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 7/23/84
Run Time: 1:36:47
JT: I will go with the lengthy match between Paul Orndorff and Brian Blair. It was nothing spectacular, but it was really solid and worked well, as you would expect from these two. Both looked great physically and the crowd was hooked in as Blair tormented Mr. Wonderful throughout. Orndorff’s offense was crisp as always and Blair timed his comebacks well, including the near falls before Orndorff nabbed the win. I also enjoyed Gorilla Monsoon and Red Bastien on the call here.
Chad: I will go with the Andre segment. Really only that and the Blair vs. Orndorff match feel like contenders tonight. I thought the Andre segment was effective in making him look huge by showing the size of his jacket and him making Lord Al’s head disappear with his hand. It also showed a softer side of the Giant with him singing the Fish Song at the end.
Jason: Paul Orndorff and Brian Blair put on one hell of a match from the Meadowlands. These two Florida natives pounded the hell out of each other. Watching a pre-Killer Bees match from Blair was neat to watch. Orndorff is so damn good in the ring and draws heel heat as good as anyone. Next to Hulk and Dr. D from a few weeks ago, this is the best TNT match we’ve seen so far.
Dan: You’d be hard-pressed to find a better match on TNT than Mr. Wonderful vs. B. Brian Blair. From Orndorff’s heelish stalling to Blairs electrifying comebacks, this match had me hooked from the opening bell. The Meadowlands came unglued every time Blair scored with a near fall. Orndorff was terrific as always selling his bum knee following an ill advised leap from the top ropes. Blair was quick to capitalize though Mr. Wonderful’s experience proved to be the difference maker. Big win for the future World Title contender. It makes me wonder how many shoe shine girls he has yelled at since we last saw him.
Scott: This episode didn’t have as many fireworks as the past one did but it did have some fun moments. Tiger Chung Lee chopping wood and then almost turning face after the Fuji footage. But I will go with the Andre the Giant segment since I’m sure his appearances are very rare. He had a presence no other superstar had at that time.
JT: Paul Orndorff and Brian Blair get strong honorable mentions here, but I will go with Tiger Chung Lee, which surprises even me. He was rocking a great look, came across as genuine and knowledgeable. The featured footage of his fall out with Mr. Fuji was cool and then his karate demonstration was really effective in getting his persona across. The goal of TNT is to help develop some of the guys and this was a prime example of assisting someone that few likely cared about before.
Chad: I will go with Andre again. It isn’t easy to portray a large monster character as a babyface and Andre was able to convey that here while still having an edge and aura to him that he could crush you at any moments notice. Vince seemed to get a big kick out of Andre’s vocal chops.
Jason: Orndorff and Blair tore the house down, but I have to go with the Boss. Andre’s size was strongly felt inside of the small TV studio. I’ll give another honorable mention to SD Jones as he was very entertaining, soft spoken and seems like a great guy.
Dan: I loved me some SD Jones! This guys just seems like a genuinely nice person and I loved hearing him talk up his heritage and culture while also bringing along that band from his homeland of Antigua. Then to top it off, the guy goes out and plays a song with the band and looked like he was having the time of his life. He will no longer be the guy who will go down in the WrestleMania record books for one of the more dubious reasons to me anymore!
Scott: Except for that dreadfully boring segment with the referee, everybody was very entertaining but I will go with The Boss again, simply because he is the best. SD Jones’ interview and his dancing were good entertainment. Not to be ignored was actually a pretty good Blair/Orndorff match, which we see in its entirety. Maybe they get an honorable mention for that match.
JT: I will say that seeing an Andre the Giant match and appearance was a nice surprise here. I also remain surprised at how much I liked the Tiger Chung stuff.
Chad: A long match on TNT? What is this thing. I was really happy to see the Blair vs. Orndorff match and they had a solid affair that was getting a ton of time. I was slightly disappointed overall with the match structure and the way that the leg work by Blair wasn’t consequential to the second half of the match. Paul Orndorff has been presented as one of the top heels of the promotion so seeing Blair get so much shine in the early going felt like an iffy decision. These long matches are still a welcome change and I hope we get more of them in the future to break up the comedy, variety nature of the shows.
