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 8/27/84
Run Time: 1:38:15
JT: I guess I will go with the Ken Patera vs. Tony Garea match. It was pretty solid and I enjoy getting some nice full matches on here every now and then to help break up the studio bits. Heel Patera is always fun to watch and he was on point here, showing off to the crowd before forcing Garea to pass out in the full nelson. Also, honorable mention to Steve Gray losing his hairpiece during the match.
Chad: I will throw a vote for Orton vs. Patterson although there was really slim pickings this week. The match was good and it had some solid tropes that were avoided like the pinfall from Patterson when Orton thought he had already won. I was thinking to myself how unfair it was to Cowboy Bob that the bell rang and everything. Bob shows he has one more resource up his sleeve as he ends up winning with a hand full of the tights. Patterson was certainly well past his prime here but his psychology was still on point.
Jason: I’ll go with the Sal Bellomo cooking segment. He seemed a lot more comfortable than he was a few weeks ago when he was doing arts and crafts on this show. The man knows his way around the kitchen and the food looked might tasty. An honorable mentions goes to the Patera and Garea match. There’s something about heel Patera that I really enjoy. He was being pushed as a major opponent for the top faces such as Hogan and Andre. Tony Garea was a little past his prime here, but the two of them put together a nice TV match.
Dan: I never thought I would ever say this but the match involving Iron Mike Sharpe and Rogaine spokesman Steve Gray was definitely the highlight of the night for me. I enjoyed the crowd piling on Sharpe calling him a wimp and fat shaming him particularly that old couple who wore mock black forearm braces much like the hated heel donned. Then the greatest thing I have ever seen in a wrestling ring occurred when the unknown Gray became infamous for losing his toupee in the ring and tried fruitlessly to cover up the obvious botch. Sharpe didn’t help matters by holding it up for the world to see. It was hilarious hearing the announcers try to cover it up by saying a fan threw an object into the ring. Oh lord, I was crying! I hope Gray got a healthy settlement when he “sued” the makers of the hair piece.
Scott: Lord Alfred fumbling on Bob Orton’s horse was pretty funny, but I have to say the cooking segment with Sal Bellomo did it for me. I’m glad he knows how to cook, but it seems like Vince and Alfred are pretty much needling him like heels for not understanding him and for finding the food somewhat unusual. It was similar to the Mexican food segment with Tito Santana a few shows ago. The Orton/Patterson match wasn’t bad as this TNT had more action in it than in recent episodes.
JT: I will give this to Bob Orton. I enjoyed him in studio and his match with Pat Patterson was pretty good too. He had some real good control offense, wrenching tight headlocks and bashing Pat with his knee drops and right hands. He did a fine job selling the leg and stooging for Pat too and then he even cheated to win! In the studio, I liked him targeting Tito Santana while being super laid back and at complete ease. And of course, he graces us with an appearance by his Appaloosa Indigo and we get to see Al go for a ride as Vince mocks him as always. Big honorable mention to Vince making a cocaine joke at the expense of Lord Al.
Chad: Big John Studd was the most impressive heel to me here. After hearing the nonsense from Shapre, Studd came out and gave a much more refined but believable promo. He seemed menacing but also cool and collected. Easy to see why Studd had such high profile feuds coming in with Hogan and Andre.
Jason: I’m gonna go against the grain and chose Iron Mike Sharpe. He wasn’t who I would expect to be one of the better guests the series has had so far. The second he came out he was in full character and even though he was frightening at times, he did a fine job getting himself over.
Dan: I’ll go Big John Studd here. When he needed to be an angry monster, he showed his ferocity in the ring. When he needed to be the cool, suave and overconfident bad boy, he passed with flying colors in studio. I also like his not-so-subtle jabs at Andre by calling him “Andrea” and saying he’s the only giant in the world. I honestly didn’t realize how much charisma this monster had.
Scott: Sal Bellomo was a little less shy and introverted than he was on the first show. He did have to talk over the singers so he really had no choice but still he seemed more effervescent than previously. The cooking segments usually have some great comedy to them, and although this one wasn’t LOL funny, Vince and Alfred always come off as smug pricks whenever a foreign wrestler shows off his heritage.
JT: I was surprised that Iron Mike Sharpe got the time he did on set and also at how well he did, holding his own with a revved up manic barking style and getting himself over nicely as a tough yet somewhat cowardly heel. Plus he knocked a guy’s wig off in a match. And ripped his top off and posed while ranting about how great shape he was in. Tough to top that.
Chad: Amy McMullan was someone I had never heard of and I still don’t understand what her total purpose was except to push Orndorff further but I guess Vince was prescribing to the no publicity is bad publicity philosophy.
