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April 14, 2011

Random thoughts on Tuesday Night Titans, Maryse/Yoshi Tatsu, Ted DiBiase Jr./Santino Marella and ‘The True Story of WrestleMania’ DVD

For those of us old enough to remember the early days of the Hulkamania era of the WWF in the 1980s, a number of things immediately come to mind when reflecting on them: The Rock and Wrestling Connection, Saturday Night’s Main Event and Piper’s Pit just to name a few.

It also was the time when one of the most unique shows in televised wrestling history debuted: Tuesday Night Titans.

TNT, which aired weekly on the USA Network in the years before Mondays became “wrestling night” on TV, was pro wrestling’s version of “The Tonight Show.” Vince McMahon played the Johnny Carson role, and Lord Alfred Hayes was cast as the Ed McMahon-like second banana.

Thanks to WWE Classics on Demand, TNT lives on. I watched an episode from June 1984 Wednesday night.

tnt.jpg

Here are a few observations:

“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka was one of the guests. Let’s just say that a talk show format did not play to the strengths of the star from the Fiji islands. Snuka was known for two things: his Superfly leap off the top rope and his nonsensical promos that were delivered in a voice barely above a whisper.

McMahon remarked that the Superfly splash appears as though it hurts Snuka as much as his opponent.

Snuka repied: “Well, only one thing that I’d just like to just say to you, sir, and to the wonderful people there, here in the United States, which I love so much. And I know that you’re all willing to know individually and one of us, because individual’s feelings is different. And if you’ve got that feeling, then the answers, ladies and gentleman, only you know.

Well, OK, then.

Perhaps even more bizarre that Snuka’s gibberish was the fact that the legendary Lou Thesz was a guest on the program.

Yes, there was the no-nonsense, six-time former NWA world champion sitting between McMahon – the man who had turned wrestlers into cartoon characters (literally) – and Hayes (who was clad in a garish powder-blue tuxedo).

McMahon was very respectful of the classy Thesz, and a brief black and white clip was shown of Thesz wrestling in Japan in the 1950s.

Ivan Putski also was on the show. To celebrate Putski’s Polish heritage, there was a Polka band, Polka dancers and a sampling of Polish cuisine (courtesy of Polock Johnny’s, a storied Baltimore establishment).

Putski sang “My Melody of Love” and did the Polka – as did an animated McMahon.

In addition to these and other guests, there was a vignette with “Mr. Wonderful” going to a beauty shop to get his hair styled and a manicure. He also was getting his shoes shined, despite the fact that he was wearing sneakers.

Orndorff wasn’t happy with the service and began berating the women who were attending to him. It was laugh-out-loud funny.

One other thing I noticed about this show: McMahon used the words “professional wrestling” on numerous occasions. My, how times have changed.

***

I haven’t been watching the current season of WWE NXT, but I’ve been reading the recaps. On this week’s episode, Maryse dumped Ted DiBiase Jr. and later planted a kiss on Yoshi Tatsu.

I wonder if the French-speaking Maryse used her native tongue with Tatsu.

***

Being kicked to the curb by Maryse is just the latest in a seemingly endless string of humiliations for DiBiase.

Last week on WWE Superstars, Santino Marella used The Cobra to score a clean win over DiBiase.

Seriously, who did this kid tick off?

***

I watched the documentary portion of “The True Story of WrestleMania” DVD and thought it was insightful and well done. There also is some great behind-the-scenes footage.

A lot of the more famous WrestleMania matches are included on the three-disc set, but there are no matches from the past four WrestleManias (2007-2010), which means neither of the two classic Shawn Michaels-Undertaker matches are on there (Michaels-Undertaker from WrestleMania XXV is exclusive to the Blu-ray release).

Posted by Kevin Eck at 9:50 PM | | Comments (12)
        

Comments

As a kid, Ivan "Polish Power" Putski was my favorite wrestler. Hi singing Bobby Vinton would boggle my mind...