Jason: Fred Blassie managed Kamala? Well then.
Dan: I can’t believe Chung Lee and Fuji broke up. What hope is there for the rest of us?
Scott: There were no real surprises in this episode, other than perhaps the Andre appearance considering his schedule. Other than that, there wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary.
JT: A George Steele match, no matter how short.
Chad: Dick Wehril and a Tony Altimore segment. No thanks guys.
Jason: I’m with JT here. George Steele matches are like having your gums scraped.
Dan: The Tony Altamore segment seemed like a huge waste of time. I could have used more mailbag or perhaps stretch out the Andre segment if you wanted. Stop digging up all these fossils Vinnie!
Scott: I think they should have continued the Roddy Piper storyline from the previous episode and had Alfred all bandaged up or something. Perhaps that’s thinking too far into the future for booking purposes and that this show was more of a entertainment parody than a wrestling show per se. Still, Piper made such an impact in his first TNT appearance they could have kept the gig going.
JT: Vince’s opening cracks on Lord Al are quite soft but God bless Hayes because he sells the shit out of them; This is a real murderer’s row lineup on this episode; “Karate style techniques and things of that nature”; Tiger Chung is decked out like a Starchy & Hutch villain; Tiger’s karate demonstration was a solid little segment, kept brief and helped put over his toughness and skills; Pretty neat match that featured the big fallout between Tiger Chung and Mr. Fuji, random stuff like that is why I enjoy TNT; Good feature match this week, especially since the more Paul Orndorff, the better; “The beautiful Brendan Byrne Arena” has likely never been uttered outside of this set; Blair looked like a legit star as he disrobed, man was he shredded; Poor Steve Lombardi jobs all over this episode; Dick Wehrli could pass as Bruno’s smaller brother; Vince having Wehrli critique other officials was a unique idea; SD Jones seems like a nice guy but he was impossible to hear and brought no energy to the set; The crowd was red hot for the vintage Tony Altimore match; Alfred in Andre’s dress coat was funny; Andre’s squash match was a fun touch Andre gives us the iconic image of putting his hand over Alfred’s face and also him singing the fish song; The arena and ring for the Kamala match looked really weird
Chad: Tiger Chung Lee’s segment didn’t do a whole lot for me and it took forever to get to the build up of him breaking the boards. The poor guy also started bleeding doing the demonstration. Then we get clips of him being turned by Fuji. Vince has the audacity after that if they will team again. I don’t think so big guy. Alfred is presented as a martial arts expert. The referee discussion was fine to have, but nothing of note was said and Wehril essentially says everything is up to referee discretion which makes no sense. This was a really dreadful segment that was drawn out too long. The stuff with SD Jones was nice and the Antigua steel drum band was fine but nothing extraordinary either. The old school clips continue to be a big hit for me and man was this crowd molten. The venue looked really cool. Altimore also says nothing of note with his in studio appearance. The gag with Alfred wearing Andre’s jacket provided a good visualization of the size of the Giant. We of course have to have a bumper non segment at the end with seeing Kamala squash a jobber.
Jason: Thumbs up for the wardrobes on Vince and Alfred this week. Vince’s “TUESDAY NIGHT TITANS” going to the first break was awesome. Tiger Chung Lee cleans up quite nice, but listening to him talk is like taking Nyquil. We get our first look at Steve Lombardi as he does the favor for Chung Lee. Watching TCL break wood and bricks was pretty cool, even though I would guess they were gimmicked. Throwing in the Samoans vs Chung Lee and Fuji match was a nice treat. I love seeing ring entrances following guys through Gorilla Position like the one we got with Paul Orndorff. George Steele is so bad in the ring. His offense is painful to watch. Dick Wehrli gets the nod for most random guest. I dug SD Jones’ tropical shirt and white pants. SD dancing with the band was another nice treat. Tony Altimore looked like he can still beat the piss out of someone in the ring. Man, that crowd was white hot during the throwback Altimore match. I’m always a sucker for a nice Andre squash match. Andre’s fish song bit was tremendous. That was a great way to wrap up his appearance.
