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 7/2/84
Run Time: 1:25:25
JT: I dug the Hulk Hogan vs. David Schultz match. We get a rare WWF Title defense shown and it was a bloody brawl in the brand new expanded Minneapolis territory. An extended feud between these two could have been so good. Hogan drenched in blood while he kept pulling Schultz up to punish him more was good, edgy stuff that the crowd ate up. Schultz bled too and the brawling continued until Hogan finally put things away.
Chad: The Gorilla vs Ali confrontation was amazing. Ali was manhandled by Monsoon and it really was effective in getting over how tough a wrestler is. The solemn, low key interview by Gorilla only added to that aura.
Jason: It’s been teased a few times in the previous episodes and we finally got it here. Hulk and Schultz beat the hell out of each other! Blood and stiff shots right in Verne’s backyard. In addition, I’m a big fan of Hogan’s alternate blue trunks. A big win for the champ in the Twin Cities.
Dan: As much as I want to say Sgt. Slaughter’s emotional and at times awkward date with Lady Liberty, I’ll go with Gorilla Monsoon’s interview and the footage from his encounter with Muhammad Ali. I found his story about amateur wrestling in Russia fascinating. I also popped when he put that flash in a pan boxer in his place! He just dumped that Ali character like he was a piece of garbage. I bet we’ll never hear from that guy again. (I’m kidding!)
Scott: I applaud the Butcher Vachon singing segment, but for me it was the Lou Albano/Roddy Piper/Cyndi Lauper saga. As much as Albano was annoying in long stretches, Piper adds high entertainment to the entire story and really amps up the antagonism. To Cyndi’s credit she went right along with the story and made it legitimate.
JT: I will go with Roddy Piper. It was our first real exposure to him here on TNT and he did such a great job pushing along all the Cyndi Lauper stuff. He played well off Lou Albano as well and immediately carried an air of credibility with everything he said and did. Plus it sounds like he said “Lou Albino”. Shout out to Gorilla Monsoon as well as I loved his breakdown on boxing vs. wrestling.
Chad: I was weary of Albano as he has been clogging up the airwaves so far, but the segment when it tilted to the Piper’s Pit was awesome. This really made WWF seem mainstream and Piper had just as much charisma as anyone on television at the time. He really helped give the feud the multiple facets and the ignition it needed to be a huge success.
Jason: I’ll go with a three way tie this week. Hot Rod, Albano and Cyndi Lauper. The seed has been planted for the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling connection. Albano was a rambling fool, but he got this angle of the crowd very well. Piper was Piper to the core and Lauper fit it perfectly from the get go.
Dan: Cyndi Lauper was awesome. I couldn’t tell if she was legitimately getting mad in her Piper’s Pit segment. Her anger came across so naturally, it wouldn’t have shocked me in the least if she left a few bruises on Lou and Roddy. She also cut a promo better than some of the boys when challenging Albano in the recording studio interview. This just added more depth to a story I thought I already knew.
Scott: The entire Hulk Hogan package was well done, since TNT hadn’t really done anything with him since the both the show started and he became WWF Champion. Recapping the win over the Iron Sheik and the celebration afterwards established those who were new viewers to the promotion who their champion (and the face of the WWF) was.
JT: I was surprised they showcased Butcher Vachon with the nice character development bit and then the big feature match was a squash loss with the red hot Jimmy Snuka instead of a bout that he won or got some good shine. I also liked the treat of the Gorilla Monsoon/Muhammad Ali footage.
Chad: I was surprised that it did take this long to get a long form feature on the main guy in the promotion. The Hogan stuff was also odd in that it felt like we took a time warp to almost half a year ago when he won the title.
Jason: Four episodes in and we finally get a Hogan feature. Kudos to you, TNT! Also, I was surprised to see Joey Morella pop up this early. He was the ref in the Hogan/Schultz match.
Dan: I never thought I would have put Butcher Vachon and singing in the same sentence until I watched this episode. Seriously, who freaken saw that coming??
