By Josh Molina, WrestlingObserver.com
– Airdate: Jan. 3, 1985
– Runtime: 45 minutes
– Stars of the show: Air Volkoff’s Curb Stomp, Piper’s Mouth, Capt. Lou’s Face Turn
– Quote of the show: “You know what that song is talking about? That song is talking about masturbation.” — Roddy Piper
It’s the first Tuesday Night Titans of 1985, but for some reason it’s on Friday night. We learned this because during the regular opening voiceover, Lord Alfred Hayes says, “It’s TNT, on Friday Nights.” I tried a few Google searches of TNT on Fridays, but couldn’t find any answer as to why TNT this week aired on Friday. Could it have been the horrible Westminster Kennel Dog Show pre-empted the show on Tuesday?
Not only was it on Friday nights, but the show was only one hour. Let’s hope the show returns to two hours and back on Tuesday next week because the first show of 1985 was saved only by Rowdy Roddy Piper and Capt. Lou Albano.
But first, it’s Hillbilly Jim.
For weeks Jim has played the role of country bumpkin’ at ringside during WWF matches, with McMahon saying, “there’s that big guy again.” Well somehow, the didn’t show the angle on TNT, Jim was on location with Hulk Hogan, learning how to become a professional wrestler.
Hogan is giving him the Mean Gene treatment, forcing him to eat some healthy, but gross-tasting concoction from the blender. Hogan is trying to Jim into shape, but Jim says he wants “eggs, pancakes, grits and fatback.”
This is funny since Jim is clearly already in pretty good shape. McMahon forces Jim to drink the protein shake because “we got about eight hours of hanging and banging.” Jim holds his nose and nearly spits it out.
From Jim’s kitchen we go to the gym, where Hogan’s awesome “Real American” music is playing. Hogan is clearly frustrated with Jim’s lack of mobility. He also struggles on the weights. Hogan admits to Jim, “you’ve got a long way to go. You are little uncoordinated.” Hogan promises that he’ll get Jim into shape, but that it’s going to take time. They go the squared circle, where Hogan attempts to teach Jim how to run the ropes.
“I want you to hit these ropes just like you are in the middle of the field,” Hogan says. Jim is purposely bumping like he’s Kevin Nash, devoid of any agility. I don’t recall how long Jim stayed around the WWF.
It doesn’t feel like it was very long, but this was the start of his run.
Back in the studio, Lord Alfred Hayes said that with Hulk Hogan behind him, Hillbilly Jim “could turn into something absolutely devastating in the WWF.” Not really. He should have played a heel. He would have worked out great as a member of the Wyatt family.
Nikolai Volkoff is the first guest on the show. After some brief singing with the new Jimmy D and the TNT Band, Volkoff sits down with McMahon and Hayes to talk about how Hulk Hogan is ducking him.
Volkoff is taking on some guy named Athens Apollo, who clearly was given the name by McMahon to make fun of him. Apollo is probably a nice guy, but his shirtless body should not be displayed on national television. He also needs a haircut. He looked like a fat version of Iron Mike Sharpe, with a face that resembled X-Pac’s when he was just the 1-2-3 Kid.
Where did these 1980s jobbers come from. Why couldn’t his name just have been something like Matt Johnson? With a name like Athens Apollo, and a body like a slimmer version of Bastion Booger, this guy wasn’t getting any help getting over. The match consisted of Volkoff punching, kicking and slamming Apollo, before giving him an awesome curb stomp that would have made Seth Rollins jealous.
Volkoff finishes Apollo off with his finisher, the press slam into a back breaker, but Volkoff couldn’t get Apollo’s walrus-like physique all the way up so the move was a bit rushed and awkward. Fat weighs more than muscle, Volkoff.
Back on the couch, Volkoff calls out Hogan again and reminds us that he is undefeated and deserves a title show. Volkoff says “The Iron Sheik is the only man in the United States who I can trust.”
They go to a tag team match with Sheik and Volkoff against SD Jones and Aldo Marino. We never see the match, however, because the U.S. Express, Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo come to ringside waiving the American Flag while Volkoff is singing the Russian National Anthem. The Iron Sheik grabbed the microphone and said “You people shut up, Iran No. 1.”
Capt. Lou Albano is the next guest and he looks like a new man. There’s no shorts and Hawaiian shirt, or any rubber bands hanging from his face.
Albano is mysteriously a face after just two weeks ago wreaking havoc and Paul Vachon’s wedding. And then Albano makes a startling confession: “Mr. McMahon perhaps in the past I have been a bit misunderstood, but I believe I have seen the light through the eyes of Cyndi Lauper and her manager David Wolff and Hulk Hogan.”
