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 1/31/85
Run Time: 44:35
JT: Anything with Bobby Heenan will be the easy favorite for this category whenever he is on. His interview combined with the head shaving takes it here tonight. He does a great job trashing Andre the Giant and explaining the thought process behind the embarrassing incident.
Brian: Nothing really stood out that much here other than the Bobby Heenan segment as he talked about why he had Big John Studd & Ken Patera shave Andre’s head as they used this to build towards Andre vs. Studd at WrestleMania. Plus, we also got to see the match when Andre’s head got shaved in its entirety.
Dan: It was a complaint of ours last week when it was omitted from the show so let’s reward them for giving us the infamous “raping of the dignity” match that led to Andre’s haircut. Looking back, you just knew Patera and Studd had no intention of winning that match as their objective was to humble and humiliate Andre. They took out Jones and then went right to work in hurting and devastating their larger adversary. Heenan looks like a genius as he introduces his “family” to a worldwide audience. There really can be only one giant in professional wrestling and on this night, his name was Bobby Heenan.
Scott: The Bobby Heenan segment was solid, because Bobby Heenan is solid. Not much more to say there.
JT: I thought Don Muraco was pretty good despite some of his gibberish. But I think Heenan, Studd and Patera are the choice here. The match, haircut and then Heenan’s explanation was the best stretch of the show.
Brian: I’ll go with Heenan here too. He was one of the best talkers in wrestling history and really did a strong job at hyping up Studd as a giant that can take out Andre.
Dan: Until further notice, this award will always go to Nikolai Volkoff anytime we have the pleasure of hearing his beautiful voice. Everyone else is just playing for second place if you ask me!
Scott: All the managers posted strong performances, in particular Heenan and Blassie, who had all the major players in the promotion at this time.
JT: That we get to see the actual Patera & Studd vs. Andre & Jones tag match that led to the haircut after seeing the aftermath last week. Nice treat.
Brian: I guess the biggest surprise was watching Mario Mancini job twice on this show. And the poor guy got destroyed in both matches.
Dan: I thought Don Muraco was supposed to be this jacked up godlike specimen. Did you see those surfing clips. The dude was totally rocking the dad bod here and I’m not even sure he has kids. Yikes, I can see why he wasn’t impressed with that footage. No wonder he felt lonely on the beaches of Hawaii and so desperately wanted to return to the ring!
Scott: I was surprised how out of shape Don Muraco got. Go back to 1981 and 1982 Muraco matches and he was in great shape. Fast forward to 1985 and you can see where the “Beach Bum” nickname came from. Wow hit the gym Don!
JT: Granny Kim.
Brian: The Granny Kim segment was awful to anyone not named Vincent K. McMahon.
Dan: Granny Kim just does not make for good television.
Scott: I was disappointed that we didn’t get any Prime Time segments, or even have Jack Reynolds as a guest to promote the new show. It would end up usurping TNT as the weekly centerpiece show.
JT: Don Murano’s sweater would make even Dan McGinn shake his head; The Magnificent One is a pretty good surfer based on the footage we saw, even with the added girth he is carrying around; “Sick, sick soul”; I have no clue what the fuck Muraco was talking about; Mario Mancini!; Jesse Ventura was great on commentary right out of the gate; Lord Al calling Granny’s dogs “creatures”; Nice payoff to finally see Hillbilly Jim in action; Why is Terry Gibbs only wearing one kneepad?; I love me some Patera & Studd and really cool that we now get the match that led to the haircut; Double dose of Mario tonight, always a real treat;
Brian: Don Muraco came out here in an ugly white sweater with Mr. Fuji to address the “beach bum” chants the crowd was chanting at him. We then saw footage of him surfing and boy did he get fat then. I will give him credit though as he was a good surfer. Just one year prior he was in decent shape when he dropped the IC Title to Tito Santana but really did nothing else of note since. We then saw Muraco destroy Mancini from a match that actually aired on the 2/2/85 edition of “All-Star Wrestling” but was taped on 1/7/85. I loved how on commentary, Jesse Ventura roasted Jack Reynolds for getting Muraco’s hometown wrong. Man, Reynolds was a useless announcer. The Granny Kim segment was terrible as they showed us Jim’s first match against Terry Gibbs from the 1/26/85 edition of “Championship Wrestling.” Hogan accompanied Jim at ringside. The S.D. Jones & Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd & Ken Patera match was next as they had played clips of that on TNT before but we got to see it in full here as Andre got his haircut. After that, Heenan told Andre that there is only room for one giant in the WWF and that anyone who messes with himself of his men will feel the wrath. Freddie Blassie came out last and talked about golfing with Jack Lemmon & Bob Hope before we saw his men, Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff defeat Mario Mancini & Steve Lombardi, back when he was a babyface enhancement talent. After that aired, Blassie said his next goal is for his men to win the WWF Tag Team Titles. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo defeated Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch for the titles ten days before this show aired at a house show in Hartford, CT so they are planting the seeds for a title feud between the two.
