About Us  |   Contact

WWF TNT episode 5 review: The incredible Julie Valentine, Roddy being Roddy

WWF TNT

Every week, I go through an old episode of WWF's Tuesday Night Titans which originally aired on USA Network. Follow along with me on WWE Network every week.

  • Original Airdate: July 16, 1984
  • Stars of the show: Julie Valentine, Roddy Piper and Vince McMahon

WIth Episode 5 of Tuesday Night Titans, it's clear that Vince McMahon is gaining more confidence with his television product. And in 1984, we saw some harbingers of the WWE's famed "Attitude Era," which wouldn't begin officially until 1997. 

On this summer episode, we witnessed "Rowdy" Roddy Piper question McMahon's sexual preference, a blonde bombshell in a bikini that would have made Sable blush, and a stiff slap that left a red mark on Lord Alfred Hayes' cheek. We also see our first sponsor in Levis, the company that would host WrestleMania 31.

There wasn't a whole lot of subtle on this episode as the WWF geared up for the big match between the Fabulous Moolah and Wendi Richter. With the eyes of the mainstream on the WWF, McMahon was certainly trying to hotshot some big angles and build characters. The formula was not sophisticated, but it was effective. Slow builds, heavy repetition of angles (we saw Piper KO Snuka with the coconut again) and an opportunity to get to know the wrestlers outside of the ring.

On one hand, the show was scripted, but on the other, the show possessed an element of rawness that made some of it feel real.

The show opened with McMahon introducing Hayes as "the senior bellboy at the recent Wimbledon Championship." McMahon has been trying to top himself every week with his introductions of Hayes, who just giggles hysterically with each of McMahon's offerings.

McMahon is also in full creep mode. He declares that Greg "The Hammer" Valentine is a guest, along with his "gorgeous" wife Julie Valentine. McMahon made the same reference the week before about Valentine's wife. (In the first four episodes, we saw Dr. D. David Schultz, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff and Capt. Lou Albano degrade women, so this week it must be Valentine's turn, right?)

Wendi Richter is the first guest. They cut to a clip of Richter and Lauper standing somewhere in New York. Lauper says, "Lou is going down," and Richter says, "and so is Moolah." McMahon and the WWF created tremendous, cutting-edge television, but angles involving women have unfortunately mostly missed the mark in terms of taste and sensitivity. Hayes clearly was flustered sitting next to a woman half his age: "Wendi is a beautiful, beautiful girl, but we also know by her records, that she is also a beautiful fighter."

Richter answered a few obligatory questions about the match. She was humbled and reserved and appeared genuinely honored to be in the position, even if her body language suggested she wanted to be a far away from McMahon as possible.

Next up is Tony Garea in a match vs. Johnny Rodz. It was a good wrestling match between two guys who knew how to work. McMahon was totally obsessed with the fact that Garea is from New Zealand. Ray "The Crippler" Stevens, with his scratchy voice, is doing color commentary as Garea wins with a high cross bodyblock.

Back in the TNT studio, McMahon notes that Garea has mostly worked as a tag team wrestler over the years, but now is focusing on individual matches. McMahon asks if he will ever return to tag team wrestling and attempt to win the tag team title for the sixth time. 

"I have my eye on a couple of young boys and hopefully if things work out we can get together," Garea said. "I would like to try it for a sixth time." Major McMahon smirk.

After Garea leaves, we see a match between Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka vs. Samoan No. 3. Ringside commentator Gorilla Monsoon calls Samoan No. 3 "Samula" but noted that the ring announcer introduced him as "Samu" (not the Samu from The Headshrinkers.").

Monsoon, Patterson and Hayes then engaged in a big yuckfest of stereotyping. In remarking about Samu's ability to take punishment, Monsoon says: "It seems that all those guys from the South Pacific can do that. Maybe it's their climate, their culture."

Patterson then noted that Samu was "not too pretty," while Monsoon said "none of the Samoans" were anything to write home about.  Patterson then implied that Samoans didn't feel pain: "You could pull on these guys' hair, they feel nothing."

