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 8/6/84
Run Time: 1:14:15
JT: I have to go with Ken Patera and the van test of strength. Some highlights where Vince McMahon ditching the jacket, Lord Alfred getting kicked out of the van because he is British, Vince obsessing about company liability and then yelling at Patera that he is probably going to die as he got behind the wheel. Patera staying cool throughout while narrating exactly what he was going to do was funny as was Vince beeping the horn and revving the engine anxiously. The whole thing built up real well and by the end I was really ready to see the exhibition thanks to all the hype and stalling. The actual feat of strength was pretty impressive and you could see Patera straining and nearly wilting and then him incoherently rambling afterwards while Vince commended him was the cherry on top.
Chad: Patera with the test of strength wins this episode easily. It was really long but we saw a good bit of personality from Patera and it did pay off in an incredible visual segment of Patera holding the van with his legs. Overall, this was a strong way in making Patera still seem like a main player when the company was flush with other heels.
Jason: The Ken Patera test of strength was quite impressive and has my vote this week. In addition to that segment, he was calm, cool and collected while speaking with Vince and Alfred. I was expecting Ken to be a dickish heel, but well spoken and relaxed Patera worked just fine. But when he was bending rods around his neck, lifting weights and holding back a van with his legs, Patera meant business.
Dan: Patera’s Test of Strength of course though I’ll get more into that in the next paragraph. Since I have some words to burn, let me take a moment and say how much I liked seeing the Haiti Kid in this episode. That match he was in was fun with all the gags he was pulling on the referee and he just came across as an extremely humble man who appreciates everything that wrestling has done for him in his lifetime.
Scott: I enjoyed the Ken Patera “Tests of Strength” segment. Patera was still a hot heel even though his IC title reign was quite a while ago. He actually was smooth talking and held a quiet arrogance, a far cry from his return a few years later with his bad hair and fumbling promos. The Tito Santana stuff was ok, considering he is the IC Champion. Otherwise the show was a little boring.
JT: I will go with Ken Patera here. He was calm and collected in trashing the officials that screw him in the ring and then put on a great display of power, both in and out of the ring. His match was a squash but fairly entertaining and the bit with him holding back the van with his legs is very memorable. I also loved how Vince ditched the jacket before they headed outside and that Al was driving the van until Patera told him to go screw, nice touches.
Chad: Ken Patera was becoming a relic here but it can’t be understated that he was still coming off of a very successful run as part of the Sheiks faction in AWA just a year before this airing. He also still had a great build and definition and was an adequate enough talker to remain a name in the upper mid card in WWF land around this time.
Jason: Again, I’ll go with Ken Patera. His test of strength stuff and match against Billy Travis were enough to sell me on him. A pretty good profile overall on Patera to showcase him as on of the top heels in the company at the time.
Dan: Ken Patera was the shining star in an otherwise dark and desolate episode. I could watch all of his feats of strength and marvel at what the human body is capable of doing. Granted I wouldn’t recommend trying to bend a rod with your neck or military press over 500 pounds, but from the comforts of my own couch, it’s nonetheless extremely impressive. I also enjoyed him screaming at Vince for being impatient behind the wheel. That made me chuckle. Tell me your jaw didn’t drop when you witnessed that rubber literally burning on the pavenment as Patera stopped that 5,000 pound van in its tracks. Incredible!
Scott:Just like I said above, I give it to Ken Patera and the strength tests, concluding with the holding up of the van with his legs.
JT: I am surprised at the depth at which they dig into the vault for these random legends they have been dragging out. I am not sure many viewers knew or cared who Ace Freeman was and then to spend the time to run a match clip of him is pretty surprising.
Chad: Ace Freeman is a weird nostalgia act to come out as most of the other ones have at least had strong ties with Vince Sr. This felt like a random choice but I did enjoy the segment and it didn’t overstay its welcome.