Dan: Fuji rocking his new trademark tuxedo with his black hat and signature cane. I think that’s only to help him walk though as I don’t see how that could possibly be used as a weapon of any sort. Fans can be so cruel in the 80’s. Beach Bum chants for Muraco. Iron Sheik has Camel Breath. Blassie should be deported. And to think, people get hot and bothered over CM Punk chants today. There was some serious hatred and vitriol being spewed in 1985. Jesse called Muraco’s finisher a unique “double shoulder breaker” though most fans today would recognize it as tombstone piledriver. Score a point for Jack Reynolds for the correction. What in the blue hell is “Oriental Discipline?” Pretty cool seeing Hogan at ringside of Hillbilly even during a squash match. I guess he has time to show up here and enhance this story line since we never actually see him wrestling on television and all. Heenan is wonderful as always. If you mess with his family, you’ll end up looking like a fool as he stated in the interview which correlated perfectly with the haircut expo from last week. Blassie guaranteed that Volkoff and Sheik would win tag team gold. Hmmmm foreshadowing?
Scott: Muraco got really fat during this early-1985 stretch, which is why he probably wasn’t really promoted much in 1984 after Tito Santana beat him for the IC Title; Muraco looks like he revolutionized the reverse piledriver that would eventually become the “Tombstone”; It’s time to start watching some Hillbilly Jim matches and enough with the dopey vignettes. I mean I understand pushing the character but the fake relatives; Well ok, I spoke too soon as there is Jim’s first match. Hogan said a few weeks ago he was going to get top talent for Hillbilly to face, and he finds…Terry Gibbs? Slim pickings that week I suppose; So after just getting the clip of it last week, we get the full match and cutting of Andre the Giant’s hair. That is a smart move, after the Heenan Family came on last week and bragged about it without anybody really knowing what happened; Bobby Heenan definitely was more serious and less of a joke than we would be in a couple of years; Seems like this episode is a showcase of the promotion’s managers; Wow a double dose of Mario Mancini this week. J. Arsenio D’Amato would be proud; I was always a fan of Sheik’s dark blue long tights with IRAN along the sides; I forgot that Prime Time Wrestling actually started on Tuesdays before being moved to it’s more well known Monday time slot
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 episode was just kind of there. It was really cool seeing the full match and angle with Andre’s haircut but otherwise nothing of note really went down. Muraco was fine as was Fred Blassie. We got to see Hillbilly Jim in his debut match and I could have went without Granny’s awful jokes and rambling but at least it was short enough. These shows are so much easier to watch since being cut in half but I would like to at least see a bit more story progression crammed in. This was a bit light in that area. A fine enough watch but completely inconsequential. Final Grade: 3.5/10
Brian: There was not a whole lot of note that took place here and nothing was memorable. The Granny Kim segment was the only thing bad as everything else luckily involved strong characters who could made the best out of mundane material. They at least dropped the seeds for a new Tag Team Title feud here and had Heenan explain the motives for the attack on Andre. Final Grade: 4.5/10.
Dan: This episode just never got cooking. The Muraco stuff was choppy with Vince’s frequent interuptions that was compounded by the fact that “The Magnificient One” can’t speak in complete sentences. All the Heenan stuff was wonderful and I was very happy we got to see the haircut that rocked the wrestling landscape finally. Everything else just seemed to be phoned in from the Granny Kim segment to even the Blassie stuff that sort of felt like time filler. I don’t miss the longer shows by any stretch, but this show just seemed light on content or much of anything worth seeking out besides the Andre stuff. Final Grade: 3/10
Scott: This was a down the middle episode of the show, with the focus being on all the heel managers in the company, and that doesn’t even include Jimmy Hart who was just getting going in the company. We haven’t gotten any real build yet to the War to Settle the Score but eventually that will begin. TNT is becoming more and more of a show that promotes the heels to establish them as foils for the big babyfaces (Hogan, Tito, Steamboat, JYD) and the comedy skits with Vince and Alfred. The shows will hopefully gain some traction again but this one seemed on cruise control. Final Grade: 5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link