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WWE Tuesday Night Titans episode 25 review: WrestleMania main event signed, Rusty Brooks, Moolah chokes Lauper

Hulk Hogan Finger-Up

By Josh Molina, WrestlingObserver.com

- Airdate: March 7, 1985
- Runtime: 42:13

The show begins with a big dose of testosterone. "Mr Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, "Cowboy" Bob Orton and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper are the first guests. These guys are walking out with more swag than the original nWo. Piper, in his bright red kilt, sits in the primary chair, with Orton, his bodyguard, standing behind him, and Orndorff on the couch. Oddly, Piper sits down and Orndorff pushes his kilt down so that no one can see up it.  "We wouldn't want to get anyone turned on," Orndorff says.

Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff

Piper then baits McMahon into calling him "Big Rod." He tells McMahon, "come on, you can go ahead and call me 'Big Rod.'" McMahon responds with, "I bet people would want to call you a number of things."

McMahon takes us to Madison Square Garden and the big match promoted last week featuring Piper vs. Hogan. Piper quickly ascended over all other challengers to become Hogan's primary foe just in time for WrestleMania. Piper was clearly the company's most charismatic star at the time. Gorilla Monsoon and "Mean" Gene Okerlund are doing color commentary.

Piper's work in this match was off the chart. Think Dolph Ziggler without all of the cartoonish selling, Shawn Michaels, but not as artistic, and Ric Flair, but a whole lot more athletic. Piper was flipping, flopping and flying to put over Hogan as some sort of monster. Okerlund says "we have 23,000 people strong, not a single one of them on their feet!" Apparently Cyndi Lauper, Danny Devito, Joe Piscopo and Gloria Steinhem are in attendance. Really? McMahon got Steinhem to attend a WWF event. Brilliant.

Piper is putting on the performance of his life here and get turns the tables to put Hogan in a sleeper hold, that Monsoon and Okerlund call a "chokehold."

Roddy Piper

Piper is clearly trying to choke hogan out, but it's Hogan so you know where this headed. The referee picks up Hogan's hand, once and it flops to the mat. Twice and the hand flops to the mat. Three times and the hand stays up. Hogan powers out of it, but in the midst of the rally accidentally hits the referee, allowing for some good double-team action. Piper puts Hogan in the figure-four-leglock and Orndorff comes off the top with an impressive knee to Hogan's head.

The two start double-teaming him and Lauper, out of nowhere, jumps to the ring apron and starts screaming. Now, it's probably hard to imagine today how big Lauper's attendance at WWF event was. Imagine Katy Perry or Lady Gaga deciding to shoot a year-long angle in the WWF. It was just amazing that Lauper would have taken a break from her rising stardom to appear on WWF television. Did it kill Lauper's career? Who knows. She helped build an industry, however. Why isn't she in the WWF Hall of Fame?

Piper and Orndorff creep over to Lauper like she's a trapped rat, when out of nowhere comes "Clubber Lang," or as we know him now, Mr. T. He comes out to save Lauper, but Piper and Orndorff start pounding him. By now, Hogan has recovered and starts smashing Piper and Orndorff. Both of the heel cowards flee ringside as Mr. T recovers alongside Hogan. 

Hogan and Mr. T 

"Orndorff is a psychopath, get him outta here," Okerlund screams. Monsoon yells, "it's pandemonium." What it is is the making of the Wrestlemania main event: Hogan and Mr. T vs. Piper and Orndorff on March 31. Back in the studio, McMahon asks the trio to explain themselves during the match.

"When you got a body like this and face like this, you can do anything you want," Orndorff says. Orndorff snaps at McMahon and says he's tired of everyone around the country hating them. He said they are trying to do the right thing by keeping the impostors out of the business.

"They are like vultures trying to get into our business," Orndorff says. Then he reminds us that it is 1985 when talking about Mr. T.

"You have the souped up spider monkey. He's black and he's greasy and I don't like him. And I don't like Hulk Hogan," Orndorff says. McMahon tries to put over Mr. T, saying he's a former bodyguard and winner of tough man competitions. Piper calls him Mr. T a "cartoon character," but that he is "the real thing." Piper and Orndorff are incredible in this segment.

Next up on TNT is The Junkyard Dog.

Junkyard Dog

McMahon reminds us that the JYD has enjoyed a quick rise to the top in the WWF. JYD calls out Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, the Intercontinental Champion. We go to a match featuring the Junkyard Dog and a man who could arguably be the most unathletic-looking performer in WWF history: Rusty Brooks.