Meanwhile, Monsoon is drooling over Snuka's physique. "Look at the arm development on Snuka. You don't get that way, folks, waiting for the bus." What does Monsoon have against mass transit? Why can't he say "you don't get that waiting sitting on the couch"?

The mailbag is next and for the first time, they show an address of where these letters could be sent to. Maybe Hayes isn't making up the questions off the cuff.

Rather than a random bag thrown across the room landing at Hayes' feet, a woman in a skimpy outfit delivers the mail. Hayes asked the woman her name and number. She answered "Kelly," but ignored Hayes' other request. 

As usual, the questions were awful. One fan asked why we don't see more of Hogan on TV. Another fan asked if wrestlers other than Ivan Putski could sing and dance. The third fan asked when we would see Rocky Johnson on TNT. 

The next guest is Red Bastein. One of the great features of TNT was how it honored its history with Lou Thesz and now Bastein. McMahon have been tone deaf when it comes to how to portray women on television, but he was certainly respectful, at least in 1984, of the veteran wrestlers.

In an amazing clip, McMahon and Bastein are talking over a Texas Death Match between Bastein and Dory Funk Jr. What's funny is that it was clear that McMahon and Bastein didn't watch the match beforehand, and McMahon didn't understand the rules of the match. He kept calling Bastein the winner after every fall, and Bastein kept correcting him and telling him "falls don't count."

Bastein says the match is probably eight to 10 years old.  "We wish you all the luck in the world in your endeavors in sunny California," McMahon says. 

Then, the Attitude Era unofficially begins. 

Greg Valentine was always a mystery to me. I knew he was a great worker, but he never really got a lot of microphone time. At times, he felt like he was ripping off Ric Flair's gimmick, but he wasn't a talker like Flair, and came across as more of a shooter that you didn't want to mess with.

Valentine walked onto the set with some bravado: "Is this where old retired wrestlers come when they are all finished in the ring?" They show a clip of Valentine wrestling Tito Santana in a really good match. Valentine is on the show, however, for one reason: to put over his wife. Announced as "Julie Valentine," she walks onto the set and McMahon immediately starts to instigate. 

McMahon: "Being the wife of Greg Valentine, I would think that would be no easy task."

Julie: "it has a lot of ups and downs, but it is a lot of fun too."

McMahon instigates more: "Greg seems like the kind of guy who would be bossy."

Julie responds, saying Greg "is a pussycat." Julie then tells a story of how Valentine once decked a 300-pound guy for no reason just to illustrate how tough he is. 

McMahon then gets personal asking Julie how she relaxes Valentine when he comes home. Julie says she feeds him a good meal and gives him a good massage. You can see where this is going.

TNT cuts to a commercial and when they return Valentine is standing in his underwear next to McMahon with a massage table in front of them. So far, Valentine has been nothing but polite and kind to Julie, so this must be the spot where he turns, right?

Valentine lays out on the massage table and calls out his "baby doll." 

Greg: "Show all those people out there in TV land how you loosen me up."

McMahon is the crazy one here, standing next to Greg shoving a microphone in his mouth while Julie rubs. Greg says that this happens every night, sometimes twice a night. Valentine says pro wrestling is tougher than the NFL so he needs the specialized attention. 

Greg tells her to "rub his 21-inch arms," adding that Hogan may have 24-inch arms, but that he has a 24-inch neck. McMahon is doing the play-by-play of the rub, asking how long she does hit for and if she ever gets tired of rubbing down Valentine.

Julie: "You don't get tired when you enjoy what you do."

Valentine tells her to get the lower back, upper back, and the legs and Julie is happy to do so. Thankfully, this did not turn into a sexist, demeaning rant. It was a bit indulgent, but Valentine treated Julie rather well, at least by the standard set during the first four episodes of TNT.

With all the attention McMahon paid Julie, I am surprised she didn't turn out to be a regular WWF character. She had more personality than Elizabeth. Perhaps Valentine wouldn't have it. 

