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 10/15/84
Run Time: 1:35:48
JT: Da Brune. My rule still stands. Whenever Bruno is involved it is the best match, moment or segment and that rule isn’t broken here as he was insightful and interesting to listen through during his chat with Vince McMahon. Plus it was capped with Bruno getting involved in John Studd’s bench press attempt. Also, small shout out to Tito Santana vs. Rene Goulet, a solid little tilt that received a good amount of time.
Jason: The Italian Superman takes it for me. Bruno looked incredible after slimming down some and he filled out that sweet suit great too. In addition, he has a presence about him that screams star, even this late into his career. Bruno has always been a humble well spoken guy and it was a nice treat listening to him chat it up with Vince here. It was also a nice addition having Bruno get involved the the Studd bench press stuff.
Dan: Gotta go with Belly Dancers! Okay, I’ll go with Bruno too. I’ve missed him so much. I thought it was interesting to hear his take on how legends from the past would fare against today’s (1984) superstars. I also never knew about how he would experiment with his weight in order to maintain his career. If he dropped a few pounds he would gain more agility and endurance. If he gained weight, his power would increase. His ability to adapt to every style – brawling, technical, grappling – was fascinating and you can see why he was such a megastar. I also loved his interaction with Studd and him showing the big guy respect albeit begrudgingly after the latter shattered the bench press record.
Scott: I have to say the Bruno segment was the coolest. The former WWF Champion had that championship swagger about him, a different one from say when Buddy Rogers was on. That was the fun part of these TNTs, to have all the real legends on. Not necessarily Vince Sr’s cronies but the actual legends like Bruno, Buddy and Lou Thesz. My second favorite segment was the match segment with Murdoch and Adonis battling the Samoans. Those guys always made me smile, such great heels.
JT: I will go with the Samoans and Murdoch & Adonis. None of the studio segments really did it for me this week and those guys put on a fun little match as yo would expect. It was weird seeing the Samoans as over faces and Murdoch & Adonis cheating and slugging their way through the match was enjoyable as always. It was also cool seeing the Samoans slap around that fat pig Lou Albano. So far, Dick and Adrian have been the biggest beneficiaries of their TNT exposure in my world.
Jason: I loved Bruno, but I’ll go with the Samoans vs. Adonis and Murdoch. The Garden crowd was super hot for the newly turned babyface Samoans. Adonis and Murdoch have proved that they click on previous TNT matches and segments with more of the same here. Even with Lou Albano wobbling around the ring as the ref, both teams delivered. Watching a man the size of Adonis bump around the ring is a thing of beauty. If I were to chose an MVP of these TNTs so far, it would be Adonis and Murdoch. Also, anytime we get Gorilla using the term, “a miscarriage of justice” that adds to the joy of a match.
Dan: In an effort to be different (would you expect anything less), I’ll go with Sgt. Slaughter and his Cobra Corps. This segment was awesome though it might have been even cool if Sarge was an angry heel a la Orndorff in his pampering segment from weeks ago. I laughed when he yelled at those bums while they were shaving while hurrying them onto the field screaming “We don’t deal with slow people.” Forget building a wall to protect our borders, get Slaughter and corps on the case. He was so dramatic too. Like when he admonished his students while in the mess hall saying that if you talk while you eat, the enemy will learn where you are and “we’ll all be dead!” This was fantastic and all in the name of continuing his feud with Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkhoff while also loving his country. Loved it!
Scott: I will not repeat my Bruno pick here, and go with Big John Studd. The continuity of the bench press storyline was not common on these shows back then, but he was a great heel self, blaming everybody else for him failing the first time and then mouthing off to Bruno that he would have taken his title. Among all the great heels that TNT has had on so far, Studd is in the top two or three.
JT: I was surprised that John Studd failed to set his bench press record. After all the hype and weeks of build he comes up short and storms off in shame as Vince basically tells him he is a loser. Obviously he came back and paid it off but in a way that made him seem like a valiant face instead of a bad ass heel. At least he got to shit talk Vince and Bruno to help keep his heel presence.
Jason: Nothing really stands out here as a surprise. This was a pretty straight forward episode with no real shock value.