Jason: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Iron Mike Sharpe. He was well dressed, had great heel swagger and came across the screen as a guy who was legit even though he did a lot more favors than winning in the ring.
Dan: I’m surprised Vince didn’t sign mail bag fan Norman Hardcastle to a contract on the spot. I mean 6’5″ and 260 pounds? Sounds like that’s the type of meat McMahno was looking for at the time. Slap him into overalls and call him The Lumberjack and he’d be IC Champ in no time. What a missed opportunity!
Scott: I was surprised (since they were both on the same show last time) that they didn’t continue the Sal Bellomo/John Studd storyline. They were both there. It would have been funny to see food thrown around the TNT set.
JT: Nothing substantial this week, I guess I wish the Cowboy Bob horse segment had some more laughs but it just never really got going.
Chad: I saw Steve Gray in the description and mistakenly thought it was the technical wizard British wrestler that legit may be one of the best pure wrestlers and babyfaces of all time. Needless to say I was disappointed to see this white meat job boy for Iron Mike.
Jason: I wasn’t a fan of the Orton horse segment. He’s one of the best ring technicians from this era and for his debut on this show they have him dragging out and saddling up a horse. It took away from the decent match he had with Pat Patterson prior to the horse stuff.
Dan: The George Scott interview along with Amy McMullan really sent this show into a tailspin. Do yourself a favor and fast-forward those little bits in order to shave off some of those 98 minutes you have to sit through to get past this episode.
Scott: Lord Alfred’s tuxedo was pretty bland, I was expecting the continuing ridiculousness of the colors. Otherwise, as I’ve always said with this show, there’s really never much in the way of surprises.
JT: Steve Gray looked scared for his big match with Iron Mike; Go away Albano, please; 1984 is that weird phase where they still thought every heel needed a manager but the manager ranks were thinning out; Once Steve’s rug got ripped off it was evident why he looked so scared; Vince with a great dig “Gray nearly got scalped by that blow”; Iron Mike was rocking Carla Tortilli’s hair; Amy McMullan planting a kiss on Lord Al’s lips, hache mache; Amy was attractive but man that interview was meandering and aimless; I am happy the reggae outro music has stuck around; Ken Patera has such a great heel presence; John Studd was in pretty good shape here but his squash was a bit too long; Studd’s quiet delivery is effective in a way but also bland in another; Weird episode with George Scott coming out for an interview too; Pretty cool classic clip this week with some old Gorilla Monsoon footage; Vince talking about Bob Orton’s chaw set the tone for that interview; We don’t get to see enough Pat Patterson matches on these shows; I enjoyed Cowboy Bob here but the horse bit was one of the more bland focus segments we have seen; The music and merriment when Sal Bellomo came out was great, really got the mood up; Vince with the coke joke on Al! That it made it worth sticking this one out
Chad: Iron Mike Sharpe yells a lot. Lou Albano is in his corner and does jack shit of note. The studio segment with Iron Mike felt rambling and drawn out to me. I could picture Mike realizing this was a big moment and he put in a hammy performance that was way too over the top for my liking. Vince answering Amy’s question himself was funny. He was really leading this interview. Alfred continues his impressive streak of not saying anything of interest after every match. Mr. Hardcastle writes in this week which causes Vince to laugh like a juvenile boy. George Scott had a lot of influence in the business but he doesn’t say anything of note in his appearance here. Vince says it is the time of year to chew tobacco? What does that even mean. Orton does a good talk about being humble but also putting himself over. We even get Alfred needling him about his father. A lot of horse talk and Vince dismissed Alfred for suggesting something was wrong with the horse because it has spots. Blair vs. Valiant didn’t look awful from the clips but was too brief. Between the horse nonsense, now we get pizza making. This TNT is really scrapping the bottom of the barrel for content.
Jason: Who exactly didn’t Lou Albano manage? Steve Gray’s rug flying off is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen during a wrestling match. How embarrassing. Vince and Alfred laughing it up after the match was hysterical. Iron Mike’s perm was quite impressive. Let’s cut to the chase, we all know Vince was banging Amy McMullan. John Studd might be the best dressed big man in the business. That was some gig mark on John’s head. Thanks for the Poughkeepsie shout out, big guy! This mailbag segment has to go away. I haven’t been a big fan of the old timers popping up here, but George Scott showing up here was pretty cool knowing the key role he would play backstage during this era and for a couple of more years to come. Much like Tito Santana, Bob Orton is one of my favorites to watch in the ring during this era. Alfred being scared shitless of the horse was pretty funny. There’s no doubt Brian Blair was on the gas. It seemed like they had plans for a nice mid-card push in store for Blair at this point. I’d be perfectly OK with watching Vince, Alfred and Sal in the kitchen on every episode.
