The SmarK Rant for WWF Tuesday Night Titans – 08.21.84
“Hulk Hogan turns Mean Gene into Lean Gene”
This was a request from one of my Patrons who was silly enough to pledge an amount of money that entitled him to pick any show he would me to rant on. And he cashed in his Money in the Blog briefcase for this one, which is from the era of TNT when it was actually on Tuesdays, and also a 2 hour show. Hey man, I’m game, let’s do it.
Your host is Vince McMahon. Immediately the pace is much more languid than the shorter 1985 shows, with Vince and Lord Alfred discussing the upcoming guests and taking their time.
Wendi Richter joins us to start, more hairspray than human, and she’s not sure if she can hold onto the Women’s title for 27 years like Moolah did. Well that “record” was a lie anyway but regardless she certainly did not do that. So we take you back to Championship Wrestling, with Mean Gene presenting the title belt to Wendi, only for Moolah to run down and attack, thus tearing Wendi’s blouse open in the process. Back at the studio, Wendi can barely even call Moolah a “lady” given actions like those one. Alfred: “She’s a feisty old beast.” Vince thinks that Wendi should probably give Moolah a return match for the title so she can work out her anger.
Next up, Vince talks about Cyndi Lauper’s manager David Wolff, who apparently is managing this new six-man team in the WWF and OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH NOW I GET WHY HE WANTS THIS SHOW!
The Fabulous Freebirds v. Jerry Valiant, Alexis Smirnoff and Max Blue
From Championship Wrestling again. Michael Hayes slugs away on Valiant and Smirnoff comes in to be double-teamed in the Freebird corner, but Smirnoff drops a leg on Buddy Roberts for one. Blue comes in, wearing blue tights so that’s a bit too on the nose, and pounds on Roberts for a bit, but Hayes comes in and beats on him in the corner. Over to Terry Gordy and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA as the Freebirds finish him with a triple team version of the Hart Attack at 3:40. So yeah, this was supposed to make the Freebirds into the top tag team in the world because they were ROCK N ROLL, but as it turned out, they did this one show and then were gone again. So there you go, the Freebirds only WWF match archived on the WWE Network.
Freddie Blassie joins us next, and he wants to stress just how impressed he is with Nikolai Volkoff, who is big and scary and most importantly does whatever he’s told. Vince wants to know what’s the deal with Kamala and his handler’s half-white half-black mask. Freddie’s got no good answer for that.
Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. The Iron Sheik
This is from the Spectrum, and Blassie has somehow managed to be special referee. Vince and Blassie do commentary for the match, as Blassie notes that Tito has “marks on his back from crawling underneath the barbed wire” on the way into the country. Vince thinks that Blassie might have been giving advice to the Sheik while refereeing, but Blassie swears he was calling down the middle. So to prove this, Sheik tries to hit Tito in the ropes and Blassie forces a clean break. Vince thinks that Sheik is “no good anywhere around the ropes” and thus Blassie was telling him to stay away. Sheik is no good near the ropes? Tito gets a bodypress for two, as Blassie takes his time getting down. Well he is pretty old. Tito works a headlock and Vince is just nitpicking everything Blassie does while blatantly cheering for Tito. Tito gets a rollup, but Blassie makes sure to check the shoulders carefully and won’t count. Tito with a chinlock, but Blassie calls it a choke, so Sheik takes Tito to the ropes for a cheapshot. Vince: “That wasn’t a clean break!” Blassie thinks Vince is editing the tapes to make him look bad. Tito fights back and Sheik rakes the eyes, which Blassie denies happened. Vince just getting more and more worked up about the cheating is pretty great. Sheik hits him with a loaded boot for two, which is a very fast count. Tito comes back with a sunset flip and Blassie won’t count, but he calmly explains that Sheik kicked out. And then we take a break while Vince and Alfred continue grilling Blassie on his biased referee job. Vince calls it JUSTIFIABLE CRITICISM. That’s harsh. Back with Sheik putting the loaded boots to Tito and following with the gut wrench suplex and a boot to the head for two. “So what’s wrong with kicking a man in the face?” asks Blassie. Tito with another bodypress while Blassie clears some debris out of the ring, and another rollup follows, but another ref finally comes in and counts the pin for Tito at 7:23 to retain. This was classic stuff and really entertaining. They worked really well together. ***
Lord Alfred opens up the mailbag (with someone BEANING him from off-screen with the bag while Vince cracks up), with the first letter asking why they don’t have lady refs. Vince thinks the author should volunteer for the job.
Arnold Skaaland joins us next and Vince makes sure to put him over as a legend, even though he really wasn’t. But he WAS a shareholder in the WWWF, so there you go. So then we go back to what looks like the early 60s with some sepia-toned footage of Skaaland against Pete Sanchez. Back at the studio, Vince wonders if Skaaland might want to wrestle in another decade. This was a dud.
