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 6/11/84
Run Time: 1:35:52
JT: Paul Orndorff kicked the shit out of SD Jones and then put on a clinic in the gym. What a great asshole heel. Him berating the woman about not being able to buckle the seatbelt and then basically calling her a fat slob with no pride that eats all night long is amazing. He capped that by shoving her into the tricep machine like he was loading a horse onto a truck. And then he calls her a fat pig and a hog at the end! Oh, and those shorts.
Chad: I will go with Classy Freddie Blassie in studio. It didn’t get drawn out like a lot of the other segments so far in the short run and I thought Blassie was able to really display his character and charisma well in this setting. He looked like the Fashion Plate and had also helped advance some of the wrestling angles he was involved with at the time.
Jason: Paul Orndorff at the gym was incredible. What a dick! I laughed my ass off listening to him talk smack to the ham and eggers while they worked out. “My Grandma can use that much weight” was such an awesome line. Man or woman, Orndorff showed no remorse to anyone who wasn’t up to his standards in the gym. The one-liner bashing from Mr. Wonderful was hard to top at any point on this show
Dan: Paul Orndorff fat shaming and abusing ordinary people at the gym was genuinely laugh out loud funny! He was such a meathead and it wouldn’t shock me in the least if all those insults were legitimate. I was in tears taking down all his one-liners that I’m sure I missed a few. Definitely worth a rewatch and I’m sure you’ll pick up something new each time. “Obviously you need to quit eating!” My personal favorite was when that lady tried to touch him and he shouted her out of the gym screaming, “Don’t ever let me see you in the gym again you hog!” Pure gold!
Scott: The Paul Orndorff segment where he’s mocking all these scrubs in the gym was awesome heel work. Studd and Fuji did their part to put their characters over but Orndorff was hilarious.
JT: Paul Orndorff, no doubt about it. It was a tough act to follow for anyone else on this show as he opened things up with a good squash and an all time classic bit in the gym. Highest level heel there is in the WWF at this point.
Chad: I will again go with Blassie here. I tend to think of him at this point in his WWF run as being on the decline as far as being muddled with the tag division. He looked to still be a key factor in the promotion here and carried himself appropriately.
Jason: Again, Paul Orndorff. He’s clearly being built as one of the top heels in the company. From his squash against SD Jones to his bashing of everyone at the gym, Mr. Wonderful was very enjoyable to watch and listen to. “GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME YOU FAT PIG!” And that was said to a woman!
Dan: Paul Orndorff again! How could he not be the choice? I’ll take this as an opportunity to give you all – free of charge – another great quote from that segment. After posing for the camera he quibbed, “All you women who are waiting to leave your husband for me, you all know why.” Also kudos to Sal Bellomo for that amazing battleship he built for Vince and Alfred out of pages of the WWF magazine.
Scott: The Roddy Piper/Ivan Putski match was fun stuff, as Piper matches always are. I’ll give the nod to Sal Bellomo and his dutiful craftwork of making ships of WWF Magazine pages.
JT: I am not truly surprised but again the threat of man on woman violence shocked me when Mr. Fuji went nuts and threatened to swat the Geisha across the face. Toss in Orndorff berating the fat chick in the gym and this was quite the mysoginistic offering.
Chad: Big John Studd did a good showing for himself as someone that was gearing up to work the horn with Hogan and have a marquee feud with Andre. He looked huge in the studio. I am consistently impressed with Studd promos that I hear.
Jason: I was surprised to learn that Salvatore Bellomo’s hobby was arts and crafts. Not quite what you would expect from a wrestler out of the 80s, but nontheless, thumbs up to Sal.
Dan: I was surprised that of all the Big John Studd squashes they could have used for his segment, they decided to go with one against Salvatore Bellomo who they showcased abundantly in the first hour. Just seemed questionable given all the time they gave poor Sal to his match and hobby only to see him get destroyed later in the program. I know he wasn’t a star by any means, but that decision was puzzling.
Scott: I’m always surprised when during the mailbag segment they read legitimate mail instead of planted, pre-written fake letters. You never know when they may get a letter that’s “outside the WWF” realm. I mean I’m sure they check the letters first, but you never know if Lord Alfred pulls something out of the bag he wasn’t meant to.