Jason: Ace Freeman is a guy that I had never heard of and never expected to see show up here. I had to Wiki this stud to get some more information.
Dan: I’m surprised how much I like polka more than mariachi music. Sorry Tito!
Scott: Like most TNTs, there aren’t many surprises. Pretty much a straightforward talk show.
JT: That Lou Albano managed Ken Patera. Go away, you parasite. At least we got to hear Vince talk about how fat he was during Patera’s match. The matches and guests this week were a step back, especially the long section with Ace Freeman and Haiti Kid.
Chad: I looked at what we missed due to the tape clipping and it involved Kamala and a live chicken. That is a shame.
Jason: I agree with Chad here. The technical issues from this show caused us to miss Kamala and a live chicken. Too bad. This sounds like a segment all of us would find entertaining.
Dan: Lord Alfred Hayes doesn’t like Mexican food? What is wrong with you Lordship! It’s not like the Samoans were cooking again with fish heads and such! That stuff looked delicious! Greeny, you down for some enchiladas later? Shame on you Alfred! Shame!
Scott: The match highlights were all garbage and I’m still irked that the mailbag segment is way too kayfabe. They need to let it all hang out and read whatever the questions are.
JT: Stinks that tape issues cost us the opening of the show and drop us in the middle of a Ken Patera interview; Patera was great as a heel at this point and is a good choice for a showcase; Ken’s war on officiating is one I can get behind; Haiti Kid delivering the mail sack this week ticks off our running game of who will drag out the correspondence each week; Ace Freeman probably wasn’t needed here but it was funny that they probably made him put over Hulk Hogan before closing out his segment; Haiti Kid interview? Bring back Ace; Vince with a Frenchy LaMont name drop; “The strength you fellas possess”; Tito Santana looking sharp helps spruce up the episode a bit; Tito’s tilt with Rene Goulet wasn’t bad but definitely went a bit longer than needed; And speaking of long, the Mexican food taste testing went on forever; I was just getting a little into the Nikolai Volkoff match and then they just dumped out of it
Chad: A weird moment where we edit right into a Patera interview with him mid sentence. I won’t complain about TNT being chopped off by twenty minutes though. I really dug the match vs. Travis that Patera has. It is amazing seeing Billy Joe in this persona as JTTS given my familiarity with his Memphis run in the 1990s. I enjoyed the ring rat wanting to meet Hogan in the mailbag segment. Vince’s answer that he is everywhere was odd. We get a fan of the Orndorff segments from the first few early shows. Was this a phantom letter written by Scott Criscuolo? It is rare when I don’t know these old timers but I did have to use some googling skills when Vince announces Ace Freeman to the set. I continue to really enjoy him carving out a segment on Titans for this. The Mongols match was again interesting to watch but this one didn’t look too exciting. This is from an MSG card that broke the attendance record at that time in 1970. The mini match clips with Haiti and Carpenter was fine with most of the tropes featured in those matches. It still felt like a good bit of filler for the episode overall. I am really sad they have replaced the outro and intro TNT music for the breaks. Also, Vince announces Haiti Kid as one of the all time midgets. The Mexican food statement was way too drawn out and made Tito look like he didn’t have as much charisma as he displays inside the ring.
Jason: We finally get our first footage from my hometown arena, the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeespie, NY. Oh look, Lou Albano manages someone else. Nice shorts, Lou! Vince and Tony Garea were an interesting combination on commentary. Sad to see Chad’s boy Billy Travis get roughed up by Patera. Alfred trying to bend the rod like Patera did was something else. Vince ditching the jacket for the van segment showed that he was in pretty damn good shape back then. Something that we would go on to see even more of over the years. Patera giving Alfred the boot from driving the van because he’s from England and drives on the wrong side of the street. The mailbag segment drags every week. Time to ditch this thing. Ace Freeman? Did Vince Sr. leave a note in his will to make sure all of his friends get a spot on TNT? Haiti Kid’s little legs hanging over the chair made me chuckle. Nothing like a good midget match, right Scott? As much as I enjoy Tito Santana, I can’t stand Rene Goulet. But, Tito can get a decent match out of anyone, even Goulet. Man, the Mexican food tasting made me hungry. Alfred with a sombrero on was hilarious. I have always enjoyed the Nikolai and Fred Blassie duo. Such a perfect fit.