Dan: Tiger Chung Lee is breaking bricks and oak with his hands and shakes off his bloody hand like it’s a mere scratch. Even with annoying Vince trying his hardest to throw off his concentration, this badass goes right along chopping. Very underrated segment in our run of TNTs so far. Oh and that blood wasn’t censored so at least we know we’re not in the Rated G era just yet. Andre was 6’10”, 280 pounds at 17? Alfred getting his face enveloped by Andre’s hand is still one of my favorite images in wrestling history. I think we take for granted how enormous he really was. Did Gene Oakerlund really make an actual Pearl Harbor reference when talking about a Fuji sneak attack? Too soon? B. Brian Blair was ripped! Why did they waste him in a midcard tag team? I think I was just as startled as Alfred when Vince pulled out that huge Hogan foam finger. At the time of his interview, SD Jones hadn’t been back to Antigua since 1969. I think he would have made a pretty imposing boxer contrary to what he said to Vince.
Scott: I love how after they air a match and go back to the studio, you can hear the tape rewinding on air. I suppose they haven’t totally gotten their production kinks out yet; That karate performance was very impressive by Tiger Chung Lee, as I’m not sure those were fake or rigged bricks and wood; Surprisingly a showcase match, and in the middle of the show, including an appearance from PTBP alumnus Gary Michael Cappetta; B. Brian Blair is ripped for this match, much bigger than he ever would be with the Bees; The Dick Wehrli segment is like watching grass grow, it was so boring; SD Jones seemed like a genuinely nice guy, although it’s funny when he said he was part of the “new generation”; This is the “old guy/jobber” episode of TNT, including the grainy footage of matches; Andre the Giant brought such a presence, even just being interviewed; This is the episode with the iconic moments where Andre puts his full hand over Alfred’s face, as well as when he mimmicked a fish with SD Jones’ band
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 another breezy episode to watch even though it was definitely a bit of a step back with overall quality. The anchor Blair/Orndorff match was quite enjoyable and Andre and Tiger Lee both were good in their interview segments. We even got the iconic shot of Andre palming Alfred’s face and then singing the fish song. I really just like the format and goal of this show. The segments come and go quickly enough and they mix it up enough to not really get too bored and they showcase various wrestlers and work to develop their characters, gimmicks and angles. The SD Jones stuff was pretty blah but other than that, things moved along nicely and the Andre stuff is classic material. TNT continues to be an enjoyable stop on our adventure even when the quality of the show as a whole dips. Final Grade: 4/10
Chad: I struggled with this episode. It didn’t seem to have the gravity or spark of the last couple of episodes. The long match and the Andre appearance did take up a good amount of time which redeems things slightly, but the Tiger Lee, SD Jones, Dick and Altimore segment could have all been chopped off and I wouldn’t have been sad. Final Grade: 3/10
Jason: This episode had a little bit of everything for everyone. The Orndorff and Blair match was very good and Andre was marvelous during his first appearance on this show. What I like about TNT is that no matter where a guy is one the card, they will include them on these shows. This wasn’t the best TNT we’ve watched so far, but it helped continue with showcasing the many faces on the roster at the time. Final Grade: 5/10
Dan: More of the same but this episode did seem special as we waited for the inevitable Andre appearance. It’s almost as if they intentionally watered down the rest of the show to make Andre showing up seem, for lack of a better term, bigger. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Tiger and Jones stuff greatly but they definitely took a few miles off the fast ball with short match segments (minus Orndorff/Blair) and those boring referee discussions. Andre delivered the goods and saved this show from drowning with his funny remarks and his fish song antics. Hopefully you managed to stay awake long enough to see them. Final Grade: 5.5/10
Scott: After one of the more entertaining TNTs so far this one seemed very bland. The guests (other than Andre) were pretty boring and that referee segment was brutal to sit through. To his credit, Alfred has worn a different tuxedo for every episode. The Orndorff/Blair match was a fun selection and a much better match than I expected. Vince needs to really flesh out his dad’s cronies and liven up the show with current stars. Oh and we can’t forget Wendi Richter who (although dumb as a box of rocks) was smoking hot in her segment. A standard TNT episode here. Final Grade: 5/10
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