Scott: No major surprises here, just a great overall episode of the show. Nothing really stands out as a surprise in terms of addition or omission.
JT: Do we need to showcase Lou Albano every week on this show? Slob. Although him calling Alfred a “teetotaler” and then tickling the ivories wasn’t the worst use of him. We still didn’t need to see him bare chested devouring a banana on the couch with Piper
Chad: The shows continue to run out of steam in the last fifteen minutes. It feels like they have enough really good material for 75% of the show and then just throw random things out there like the Cobra stuff.
Jason: We got a nice sit down interview with Paul Vachon, followed by him belting one out with a lounge band. But then, they show him eating a Jimmy Snuka pin? Couldn’t they cough up a tape with Vachon getting win?
Dan: I’ll join the rest of the panel by being disappointed that Hulk has yet to appear in studio. He’s the champ as they clearly showcased in the first half of the show, but how is he not able to make one of the first four tapings? I swear I groaned audibly when vince said “Hulk Hogan… by way of video tape.” C’mon guys! Cough up the champ already!
Scott: I thought it would have been neat to have Gorilla Monsoon stick around with Vince and Alfred. He’s another that brings legitimacy to anything because of his deadpan delivery and reputation, but that’s nitpicking since Gorilla really wasn’t established as a host/announcer completely yet.
JT: I enjoyed the conversation about Hulk Hogan’s rise and title win as well as all the title win footage; Hogan’s Minneapolis interview and match with Dr. D were neat too as they clearly geared it towards an AWA audience, cool little insight into them targeting a new territory with a dedicated push; Butcher Vachon is really well spoken and his singing performance was quite fun; The pimp Victory Magazine banner hanging over the ring for Vachon’s match was great; The mailbag getting chucked at Alfred always makes me laugh; The letter from a fan whose mother had the hots for Red Bastien was something else; The interview with Gorilla Monsoon was interesting too as it was something we didn’t often hear a lot of on WWF TV; The Monsoon/Ali footage was great to see too and I loved Gorilla breaking down boxing vs. wrestling as well; Pretty neat that Cyndi Lauper was doing Piper’s Pits to help push along her guest stint and angle with Albano; As much as I hate him, Albano’s rant on Lauper to close his segment was pretty great; David Wolf is 1984; Albano attacking Wolfe was good storyline work; Terry Daniels was stiff as a board; The Sarge stuff kind of dragged at the end even though it made sense to show it
Chad: We finally get a big showcase on Hogan and it didn’t disappoint at all. It does seem a bit odd that this was six months in the past though. Hogan proclaiming that the real world title was coming home to Minnesota was a huge shot at AWA. That bluescreen over the blood of Hogan was so absurd. Hogan also is still rocking the baby blue tights. Alfred calls Hogan a great scientific wrestler, ok then. Butcher is a lot more soft spoken than you would think given his demeanor. Butcher with a nice callback to him and Alfred’s days in AWA. The cut to Vachon as a heel was odd in the match and man does he look like a fat piece of crap compared to Snuka. Butcher gets squashed? Some highlight for him. Albano is feeling really over saturated so far in the TNT run. I did like the bit that he actually could play the piano tune. Fantastic segment with the Piper’s Pit and David Wolff in studio. This is major league stuff. Sarge and Terry Daniels both felt really tacked on and unnecessary on this show.
Jason: Vince with a Thunderlips and Rocky III reference was pretty cool. I can watch the finish to the Hogan/Sheik match along with the post match celebration a million times and not get tired of it. Ruth and Pete “Hogan”. Alfred describing Hogan as a scientific wrestler. Judging by his look you wouldn’t think Paul Vachon was so well and soft spoken. He’s got quite the singing voice on him as well. If Gorilla was a guest every week I’d be OK with that. Lou Albano belching was quite gross. What a fat, drunk slob. I was waiting for him to crush the piano bench. I’ll give Albano this, he played the piano very well. David Wolff looks like every drug dealer from the mid ’80s. Roddy Piper stirs shit like no one else. Lauper calling Albano a fat bag of wind was awesome. I don’t ever again want to see Lou Albano eating bananas topless. The Terry Daniels segment dragged on way too long. This was the kick off to the Serge being a mainstream personality.