Dan: I was thrilled this episode was cut short by 20 minutes until I realized it was because of technical problems. I hope no one was fired and left homeless as result of these production difficulties. Tony Garea’s line about how Albano “doesn’t spend money on clothes that’s for sure” made me belly laugh. Admit it, you all giggled when Patera spoke about the different types of “snatches” he was performing. Squat Snatch? Two hand clean and jerk? What I do in my personal life is none of your business! Did one of those Mongols look familiar? The younger one was, of course, the man we know as Nikolai Volkoff. He was known as Bepo Mongol back then and he won the WWWF International Tag Titles on three occasions with this team. Rene Goulet’s claw has nothing on the Von Erichs. The Stalker? Wasn’t he one of the crappy generic masked guys from World Class?
Scott: Albano managed Ken Patera too? Jesus, he really did glom on to every heel in the promotion; I liked Patera’s heel attitude, seemed to be ahead of his time. He was cool and collected, and not fumbling his words. His legs weren’t nearly as creamy as they’d become a few years later; Who the hell is Ace Freeman? Hasn’t Vince exhausted all of his dad’s cronies yet?; Haiti Kid is one midget wrestler that I actually liked; I understand midget matches are supposed to be comic fare, but I just don’t care for them; I always liked the green Intercontinental Belt; Vince sets Alfred up to be the bad guy all the time, as the Mexican food segment show but it’s got to be better than gross English food
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 easily the worst TNT we have watched and a contender for worst entry overall with this project. None of the matches were worth watching and the parade of guests and showcase segments after the Patera stuff ranged from terrible to just OK (and that is mainly out of respect to Tito Santana). I am OK with skipping the throwback segments if it is going to lead to dudes like Ace Freeman being trotted out of cobwebs. The Mexican food and music showcase went on forever and didn’t really give any laughs besides Vince making Alfred eat all the food. The Patera stuff was good but even then it doesn’t come close to some of the stuff we have seen from Roddy Piper, Dick Murdoch, Adrian Adonis and Paul Orndorff in previous episodes. They can’t all be winners but this one really dragged along and failed to deliver anything of strong quality. Final Grade: 1.5/10
Chad: I found the Patera stuff interesting, but it was drawn out. The rest was just a slog to get through. More and more, I am becoming disconnected with TNT on the whole. I don’t find the comedy amusing and even the storyline development moments could be condensed on the syndicated shows. Final Grade: 2/10
Jason: Besides the Patera stuff, this episode was real bad. The roster is growing week after week and the best they could do here was Ace Freeman and the Haiti Kid? Complete garbage. If you enjoy Ken Patera holding back a van with his legs and Mexican food, then check out this episode. Let’s hope we get back on track quickly. Final Grade: 2.5/10
Dan: This show was weak. The best parts had to do with Ken Patera, Haiti Kid and Mexican food. While I personally like all three, this show lacked the quality segments shared by its predecessors. Matches were eh, Ace Freeman didn’t move the needle, the best match involved “midgets” and it was just boring, plain and simple. Perhaps all the good stuff was in the 20 minutes we missed due to technical difficulties. Final Grade: 2/10
Scott: This was one of the weaker TNT episodes. There was some sort of edit on the Network as the opening package goes right into Ken Patera in the chair. That’s probably the reason the episode is about 20 minutes shorter than normal. The rest of the show is pretty bland, with crappy matches and Ace Freeman. Who? Enough of Vince Sr’s cronies that the fans could care less about. One of the worst TNTs so far, saved by the Olympic Strongman. Final Grade: 3.5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!