It's Piper in the next segment. The bagpipes play and Piper walks out afterward, full of more swagger than Scott Hall in 1997. Piper was awfully jacked back in the day. Piper looks at Hayes and shuts him up immediately.

Piper: "I remember you. I wrestled him when I was 17 years old. I won."

Piper at this time didn't need anyone in his segments. He was entertaining and ready to talk. But before we hear more of Piper, we get Piper in the ring against SD Jones. This is Jones' fourth appearance in five episodes of TNT. He has not won yet, but that's because he's a jobber. Piper does his usual stalling tactics to open the match before ripping off his kilt and revealing some glorious green trunks.

Piper is dominating the match, but as soon as Jones gets in some offense, we hear Piper screaming from the studio to cut off the match. We're back in the studio and Piper assures us that he won the match.

We're certain of that, considering that Piper rarely lost or jobbed for anyone. Piper here is playing the role of arrogant heel to mastery.

Piper: "Don't you wish you were me?" McMahon says Piper is the most arrogant person he's ever met. 

Piper: "They say you shouldn't blow your own horn. Why not? Who better knows the tune?"

Piper then shuts down McMahon starting off by pointing out that the females who played his bagpipes and all Scottish ladies were "pretty."

Piper: "Did you notice that? You probably haven't noticed that. Have you noticed any ladies? At all. Nah, probably not. Sorry. Talking over your head."

(Apparently Piper wasn't watching when McMahon was drooling over Julie Valentine). 

Piper then says: "You know why I wear a kilt? Because I am tough enough to. Besides I can't get in jeans. It cramps me."

Piper could move back and forth from topic-to-topic without being asked a question. A gift of gab, Piper was off-the-chart in his timing and ability to carry a segment. The WWF in 1984 really allowed its naturally talented stars to shine. 

For the second time in three weeks, we see the iconic footage of Piper clubbing Snuka with the coconut. Again most people who watched the WWF in 1984 will remember this segment as it was one of the great wrestling segments of all time. It made Snuka and it elevated piper.

Back in the studio, McMahon is instigating again, but this time it feels a bit more serious. He asks Hayes what he thinks of Piper and, Hayes, in his smug British accent responds: "He is a man without dignity and he adds nothing to the show."

Now the one thing about Piper was that he was a heel who backed up what he said. He was not just a good talker; Piper was someone to be feared. And here he showed why. Piper erupted when he heard Hayes. He stood up, looked at McMahon and then out of nowhere turned and smacked across the mouth with an open-handed slap, sending Hayes crashing down onto the couch.

Piper stormed off the set as McMahon screamed, "What's the matter with you?!?" But, what did he expect? McMahon had been instigating Piper and Piper stayed true to his character. 

McMahon: "Roddy Piper will never again appear on this show again."

The slap left a mark:

McMahon then cuts to a match between The Fabulous Moolah and Penny Mitchell. See, even in 1984 the women were in the death spot, having to follow something hardcore. Here we got a chance to see Moolah, who was about to wrestle on national TV and become a household name against Wendi Richter. 

This match could also have been called "Penny Mitchell needs dropkick lessons."

She clearly could have benefitted from running some drills at the Performance Center.  On two occasions, Mitchell missed a dropkick badly as in her feet were several feet away from Moolah. Eva Mendes was born 30 years too late.

Moolah wasn't much better. During a missed double drop kick spot, the two ladies were nowhere near each other.

Moolah won the match. Even then, she looked old.

Back in TNT studios Hayes has regained his composure, and McMahon is back in character attempting to instigate Hayes into some sort of verbal retaliation.

McMahon: "He really gave you a wallop there."

Hayes. "I am afraid this man lost all control of himself. He is not a dignified person in any sense whatsoever."

McMahon: "To say the least."

McMahon closes the show promising a "big show" next week when Andre The Giant appears. 

The 5th episode of TNT was edgy and effective. We saw McMahon and all of his personalities shine. Even in 1984, McMahon was the heel, just creepy, sneaky and smarmy, playing the role perfectly and skillfully elevating all the talent around him.