The SmarK Rant for TNT – 04.05.85
“Lisa Sliwa Teaches Self-Defense”
I had kinda intended to redo Royal Rumble 92 tonight, but I’ve got a bunch of stuff going on in my life and was more feeling like a breezy and fun show. And there’s nothing breezier than TNT!
I am skipping the 03.25.85 episode, which is literally a one hour pre-show for the first Wrestlemania and doesn’t actually contain any new material.
Your host is Vince McMahon and Wrestlemania is HISTORY!
Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff join us to start, and they of course are now the WWF tag team champions after robbing America of the titles. So we take you back to MSG to watch the title change. Sorry, SPOILER.
WWF tag team titles: Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo v. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
Rotundo gets a dropkick and hiptoss on the Sheik to start, and the champs double-team him in their corner. Jesse Ventura notes that although you might see dead Super Bowls, you won’t see a dead Wrestlemania. Isn’t that pretty much Wrestlemanias 6 and 7? No one made it out of those alive. Volkoff tries to come in and save his partner, but Windham runs them together after some miscommunication. Windham and Rotundo double-team Volkoff and Rotundo drops an elbow for one and works the arm. Sheik comes back with a backdrop and drops an elbow on Rotundo for two, and follows with a gut wrench for two, and we take a break. Back with Sheik trying a suplex, but Rotundo gets his own before Volkoff cuts him off again and drops him on the top rope. Rotundo with a sunset flip for two, but Volkoff stomps him down and Sheik comes in with the abdominal stretch. Take a drink for Gorilla complaining about the execution of the move. Barry Windham gets the hot tag when Rotundo escapes, and he slugs away on Volkoff and hits the bulldog for two. It’s BONZO GONZO, but Sheik hits Barry with the cane behind the ref’s back, and Volkoff gets the pin and the titles at 7:00. Pretty standard stuff. **1/4
Back at the studio, Vince finally points out the elephant in the room: Volkoff has been wearing the same damn suit for as long as he’s been in the WWF. Sheik is offended that Vince wants to talk about suits and politics instead of the new tag team champions. HE EXPECT VINCE TO TALK ABOUT THIS BELT. So they’ll face anyone, like Bruno and his punk son, or anyone else Blassie asks them to.
Ricky Steamboat, a hot new prospect that Vince thinks we’ll be seeing more of, joins us next. Ricky and Lord Alfred have a little wink-wink “Oh, we’ve met before” handshake and Ricky talks about watching film to hone his craft.
Ricky Steamboat v. Steve Lombardi
Dammit, there’s another missed opportunity for a cameo on the Jericho Cruise. Steamboat works the arm to start, but Lombardi hides in the ropes to escape. He tosses Ricky over the top, but Steamboat skins the cat and comes back with a flying bodypress for the pin at 3:11.
Back at the studio, and Vince doesn’t even mention Steamboat’s Wrestlemania debut against Matt Borne! He does want to talk about KARATE, but Ricky only wants to use it as a last resort because it’s so deadly and he’s not out to kill anyone. Especially the Mongrovian variety. But if the heels are gonna take liberties with him, he’s gonna give them a receipt. Ricky then shows slides of his gym in North Carolina, just lifting weights and hanging out in the sauna. Hopefully Vince didn’t steal the photos for his own personal use.
Hillbilly Jim is still a thing, picking guitar in Mudlick despite a broken leg. I’m surprised they didn’t overdub his playing to avoid paying him royalties. And now, Jim reads LETTERS. How come we haven’t been a-seeing him lately on TV? Because Brutus CHEESECAKE and Johnny Valiant attacked him, and it’s got him so worked up that he might lose his temper. Next question: How is he gonna keep doing that there bearhug when he’s hurt? Not a problem, he’s out in back squeezing trees to practice. Next question: How is Granny? Not feeling very well lately, sadly. But he’ll tell her that people said hey. And then he plays us out as we move to the yard and meet his dogs to end the segment. Keep sending those cards and letters care of the WWF to make him feel better! I bet you’ll even get a merchandise catalog if you do. Just a hunch. Jim’s a charming guy and this was perfectly nice.
Lisa Sliwa, member of the Guardian Angels and fashion model at large, joins the show because apparently she wants to be a wrestler now. So Lisa demonstrates some self-defense holds on Lord Alfred, like a hammerlock and wristlock, while Vince laughs at his predicament. So then Sliwa takes Vince down with a judo throw to end the segment. Sliwa’s quest to be a wrestler never went anywhere, sadly, because she had some charisma here and seemed to have a Ronda Rousey aura for the time. Apparently she’s now Lisa Evers and is a journalist of note.
THE GREAT TRIVIA CONTEST WINNER! The answers are of course Ivan Putski (ate a hot dog), Henry Winkler (starred in a movie about Gorgeous George) and Cyndi Lauper (presented an award to Lou Albano). Winner gets a trip to New York, and all the losers get photos of Lord Alfred whether they want them or not. And the lucky nerd who answered all the questions was DJ Whitten of Joliet, IL.
Next week: TNT is pre-empted! Lisa Sliwa puts a front facelock on Hayes to end the show.