I remember going to Owings Mills for the TNT taping. 3 shows were taped in 1 Saturday afternoon. Saw Jesse the Body Ventura and Macho Man with Elizabeth. All for FREE! Lord Hayes was a riot as the Ed McMahon of TNT.

You probably know this, Kevin, but Maryse is dating the Miz in real life. Wouldn't she make an amazing valet for him? Jockying with Riley for the Miz's approval? Gold.

Yeah, it still amazes me how differently Ted and Cody's fortunes have gone. Guess it's better to have your dad on the writing staff then as an agent, huh?

My favorite TNT moment was when they sent the camera crew to the home of "Dr. D" David Schultz.....the VERY FIRST reality TV moment.

I picked up "The True Story of Wrestlemania" DVD set a few days before this year's extravaganza, and wanted to offer a few thoughts:

On the whole, I really enjoyed it. However toward the latter half it seemed that they had less superstar commentary and "behind the scenes" footage and more and more of a by-the-numbers rehashing of each year's show (i.e. where it was, record crowd, main event, rah rah, etc.).

Also, I don't understand the need for the WWE putting out 3-disc sets for pretty much all of their DVD releases (outside the obvious monetary considerations). I'd much rather them save the multi-disc sets for special events like Wrestlemania, and put out more single-disc versions available at a more reasonable list price. Yes, the matches that were offered were generally good choices, but I just didn't feel that they were all that necessary to the package.

I fondly remember TNT. My favorite episode was the one they did their version of the Dating Game. Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart was the bachelor trying to pick his date. After the usual silly questioning of the bachelorettes, he picked #3. Of course, #'s 1&2 were beautiful diva types, which had Jim excited about his prospects for #3. To his initial dismay, #3 turned out to be "The Fabulous Moolah". Eventually he gave an "Oh what the hell" look, kissed her, and they walked off together arm in arm. Classic.

I will be tuning in to NXT next week to see what happens next between William Regal and Jacob Novak. In one short segment Regal has suddenly made me much more interested in Novak, and I'm hoping to a similar feud to the one Cody Rhodes had with Hardcore Holly a couple of years back.

TNT was great television show,I enjoyed the show so much.It was Vince's first attempt to turn Pro Wrestling into Sport's Entertainment.On that recent episode I thought the woman dancing with Vince on the Putski segment was Linda , it kinda looked like her. can you verify that Kev. Also I think me and a lot of your readers would love to see more blogs on WWE Classic Programming.


The True Story of Wrestlemania dvd was awesome. I was very suprised of all the credit giving to Hulk Hogan for his contributions at Mania (rightfully so) considering how they have attemted to bury him on recent dvd releases(Top 50 of all time) Good Job WWE

Here is the link to all of the old TNT Shows on Youtube. Enjoy..........

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tuesday+night+titans&aq=f

about 11 years ago I chatted with ted dibiase sr about the way wrestling was going and he told me that he'd disown his son if he ever got into wrestling. wonder if he's quietly working behind the scenes to get his son out of wrestling. one problem with dibiase jr. is he's got none of his father's charisma. he should take a break and study old tapes of daddy and dusty rhodes along with superstar billy graham. cody on the other hand has shown that he's willing to work with characterization. he's not very charasmiatic so he's moving toward a kane/undertaker type of persona which I think is beginning to work well. plus, cody is more athletic then ted jr.

Snuka's remark sounds a lot like Ms Teen South Carolina from a few years ago where I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some . . . people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over HERE in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children -- in fact I think she made more sense

Hey, Brian, everyone makes mistakes. She showed up pretty well winning a million bucks on "Amazing Race".

I also bought the "True Story of WM" dvd and was a bit disappointed in it. It's a good value for a new release - at least at Wal*Mart - for a three disc set and I expected some matches. But I really didn't learn anything new about WM except one thing - and that thing was so important that I've forgotten what it was.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.
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