Rusty Brooks

Brooks looks like he weighs 350 pounds, is about 5 foot, 8 inches tall and is balding. Brooks's body made "Playboy" Buddy Rose look like Randy Orton. It's possible he was a some great worker, but he didn't really show it in this match, outside of a horrible drop-kick attempt that it looked like he learned from Jerry Lawler.

Rusty Brooks 

Brooks wore a green and white singlet and proceeded to do his his job -- make JYD look good. Even JYD felt sorry for him. After JYD pinned him with a shoulder block, he actually helped him up out of the ring.

In the studio, McMahon is promoting a second WrestleMania match between JYD and Valentine for the Intercontinental title. McMahon tells JYD he needs to seize the moment and JYD looks at the camera and tells Valentine that he's coming after him.

"Every dog needs a bone to chew on," JYD says. McMahon says, "Hopefully the next time we see you, you will be the Intercontinental champion." After JYD exits we go to a training session with Hogan and Mr. T in Venice Beach. Hogan is holding a copy of a newspaper that has to be a fake, or the paper had the worst headline writers in the history of newspapers.

Mr. T. vs. Hulk Hogan

Hogan and T are on the streets with Okerlund and Hogan cuts when of his great promos. "When this dude came to my side, he told me we have to get hungry. He told me we have to get the eye of the tiger. He said we had to get back to the basics."

I was never a big fan of Hogan's in-ring work, but his promos were great in 1985. He really put Mr. T over. Hogan says he will teach Mr. T how to wrestle and lift weights, but that T will teach him how to streetlight. "I looked around the world for the toughest guy I could find and I found Mr. T," Hogan says. I guess Hillbilly Jim was unavailable.

Hogan's "Real American" music plays and we are treated to a video package of Mr. T pounding a Heavy Bag and working on his Jon Jones elbows. Hogan puts a picture of Piper on the heavy bag and Mr. T clobbers it, knocking it to the ground. Mr. T then eats it.

Mr T. vs. Roddy Piper

Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper

Next we go to "Sarah Soothsayer" in a segment that makes me wonder what what was going through McMahon's head. She's supposed to be a fortune teller and she's spinning a brew like a witch while Piper, Orton, Orndorff, McMahon and Lord Alfred Hayes watch. She's going to offer a prediction on the Wrestlemania main event.

"Spirits come to me!" she says. "Piper's got Mr. T in a hammerlock." She starts blurting out how Orndorff is on top, but then rather quickly the spirits start fading and she is unable to predict the future. That's great. She can't see what every 8-year-old kid at the time could see about who was going to win the match.

Soothsayer Paul Orndorff

Next up in the studio is the Fabulous Moolah and the new ladies champion, Leilani Kai. Moolah managed Kai as a surprise in a match against Wendi Richter.

Fabulous Moolah

McMahon took us to Madison Square Garden in a match that appeared on the undercard of the Hogan vs. Piper match we saw earlier. This much is true: The female workers in 1985 were still better than those of today. Sure they didn't have the outwardly cosmetic bodies that the Divas do, but Richter and Kai worked a good match, that was not Tanahashi vs. Okada, but it was well-paced and athletic.

Wendi Richter vs. Lelani Kai

Everything was going well until Moolah decided to go choke Lauper. Again, that Lauper was able to go along with all of this is nothing short of remarkable. Moolah appeared to rough her up legitimately, although that's probably just Moolah selling well. Lauper passed out at ringside after the choke out.

Fabulous Moolah vs. Wendi Richter

Monsoon and Okerlund played this off like it was a huge deal for Moolah to attack this mainstream celebrity. As Moolah was choking out Lauper, Richter came over to help. Moolah laid a big right hand on her and Kai rolled her up for the win.

Lelani Kai

The crowd started yelling "Bull$#!&" at the finish. I guess they don't know that it's just a set-up for Richter's big WrestleMania win? Back in the studio, Kai and Moolah laughed like school girls, but noticeably missed a high-five although they were sitting a foot apart.

Lelani Kai

McMahon asks Moolah how she could attack Lauper. McMahon says she could have destroyed the vocal chords of one of the greatest musical talents ever. Moolah disagreed.

"She's up there screaming like an idiot," Moolah said. "No one can hear what she is saying." Transitional champion Kai ends the segment by saying that she doesn't care if people boo her. She's got Moolah by her side and that's all she needs.

We're about three weeks away from the first WrestleMania and McMahon has announced three matches: Hogan & Mr. T vs. Piper and Orndorff; JYD vs. Valentine; and Kai vs. Richter. Everyone always says that McMahon gambled on WrestleMania and if it failed so would have the company, but if it succeeded, well WWF would take off. We know what happened. And even week here on TNT, we can enjoy the buildup to it.

For whatever reason, the stars aligned on McMahon and the WWF and the company was about to explode.