The Name on the Marquee: Tuesday Night Titans (06.12.84)
Posted by Adam Nedeff on 09.29.2013
Salvatore Bellomo folds paper. This is a two-hour show, folks.
-Originally aired June 12, 1984.
-Your host is Vince McMahon, along with Lord Alfred Hayes.
“Mister Wonderful” PAUL ORNDORFF vs SPECIAL DELIVERY JONES
Alfred notes that it's a crucial match for SD Jones because a win would establish himself as a major player. Orndorff complains to the referee about the “Paula” chants and the referee responds by calling him “Paula,” which pushes him over the deep end. Orndorff can't focus because he's so flustered by the chant, and Jones easily handles him and sends him out to the floor.
-Orndorff targets the eyes and then chokes SD, telling the fans it's their fault SD is getting this beating. Move off the top rope doesn't work out the way Orndorff was hoping and SD makes a comeback, but before long, Orndorff gets the piledriver and the three-count.
TRAINING WITH PAUL ORNDORFF
-Orndorff goes to a local gym to host a training session for some regular folks. He apologetically tells them that they don't have any hope of looking as good as him, but he can at least try to do something for them. He berates a guy for not knowing how to use a weight machine, and then demonstrates the proper technique for lifting, which just gives him an excuse to pose.
-His next target is a fat woman on a pec deck because “her husband will love huge pecs.” He complains about how disgusting it is that she's even here and that she probably eats non-stop and only came to tbis training session to see Mister Wonderful. She nods her head in complete agreement at the suggestion.
-Paul kicks the fat woman out of the gym for touching him, then yells at another guy for not doing an ab workout properly. This was pretty damn funny.
-Our first in-studio guest tonight. Vince mentions that Sal speaks five languages and Sal politely nods and says yes. And then Vince asks about the contrast between European wrestling and American wrestling. Salvatore says he's trying to adapt his style. We take a look at Sal defeating Ron Shaw on “Championship Wrestling.” Back in the studio, Vince wishes him well and Sal nods politely and thanks him. I'm starting to see why this push didn't last.
-Vince talks about Sal's hobby of making model ships out of paper, and Sal shows off a ship made from an issue of WWF Magazine. It actually is genuinely impressive. Sal explains that he started doing it before he became a wrestler, but he became good at it because he gets bored in hotels when he's wrestling. He shows off an Elvis-themed ship that he made from paper and a cassette tape. This part of the interview was more interesting than it had any right to be.
IVAN PUTSKI vs ROWDY RODDY PIPER
-From Madison Square Garden, and kind of a weird event from this era because MSG Network never aired this show, but Gorilla Monsoon & Gene Okerlund are at ringside to call commentary and it's a professional multi-camera shoot, so clearly it was intended to air at some point. Piper is making his singles debut at MSG, and a bagpipe band plays him to the ring.
-Fistfight to start until Piper heads out of the ring and makes Putski chase him. Piper goes to the eyes to blind Putski, but he's already so worn out from the fight that he Flair flops before he can take advantage. Fistfight gets going again when suddenly the bagpipes fire up and the band is at ringside playing as the match continues. Bizarre visual, to say the least.
-Piper goes into his tights and pulls out a foreign object. Gene Okerlund suspects it might be a brick. Putski is dazed, but fires himself up and throws a flurry of punches. One connects with the referee and Putski gets himself disqualified. Piper exits MSG with the band playing him out. Terrible match.
-Back at the studio, where Alfred analyzes the match in expert fashion until being interrupted by a mailbag being thrown at Vince's desk. Oh goody!
THE TNT MAILBAG
-Letter #1: Will Captain Lou Albano manage the Samoans again? And will Hulk Hogan ever give a title shot to Don Muraco? Vince's answers boil down to “No and probably.”
-Letter #2: Has Hulk ever wrestled at the Olympic Auditorium and is it true that he plays the guitar? Yes. Whew. I don't know if I can keep up with the frantic pace of this show.
