|One of the reasons I adore watching WWE’s Classics On Demand (the badly renamed WWE 24/7) is because I get to watch old school wrestling shows that I either missed because I wasn’t born yet or because I was simply too young to appreciate what I was watching with my dad. The latter applies to my early viewing of the sometimes bad, sometimes good, but generally incomprehensible TNT Show. |
Oh how I LOVE the Tuesday Night Titans Show (or TNT for short). You could probably tell that since we like to go back and visit it with an ever-increasing amount of regularity. Airing at the height of the Rock N’ Wrestling Connection, at a time when Vince seemed like he was having a fun time playing with this brand new money-making toy of his called The World Wrestling Federation, the show featured lunacy that infuriated old time promoters who thought this goofball approach made everyone in the business look silly.
You see, the TNT Show was unlike the other WWF shows because instead of just wrestling matches and promos, it was a showcase for the wrestlers’ and managers’ personalities (or lack thereof, as you’ll see soon) in order to get them over with the viewers and to see them as multi-dimensional characters, something that had not been done in wrestling up until that time.
|But it wasn’t just an hour of non-stop interviews. Rather, we’d get things like Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji declaring they’ll be taking over not only the wrestling world but the comedy world as well, by doing a horrible standup act. |
And you know what? It was FUNNY.
Not because they had anything of value to say or good jokes to tell. Rather, because Muraco doesn’t pause or breath between sentences and Mr. Fuji has trouble saying the straight man lines in broken English.
I’d pay to see this over virtually any of the comedy on television or at the theater these days. In fact, stealing the old Abbott and Costello bit of putting them on screen with the some random Universal monster would be, as RD say, a proverbial license to print money.
|And I vividly recall a segment where Dad and I were introduced to Adrian Adonis’s flamboyantly gay florist. I just know there were more than a few exchanges at home of, “Daddy, why is that man walking and talking like that?” |
I wonder how many times he had to look at me, shake his head, and reply, “I’ll tell you when you’re older, honey”.
|And who could forget the famous bit where Captain Lou took George “The Animal” Steele to a Dr. Ziff? |
What is it with the rule that all comedy psychiatrists are from the father land?
Anyway, Ziff (not Artie) decides that since his lobotomy isn’t panning out, it’s time for, yes, you guessed it, SHOCK THERAPY.
You know, any time I see a German doctor medically experimenting on a human being, I expect it to be followed by a nationalist rally.
|Naturally, there was no shortage of WWF merchandise to be shilled. For instance, this Hulk Hogan swimsuit calendar. |
I’ll skip the “wrestling in the 80s was really gay” remark by saying that it’s something for your mom to look at while she’s cleaning your room and finds your secret stash of Apter Mags and Playboy/girl.
|But the meat and potato of the show was Vince McMahon playing the role of Johnny Carson (sans a Vince as Karnak bit, which displeases me), interviewing various WWF superstars about their feuds and what makes them tick.|
|Yes, the TNT Show was great at putting over the various personalities employed by this company. But one day in 1985, someone in Titan Sports asked the question, “What if we did a whole TNT Show on the job guys?” |
No, seriously. That’s what we’re here to discuss today.
Vince, wearing a killer beige suit, opens the show by saying this particular week will be dedicated to the “unsung heroes” because “guys that lose every match” is not politically correct terminology.
|Oh, and I’d be remiss to not mention one Lord Alfred Hayes, dressed up in a tux that makes him look like the chaperone at the prom that makes all the kids feel really, REALLY uneasy. |
Upon asking Alfred what he thinks of the these jobb…jabron…err, “enhancement talent”, our lordship just says random words that you can’t diagram, like a living, breathing, red bow tied Mad Libs.
|One jump cut later, we get a David Sammartino-Bobby Wade match, which should not be viewed while operating heavy machinery or breast feeding an infant. |
I don’t mind squash matches at all, I’m used to them, I like them. But it’s impossible to enjoy or stay awake for a David Sammartino match.
|Vince then brings onto the set Mario Mancini, Paul Roma and Steve Lombardi. Good gord, my paisans are always jobbers! Alright, I know we have Bruno Sammartino, Gorilla Monsoon and Dominic DeNucci (hey, he trained Mick Foley!) but the number of jobbers that could probably have memorized all the lyrics to “Shut Uppa You Face” is staggering. |
And I’m disowning Santino Marella from the Italian race because he got bitch-slapped by Jim Cornette and tattled.
|Paul talks about being suplexed while Lord Alfred is giving me the douche chills by looking at Paul like he’s ready to devour him while the cameras are rolling. |
(Note from RD: I don’t know what precisely ‘douche chills’ are, and honestly, I’m afraid to ask.)
To be fair to Paul Roma, he did get to rise above being a job guy and got a few minor pushes as one half of The Young Stallions, Power and Glory (where Hercules got to take Paul’s shirt off for him) and can put on his Auto Zone resume, “One of The Four Horsemen”.
|Steve Lombardi is the designated “arrogant job guy” for this segment, saying his career could benefit from being managed by a guy like Bobby Heenan. |
(Note from RD: Maybe Lombardi should have been Karnak!)
I will give credit to Steve for making this offhand comment because I’m sure from this comment alone, Steve was put with Bobby, making him into “The Brooklyn Brawler”, which made him go from a no-name jobber to wrestling’s most famous jobber this side of Al Snow.