Wow. Albano is speaking soft and calmly. Albano then admits that that he was not responsible for Lauper’s success.
“I feel I have helped Cyndi in her career, but as I have said before perhaps she could have done just as well on her own or even greater, but I am please to be a friend associated with Cyndi Lauper and David Wolff,” Albano said.
McMahon and Albano must have thought that if Albano was going to be the co-chair of the national Multiple Sclerosis Association he needed to be a good guy and that he needed to get along with Lauper.
Considering that 1984 was built on Lauper and Albano feuding over who was responsible for her success, this is drastic departure for Albano. I didn’t realize Albano had so much range. But we didn’t’ have to wait too long for the old Albano to return — when he started talking about Piper.
Albano is suddenly protective of Lauper, and is angry that Piper called her a “broad” on television recently. They cut to a segment with McMahon interviewing Piper and Albano and Piper says that Lauper doesn’t deserve any of the credit she is getting.
Lauper apparently is going to be honored in Madison Square Garden for her contributions to the WWF. Piper says he is the one who should be honored. Albano is noticeably freaking out while Piper is criticizing her, before walking off the set. He called her “an undeserving wench.” Piper says the only time Cindy Lauper has ever peaked is when she was on Piper’s Pit.
After the interview, they cut to Lauper talking to a live crowd during a concert explaining that she got into professional wrestling to get behind Wendi Richter.
Back in the TNT studios, Albano alludes to the ceremony where Lauper was honored. Although they didn’t show the clip, I recall this is the event where Piper broke framed the broken gold record over Albano’s head, leading to a melee with Piper body slamming Wolf before Hogan made a rescue.
Albano says he was attacked during the ceremony and vows that “your time is coming Piper! It’s time for payback. You are a moron. You are going to pay. Roddy Piper look out.” McMahon told Albano “to get ahold of yourself.”
Albano leaves and the next guest, you guessed it, is Piper. Piper had been banned from the show the year prior after he slapped Lord Alfred Hayes. Apparently, McMahon thought it would be a good thing to bring Piper back. Piper walked out with swagger and attitude while whistling.
Piper promises that he will behave like a “perfect gentleman.” Yeah, right. Piper tells Hayes, “How’s your face?” before leaning over and squeezing Hayes’ cheek and says, “I am sorry Alfy, I am sorry I slapped your little face.”
Piper is on fire with his quips here, bringing up Lauper’s song “She Bop”. “You know what that song is talking about? That song is talking about masturbation,” Piper says. As soon as Piper said the word “masturbation,” McMahon tossed his pencil in the air and three his head back, clearly disgusted.
Piper says, “Did I embarrass you Vinny?”
McMahon takes us to a match with Piper and The Tonga Kid. Piper is basically bumping for the kid before the Kid goes nuts and starts hitting him with a steal chair.
In the TNT studios, Piper says that the 17-year-old Tonga Kid is a degenerate who wears an earring and a ponytail. People like he and Lauper, Piper said, “are degenerating all of society.”
McMahon asks Piper how he feels about hitting Lauper in Madison Square Garden and Piper responds: “If a woman hits me, I hit her back. She wants to bop, I will show her how to bop.” McMahon says, “you are really proud of your accomplishments aren’t you?
Piper responds: “You would be too if you ever accomplished anything.” Piper then accuses Albano of stealing money from the “Muscular Dystrophy Association,” forcing McMahon to correct him and say “Multiple Sclerosis.”
“How much money went into Albano’s pocket,” Piper says.
The accusations force Albano to come back out. He tells Piper, “I was here before you and here a lot longer than you!” Piper, who does not like fat people, told Albano to put his “fluffy little but right there,” and have a seat on the couch. Albano tells Piper to “buzz off, punk.”
Piper then remembered that he promised to be a gentleman so he decided to leave the show. Not quite. As he is walking out, he turns around and lays a right hand on Albano that would have dropped Mr. T. Albano bumped backwards over the couch in a move that would have made Dolph Ziggler jealous.
“Come on, big time,” Piper screams, “come on you fat piece of garbage.” Albano gets up and screams at Piper, “I haven’t touched a dime. Roddy Piper I am going to tell you this. I am going to pay you back. With every ounce of my body I am going to pay you back. Roddy Piper look out. This is not the end Vinny.”
Let’s hope TNT returns to two hours next week and goes back to Tuesday. The shorter format feels rushed and more scripted than the longer version. It’s 1985 and we are headed to the first WrestleMania. I don’t think Athens Apollo made it to Madison Square Garden.