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 7/30/84
Run Time: 1:36:29
JT: This is a dead heat for me between the Moolah/Wendi match and the Murdoch & Adonis segment. I will pay tribute to the tag champs below so I will give it to the women’s title match here. There was a great atmosphere and buzz along with a chaotic feeling surrounding match. The bump Wendi took into the ringside crowd was pretty good especially since we got to see Gorilla Monsoon’s sweet white suit. Moolah did an OK job during the heat segment, about what you would expect from her, but it was enough to get the job done. The comeback with Moolah getting hung in the ropes was entertaining but let to another lengthy heat segment that included Moolah pulling Richter up on pin covers. The finish to give Wendi the strap was confusing and should have been more convincing but such is life with Moolah. The crowd pop for Wendi and post match celebration with a fired up Hulk Hogan and other wrestlers and a massive crowd were both great as well and really made the Women’s Title into a big deal.
Chad: The Murdoch & Adonis segment wins fairly easily for me as you will get my thoughts on Richter and Moolah a bit later. Murdoch & Adonis are a great contrasting tag team together personality wise but they are both presented as and carry themselves as bad asses. This is especially jarring for someone like Adonis if you are acquainted to his later character work. The tag division was having a big bounce back around this time after the likes of Fuji and lower level but serviceable talent like Garea dominated. Adonis and Murdoch really gave the tag belts some high star power prestige.
Jason: Everything with Wendi Ritcher and Moolah was fantastic. This was the first big match in the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Connection angle. Everyone else involved were great too, including Cyndi Lauper and Lou Albano. Gorilla and Gene tore it up on commentary as well. The crowd coming unloose when Ritcher got the pin was tremendous and awesome to hear. Very fun stuff during a great time to be a wrestling fan.
Dan: I absolutely loved the whole Women’s Championship segment. It felt like such a big deal thanks in large part to the buildup we experienced in the previous shows. Even though I suspected what the outcome was going to be, I couldn’t look away from this match given all its twists and turns. Moolah was at her hair-pulling, cheat-to-win best and carried herself as a dominant champion. I noted that Richter looked out of her league most of the time but refused to give in. Sure she had support from the pop sensation on the outside, but her plucky, underdog routine was the perfect foil to the heavily favored Moolah. After the shocking finish we get the awesome celebration stuff with over-the-top Hogan, the random appearances of Alfa and Sika and the invention of the term “victory kisses.” I could use a few of those after I finish this column. Any takers?
Scott: The entire segment of Wendi Richter beating Moolah (including the post-match party) was a perfect time capsule of the 1980s. Mean Gene mentioning all the luminaries and TV networks was pretty funny and made the segment seem very real. I’m sure plenty went on that night that wasn’t talked about the next morning. The arm wrestling segment was swiped right from the AWA but that’s OK. I’ll give it to hot Wendi and her title win.
JT: I will go with Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch. They set the tone right away with their cavalier takeover of the TNT set and their absurd claims of their accomplishments and regiments. Then we get to watch Gene Overland travail to Adonis’ NYC shithole, including conversations with some strung out clown with no teeth and a non English speaking woman. Adonis’ deadpan “yeah, where do you live” when Gene shockingly asked if the run down joint was Adrian’s home was great. Adonis yelling at the traffic to drive around him as he stood in the road and touched sewer caps and cartwheeled was an amazing piece of business. Toss in a street shopping spree, some random ring rat, Uncle Joe, the tag champs sharing a hot dog and tandem riding a motorcycle and I am not sure what more you could want. “Even when I’m lying, I’m telling the truth!”
Chad: I thought Murdoch fit in wonderfully as someone that was going to be himself in this studio. It felt more natural and reformed compared to the house calls with Dr. D segment we saw in the first episode. Murdoch really portrayed the nonchalant but dangerous southern attitude here.
Jason: Adonis & Murdoch all the way here! They killed it in studio and on the street of NYC. There were a ton of hilarious moments, especially from Murdoch who clearly felt out of place being in that neighborhood. Back in the studio, they were both sharp witted with everything Vince was throwing at them. “Even when I’m lying, I’m telling the truth” is one of the best lines I’ve heard from any wrestler. Everything was topped off with these two owning Chief Jaw Strongbow verbally and crashing his war dance segment at the end.
Dan: I’ll be different and say Jesse Ventura. Good lord did he school The Polish Hammer in that arm wrestling match. The stalling, the cheating and then the eventual vicious beat down at the end. That was just wonderful! Damn those chair shots were unexpected, I thought Putski was dead! Finally Alfred with his cryptic, “he will have to pay for those sins” line was delivered exquisitely. There were so many fantastic heels on this roster it is rather astounding.
Scott: Adonis & Murdoch owned their segment here, as they are cool and cocky, but almost like babyfaces. The vignette where Adonis is walking around NY was hilarious and Murdoch brings that NWA swagger with him that some of the other guys on the roster don’t quite have. The entire Wendi Richter segment was cool but these guys were on top of their swank heel game.
JT: I was surprised that we got to see the full Richter/Moolah title change out of the gate. That was a big treat due to the importance of the match and inclusion of Cyndi Lauper. I am also surprised at how awesome of a talker Adrian Adonis was here. Hope to see a lot more of him.