JT: I have really enjoyed the flow of these shows and the way they mix and match different matches, interviews and bits but I could have went without both a long Fred Blassie vintage match and a Mr. Fuji match back to back.
Chad: Mr. Fuji’s segment went on forever. The geisha stuff looked awful in retrospect and he didn’t say anything of note.
Jason: So they featured Sal Bellomo picking up a victory early on in the program, followed by a feature on his hobby. Later on in the show, he’s doing the job for John Studd. So much for making this guy seem legit.
Dan: Will they ever add a studio audience or at least some music when Vince introduces a guest? There is nothing more awkward than announcing a guy and all you hear is that guy grunting and walking onto the stage. Give me some production value here fellas, I’m begging ya!
Scott: At the moment the show really doesn’t have an identity. Are they a show that focuses on wrestlers’ characters and comedy skits, or are they a show that focuses on matches and in ring action. Shoehorning two minutes bits in between interviews and Sal Bellomo’s hobbies seems like a recipe for a trainwreck. So for me the disappointment is after two episodes they haven’t figured out what they are yet.
JT: Happy to see another Paul Orndorff match this week, his offense is so sharp and on point; Orndorff following his win by schooling scrubs at the gym was great heel stuff; Vince talking about how Sal Bellomo works a “European style” was something, but that said, Sal did show off some decent offense; Sal teaching Alfred how to build paper models was just weird but Vince asking him to stick around and build more stuff made me chuckle; The atmosphere for Piper’s matches was always epic at this time, especially when the bagpipers play him out and I loved how they played during the match too; I always enjoy the mail segment and it was cool that Vince noted about Hulk Hogan playing bass guitar and then delivering us our first Hogan match on TNT later in the night; I could have went without a long 1952 Freddie Blassie match with such awful tape quality; Blassie bitching about Iron Sheik’s total loss was good stuff; Mr. Fuji is a weirdo; Vince & Al joining Fuji for the Japanese tea party was both interesting a bit odd, especially when Fuji snaps and threatens to smack around the Geisha girl; John Studd really looked enormous here, the set makes some of these guys look even more impressive than usual; I like how they showed a Studd/Bellomo match while Studd was on the couch and Bellomo was building his fucking replicas; And then Studd just trashes Sal and stands over him ripping how he is a shitty wrestler and should stick to making boats while Bellomo just sat there like an idiot, what a great bit; Jesse Ventura’s hair is a bit much and it is for the best that we only saw such a quick snippet of his bout; weird how they jammed a flurry of clips of random bouts to end the show; the show ending with Vince showing off Sal’ boat was tremendous
Chad: Orndorff’s video was humorous but I do get taken out of these outside of wrestling vignettes a bit. It was good to see some whole matches this show and the Piper match had a lot of energy for the amount of time it lasted. Sal Bellomo was all over this show and him making paper ships was an odd segment to showcase. Sal also has a victory and job on the same show. The throwback clips were nice to see but too abundent overall. I continue to really struggle with the length of these shows as I am constantly checking the time marker on the WWE Network when watching.
Jason: Mean Gene and Lord Alfred could very well be the worst commentary team ever. It took Alfred a solid five minutes to chime in. The ref calling Orndorff, “Paula” was also unexpected and quite funny. The old lady who brought a rubber chicken to the show might be the most 80s moment of this episode. I can watch Orndorff drop elbows all day. Orndorff didn’t break a single sweat in his match. Dude gets his cardio in for sure. Vince’s streak of awesome suits continues. Nice to see a Ron Shaw appearance. He was one of my favorite jobbers from this era. You know you’re a jobber when you do the favor for Salvatore Bellomo. I like how Mean Gene manages to reference someone’s hometown and weight during a match. A Roddy Piper match from MSG is always a treat. Piper wearing the alternate red trunks was surprise. Freddie Blassie rocking pinky rings! I enjoyed the throwback footage of Blassie in the ring during the Golden Era of wresting. I always chuckle hearing Mr. Fuji laugh. Tea time with Mr. Fuji, HELL YES! Fuji sure had the Geisha girl wrapped around his finger. Finally a Don Muraco match on this Network Adventure. More on my love for Muraco as our trek continues. Man, John Studd sure can rock a suit for such a big guy. Nice job at teasing the Andre and Studd showdown. I enjoy Jesse Ventura much more as a color guy than a worker. His match did nothing for me. It would have been cool to see the entire Rocky/Atlas vs. Adonis/Murdoch match. Speaking of Adonis and Murdoch, what a hoss team! Every episode of TNT should end with Sal Bellomo, Vince McMahon and a fucking boat.