Dan: Good for Pete and Ruth for playing along by answering to Mr. and Mrs. Hogan. I’m sure my folks would have broken character if WWF gave me a different name. Hogan and the Twin Cities need to get a room already after that love fest of an interview with Gene. I know he had issues but we in the PPV era were robbed of what could have been a classic bloodbath between Dr. D and Hulk Hogan. What a heel that Hulk was constantly pulling Schultz’s shoulders off the mat and just bludgeoning his opponent. That blue box to cover the blood is coming back folks. Don’t laugh. This is the PG era. Vachon was one of 13 kids? There must have always been a sock on the door of Mr. and Mrs. Vachon’s bedroom. Captain Lou is not half bad on the piano.
Scott: They are finally showing some Hulk Hogan footage on the show, as we get the last minute or so of his title win, then the post-match stuff with Andre drowning Hogan with champagne and then Hogan’s parents; Butcher Vachon singing is one of my favorite segments, proving the family isn’t just a bunch of animals; Great segment with Gorilla Monsoon as he makes his second appearance in our timeline, having commentated the MSG house show where Hogan won the title; The Lou Albano segment was a bit tedious since he’s already been on the show previously, and I still wonder if he was legitimately drunk; Adding Piper to the mix makes this show instantly more entertaining; First real look at new babyface Sergeant Slaughter; Fourth TNT episode, and fourth different tuxedo from Lord Alfred
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 another really easy watch and a pretty strong episode, at least until the final 20 minutes or so. Once Terry Daniels marched out things got kind of boring and stumbled to the finish. However, the first hour of the episode was quite good with all the Hulk Hogan stuff and the Albano/Piper/Lauper angle work eating up a majority of the time. Vachon singing was good camp for this week too. I like that they are pushing along major angles here instead of using this purely as throwaway nonsensical fun all the time. The Minnesota stuff was neat and the anchor match was a good one. Another impressive TNT offering. Final Grade: 6.5/10
Chad: It does feel like we are starting to find our stride with this show. This episode was full of main event angles and still maintained the variety show feel that Vince really craves. Apparently, Vince singing with Vachon was on the original airing but edited off of this version for some reason. Overall, with the Piper’s Pit and Ali/Monsoon segments, this was a really good watch. Final Grade: 6/10
Jason: This episode gave us a nice spotlight on Hulk Hogan as well as the early stages of the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Connection angle. I really enjoy the Hogan and Schultz match as well as Gorilla telling stories as only he can. Paul Vachon was a lot more entertaining than I expected. Lou Albano can be quite annoying, but he will play a key role in the company over the next several months. Final Grade: 6/10
Dan: This show was fine and I’m starting to come around on these segments that enhance the wrestlers’ characters. I have to admit, I had no desire to pay attention to that Vachon segment and then he started singing to me in French and I was pleasantly surprised. The Lauper/Albano/Piper saga was pretty cool though it dragged a bit and we finally got to see our champion in action. I could watch more Hogan/Schultz if you asked me nicely. We even saw a change in Slaughter’s personality since our last encounter with the Sarge. Fun and easy watch as 1984 rolls on. Final Grade: 6/10
Scott: The episode was fun again, with the same fun guests and chopped up matches. The back and forth between Vince and Alfred didn’t have that biting oofing off yet but that will come with time. I also wonder if that Hulk Hogan/David Schultz match is somewhere on tape, as it was a bloody brawl that we only got a small piece of. There’s honestly not much more to say here, it was another episode that had it’s good spots and dull spots. I don’t remember this many episodes going two hours, so I’m curious when they cut them down. Final Grade: 6/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!