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WWF Tuesday Night Titans episode 21 review: Magnificent Muraco, Mr. Fuji, Freddie Blassie, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan


- Airdate: Jan. 31,1985
- Run time: 44:35
- Stars of the show: Pre-Monday Night War signs, Heenan's humor, Ken Patera and Big John Studd's Andre beat-down

Bobby Heenan's a comedic genius. Magnificent Muraco is the fattest surfer ever. SD Jones is a pussy(cat). These truths were self-evident on the 21st episode of Tuesday Night Titans. We also were treated to a lovely embrace between Hulk Hogan and Hillbilly Jim. Sadly, it fell a little short of the emotion conveyed in the meeting of the "Madness" and the "Mania."

The show opened with a very bloated-looking Magnificent Muraco and his manager Mr. Fuji as TNT guests. Let's just get this out of the way: Muraco looks more like a whale than and surfer. Back watching TNT as a kid in 1985, Muraco's body always perplexed me. He was clearly a strong guy, but he looked like he ate too many carbs and loathed the job. It was always hard for me to take him seriously when he was constantly pulling up his tights over his spare tire.

McMahon pecks at him about the "beach bum" moniker that followed him throughout his career. It's used as a derogatory term, but not quite sure why. Maybe the idea was that Muraco spent more time at the beach than the gym, but shouldn't a surfer a character be a relaxed beach guy, and not resemble a greasy-looking mortician who looks like he wears a size-48 pair of jeans?

McMahon shows us some footage of a guy who appears to be Muraco surfing 12-foot waves in Hawaii. He clearly knows what he is doing, but it's hard to imagine the WWE trying to get CM Punk over by showing him skateboarding on the streets of Chicago to show that he cares more about counter-culture than professional wrestling.

To counteract the lazy surf gimmick, Muraco tells McMahon that he hired the "sick soul" Mr. Fuji to manage his career. To demonstrate Muraco's torture tendencies, we go to a match with Muraco against Classic Jobber Mario Mancini.

Speaking of, why isn't there a WWE Hall of Fame Classic Jobber wing? We would all rather see Mario Mancini in the WWE Hall of Fame than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fans are smart enough to know that enhancement talent is a valuable part of wrestling. In fact, we need more jobbers in the modern product, rather than having mid-card guys serve as both jobbers and stars and then wonder why a guy like Dolph Ziggler can't get over.

Muraco won with a tombstone piledriver that color commentator Jesse "The Body" Ventura called a "double shoulder-breaker."

Who knew the moved was quietly banned back then? Actually, Ventura just didn't know what to call it. On the replay he corrected himself and called it a "reverse piledriver." Back on the couch, Fuji tells us that he is teaching Muraco to be "vicious" and "sadistic" to make his opponents "scream for mercy." Muraco says that Fuji is teaching him that "oriental discipline."

Next we have to sit through the worst part of McMahon -- his puzzling penchant for ridiculous stereotypes. It's Granny Kim and her bloodhounds in a Kentucky barn, along with McMahon and Lord Alfred Hayes, sitting on haystacks. Kim is apparently Hillbilly Jim's grandma, but is now so over that she can appear in her own segment. Kim spent most of the time petting her bloodhounds and talking about how big and strong they are, just like Hillbilly Jim.

"I am so proud of that boy," she said "He's got a good heart and anything he does he puts his whole heart in it. My heart will break if anything happens to him." To illustrate her point of how tough Jim is, she said one time she was driving her pickup truck and got a flat tire. Jim just lifted the car, and she pulled the tire off. That's how strong Jim, and apparently his granny, are.

We go to the ring to see Hillbilly Jim's debut. Hulk Hogan has been training him for the last few weeks, taking him from country bumpkin' to country bumpkin-with-a-push. Hogan is at ringside as Jim takes on Classic Jobber Terry Gibbs. Gibbs does a lot of Ric Flair bumping -- running into the bigger man and then falling to the ground. Gibbs got in a few right hands, but Jim eventually squeezed him into submission with a bear hug.

Hogan runs into the ring like this is some huge moment in wresting history and gives Jim a big hug. "It's the meeting of the Hillbilly and the Hulkster." Not really.

