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 10/29/84
Run Time: 1:23:06
JT: I have to go with Brutus Beefcake’s barefoot dance at the nightclub. It had Brutus awkwardly strutting around a floor, Johnny V hyping it up, women swooning and was all set to some wonderful Yacht Rock. It was one of the most absurd things we have seen on TNT so far but that is what this show is all about and when it is at its best, when they embrace the absurdity and go all the way with it. It felt like a bad montage from a terrible 80s movie, so instant win.
Brian: The cooking segment with the Junkyard Dog was the best overall. Watching Vince entertain himself by dousing Lord Alfred’s foot with hot sauce was hilarious. Lord Alfred was great in his job as the taster in all of the TNT cooking segments. The interview with Brutus Beefcake and Johnny V. was okay as Johnny was entertaining and the strip tease video from Brutus was funny at times because it was terrible but he had nothing on what Rick Rude did at the 1987 Slammy Awards.
Jason: I’m all for a cooking segment on TNT and JYD was very entertaining. However, I have to go with the awkwardness that was the Brutus Beefcake striptease. It’s not every episode that we get to see Bruti strut barefoot to 80s porn music in front of a bunch of women. TNT has had it’s fair share of crazy moments, but this ranks up there as one that I never expected to see.
Dan: I’m tempted to go Slaughter here because he is my boy but instead I’ll say JYD and the soul food. Not only did it make me exceptionally hungry, but we finally found something that Lord Alfred is willing to eat which is quite an accomplishment! Plus JYD is awesome if not incoherent. This is an actual quote: “blahblahblahblahblah pop goes the weasel.” He also uses the term “my intestines are ringing a bell” to describe his desire to eat. As far as food segments – and we’ve seen a ton of them in 1984 – this one was really good not to mention appetizing!
Scott: Any food segment is usually good for a laugh, particularly when Lord Alfred Hayes attempts to eat it. Wow he must have led a sheltered life since he honestly doesn’t know any kind of cuisine except Bangers and Mash. Everybody know collard greens and ribs for pete’s sake. As for Vince McMahon, he always gets so snarky when people explain even the most normal of recipes, like they are so foreign to him. The Beefcake/night club segment was weird and hilarious to say the least.
JT: Johnny V was fantastic putting over Beefcake throughout the whole show. At the club, in the ring and in the studio, he was on point. His garb was ridiculous but his mic work was perfect, countering Vince McMahon left and right with any questions or points he lobbed out while making sure Beefcake as the focus the whole way through. It was clear Brutus’ charisma was limited at this point and Johnny was a perfect choice for his manager.
Brian: Johnny V. stood out above the rest here. He was the most entertaining performer on the show. I also liked the look on Vince’s face as Johnny named off all of the top babyface stars as the ugliest in the whole WWF. Johnny did a great job putting over Beefcake, who really needed it at the time.
Jason: Johnny V killed it in every which way. As Bruti’s emcee at the night club, verbally putting him over in studio, as his manager at ringside and giving advise to to the lovelorn. Johnny reminds me of Tony Clifton in that he’s loud, obnoxious and colorful. With a nice mix of managers coming into the company at the time, Johnny sure fit the mold for what they needed to help get the heel talent over. Plus, that shiny jacket with the bow tie was one hell of a wardrobe.
Dan: It’s Brotha Bruti of course. I can only imagine the conversation backstage with Vince explaining to the green as grass Beefcake that he has to take off all his clothes and awkwardly prance around his masculine wiles for a bunch of old ladies set to the worst porn music I have ever heard. Well he absolutely nailed this role and left all the ladies in The Main Event Night Club with a smile on their faces. I’m not sure it was sexy or if you can call what he did dancing but he certainly looked like he enjoyed himself in doing it. This episode is definitely NSFW!
Scott: For this one I’ll give the nod to the Bruti and his bizarre strip tease at the Poughkeepsie Holiday Inn. Actually I think they said the place was in Baltimore (which is where TNT was shot) but I figured Greeny would recognize it. Luscious Johnny V was coming into his own as a manager and phasing out his in ring career so he wasn’t totally comfortable with it yet, but he was getting there.
JT: I am surprised how entertaining Brutus Beefcake was on this episode. He and Johnny V clicked right away. I am also surprised that Vince was so cavalier about working in cocaine jokes.
Brian: I was not really surprised by anything here but I will say the Beefcake/Valiant segment helped out that duo show some personality and was truly the most beneficial segment of the show. They drug Baron Mikel Scicluna out from the moth balls to bore us to tears but at the time they were bringing back stars from the past, although most of them had higher name value than Scicluna.
Jason: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Johnny V. He got a huge spotlight here and knocked it out of the park in every which way. He was a manager that got lost in the shuffle with the likes of Bobby Heenan, Fred Blassie and Mr. Fuji. Johnny was very sharp witted and was able to do the impossible in getting Brutus Beefcake over.
