The SmarK Rant for TNT – 05.03.85
So yeah, as noted in last night’s Saturday night thread, we had to make the horrible decision to put down one of our cats yesterday, so I was pretty bummed most of the day and really I just wanted something light and fun to cheer me up for a review tonight. Also, my Xbox One, which was one of the original versions that I won in a pre-release contest, also bit the dust tonight. So you know, 2020 can suck a fat one. So let’s check in with Tuesday Night Titans again.
Brought to you by CASTROL!
Your host is Vince McMahon, and tonight’s theme is UNSUNG HEROES. As in people who are rookies or don’t usually make TV, not like the Ultimate Warrior award people.
David Sammartino v. Bob Wade
Apparently our first unsung hero is David Sammartino, who was neither unsung nor a hero, as he puts away the jobber with a press slam and a powerslam in under a minute.
So then we delve deeper into this segment as apparently WADE is the “unsung hero”, and Vince discusses how he nearly died getting dropped on his head by David. And then Vince and Alfred show slo-mo off David throwing the guy around like a sack of potatoes and they blame the jobber for “not tucking his chin” and landing on his head. Tremendous.
Steve Lombardi, Mario Mancini & Paul Roma join us next as the parade of jobbers continues. Vince discusses how the previous guy, Bobby Wade, hasn’t had the amount of success that these three have had, and we actually get PROMO TIME from Mario Mancini and Steve Lombardi! So Vince throws it to footage of all three guys wrestling, which gives us Lombardi getting squashed by Ricky Steamboat, Mancini getting squashed by King Kong Bundy (with manager Jimmy Hart!) and Roma getting squashed by Brutus Beefcake. Vince: “Does getting beaten by Brutus Beefcake destroy your confidence?” Pretty harsh there, Vince. I mean, obviously the answer is “yes”. But still, ouch.
Next up, we meet Rusty Brooks, Jose Luis Rivera and Jim Powers. What a weird goddamn show this is. Vince is astonished at how much Rusty weighs. “That is a big boy!” Rusty actually gets to talk about his football career at North Texas State and puts down the other two losers who aren’t where they want to be. In fact, if he wrestled geeks like Powers and Rivera instead of Andre, his record would be much better. In fact, if he had an opportunity to be managed by Bobby Heenan, he’d go all the way to the top! So Vince throws it to footage of Jim Powers getting his ass beat by Greg Valentine, and Brooks getting clobbered by JYD while falling out of his gear in embarrassing manner, and finally Rivera looking at the lights for Jim Neidhart (with Mr. Fuji!). Funny how this match and the Bundy match illustrates how they completely shuffled the deck soon and mix-and-match wrestlers and managers before finding the combos that worked. Going down the rabbit hole at little bit here, Vince and Bruno are discussing other matches on the show during the JYD-Brooks match, and note that perhaps jobber RT Reynolds should have used some different tactics in his match. RT actually got repackaged as Corporal Kirschner, so I guess he took that advice to heart. Back at the studio, Rivera says that he’s patterned himself after Pedro Morales, and Brooks SCOFFS and calls them a “has been and a never was”, pointing out that it’s been years since Pedro was around and he’s a loser like Rivera was. Brooks is pretty great in this, actually. Powers was nervous before wrestling Valentine, but he’s sure his time will come. No, no it really wouldn’t. Vince: “Mr. Brooks, what’s your motivation?” Rusty: “Money. Always money.” Lord Alfred sums up the futures of the guys on the couch, and then Rusty buries HIM too! “I’ve seen you wrestle, you’re not one to talk about anyone!” Rusty Brooks was truly an unsung hero of this show.
Next up, the experienced jobbers: Charlie Fulton, Pete Doherty and Johnny Rodz. Oh lord this is gonna be a trainwreck. Rodz points out that Vince is the one who gave him the “Unpredictable” nickname, and points out that not having a plan is always his plan. Vince: “Now Doherty is far more predictable…” and then Doherty immediately jumps off the couch and goes on a screaming rant about how he needs to be addressed as THE DUKE OF DORCHESTER and stresses that he’s not suicidal, homicidal or schizophrenic. “But…no one said you were any of those things…” Vince answers meekly. So we get clips of Fulton against Barry Windham, Doherty against Jimmy Snuka, and Rodz working with Hulk Hogan! In baby blue gear! And Hogan even gives him enough offense to set up the Hulk Up before putting him away with the legdrop. Back at the studio, Vince was pretty impressed with Rodz’ performance against Hogan, and pays Fulton the ultimate compliment for his match against Windham: SEE-SAW MATCHUP BACK AND FORTH! Fulton and Rodz both agree that Barry Windham uses an illegal chokehold in his matches. Meanwhile, Doherty now has a headdress and claims he’s returning to the Middle East where people call him by his true title: THE DUKE OF DORCHESTER! In case you’ve forgotten it. I can actually see why they gave Doherty a shot on commentary based on this stuff, but 2 hours of him was just too much once it happened.
And now, Howard Finkel welcomes Crusher Comic to open mic night at “Café Le Bump”. Oh my. We get some assorted prop and insult comedy that is about or slightly higher than the level of the Bobby Heenan show (“Hillbilly Jim’s father taught him about the birds and the bees and said the men go on top and the women go on the bottom. So Jim bought bunk beds.”) And then he challenges Mario Mancini to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots and cheats to win to end the show.
So this was actually a tremendous hour, with all these guys who would otherwise never get TV time getting to tell their stories, while Vince was actually pretty respectful (for Vince) and had a constant storyline of “These guys are actually really talented but just need one big win and some self-confidence.” Rusty Brooks and Pete Doherty got to do entire bits and showed they could probably get themselves over if given a chance. And indeed, Roma and Powers WERE just on the cusp of semi-stardom. Anyway, this was a lot of fun and very different for TNT and well worth checking out.