Back from the break, we get some highlights of a midget match between Haiti Kid and Danny Carpenter. The show must have been running short.
Nikolai Volkoff joins us next, and yes, he’s wearing his one suit even back then. Vince wonders if his association with Blassie might be impeding his career. What a stupid question.
Nikolai Volkoff v. Johnny Phillips
From Championship Wrestling again. Some guy in the crowd nails him with a drink on the way to the ring for daring to be from Russia. He sings the anthem and then beats on Phillips and stomps him down for what looks like a legit MMA choke on the mat, but the ref breaks it up. So Volkoff gets a lifting choke and takes him down with a facelock that turns into another choke, so the breaks it up again. The jobber fights back and gets murdered for his troubles as Vince suddenly starts calling him “Max Blue” before switching back to “John Phillips”. More choking from Volkoff as the ref is off getting a hot dog or something. This man is useless, even by referee standards. Volkoff boots him down with a kick that misses by a foot, pardon the pun, and finishes with the press slam backbreaker at 3:50. You could obviously tell what he was being set up for at this point. The slow motion replay reveals that the finisher completely missed as well. Man, I’m so glad they hired some better directors once they got to the NBC era.
Back at the studio, Nikolai goes over his family history, showing an ancestor who was a wrestling champion and personal bodyguard of the Czar. Blassie points out that Volkoff was training for the Olympics when Russia pulled out, and thus was ROBBED of the gold medal by Jimmy Carter.
Vince continues his confrontational questions, suggesting that Hulk Hogan or Sgt. Slaughter might want to step into the ring and destroy Volkoff. Vince asks what Volkoff thinks of Sgt. Slaughter, and he goes off on a tangent about the Olympics again and completely ignores the question. Did they ever do Slaughter & Hogan as a team against Sheik & Volkoff? That might have drawn a pretty good house at MSG.
Back from the break, Volkoff treats us to a song and complains again about the Olympics and how Russians have more class than Americans because they respect the anthem if America wins. And then we get some Russian dancing to fill more time, and it makes Nikolai so happy to watch, so that’s nice. In fact, he grabs the microphone from Vince because he just has to sing another verse.
Hulk Hogan joins us next, and calls Wendi Richter “The Marilyn Monroe of professional wrestling”. I mean…compared to Fabulous Moolah I suppose. Hulk points out that he’s not scared of Volkoff. Vince has a magazine with pictures of Hogan having dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Donald Trump, and then goes off on a run about how he still breaks into a sweat around good-looking women and how he did more step-ups than Bob Backlund and ended up pressing the entire chin-up apparatus. Interesting to hear Hulk not really being “Hulk” and just kind of doing his natural voice here.
So on the topic of physical fitness, we get the awesome training montage where Hulk trains Mean Gene to be a fighting machine. Gene’s having coffee and cigars for breakfast and Hulk is DISGUSTED and makes him drink raw eggs instead. Pure protein, four times a day! Gene isn’t so sure about this egg thing, so Hulk pounds it back for him and takes him out on a run. So we cut to them running around the lake while Hulk provides motivation. They end up in the city and Gene stops for a beer and bratwurst, and Hulk hauls him away again.
Day 2 sees them hanging and banging in the gym, as Gene has a “Hulkamania” shirt and Hulk has a “Mean Gene O Mania” shift. Cute. Day 3 sees Hulk waking Gene up at 5am and making him run the stairs in the Minneapolis arena, and then another time with Hulk on his back. Day 4 and Gene is a BELIEVER and is ready for the tag team match. This was all hilariously classic of course.
Back at the studio and Hulk notes that Gene has sworn off all the carbs and bad food and now he’s a new man.
Back from the break, and yes, it’s the famous segment where Hogan is teaching Vince and Alfred how to make protein shakes. So he shows off his “python powder” and mixes up a shake with some fruit and an entire egg in the shell. Oh, and of course, his BAGGIE FULL OF TABLETS. One a day keeps the doctor away! Well, I know one doctor Hulk was seeing at that point. And then Vince was shocked when the federal government thought he might have been distributing steroids. Hulk notes that his pills will make you incredibly hungry and allow you to work out in the gym all day long. Yeah I know some pills that will probably do that. Vince samples the drink and Hulk offers some of his magic pills. Hulk warns Vince that if you keep taking his magic pills and python powder, you’ll soon be ripping out of your suit because of your giant muscles. Vince thinks it’s like taking an antibiotic. This was nuts.
And we wrap things up with Hogan and Wendi, and Wendi is sold on the python powder and wants to buy some. Well, it was the 80s. Anyway, Vince wants mathematical proof of the 24 inch pythons and produces a measuring tape, and indeed Hulk is not lying. So yeah, that magic powder and baggie full of “vitamins” has indeed produced large muscles.
Well shit, Hulk Hogan selling what appears to be drugs on national TV, AND the Fabulous Freebirds? Can’t go wrong with this one.