Dan: Goodness John Studd took a beating against my favorite, SD Jones. That match was already in progress and Studd was bleeding from the forehead like he was Dusty Rhodes. Then Jones continued to pound away opening up that cut and it made you think that an upset was in the making. After the bout, Studd said he didn’t even break a sweat but this World Title contender certainly lost a great deal of blood in this throwaway match.
Scott: No real surprises here, although there was NO surprise they immediately took from that MSG House Show the weekend before and used a match from it. That’s the fun of this project, that stuff from previous viewings could literally pop up anywhere, in particular during this time period when all these clip shows needed material.
JT: Did we really need to see the entire Sgt. Slaughter boot camp bit again? They must have really wanted to get their money’s worth but I was all set sitting through it again. Outside of the cool sunglasses story, Slaughter’s sit down interview was pretty bland and lengthy too, which sucks since he is usually quite great.
Brian: The 20 minute-long segment with Sgt. Slaughter was not an exciting way to start off the show. We did not need to see the Camp Cobra segment again and his interview dragged as well. I get why they did it as they really tried to market the Cobra Corps but this was a dud.
Jason: Oh no, not another boot camp segment. I’m a big Sarge fan, but these segments are not very good. Couldn’t we just have Sarge in studio doing push ups or something? Perhaps set up an obstacle course in the studio parking lot and have Alfred run through it.
Dan: Guys, you know me. I’m a huge Hearts and Flowers segment lover. When Bobby did it weeks ago, it was a certified slam dunk. Johnny Valiant in the same segment with similar questions, served up an air ball from the free throw line. Terrible!
Scott: I was a little disappointed they had to rehash that Slaughter piece after only a few weeks. I know Slaughter was a guest on this episode but they could have added new material instead of reusing that piece. Otherwise there wasn’t anything that overly disappointed me.
JT: Pretty cool that we get the reference of Johnny V becoming Beefcake’s manager after seeing it revealed in last week’s installment at the MSG house show; Johnny acting as Beefer’s hype man at the club followed by Brutus cutting a rug with the chicks was fantastic; Beefcake kind of has a Rocky Balboa look going on with that hair and those shades; The clip of SD Jones busting open John Studd was pretty neat; Solid psychology in the Studd/Jones match with SD getting caught up with the slam offer and it costing him; Always great hearing our buddy Gary Michael Cappetta when he sneaks into these shows; I like how they circle through all the managers to do the Lovelorn segment; That battle royal mailbag entry was so bizarre; These ladies making the soul food weren’t exactly popping with charisma; Vince with another cocaine joke aimed at Alfred!; The JYD segment sure gives us a solid idea as to why he got grossly overweight shortly after this; Speaking of overweight, Vachon’s paunch was barely held back by that spandex; The Scicluna match footage was cool but he really didn’t have much to say in studio besides defending his cheating; Vince stuck in another funny line when he called Alfred a “potato farmer” in the ring;
Brian: Interesting to see Vince work a current pop-culture reference for once when he referred to Lord Alfred as a ghostbuster. Besides the Cobra Corps, the WWF was also heavily pushing the pro-USA stuff with Slaughter as they showed all of the kids in the stands on “WWF Championship Wrestling” wearing fatigues and holding flags, one of which Slaughter actually kissed. This show truly helped out Beefcake, who struggled to get over out of the gate. He made his debut by randomly strutting around the ring during other people’s matches but the fans never responded to him. They also hyped up Big John Studd, who was shockingly bleeding from the head in the clip of his match we saw against SD Jones, and Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik as they were showcasing them as a duo. Establishing Sheik & Volkoff as a team was useful as the tag team division was incredibly weak at the time.
Jason: Vince starting out with a Ghostbusters reference as that movie was the big box office smash in the summer of 1984. Here we are writing about this show in the summer of 2016 and the reboot of that movie has just been released in theaters. Sweet, one of my favorite jobbers from this era, Charlie Fulton. I’m a big fan of Sarge’s alternate blue tights over the white singlet ring attire. It was cool seeing a more relaxed and chill Sarge in the studio chatting it up with Vince. To answer Scott’s question about the location of the Beefcake segment, to my knowledge there was never a Main Event night club in Poughkeepsie. But, it is possible that they grabbed a shot of the building sign and then filmed the segment at the hotel that is connected to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. It seems like we’re seeing Tony Garea do the favor for someone different every week here. John Studd getting busted open in his match with SD Jones threw me off guard. Where can I get a pair of those Johnny V glasses? Those things were sharp! Vince dropping another Ghostbusters reference when JYD came out was pretty cool. I love listening to JYD talk. He’s so laid back and that sharp southern accent always puts a smile on my face. Man, that JYD southern cuisine looked amazing! JYD might not be the best worker in the ring, but that guy bleeds charisma. Baron Miguel Sicluna must have been another one of Vince Sr’s buddies. The footage they showed of him in the ring was neat to see. I’m a mark for footage from that era.