Chad: I didn’t hate the Putski vs. Ventura segment. These two are honestly some of the worst wrestlers of all time, but the arm wrestling segment gave them an avenue to display their hugely over personalities without having me want to rake out my eyes at watching them attempt to wrestle.
Jason: I’ve always been a big fan of Adrian Adonis in the ring, but man, who knew this guy could talk his tail off too. Lots of love for Big Adrian here!
Dan: How did Chief Jay Strongbow not retaliate on those fat bastards? They hijacked his interview, insulted his heritage and then crashed the war dance! What more do they have to do? Pour sugar in your gas tank Chief? In the immortal words of some rattlesnake named Steve, “can I get ya to grow a damn backbone and be somebody?”
Scott: We have no real surprises here. It’s a straight up show with a great mix of segments and matches.
JT: Chief Jay getting trolled by Murdoch & Adonis is awesome. Chief Jay vs. a short, fat, Italian jobber playing to a dead crowd in an extended squash is not.
Chad: Moolah vs. Richter lands here for me. I have to disagree with my companions in that I didn’t think the crowd was very electric at all for the vast majority of this segment. Only when it involved Lauper getting involved did the audience serve up a reaction. The match was putrid. Moolah had no focus on her attack, Richter was botching moves and bumping awkwardly, and the referee was horrendous. He lets Lauper punch Moolah in clean sight, he is out of position for numerous counts and he counts at a inconsistent rate. The finish was also confusing until we see the replay of the match. Moolah dropkicking the referee at the end was highlight. I also do think sometimes it is unfair to compare wrestling across different countries but I couldn’t help but think to myself the high level of wrestling that was going on in All Japan Women at the time when Richter attempted to throw a dropkick. Overall, I am as much of a sucker for a big moment and unique booking as anyone, but this felt really hollow.
Jason: Chief Jay not sticking up for himself and his heritage. Adonis and Murdoch ripped this guy to pieces and he didn’t do a damn thing about it.
Dan: Adonis and Murdoch’s stuff was a little much for my taste. They could have ended it with the Gene segment walking around the Bowery and I would have been fine. And this is coming from the guy who used to rip Strongbow week after week for looking old and gross. P.S. Did that guy ever have a prime? Somebody call the nursing home already!
Scott: That Adonis & Murdoch didn’t jump out of the Buick and beat Jay Strongbow down. They carried the last half hour of the show.
JT: Lou Albano managing Fabulous Moolah is my nightmare; Moolah’s bathing suit is atrocious but her dropkicking the referee after the match made me chuckle; Too. Much. Albano.; Cyndi Lauper looked loaded during the celebration and the shit she said about Richter was absurd like “she has new ideas”; Sgt. Slaughter out of his camo looked so weird; Always excited for an Adonis & Murdoch match; Sarge was really svelte here; The final moments of the tag match were pretty good but Terry Daniels is pretty limited overall; The random Native American scaring Alfred and giving him the mail was a WTF moment; Vince saying there would be many Indians holding a “War Party” is quite 1984; The classic footage was really random this week with a Crusher Verdu match; Ivan Putski’s skin looked like it was about to rip apart, my lord; Jesse Ventura was no great shakes in the ring but he was an expert at stalling and building heat, just like he did here in the arm wrestling battle; The post contest beatdown by the Body was good and definitely made me want to see a revenge match by Putski; Adrian Adonis’ studded choker was something else but him and Murdoch were tremendous; Dirty Dick’s old school Padres hat was pimp; The champs sticking around to troll Chief Jay was great too, they just mocked everything about him; The war dancing tribe in the back lot of the building was pure class and then it is ll capped when the tag champs drive through it while pounding brews in their Buick
Chad: Moolah looks to be a legit 60 years old here. I did like the early stumble they take out to the commentary table. David Wolff didn’t offer much insight on commentary. The victory party was a surreal moment with the Samoans, Hogan and Sarge in civilian clothes offering up their congratulations. Cyndi Lauper looked really young here and I was shocked to discover that she was older here than I am currently writing this column. Her promo left a lot to be desired. The Daniels and Sarge vs. Adonis and Murdoch match looked fun from the clips we saw. Terry Daniels was used as utility player for the promotion in the same vein as Tony Garea. He wasn’t as talented in that role. Vince casually saying Indians makes us reassure ourselves that this is 1984. Clips of Muraco surfing please. Crusher Verdu was an odd choice for the classic clip for this night. I still really enjoy these segments and a view into the past. Gene on location is no Bill Mercer. Chief Jay gets completely punked out by Adonis and Murdoch in this segment. The crowd reaction or lack there of for Jay’s match shows that his time was up within the promotion. Truly an awful worker.
