The SmarK 24/7 Rant for TNT – July 13 1985

Reviews, Shows, TV Shows

The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Tuesday Night Titans – September 13 1985

– This one is a bit tougher to recap in the strictest sense of the word, because rather than a wrestling show it was Vince McMahon’s horrific attempt at a talk show. Basically Vince and sidekick Lord Alfred Hayes play it straight and “interview” guests (who are all wrestlers), showing clips from their latest “shows” (which are generally matches from the syndicated shows at the time). Yes, it was a car wreck beyond belief, but at least the whole concept spawned Fuji Vice.

– Our first guest tonight: Randy Savage, very early in his WWF career. Sadly, this isn’t the episode where he debuts his classic “Hulk Who? / MachoMania Is Running Wild” t-shirt. This was in the midst of the “Who will get to manage him” angle, where Savage courted all five of the major managers at that point and then screwed them all over in favor of Miss Elizabeth. Amazingly, there were no repercussions for him, as everyone took the betrayal pretty well. So we get a squash match from Superstars to introduce Liz, and then it’s the sit-down interview portion with them, as Savage is actually pretty low-key compared to later, well, weeks, and Elizabeth is playing it more evil and smirking than demure and shy. In retrospect, she was a brilliant foil for him once she got that character down, because Savage was such an over-the-top loony that fans couldn’t help but cheer for him. Why? Confidence sells tickets. Say what you will about gimmicks or pushing the right people or the look or whatever, but stick someone out there who BELIEVES he’s the best and can deliver that in a promo, and people will get behind him and treat him like a star. And if there’s one thing that Savage has buckets of, it’s confidence. However, putting him with Elizabeth means that he instantly has a weak spot, turning him into a raving, jealous boyfriend who people wouldn’t possibly want to cheer. Left to his own devices, he’d shoot up the ranks to World champion, but with Elizabeth, the character becomes much more interesting because you never knew when he’d get sidetracked and distracted, and that’s where his second dimension as a character came from. At any rate, back to the “interview”, as Savage talks over Elizabeth for the first time and rants on and on about how he’ll destroy Hulkamania. Liz, who is not yet used to being part of the three-ring circus that is Randy Savage, keeps cracking up while Savage talks about how he could be managed by a flower pot and still drop the big elbow on Hogan. And people were SURPRISED when this guy went crazy?

– Next guest: Ricky Steamboat. He’s full of inspirational words and crap. And naturally, we get a squash match for his clip. He has some words for Don Muraco, but despite discussing it to death, we don’t get footage of Steamboat fighting the NINJA JOBBERS OF DOOM. Well, maybe next time.

– Next guest: Freddie Blassie and the late Moondog Spot. The squash match of choice is Spot teaming with Barry O (jobber Barry Orton, Randy’s estranged uncle who managed to piss off Vince forever by taking the prosecution’s side in the steroid trials) in an odd pairing. They finish with a Spot shoulderbreaker into a Barry O elbow. The interview goes nowhere until Spot ends it by “pissing” on Hayes while Blassie beats on him with his cane to make him stop. Really, where can you go after that?

– Last guest: Bobby Heenan, carrying a John Studd figure that I of course had in my collection back in the 80s. The clip here is an oddball six-man from MSG, with Studd/Adonis/Heenan v. Windham/Rotundo/Steele. Heenan complains about the editing of the match, which clipped all his offense out. Best part of the show: Vince holds up an article from WWF Magazine to make a point about Heenan, and down in the corner where you can’t even see it on TV without a magnifying glass is a little “WWF Magazine” byline, and of course they blur it out. Vince brings out a little kid and his pet weasel for the purpose of comparing to Bobby, but the results are inconclusive. Heenan sniping at the poor kid is hilarious.

– Vince wraps it up.

The Pulse: I dunno, is it worth recapping further? Your call, guys.