Dan: I think they finally fixed Alfred’s mic when he is reading the opener. I’m the biggest supporter of Slaughter on this panel and even I didn’t need to see the Cobra Corps segment a second time. I love how the Cobra Corps headquarters is top secret in order to keep Russians and Iranians away. While Sgt. praises his recruits he is quick to squash their dreams by saying they wouldn’t be fit to be pro wrestlers. Can we put on my ongoing bucket list to “take a ride is Slaughter’s camouflage limousine?” I don’t think I ever fully appreciated the popularity of Slaughter until these reviews. Look at all the signs, posters and flags in that crowd and this was way before bringing props to a wrestling show was considered trendy. Very topical to have the American hero encourage fans to register to vote. P.S. for you political nerds like me out there, Reagan beat Mondale in the electoral voting something like 1,081-13 that year. While not the smoothest high knee ever delivered, good for Tony Garea to help establish that as a deadly finisher by Beefcake.
Scott: Lord Alfred is looking a little pudgier as the shows have progressed, as well as having a normal looking tuxedo; Stripper Beefcake fit the gimmick perfectly. That bar was probably in Poughkeepsie, right Greeny?; Johnny V is totally coked up in this segment, sweating like crazy and babbling endlessly; For maybe the first time in this project’s history, we get a repeat, as the Brutus/Garea match they showcased is the same one that is from last week’s MSG House Show; It’s crazy to see Big John Studd bleeding against a guy like SD Jones, but clearly that was from a previous match; Do I even want to interpret that letter about a guy wanting to be in a 20-man battle royal?; Any time there is a segment about food, Vince and Alfred act like total douche bags, whether it’s a face or a heel as the guest; Nice to see the Baron here, as we continue going through Vince Sr’s cronies
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 kind of a weird episode. There wasn’t any segment that really dragged or was awful but the only really good bits involved Brutus Beefcake and Johnny V. However, their combined screen time was pretty hefty, so it is a tough installment to analyze on a whole. The Studd match was certainly unique as well with him getting busted open but it did a good job pushing along the bodyslam challenge angle. Outside of that, we were pretty light on quality wresting this week so nothing there to help bump the grade. I didn’t really enjoy the Cobra Corps segment last time around so I was all set with watching it again. JYD’s segment was fine but nothing enough to bump the grade. I will say that one of the strengths of this show is allowing fans to really get to know new talents that are arriving in the promotion. This one is all Beefcake and Johnny V fueled for sure. Final Grade: 4/10
Brian: There was nothing memorable here and the Slaughter stuff went on forever. Plus, filler like Baron Mikel Scicluna made this show a chore to watch at times. Putting over Studd and Sheik & Volkoff was fine and all but this show is dedicated to getting over the personalities of the wrestler more than anything else. The only things that were decent was the Valiant/Beefcake segment and cooking with the Junkyard Dog. Much like a three-hour long RAW today can be a chore, these two-hour long TNTs can feel the same way. Final Grade: 4/10
Jason: This episode was packed with craziness from barefoot stripping Beefcake to soul food cooking with the JYD. Johnny V stole the show as he was heavily featured and was very entertaining all throughout. One thing I’ll say is that they pack a lot into these episodes and get a lot of talent over in an hour and a half. I could have down without more Sarge boot camp footage, but Johhny V, Bruti and JYD are worth check out if you are looking for something on the Network to throw on. Final Grade: 5/10
Dan: This show was a weak to okay offering at best as there wasn’t a stand out match to be found and even the in-studio segments had their flaws. I’m sorry but Valiant is annoying and sounds like he’s just making crap up on the fly like a bad improv act. JYD was fun but we’ve seen the cooking stuff repeatedly and Slaughter was more or less a rehash of what we’ve seen before. Studd/Jones was an interesting pairing and Beefcake strutting his stuff was unique at least. Building up this new brute with his charismatic mouthpiece was the point of this show without question. It’s remarkable how many heels they continue to develop on this roster. Still in the hit-or-miss world of TNT, I say this was mostly miss. Now pass me some ribs and wrinkle steaks! Final Grade: 4/10
Scott: This was an average episode, highlighted by the first appearance of the JYD and the soul food segment. Every time I think we are done with Vince Sr’s cronies another one pops up, although the Baron was funny clearly no-selling the cheating in the clip while there’s obvious double-teams going on there. Lord Alfred doesn’t look as emaciated as he did in the earlier episodes and he’s finally wearing a normal tuxedo. Nothing overly crazy here, just the usual character advancement and cheesy jokes. Final Grade: 5.5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!