Dan: I was surprised that hospital allowed all that access to the cameras during Tito’s surgery. I work in the medical profession in my real life and I don’t believe you would see such coverage these days with HIPAA and other privacy regulations. That segment went so long too, I’m surprised they didn’t just show us that match between Santana and Valentine in the first place but maybe that should be saved for our next category…
Scott: No major surprises here. To repeat from past pieces, it’s tough to see surprises on a talk show.
JT: I was hoping we would get a longer match clip during the Bruno segment instead of just about thirty seconds of a bout with Bulldog Brower. With so much time to fill they easily could have lobbed out a eight-ten minute classic Bruno battle. Instead we get to enjoy David Sammartino out there against Ron Shaw.
Jason: Man, Tito came off like a real pussy during his segment. I get showing sympathy for babyfaces, but Tito showed no charisma at any point and acted like this injury was career threatening. For a guy who was a part of a feud for the second most important title in the company, you would think he would act more determined to get back on his feet and seek revenge on the Hammer.
Dan: …why in the name of Steve Wille did we not see that Valentine/Santana match? Besides Slaughter, Santana hobbling around on crutches, crying about losing the belt, questioning his ability to come back 100%, him being wheeled into the operating room, getting prepped for surgery, cutting a promo on anesthesia, even him getting stretchered out with the help of the jobber roster dominated that first hour. Would it have killed them to give us that match instead of all that fluff?
Scott: I thought the Tito Santana segment came off kind of weak. The hospital clips with Tito still wearing his glasses came off more heelish than anything else. I understand that he got hurt and his toughness to keep wrestling in the title loss to Valentine makes him look tough, but Vince was still honing his sit-down interview skills and it seemed like he emasculated Tito by the end of the interview. He may have had something in the future tank for a World Title run, but interviews like this may have ruined it.
JT: Vince gets things going right away by calling Alfred the “Elder uncle of Boy George”; Sarge’s drill camp for his Cobra Corps was a fun little bit and different from the normal fare we get on TNT but went on much too long to really be effective; “You like Iran?”; Tough showing for Tito Santana on this one as he was injured and struggled to really deliver his promo; On the plus side, any time we get a Tito match i am excited, even if it is in a very bizarre ring and arena with a super awkward looking referee; Cool seeing the post match footage of Tito’s loss to the Hammer as well as his surgery; I like how they built the John Studd segment up for multiple weeks before paying it off here; Vince was in all his glory during the Studd segment and I was surprised they had him fail at breaking the record; Interesting tag match with the Samoans as faces against Adonis & Murdoch; Studd confronting Bruno on the set was well done; Nice touch having Freddie Blassie do the love letter advice to pick up where Bobby Heenan left off; Really good showcase for the 18 year old Tonga Kid; Ted Grizzley? What an awful look; Pretty cool seeing the future Hillbilly Jim in the crowd; The hula and luau stuff was pretty bland and really dragged on; The Junkyard Dog stuff was a nice introduction but came so deep into the show that it felt buried and overlooked
Jason: Vince’s dig to Alfred about being Boy George’s uncle was a hot way to start the show. Sarge yelling at his Cobra Corp guys while they were shaving was great. Where did they find these guys? It was like watching Revenge of the Nerds in camouflage. Sarge was a pretty big star at this point, but this segment was pretty bad. A nice touch having Tito sell his injuries from Greg Valentine. This feud might have been the best thing happening in the promotion at this time. Rene Goulet’s white cape was pretty badass. The announcers comparing Tito being stretchered off to Terry Bradshaw was a nice touch. It was pretty nice of the hospital to let Tito wear his glasses on the operating table. Kayfabe, brother! John Studd continues to be one of my favorite guests on TNT. Soft spoken, yet a prickish heel at the same time. Wait, was that Billy Jack Haynes spotting Studd along with Vince? Lou Albano might be the worst special guest referee ever. David Sammartino was as green as Ron Shaw’s trunks. If it wasn’t for his last name, he would have never stepped foot in this promotions ring. These Advice to the Lovelorn segments have been incredible. Last week Bobby and this week Fred Blassie. Listening to grumpy old Blassie shout out responses to the questions was full of laughs. Tonga Kid was only 18 at the time? Ted Grizzly looked like a second-hand hillbilly. Speaking of hillbillies, it was cool to see the future Hillbilly Jim sitting ringside.The hula and luau segment seemed like a great idea to have for the Tonga Kid, but it came off flat and dragged too long. No matter what they’re cooking up during these food segments, it always looks tasty.
