Yes, a Coliseum Video dedicated entirely to "The Best" of TNT (a.k.a. Tuesday Night Titans), Vince McMahon's hybrid talk, and variety show to give a platform for his Superstars to get their personalities over outside of the squared circle. At the time of this tape's release (August 1986), TNT was on its last legs, with Gene Okerlund taking over as the host and the show about a month or so away from being canceled. 90 minutes of comedy segments. You've been warned. This is Coliseum release #025, for those who care.
"Mean" Gene Okerlund is our host from the WWF Control Center. He claims the fans demanded it, so here we are. He also calls TNT the "most popular show on cable television." I sense at least two lies spoken in the last 30-seconds.
We open properly with FUJI VICE. I mean, if you're going to do a 90-minute tape dedicated to skits and comedy, at least you picked the best of the best to open with. The segment opens with a bunch of random folks playing volleyball on the beach before discovering a dead body. Fret not, as Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji are on the scene! The lieutenant and his terribly fake mustache on the scene suspect a random woman who shows up to identify the man as her brother, but Muraco believes her innocence, even if they don't show much resemblance (the lieutenant's words, not mine). Muraco's line delivery is so bad it's impossible to transcribe, something you must literally see to believe. As it turns out, the woman is indeed behind the murder, the mysterious "Seahawk" that is running a drug smuggling operation, and the man murdered was no longer a trustworthy associate. Muraco and Fuji are captured, but the lieutenant makes the save and arrests the Seahawk. Muraco and Fuji try stealing the spotlight, of course. This version is the EXTENDED CUT, including a meeting at the bar between Muraco, Fuji, and Angelica/The Seahawk, which is typically trimmed from other home video releases. It doesn't read like much, but it's got such a weird charm you can't help but be entertained by it.
"The Brain Meets the Weasel." Vince McMahon has Bobby Heenan on as his guest and brings out a young boy with a pet weasel. The TNT plays him out to "Pop Goes the Weasel", of course. McMahon insists we get close-ups of the Weasel and the boy's pet, with Heenan getting flustered, defending how he has zero resemblance to the animal. Vince asks the boy point blank if he sees a resemblance, and the boy says yes. Heenan asks what grade he's in (7th), then asks if he wants to see the 8th. McMahon whips out the latest issue of WWF Magazine, featuring a photo of Heenan and a Weasel. Not a shining moment of comedy, but Heenan heeling on a kid and flabbergasted at the accusation of looking like a Weasel is great.
"Funk Texas-Style Barbeque." Hoss is riding around on a horse while Alfred acts like a snob. There's a giant tub of Barbeque sauce nearby. I wonder what happens with that. Jimmy Jack says he has 5 horses, one for any day he wants it. Alfred says, "he doesn't have one for Saturday or Sunday, apparently." Jimmy Hart's carving skills leave a bit to be desired. Hoss is sad because his brother Terry is the biggest fan of holding Barbeques and promises Terry will be back (maybe 10 years later). Vince departs and leaves it to Alfred to wrap things up. He smacks Jimmy Jack's "grubby hands" for touching his sandwich, so they dump the bucket of sauce on him and string him up on a nearby tree. OK, this segment was lame, but Alfred being humiliated is always good for a laugh.
"Lou's Christmas Cookies." Albano wants to show his old family recipe for cookies. If you've got a cigar, keep it on the side so it doesn't get in the ingredients. George Steele wanders onto the set. Albano says if you want to bring Steele a cookie, you can do so. Albano uses ridiculous amounts of ingredients while handling an unlit cigar ("keep the sanitary conditions!"). Use butter, NOT MARGERINE. Vince hurries Albano to finish, so Albano dumps the mix on Alfred's head. Not awful, but we just saw the same bit of Alfred being humiliated, so doing it again immediately after seems like bad pacing.