Jason: Oh look, Lou Albano is leeching onto another champion. Man, the Garden crowd was on fire. Sure having Cyndi Lauper there helped, but there was a huge buzz in the air. One of my favorite Gorilla lines of all time is, “Pandemonium has broken lose in the Garden.” Albano shouting, mumbling and stuttering through his segment was tough to listen to. Terry Daniels doesn’t belong in the same ring as Murdoch and Adonis. How did Ivan Putski not explode during the arm wrestling match? Jesse stalling during this segment was great. Adonis’ dog collar and Murdoch’s old school Padres hat were both fabulous wardrobe props. Gene dressed up in a tuxedo roaming the streets for Adonis made me chuckle. Gene picking up an empty bottle of booze and then dropping it back down was awesome. Adonis having no shame about his neighborhood; Aunt Sophie and Uncle Joe. Adrian and Dick sharing a dirty dog then taking off on the bike was the best way to end that segment. Dick Murdoch’s, “Speak up, boy!” to Strongbow was incredible. The live crowd was completely dead for the Chief Jay match. Strongbow, Alfred, Adrian and Murdoch all sitting on the same couch was a sight to see. Vince yelling at Adonis and Murdoch when they roll up in the car.
Dan: How did Albano miss the point that Lauper clocked Moolah in front of the referee and the match wasn’t thrown out? Oh right, he had to keep being a raving sexist that’s why. I guess we were okay in 1984 with a big, fat slob attempting to punch a helpless woman. Huge pop when Fink said, “New Womens Champion.” Hogan on Richter’s victory: “Richter outsmarted the old hag.” Were Sgt. Slaughter and Richter ever an item? Seeing all those drunk people at the celebration reminded me of the first time I hung out with Justin and Scott. That poor bathroom! Lauper definitely looked tanked. I enjoyed Adonis giving us his sewer cap touching demonstration. For the record, he touched two and delivered a perfect cartwheel if you happened to blink. Gene was such a good sport. He just had to go with the punches following those clowns around while conducting painfully awkward man-on-the-street interviews. Kudos for Murdoch for rocking that Padres hat.
Scott: The Garden crowd was red hot for this Womens Title match, almost as hot as the Hogan/Sheik match; at this point I am completely Lou Albano’d out; I’m sure there were more things going on at that Wendi Richter victory celebration that WON’T be reported on TNT; I thought Putski was going to die of a heart attack right there when he was posing, with the Nandrolone squeezing through his pores; I loved Dick Murdoch’s old school Padres hat; This is a great example of how awesome Adrian Adonis was before he became “Adorable”; Adonis & Murdoch are awesome in this segment, mocking Chief Jay Strongbow and yelling for corn; TNT needs to ditch the mailbag segment, as they really don’t do much nor read many of them anyway
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: I really enjoyed this week’s episode across the board. I like when they take the time to deep dive into a storyline or match so the fact the nearly the entire first half of this show was all about the huge women’s title match got us off to a strong start. There was a slight dip in the middle but it didn’t last long as once Murdoch & Adonis arrived, things got hot fast. The whole trek through New York was hilarious and watching Murdoch constantly mock everything about Chief Jay was so good. He was all over him non stop. The absurdity of Chief’s teepee tour was good for a laugh too but it went next level when Adonis & Murdoch just drove into it in their Buick. What an awesome team. A quick watch this time around with some quality laughs and historical significance. Final Grade: 6.5/10
Chad: I will be the low man tonight as I think a lot hinges on what you think of the womens segment. I was not high on it at all and think the Mid-South set up to the Midnight Express vs. Watts and Stagger Lee match was much more cohesive and compelling storytelling. In addition, Albano says roughly the same thing in studio as he did two weeks ago and he has made way too many appearances in studio for a show this young into its run. The rest of the show was better for me with the Adonis and Murdoch pairing being the highlight. Overall, this was better than last week but middle in the pack for the TNT shows we have seen so far. Final Grade: 4/10
Jason: What a fun episode. Adrian and Murdoch were fabulous and watching them tear apart Strongbow was very enjoyable. The womens match and post match segment with Albano were both great developments in this angle. Not much to bitch about here. I do agree with Scott in that they should ditch the mailbag segment, but that doesn’t take away from the love that I have for this episode. Final Grade: 7.5/10
Dan: Not bad, nothing offensive. Except for all the bullying by our tag team champions. I really enjoyed seeing that womens match in its entirety. The culmination of a red hot feud and a shocking title change is the perfect way to kick off your off-beat program if you ask me. It wasn’t super heavy on the matches but what we saw was enjoyable. I’m still staggered at how many amazing heels there are in this company at this time. When you consider Orndorff, Schultz, Piper, Valentine, Ventura, Adonis, Murdoch, etc. are all competing for the same air time, it was good to be bad in the early 1980s. Guys like Putski and Strongbow were just ripe for the picking among this crew of deviants. Definitely looking forward to what’s to come. Final Grade: 6.5/10
Scott: This was another straight up episode with no frills, except for the Wendi Richter win which back then was honestly a big deal, since (in kayfabe) Moolah hadn’t lost the Women’s Title in like 100 years. So the match and celebration made this episode extra special. I can’t emphasize enough how awesome Adonis & Murdoch were as Tag Team Champions. It’s a great example of Adonis before he ballooned and had the “Flower Shop”. This might be one of the best TNTs, even with the shitty mailbag segment and that old match with two guys nobody cared about. Final Grade: 7.5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!