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 6/6/85
Run Time: 36:41
JT: I will go with the heel gong show that wrapped up the episode. Having Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura and Johnny V mock and rip random mush mouth fans is a dream pro wrestling heel scenario. It felt really energetic and fresh and the production of the segment was well done too. 1985 is a peak time for heel personalities and this was a fun showcase. Also, I can’t believe that jamoke in the crowd said Richard Belzer was his favorite wrestler! What the fuck.
Brian: The final segment in which Jesse Ventura, Johnny V., and Bobby Heenan had their version of the Gong Show was pretty funny. Johnny V. in particular was a standout here. A good way to end the show.
Dan: No question it was Lisa Sliwa. The girl is an absolute smoke show and I don’t care if the Guardian Angels kick my ass over this. I’m glad they followed up on this story from a number of shows ago and I believe her when she says she is serious of joining the lady wrestler ranks some day. I found it funny that she was able to flip around jobbers like Mario Mancini and I think Gene was a little too eager to be hip tossed by such a beauty. Plus that modeling montage. To borrow a phrase, hache mache!
Scott: It’s a tie between Bruno knocking out Johnny Valiant, and the heels mocking the crowd in the final segment. I’ll go with the crowd segment because the combination of Jesse, Bobby and Luscious Johnny is pure gold as they’re mocking some of these stiffs.
JT: I really enjoyed this episode and thought everyone was pretty on point, starting with Vince McMahon and running right through with Ventura, Sammartino, Johnny V, Lisa Sliwa, Bobby Heenan and John Studd. They all delivered. I would say Ventura was the best of the bunch but it was a tough race this week.
Brian: I’ll give the edge to Jesse Ventura. From being the delusional heel who thought his rock video sounded good from ragging on the audience, he stayed true to his character the entire time. Jesse always brought the goods when on TV.
Dan: I liked Jesse as always. He played to the hostile crowd very well and he truly believes he’s a superior rock musician compared to the pip-squeaks out there like David Lee Roth. I thought it was humorous when Vince kept playing shorter and shorter clips of that wretched music video. “That was quick enough!” The fans dug that interplay between the broadcast colleagues too so I thought it was an effective use of “The Body” in front of the larger audience.
Scott: Pretty much every heel on the show hammed it up like crazy and made this so entertaining. So I give it to every big heel (Bobby, Luscious Johnny, Jesse) who really gave it to the audience.
JT: I was surprised that Lisa Sliwa was brought back for a second TNT spotlight. She seemed like a random dart throw that would be forgotten to time, but here she is, still plugging away. It was odd that they called out the ties to the Guardian Angels, just didn’t seem to fit the company profile at the time. She did cut a decent enough promo and had some charisma though, I will say that.
Brian: I’m surprised they actually filmed this on location. It resembled more of a late-night TV talk show than the original set and the crowd was actually lively here.
Dan: I was surprised there wasn’t more in-ring action on this show to really give the larger crowd a better glimpse of the WWF product. Maybe they wanted to take advantage of the audience by having more live entertainment and that’s why they went with some of their more effective acts from the previous TNT studio shows. The new digs and raucous crowd definitely caught me off guard when I first hit play on the remote.
Scott: I was surprised that the WWF was able to do a studio show in Las Vegas at the Hilton. I wonder how much Vince paid to use an entire ball room for this show, plus all the technical equipment. Particularly during the Cable Convention. Made for the nicest looking TNT episode ever.
JT: I really liked the big confrontation between Bruno Sammartino and Johnny V but what the fuck was that bump Johnny? That was absurdly cartoonish and not needed at all. The audience ate it up regardless but it really looked silly.
Brian: I’m actually disappointed in the fact they did not use the bigger studio to do an angle. I’m not counting the Bruno and Johnny V. stuff as that is not high-profile stuff whatsoever. Plus, they really did not take full advantage of shooting on location as there was an awful lot of video clips on the show.