I’m still flabberghasted that this man, this man, one Steve Lombardi, is featured on nearly every WWE DVD produced these days.
|For instance, wouldn’t you prefer the insight of, say, this man, Mario Mancini? |
Mancini is a bit of a step up from Frankie “I’m-a from Columbus, Ohio” Williams but he responds to Vince’s question about wrestling “a MONSTER like King Kong Bundy” seriously like he’s talking to Charlie Rose on PBS.
Eh, maybe Lombardi ain’t so bad after all.
|And to more squash matches we go, with the jobbers between the talking segments just to demonstrate that these guys lose matches A LOT (we got it, okay?). |
I’d have just turned off the TV during this, but during a JYD match, Vince and Bruno name drop R.D. Reynolds so it’s not a total loss. 🙂
(Note from RD: Oh yes, Bruno and I are TIGHT.)
|Haven’t had enough of your jobber fill yet? |
Well, then here’s Jim Powers, Jose Luis Riveria, and the man, the myth, the legend, one RUSTY BROOKS.
Remember him getting murdered by Hulk Hogan back on Superstars? Man that was awesome.
I think Rusty later wrestled as Super Duper Mario in Angelo Savoldi’s ICW up in the New England territory but I’m not 100 percent sure, where he’d dress up like the video game Mario and cut promos that were more like PSA’s such as, “Stay off-a the drugs, kids! Eat-a your vegetables and take a sweater when you go out at night!” In any case, Rusty is this segment’s heel job guy that torments Jose for being an Hispanic loser but Jose is too polite to retort or he doesn’t know how to say “fat son of a hooker” in English.
|Next up we get Johnny Rodz (Tommy Dreamer’s trainer!), Pete Doherty (not to be confused with the drug-addicted British popstar) and Charlie (not Bobby) Fulton. |
The highlight of this trio is unquestionably Doherty having a meltdown that makes Crispin Glover’s appearance on David Letterman look smooth and uneventful.
(Note from RD: And here I thought Johnny Rodz was going to be the unpredictable one!)
|Vince says hello to Pete and Pete responds by yelling at him. I wonder how often that actually has happened to Vince in real life. A lot I bet. |
“I AM NOT HOMICIDAL, SUICIDAL AND PSYCHOTIC!!” He should’ve said genocidal but I’ll let that go because he’s on a rant. “I AM THE DUKE OF DORCHESTER!!! ADDRESS ME AS THE DUKE OF DORCHESTER!!! I *AM* THE LINDBURGH BABY!!!”
Yeah, after he fell down the toilet.
|“HOW MANY APARTMENT BUILDINGS CAN YOU OWN??! HOW MANY WOMEN CAN YOU PORK??! SHADDAP, I”M TALKING!!”|
|Meanwhile, Johnny Rodz claims he almost became a champion by almost beating Hulk Hogan cause the referee was out of position. |
(Note from RD: I hope Hogan keeps ticking Vince off so that match actually may see the light of day, or if it, as I strongly suggest, doesn’t exist, have the WWE video team splice once together for us. That would RULE.)
Back to Pete we go, as heputs on a Middle Eastern headress that’s lopsided, and instead of keeping his yap shut like Sabu, he screams some more but runs out of steam when Vince is right on the ball asking him about his title of “Duke of Dorchester” and what that entails. “I’m from the island of Foolakka in Kuwait!”
I cannot convey how painful and funny watching this is. Bad talkers that speak low and fail are one thing but bad talkers that yell really loudly and fail is pure trainwreck entertainment.
|The fun is about to come to an end, but not before we get our pal Howard Finkel in a nightclub setting with the jobbers sitting at tables while telling unbelievably filthy Andrew Dice Clay jokes. “So I’m standing on line at the bank….” And if you know the rest of that line, you should be ashamed of yourself. I know *I* am. |
Actually, Howard introduces someone named, “Crusher Comic”.
And we have officially entered the 9th level of Hell.
Who is Cruser Comic, you ask?
|Some goof in a lucha mask and telling jokes that would make Carrot Top groan. |
I seriously hope you weren’t expecting more.
Here he shows us what he calls a “Rowdy Roddy Piper Rubik’s Cube”.
(Note from RD: You can never have enough Rubik’s Cube jokes!)
|He shows Johnny Rodz what he calls “Puerto Rican Hot Wheels”, which are fuzzy car dice. Politically incorrect stereotype jokes are funny – even when they don’t make sense! |
“Yeah you Indians with your intense love of vacuuming.”
|And here he shows a Mr. T Cabbage Patch doll and does a spot on (i.e. mother-flippingly annoying) impression of the A-Team’s most prominent member. I swear, he makes “El Asso Wipe-O from MAD TV look modestly dignified. Nothing would make me happier than to get in my DeLorean with The Sandman so he will Singapore Cane Crusher Comic’s Marty Ingels-impersonating ass. |
He does this schtick for 5 minutes and I feel like this is a visual and audio version of being water boarded.
|Finally, he asks Mario Mancini to come up for a chain match which turns into a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots contest. |
Mario goes after Crusher Comic and is ready to clock him in his unfunny doucha lucha face with the Rock Em Sock Em Robots, making him THE GREATEST MAN IN THE WORLD.
(Note from RD: I blame this segment for giving Vince the idea for that horrible Karate Fighters tournament in the mid 90’s.)
And thus endeth the show, after what appeared to be 48 straight hours. Which is amazing, when you think about it.
After all, didn’t most of these guys’ matches only last two or three minutes?