked everyone about his favorite subject, which is body weight. Vince also was a fan of Powers’ arms. Rusty cracked me up when he yelled at poor Jose Luis Rivera to speak up when he was talking. After that, Charlie Fulton, Johnny Rodz, and the “Duke of Dorchester” Pete Doherty came out. Doherty was funny for about the first 45 seconds until he ran this bit into the ground. It was his trademark as the Duke was never big on being subtle. During the montage of squash matches, Rodz faced Hogan, who was sporting blue trunks. Doherty was just overwhelming here. The show ended with the Crusher Comic, a standup comic in a wrestling mask. This was terrible for the most part and did not need to last for two segments.
Dan: Poor Bob Wade. After that suplex, Vince said he’d feel it for the next “567 years.” Poor bastard will have to deal with the pain of fighting David Sammartino long into the afterlife. I liked Alfred’s analysis of the Wade match pointing out his lack of experience by noticing that the jobber didn’t tuck in his chin on the way down from the Sammartino press slam. The end result was the poor guy landing on his head. Both Al and Vince questioned if Mr. Wade would continue his career after that match. Roma with the fun fact of the night saying you can lose vision and balance after absorbing a suplex. I guess I won’t volunteer to be suplexed anytime soon. I chuckled when Vince said “making mince meat out of Mancini” when Bundy splashed him. Mancini said that he will keep coming back and will always be there no matter the punishment. I loved Lombardi’s heelish tendencies and proclaiming that nice guys finish last. He even foreshadows his relationship to Bobby Heenan during his interview. I easily could have hit stop once the Duke of Dorchester started speaking and have lived a happy and prosperous life.
Scott: Ah, the long awaited jobber episode; I wonder how Roma, Mancini and Lombardi must have been feeling watching a montage of them getting pummeled into the ground by superstars, particularly Roma who was probably more talented than Brutus Beefcake at the time; Rusty Brooks had the guts to cut a sweet heel promo, running down the other guys; Rusty Brooks is the MVP of this show, calling Pedro Morales a “has been” and picking a fight with Rivera; Damn I thought Rusty Brooks had the MVP, but the Duke certainly takes the cake, even creating the phrase that Sabu pretty much stole ten years later; I’m pretty sure Charlie Fulton was in the Doobie Brothers; Duke Doherty and Rusty Brooks should have been an incredible tag team, where were they at WrestleMania?; The Mr. T Cabbage Patch doll is hilarious, but otherwise the guy is kind of an asshole. Vince had to have done a few bumps of coke before this segment, maybe that’s why the place was called “Le Bump”
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 pretty fun watch just for how fresh and absurd it was. Rusty Brooks was the break out star for sure but Pete Doherty brought some laughs too. This was the way to eat up dead weeks as opposed to some of the bits we have slogged through in the past. It felt like they really took a hack and being completely different and surprisingly enough it worked. What amazes me even more is that even these jobbers had a bit of charisma to them, which shows the crazy depth they had at the time. It is easily one of the best non WrestleMania build up episodes so it is worth checking out. I am glad they never did it again though, because the magic probably would have been lost. Grade: 6/10
Brian: I’ll give them credit for trying something different but this ran its course. Besides Brooks and some of Doherty, this was largely just a waste of time. It was absurd at times and just plain dumb at times too. There was some fun here and I’d actually recommend people check it out for the wackiness of it all but doing the “unsung hero” bit on an actual episode of TNT might have made it better. Grade: 4.5/10
Dan: This episode was a suck fest. I appreciate the idea of giving some of these enhancement guys some notoriety and opportunity, but I really don’t think a whole show was necessary. Maybe take your best guys from each trio, have them chat and be silly for a segment and then get back to the real stuff. I know, this isn’t the biggest storyline driven show, but ultimately, what did this episode really accomplish? Now we can put faces with the names of the guys getting battered week in and week out? Am I supposed to now root for them to take it to the next level? It’s clear they are running out of ideas for this project and they desperately need to move on to something new. Grade: 2/10
Scott: This may be my favorite TNT of all time. Why? Because it’s utterly ludicrous that these bozos actually were given air time to talk about what it’s like to be losers. It’s like in Caddyshack when the caddies got to use Bushwood’s swimming pool for 15 minutes. The heels hamming it up while the babyfaces were a bunch of slushmouths was a perfect mix of comedy. The bit at “Le Bump” was pretty stupid, but considering what the name of the club was why am I not surprised. I’m going to rank this show ridiculously high and I’m not ashamed of it. Final Grade: 9/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!