Dan: Maybe if Mike Sharpe actually lifted weights in a gym rather than swinging a heavy ax around, people wouldn’t call him “Captain Blimp” all the time. Sharpe’s horrible acting and fake anger was comical in studio. Someone definitely needs to switch to decaf. In order to be more like Iron Mike, I ripped off my shirt after writing this and told my girlfriend, “Look at this body, I’m a man of steel!” Yup, I slept on the couch. Ken Patera jaw-jacking with fans is going to be my new favorite past time. Listen closely and you’ll hear him say to a fan in the front row something to the effect of “He’s got a neck like a stack of dimes, just like you sweetheart.” John Studd, stop blading! Awesome display of strength by Orton holding up Patterson with one arm into a back breaker. I love me some Salvatore but I swear he kept his job longer by cooking for Vince on occasion. I definitely would eat a Mama Bellomo pizza pie. Mama Mia!
Scott: Really, did Lou Albano manage literally every guy in the history of professional wrestling? He even managed Iron Mike Sharpe? Good grief; Poor Steve Gray, I guess no one ever attempted to put a rug on again; I love how Iron Mike Sharpe says he doesn’t lift weights like bodybuilding guys taking steroids. I wonder who that was a jab at; There was an awesome heel swagger about Big John Studd. He could have been one of those guys that would have been a great WWF Champion if they wanted to take it off Hogan for feud purposes; Backstage bookers as guests? The catering person must have been unavailable; Bob Orton makes his TNT debut just eight months after wrestling at Starrcade 1983; Bob Orton’s attitude after the match clip with Pat Patterson was sheer great heel. He and Studd back to back was smart; There was no doubt based on that match clip that B. Brian Blair was on the ‘roids. His physique didn’t match his size; The Bellomo/Backlund clip made it seem like Backlund was wrestling heel in that match, a harbinger of things to come; So Roddy Piper was right. Sal Bellomo IS THE PIZZA MAN!; Vince and Alfred had a douchy side to them, making fun of Bellomo’s accent and questioning the quality of the food; I enjoyed when Vince broke the fourth wall and whispered to Alfred to make sure he got the closing Levi’s billboard in;
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 rough episode overall that had a few entertaining bits but nothing that really stood out, both in ring and in studio. Patterson vs. Orton was pretty good but not enough to carry the show in any way. Same for Ken Patera vs. Tony Garea. The in studio segments all fell flat this week outside of pieces of Mike Sharpe’s visit, specifically his meltdown at the end. The Italian in me always enjoys the Bellomo stuff, especially the music and the pizza stuff was fine to close things out. That said, we were really lacking star power on this one and everyone seemed a bit more subdued than normal. A swing and a miss this week, but we have plenty of more hacks to come. Oh, and Vince made a cocaine joke! That is worth half a point on its own. Final Grade: 2.5/10
Chad: I feel like I am being extremely negative but I don’t want to sell short my disdain for watching these shows. The hour and a half always feels like an eternity for me to get through and it generally puts me in a grumpy mood for the rest of the day. Final Grade: 1.5/10
Jason: This episode was all over the place, but had its moments. Vince looked like he was genuinely having a good time with Sal Bellomo. Steve Gray’s rug falling off is something you’ll have to see to believe. I enjoyed Iron Mike Sharpe a lot more than expected. Bob Orton was fun to watch in the ring, but the horse stuff fell apart fast. At the end Vince says they are taking a three week break for the US Open, but guess what, we’ll be right back here again next week! In the meantime, Mangia! Mangia! Final Grade: 5/10
Dan: As much as I enjoyed seeing a guy like Mike Sharpe get some shine and the returns of both Studd and Bellomo, this outing was lackluster at best. Some of the in studio stuff was pretty wretched and the Orton segments definitely fell below my expectations. I’ll never forget the Steve Gray moment which won’t likely be topped on the unintentional comedy scale and the matches were decent, but we’ve seen so much better on TNT that it’s not even close. I do wish we saw more of that Bellomo/Backlund tussle but C’est la vie. That food did look delicious proving once again that I should never write these ever on an empty stomach. Final Grade: 3/10
Scott: That was a fun episode, maybe not the best overall but some really goofy segments, particularly with pizza man Sal Bellomo and great heel work from Bob Orton. B. Brian Blair was definitely on the sauce, but maybe Steve Gray’s scalp needs some steroids too. I was a huge John Studd fan early on, he worked the heel stuff very well. Mike Sharpe’s promo was sickeningly fun and frenetic. This was entertaining and at the moment the two hour format isn’t too bad. That changes as the year progresses. Final Grade: 5.5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!