CLASSY FREDDY BLASSIE
-Vince makes mention of Blassie's “God-given talents” and Blassie explains that “he had a little help from me. Vince shows us a match between Blassie and Baron Leone. Weirdest moment ever as Vince introduces it by saying, in 1984, “You might remember this match,” and it turns out to be the “Yessir, we promised you a great main event here tonight” match from the WWE signature opening.
-Blassie reflects on his career and says the only thing that haunts him is that he never won the WWF title, which was the one belt that he really, really wanted. He gives credit to the Iron Sheik for winning the title so Blassie could have some satisfaction. With that, Vince goes to footage from MSG, of Sheik losing the belt to Hulk Hogan.
-Blassie is completely pissed by watching the footage, saying that they had trained for Bob Backlund and instead they delivered Hogan. Blassie vows that he'll get Sheik a rematch and this time, they'll be ready for the Hulkster. A gong sounds to abruptly end the segment, and Blassie shouts “Is this Major Bowes' program?!” Jesus, even in 1984, that was a preposterously outdated reference.
-Salvatore Bellomo is still working on his model ships and Fuji makes fun of him for not having a girlfriend. We go to “All-Star Wrestling” where Fuji squashes Nick DeCarlo. They have the minute of silence for the house show plug, and they actually have Vince dub in new commentary to fill the gap. That's...a weird level of effort. Back to the studio, where Fuji promises a surprise for all of us Americans.
-We go to a Geisha doing some sort of traditional dance, and then Fuji and the gang head over there so the Geisha girl can remove Vince's shoes and jacket. This just keeps going, as the next part of the wackiness involves making Vince put on a special robe and a pair of socks that doesn't fit. They have some saki and Fuji offers a toast to honored American guests, then belches, which makes the Geisha giggle. The Geisha spills saki on Fuji, and Fuji yells at her until she runs away. Fuji is embarassed because he lost face in front of his guests, and Vince & Alfred have to calm him down by assuring him that he didn't lose face. Fuji chops the table in half because he's so angry. That actually would have been a great segment if it wasn't for the fact that Fuji's career was winding down and he was easing into a comedy manager rols.
-Speaking of which, we go to “Championship Wrestling,” where Don Muraco is back after about six months off or so and brings along Mr. Fuji as a new manager.
BIG JOHN STUDD
-Vince mentions that there's “not an ounce of fat” on Studd. Okay, you certainly wouldn't call Big John a lardass, but...Vince knows we can SEE him, right? Studd talks about how many things you see in wrestling without seeing him. You see a bodyslam every night, but you never see anyone bodyslam him. You see a pinfall every night, but nobody ever pins him. We go to squash match action pitting Studd against...Salvatore Bellomo. Consider the shit stirred.
-Vince notes that his method of wrestling wasn't very scientific and Studd notes that the elbow he dropped at the end probably wasn't necessary looking back, but he just wanted to make sure Bellomo remembered him. Bellomo says a few incomprehensible words, but Vince shushes him and Bellomo goes silent and starts working on his ship again. Why didn't Vince just give him a shirt with “JOBBER” printed on the front?
-Studd brings up Hulk Hogan and says fans are always embarrassed when they see Hogan walking through the airport and they mistake him for John Studd, because they realize Hulk is too small. Studd says he's probably the only man who could beat Hogan, and Vince argues that luck and scientific skill are important for wrestling. Studd rather correctly gets pissed that anybody would bring up “luck” as a qualification for winning the world title and yells at everybody in sight, demanding a rematch with Bellomo and telling Vince he was born with a silver spoon.
-We wrap up with a look at the returning Jesse Ventura and then a clip of the recent Tag Team Title change, which Vince bizarrely introduces as a look at Rocky Johnson, and indeed, it's just the part of the match where Johnson is in control. Just an odd, odd match for showcasing him. And then we watch Adonis and Murdoch squaring off against Tony Garea and SD Jones. Holy shit, they gave up on the Garea/Blair combo with record-setting speed, didn't they?
The 411: Man, again, shaving this down to one hour REALLY helped the format, because in the early days, this show was a chore to sit through. Pass.