Dan: When you start the night with a Boy George reference, you are in for something hot. “We don’t eat like pigs in the Cobra Corps.” If Slaughter was on G.I. Joe, why is his Corpsman for Cobra? So the Cobra Corps wants to clean up America of the trash. Prior to that he asks his recruits if they want anymore Iranians that led to a resounding “NO SIR.” I think Slaughter missed his calling and could be the GOP nominee for president right now if he played his cards right. Goulet was such a jerk blatantly stepping on Tito’s fingers in that match. Pardon my language but what a dick move that is! Tito forgoing the figure four in favor of the flying forearm to pick up the win. I loved how they put over how devastating Valentine’s figure-four leg lock is. Big John Studd bench pressed 630 pounds… as a warmup?!?! Lou Albano should never be a referee and the Samoans should have known better than to sign a contract with that as a stipulation. This is the same guy who sold them out after losing the tag straps in the first place. Not a bright move by Alfa and Sika. I did enjoy Alfa going full blown Dikembe Mutombo with his finger wag while in the “Goodnight Irene.” Kudos to Ron Shaw for losing twice on this episode (David Sammartino & JYD). I would have loved to see Bruno slap the taste out of Studd’s mouth after the bench press record was set. Hearts and Flowers is my new favorite part of this adventure. Is it just me or is Alfred awkward in all walks of life?
Scott:These flunkies in the Cobra Corps all look like bus drivers; I wonder where these places are that had weird colored canvas and slack ropes. It seems like some other promotion’s gear; I bet Rene Goulet’s arm was under the bottom rope after the flying forearm from Tito, but since he’s the heel, who notices; Vince was very defensive with the heel guests, but he was kind of a douche with the face guests, subtly calling Tito pathetic and broken down; I love how the cool Tito was still wearing his shades while in the operating room; Watching these TNTs continue to show me how awesome Murdoch & Adonis were as heel tag team champions; It was pretty great to finally get Bruno on the show; Vince really let these heels to their own devices when they were guests, giving Studd a lot of time to ramble and attempt this lift; Freddie Blassie is awesome, just watch the love letters segment; Tonga Kid did have the charisma, but he just was too nervous to cut a decent promo; Looks like they borrowed the AWA ring announcer for that match with Tonga Kid; For a guy who would end up being one of the greatest heels in wrestling history, Vince was so clumsy going in and out of segments
Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich (Christmas Star Wars, WCCW 12/28/82)
Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Raschke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: I never really got into this episode. It was filled with long segments and while they were good in spots, the overall length killed their effectiveness overall. There was no blow away interview or match to carry things this week and even though I enjoyed Bruno’s visit, I wouldn’t rank it among the best stuff we have seen here since the show started. Studd was fine too but we have seen much better heel character work on previous installments. There was some decent storyline advancement but overall it just felt lacking and was easily one of my least favorite episodes of TNT thus far. Final Grade: 3/10
Jason: There was plenty of star power in this episode. From Sarge to Studd, Bruno, Tito and JYD at the end. The tag match and Bruno segments are worth checking out. I wish Tito would have put on his big boy pants and not have come across as weak as he did. More new talent has arrived as we got our first look at the Tonga Kid. He’s a great addition to the Piper and Snuka feud. Overall, a middle of the road show. Final Grade: 5/10
Dan: Not my favorite TNT of all time by any stretch though certainly not unwatchable. If you can say anything it’s that most of what we saw dragged a little too long and that included the things I liked such as Slaughter and the Bruno stuff. I was surprised Studd failed initially on the bench press record but they payed it off nicely with his second chance and his interaction with Bruno. Tito’s defeat and hospitalization took forever, the Tonga Kid stuff was coma inducing and all in all there have been better TNTs before this one. Nothing offensive, just nothing too spectacular either but it was great to see Bruno again if nothing else. Final Grade: 4/10
Scott: This was a pretty good episode, with the pushing of the Studd and Tito/Valentine storyline and the Sergeant Slaughter piece was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the Tonga Kid segment to really introduce him to the masses. They teased this new star the Junkyard Dog at the end but that seemed like a throwaway segment to fill the time. I’m not sure when they cut the show down to an hour from two hours but there were a few throwaway segments every week that could be cut. This show was great, with the highlight being Bruno’s debut. Final Grade: 7/10