"This is Your Life, Nikolai Volkoff." Another of the more iconic segments in the history of TNT. The gimmick is a spoof of an old television show where someone would unknowingly be the guest with family and friends talking about their lives. Vince pulls Nikolai Volkoff from the TNT audience, and yes, he has the same suit on. Mystery Guest #1 says the first time he met Nikolai Volkoff; he was stuck for an answer when someone said "Hello." "WOAH, Fred Blassie!" immediately comes out of the smiling mouth of the big, bad Russian brute. Volkoff says he was here to watch "Dating Game", but Blassie says that's OK, after this show, they can go on a date. Blassie makes up some nonsense story about discovering Volkoff in a gym, calling him an Olympic Gold Medalist! "What Olympics?" asks Vince. Blassie barks back; "It was the Olympics, what do you care?!". Vince asks how come Blassie hasn't been able to guide Volkoff to the WWF Championship before moving him along to the gallery. Mystery Guest #2 reminisces about swimming in the Volga and getting sick on the rides at Gorky Park. Volkoff is completely clueless (*rimshot*) and discovers it's his sister, Olga, all the way from their home of Ivangorod. Everyone is so proud of him. Ivangorod is very poor, as scarce as a heatwave in Siberia. Even when he was little, Nikolai was always telling jokes, and was a standout performer in his childhood play of "Peter and the Wolf", where he played the cat to (alleged) favorable reviews (including three curtain calls). Nikolai is BEAMING FROM EAR TO EAR. Some people want to name Ivangorod "Nikolaigorod." She has a framed photo of his baby picture, and yes, it's his current head on the body of a toddler. Olga turns heel, saying she wants to hit him over the head for never working hard, carving animals out of wood, and stealing the family savings for her ballet classes. He spent some of the money on the horrible outfit he's wearing right now! Now they want to hang her in the main square of Ivangorod. Thankfully the clip cuts off here, as the entire episode of TNT was dedicated to the segment. These two guests were arguably the best part, so I'm glad they made the cut.
"Adrian Gets a Facial." First, we see clips of "Before" and "After" Adrian Adonis, from tough guy to creampuff. Adrian Adonis is off to the side of the studio getting his makeup, hair and nails touched up. He gets this treatment every day and take the crew with him on the road. "I don't want to look cheap!" Adonis tells Vince he makes the sunshine brighter than Doris Day ("Awwwwwe!"). Vince suggests maybe Adonis spend some time in the gym on his physique. The entourage insists that Adrian and Jimmy treat them well, including picking up the tab wherever they go ("yeah, picking it up and putting it back down."). The beauty treatment continues, with Adrian looking as ridiculous as possible. This was the worst segment, so far.
"Magnificent Massage." Muraco is on the set, getting rubbed down by a pair of bikini clad ladies. They're using a generous amount of oil. He says of Mr. Fuji, with managers like him, who needs enemies. It looks like everyone is having a good time. Fuji squirts more oil on Muraco, saying he's as smooth as baby skin.
"Baffle the Brain." Heenan takes offense to not being introduced as the Manager of the Year. McMahon compliments Heenan's handkerchief. Alfred has some questions for Heenan, and they've cleverly titled the segment "Baffle the Brain." Alfred says Heenan knows so much about wrestling, he has a list of questions for him. The Intercontinental Title changed hands once in 1985; in what city was it, and who won it? What was the name of Lou Albano's Championship Team and who was his partner? Who was the only man Freddie Blassie managed to the WWF Title, and who beat him? Who held all 3 WWF Championships (WWF, Intercontinental, and Tag Team) in their career, and is still active? Name 2 current managers featured on the inside cover of "The Wrestling Album" Heenan gets the first four questions correct, but his own arrogance incorrectly identifies himself for the last question, when he was not featured on the cover. McMahon comically takes the piss out of the first question, noting that the current Intercontinental Champion was hardly a difficult question to answer. Not great, but at least it had some substance unlike the last few segments.