Dan: To piggyback off of my previous paragraph, I really wanted to see more of that tag match. Nothing in the world gives me more pleasure on this Excellent Adventure than to see Johnny Valiant get thrown around like a rag doll. And we only got a couple minutes at best of what was a hot feud coming out of Mania. Plus that gong show rip off at the end of this show was just terrible. I wish they cut that completely!
Scott: I was disappointed that with a high profile episode and a big live crowd we didn’t get both Hulk Hogan and Wendi Richter, the two big singles champions. That would have been a nice treat for the live crowd.
JT: That live, liquored up Las Vegas crowd was a huge upgrade right out of the gate, and even seemed to make Vince blush a bit; Really cool that they took this on the road to the cable convention to mix it up; Jesse Ventura was the perfect guest for this setting; Jesse explaining his new image as a rock star was a nice character reboot for him and it was a good touch to have his rock song video blended into the clip package; Vince asking to see Jesse’s body was a bit creepy; Watching Lisa Sliwa beat around Mario Mancini was pretty funny; The Vegas band is really jamming here tonight; Always great to see Da Brune in the house and he was looking very dapper in that powder blue suit; We get to see the clip from the big Sammartinos vs. Beefcake & Johnny V MSG match from May; Bruno must rehearse the facts about his diet and workout regime constantly with the way he just rattles it off at the drop of a hat; I loved Johnny V confronting Vince and Bruno and getting slugged in the face as a result; Vince noting that Bobby Heenan was the first WWF manager to ever be fired was a funny dig; All the clips of the Orndorff/Heenan split were a good touch too; Heenan is always on point when he visits TNT; The closing gong segment was pretty damn funny and showed off the quality and depth of heel star power they employed
Brian: First thing you notice is large set. That and the fact the crowd is making noise. Vince and Lord Alfred had a weird grin on their face and kept it for a majority of the show. I liked how everyone ragged on Jesse’s singing and how Jesse fired back that today’s rockstars are all “150lbs wimps.” The bit in which Jesse kept asking for his whole music video to be played only for them to play two seconds at a time after stopping halfway through was funny though. He ended strong with him saying he is the best broadcaster today and calls out biased commenters like Gene Okerlund. Next, we get a video package on Lisa Sliwa. She is shown training to wrestle by tossing around Mario Mancini as Okerlund puts over her martial arts background. After a photo shoot montage, Okerlund joins Sliwa on the subway as she is with the other Guardian Angels. After that Bruno Sammartino comes out and talks about his son David briefly before we get clips of them teaming up against Brutus Beefcake & Johnny V. from the 5/20/85 MSG show. The clips focused on Bruno tossing around Johnny V, who comes out to complain about the footage not showing him beating up Bruno. After some back-and-forth, Johnny tries to attack Bruno but it fails and he gets punched over a chair. That was one ridiculous bump by Johnny. Heenan & Studd are out next as Heenan is calm when talking about Orndorff firing him and says that he was going to fire Orndorff anyway. Studd calls Orndorff small as the two take credit for all of Orndorff’ success. This ended with the Gong Show segment as some of the crowd were subject to harassment by Jesse & Johnny V. The one guy who said that Richard Belzer was his favorite wrestler made me laugh. I’m sure Vince was not to thrilled to hear about that. Anyway, this segment was pretty funny and Johnny even managed to crack up some of the audience members and himself on occasion. Odd to as Heenan worked with Johnny here despite really disliking him in real life.