We all remember what happened to Hillbilly Jim and Granny's push. Actually we don't other than it went nowhere. At least Jim got a doll and bit part in a Saturday morning cartoon out of it. Granny went on to date Mark Henry.

Next up we are treated to the entire Andre The Giant hair-gate that we only saw clips of last week. Big John Studd and Ken Patera were part of Bobby Heenan's stable, and you know something was up before this match started. Andre never used to wrestle on TV. And when he did, he didn't team with a pussy(cat) like SD Jones, who literally disappears half-way through the match to allow the 8th Wonder of the World to get shamed on national TV.

McMahon lets us know "this is going to be an extraordinary match-up." Jones starts the match and then makes the hot tag to Andre who proceeds to demolish Ken Patera in the corner with his butt.

Eventually, Studd and Patera decided to go Shield on Andre and just straight-up cheat and double-team him. They get disqualified, but not before Jones vanishes and Patera and Studd together body slam Andre. This was impressive. Studd and Patera could probably both slam Andre without any help, but together, it really shows that these guys were doing their best to put him over.

Then it happened. Studd when to Heenan who pulled out a pair of scissors from his pocket and handed it Studd.

He wasted no time to cutting Andre's hair as Patera held him up. McMahon loves the following phrase: "They are raping the dignity of Andre The Giant." I lost count of how many times he said some version of this phrase. The crowd didn't like it either. We saw some pre-Hogan-joins-the-NWO crowd reaction, with people throwing cups into the ring.

McMahon screams, "this is a nightmare, a total nightmare!" He must have talking about Patera's bad dye job. Patera held up locks of Andre's hair like they were one of the many championship belts in the WWF that Patera never won.

After witnessing the horror, Heenan joins us on the TNT couch to put it all into perspective. "The guy looks like he could use a haircut," Heenan says. "He was disgusting the way he was." Heenan then explained his logic behind the attack. He said for years Andre has bullied his opponents, using his size to push people around. It was time, Heenan said, "to set this guy straight."

"He's encouraging people to call me weasel?" Heenan said. "We're going to have to set him straight. The only mistake we made is that we should have permanently finished him off." 

Heenan then says he did it to send everyone a message: "Every wrestler who thinks they can push us around can get the message," Heenan says. "Don't mess with Studd, Patera and myself or you are going to look like a fool."

Heenan played the role of privileged rich man perfectly. McMahon brought up last week's TNT haircut of a volunteer, where Studd and Patera massacred some dweeb's hair and beard, forcing him to run off the set. Was Heenan apologetic? No. He said that should teach the guy to never volunteer for anything. Heenan says he did the guy a favor.

"He can probably be on the 'Love Connection' next week with Chuck Woolery," Heenan said. "The guy doesn't have to look at girly magazines anymore. Now he can go get a date."

The show wraps up with Classy Freddie Blassie as a guest, where he's apparently the older version of Heenan.

Blassie flashes his "16-karat diamond ring" before going to a match with his wrestlers The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, facing Classic Jobbers Mancini and Steve Lombardi.

Volkoff starts off with the Russian National Anthem. Volkoff is way less intimidating that Rusev, but damn did that national anthem really enrage the fans. In their own version of the New Age Outlaws shtick, Sheik grabs the mic after Volkoff's singing and yells," "Now you people shut up! Iran No. 1. Russia No. 1!

The fans carried some great signs -- signs that you could not show on modern television, mostly because they were culturally and racially insensitive.

Volkoff pins Mancini with a side backbreaker. Back in the TNT studios, Blassie calls them "the greatest tag team ever." The show wraps up with Blassie and McMahon foreshadowing most episodes Monday Night Raw for most of 2014 and 2015: "There's no telling who we will have here next week," McMahon says.

He also reminds everyone to watch primetime wrestling on Tuesday Nights, TNT on Fridays, and All-American wrestling on Sunday Mornings.

All of this TV exposure is about to pay off for the WWF leading up to Wrestlemania. This was a great show, with good pacing. Thank God for Bobby Heenan and his dark humor and McMahon's genius for somehow pulling it all together. The TV time works to get the wrestlers over. Mid-carders are stars. Jobbers do their job. And Hulk Hogan hugs Hillbilly Jim.

Only on Tuesday Night Titans (on Friday nights).