Dan: All the things people can say about Paul Orndorff and the best that 1984 crowd could come up with was Paula? Kids back then could be so cruel! Wait, did I just see a blowup doll in the audience? To quote Scotty C., “What kind of show is this!?!” Once that match with SD Jones went 10 seconds, it became the longest bout I had ever seen involving SD Jones. For some reason I laughed when Vince said Bellomo was of “Italian extraction.” Can you find an authentic Bellomo hand-made paper ship on ebay anywhere? Why isn’t there an exhibit at WresteMania about this unique hobby? Time to write Titan Towers a letter. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Roddy Piper in red trunks before this show. Does Putski ever just lose legitimately or does he always have to smack a ref or get counted out? Is that in his contract? Alfred makes me giggle… “You have the most irresponsible mailman. No wonder dogs chase him.” Never spill tea in front of Mr. Fuji. You will thank me later for this advice.
Scott: Paul Orndorff wearing alternate gray tights for his match, as usually he wears red, white or blue; Mean Gene should have never done match commentary, he was atrocious; Wow, a Salvatore Bellomo match victory!; Ivan Putski was definitely on the juice, as he had that beer belly in the 70s and now he’s totally ripped; I need to get that Roddy Piper black panther t-shirt; Another alternate tights moment, as Piper is wearing red instead of his normal blue; The Mr. Fuji segment with the geisha girl was pretty funny; Wow Sal Bellomo gets two matches in one show; Big John Studd had this great arrogant heel swagger that the company needed
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: While not as consistent as episode #1, this week’s installment still had plenty of laughs and stuff to enjoy throughout it. It started red hot with the Orndorff stuff and that alone was enough to make this a win. The absurd Sal Bellomo boat building was both bizarre but very fitting for this type of program. Vince & Alfred both seemed a bit more comfortable this time around even though the guests lacked the sizzle of the first episode. John Studd looked like a star, though, and I loved him trashing Sal as he sat there at the table like a dope. Two episodes down and I continue to enjoy TNT much more than I expected when we dove into this project. Final Grade: 4.5/10
Chad: A few improvements over last week with having full matches, but also some step backs as the Fuji segment really grinded things to a halt for me. I really am struggling with these shows as I get the purpose, but there is a disconnect for me in what I seek out in a wrestling show. Final Grade: 2.5/10
Jason: Once again they managed to cram a lot of talent into an hour and half show. They’re doing a nice job getting all of the heels over in both matches and interviews. Paul Orndorff was amazing at the gym. If there’s any reason to check out this episode, it’s that. After two episodes, you can tell that they have finger on something, but there’s still room for some improvement and I am eager to continue watching it evolve. Final Grade 4.5/10
Dan: Another show that started off great and thoroughly amusing in places only to die a slow and painful death towards the end. I did enjoy seeing more full, albeit short, matches this time around to showcase the guests who were appearing in studio. We also got wider glimpses at some of the talents personality traits like Bellomo’s creativity (building boats from paper and string) to Fuji’s anger and deviousness. Oh and Studd loves him some Big John Studd. Still there was so much filler and the in studio stuff is still missing that atmosphere associated with other talk shows. I’m still getting used to the format so I’ll cut them some slack, but there is plenty of room for improvement on this show. Final Grade: 5/10
Scott: The show still doesn’t really have an identity yet, as it’s bouncing around between interviews and character driven pieces to hacked up matches. Sure most of the matches are to put over the guy they’re interviewing but it seems there’s no real flow. The show needed to be cut down to an hour if there was going to be any flow to it. The Orndorff gym segment was utter hilarity and really put him over as the typical 80s heel. Studd was solid as was mild mannered Sal Bellomo. Clearly TNT was meant to put over heels to feed to Hogan, JYD and the other top babyfaces in the company. This show was ok but it needs to be more streamlined. Final Grade: 5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!