Dan: They are at the National Cable Convention. I’m guessing this doesn’t exist anymore but too lazy to find out for certain. While you’re looking that up, see if the Cable Ace Awards still exist too and Twitter me your findings (DMacP2B). That Jesse song is definitely an earworm waiting to happen. “I got the body! The Body rules tonight!” Not the best piece of music ever but it definitely fit the time period of 1980s hair band music. I loved how Jesse says announcers like Gene are biased and how The Body plays no favorites. Let’s see how that statement plays out once Jesse really gets going with his broadcasting career. I loved how Lisa’s training in karate and Jujitsu was useless in the world of wrestling because many of her maneuvers would be considered illegal. Mario Mancini was such a good sport. It was odd for me to think that the Guardian Angels were only around six years at the time of this taping. They seem like one of those organizations that were always around but they were in relative infancy back in 1985. How crazy is it that Bruno started Greco-Roman wrestling at the age of eight? That’s why he’s a living legend and is wearing powder blue tuxedos on television kids! Cartoonie no doubt but Johnny Valiant flopping over that chair like a beached whale was one of the greatest moments of TNT history. So let me get this straight, Paul Orndorff fired Bobby Heenan?
Scott: This is one of the shorter episodes in the catalog, so I wonder if either something was cut out or they just didn’t have a lot of content. That’s 24 minutes of commercials? We are live in Las Vegas, so they must have had to adjust the format for this one; Is the music for this music video supposed to be all warped? It doesn’t totally surprise me that it is; This is probably the best produced TNT ever, as the audio and video is the cleanest it’s ever been; This is turning into a fluff throwaway show, with long video packages. I can’t see Vince ever giving Lisa Sliwa a shot in the WWF. Even if her husband at the time was the head of the Guardian Angels; Vince actually has a normal suit on for the first time ever. It’s not one of those odd colors and it’s not velour; So we get a clip of the Sammartinos vs. Brutus Beefcake & Johnny Valiant, which should have been the match at WrestleMania. As expected, the MSG crowd was pretty nuclear; You can tell guys are a little more nervous with the bigger crowd here as even the usually smooth Big John Studd is fumbling over his words; The heels heckling the crowd is pure gold. This is why being a heel is ten times better back in the day then being a babyface
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 Raschke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: This was one of the most unique episodes of TNT we have seen since the run started here on the Network. They went on the road to Vegas and delivered a tight show that featured bombastic and charismatic personalities that were given the chance to just go out and riff. I loved seeing Vince kind of reserved and blushing at the audience that had gathered for the show and he did a fine job of navigating it. All of the guests did a really good job out there, especially the brigade of heels at the end as they just sliced up all the goofs in the crowd. Running Bruno out there was shrewd too and he was locked in as always. Even the Lisa Sliwa segment was strong. I also enjoyed the quick recap segment on the Orndorff/Heenan situation to help push that major angle along. Thank the different location or the shorter run time or just the fact that it was a stacked lineup but this was easily one of my favorite TNTs to date. Final Grade: 7/10
Brian: Some of this was amusing but there was nothing memorable about the show as a whole. Not taking advantage of the bigger studio was a mistake (The Silwa stuff was just too long) as they squandered an opportunity to have a hot angle take place. The final segment was amusing and the new set is cool but other than that there was not much else to care about. Final Grade: 5/10
Dan: While I liked the atmosphere that the Vegas crowd provided, this show was quite awful. It was more of the same just in a different venue. Yes, we know Orndorff fired Heenan. We don’t need another 10 minutes on it. Yes, Bruno is very proud of his son. We get it, move on! That Jesse stuff seemed fresh when accompanied by the music video but that damn song got stuck in my head while typing this! And to repeat, anything involving Johnny V. is pure trash. Do yourself a favor and turn down the lights and watch the Sliwa modeling montage on repeat and I guarantee you’ll get more pleasure out of those 30 seconds than you would by watching the whole episode. Final Grade: 4/10
Scott: This was an unusual episode of TNT, as it was cleaner and brighter than the normal episodes in that dingy Baltimore studio. The graphics were snazzed up and there was a nicer desk and nicer chairs. The best and most entertaining heels made the show as well as the great Bruno Sammartino. I think a Hogan and Wendi Richter appearance would have been cool with the huge live crowd and the Vegas atmosphere. It’s a fun enough episode with great heel work but it seemed to lack some extra star power. Final Grade: 6.5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!