No cute name for the next segment, which features Roddy Piper and Bob Orton as McMahon's guests. We join the segment already in progress (I know, because I recapped it before) with Piper scattering a Hulk Hogan puzzle on the floor ("250 pieces? That'll take the Hillbillies 10 years). Piper's voice is completely shot here. McMahon thumbs through the WWF Magazine, allowing Piper to make fun of Uncle Elmer. We segue to highlights of the Six-Man Tag Team Match from Saturday Night's Main Event between Piper, Orton, and Jesse Ventura against Hillbilly Jim, Uncle Elmer, and Cousin Luke. Piper wins by putting Luke out with a sleeper. Back in the studio, Piper starts making fun of Bruno Sammartino. We talk about the Wrestling Album and Piper's song "For Everybody." He says there's a message in the song, and if you have an I.Q. over 21, you can figure it out. Piper looks like he belongs on another planet. Again, not bad, but Piper has done much better during the same period.
"Muraco Speaks on Acting." Yes, our third segment dedicated to Don Muraco, and thankfully this one covers the full spectrum of his ventures in Hollywood. McMahon asks about S.D. Jones and the beaches of Antigua. Muraco says everyone is entitled to believing like they want, like people who enjoy living in New Jersey. McMahon asks if the folks of Hawaii are embarrassed by his attempts at acting in such masterpieces as Fuji Chan, Fuji Bandito and Fuji General. Muraco tells McMahon what he knows about acting and talent would fill Andre the Giant's brain. McMahon throws it to footage of Muraco's acting chops, and to make a long story short (too late), Muraco has no concept of emoting and constantly reads from a prompt screen without any pause when deemed necessary, and it's GLORIOUS.
"Muraco and Fuji go to Hollywood." Muraco and Fuji are on a quest to show how wrong everyone is about their acting abilities and are on the hunt for an agent. They're in awe of the waiting room of their first visit, where another man has waited for three days. They show the agent a tape of their performance, and he laughs them out of the room, calling it the worst piece of trash he's ever seen. Muraco says, "he wouldn't know talent if it bit him… where his brains are." We're supposed to believe they've stopped off at Paramount and MGM Studios, based on wide-angle shots of their entrances. Fuji harasses a guard for not knowing what Fuji General is, accusing him of living in a closet. Fuji's next scheme includes a handful of cash. Muraco scoffs at the idea that nobody seems to know who he is. I guess the second guard proves that it's not true that everybody has a price. "When we take over Hollywood, you're losing your job!" Muraco suddenly has a great idea: That goof Hulk Hogan is recording for his TV Show tomorrow. It's a cartoon show, so I can't imagine there's much to record. They walk in on Okerlund having his makeup done and insist on taking his spot. Okerlund is informed that there's a spot for them after all. Okerlund has a gift for them, and inside is a book titled "Helpful Hints for Bad Actors." HAR-HAR.
"Ebineezer Piper." I doubt it was intentional, but the proper spelling is EBENEZER, and yes, this is the Roddy Piper version of a Christmas Carol. What's the context of the segment? What does it have to do with any ongoing storylines? NOTHING. He's in bed with a sack of pennies when a specter comes through his window. It's Marley, his old partner. Piper ignores most of what he says, cracking one-liners as quickly as he can. Marley has three guests that'll scare him into changing his ways. "GET OUTTA HERE!" The Ghost of Christmas Past ("It's Tiny Tim's father!") is next. "You were really old when you died, with that hair." We see Little Piper stealing lunch money. "I HAD TO EAT! I didn't take no lunch money from then, anyway!" Marley is disappointed, so he presents the Ghost and Spirit of Christmas Present. We find out the Cratchit family is having a terrible Christmas because they can't wrap presents. Why? Piper stole their SCOTCH TAPE. WHAT A HEEL. In Piper's defense, this Ghost couldn't read his lines properly, so how can anyone expect him to convince someone to go babyface? The cloaked Ghost of Christmas' to Come shows Piper's future: a gravestone. Piper doesn't care. Marley comes back one more time and Piper shows him the door, because he's never going to change. Some people don't like this segment, but it's classic Piper, and a much better segment than the previous one featuring him.
"The Mating Game." We join the segment during the introductions, but it's a young woman named Phoebe Zimmerman picking from The Hart Foundation (Bret, Neidhart, and manager Jimmy). Question #1: "How do you know it's the right time to kiss a girl for the first time?" Jimmy Hart says parts of your body send you the signal, and his response is unimpressive. The second question is for Bret, and how long can he last in the bedroom. He can go for a few hours in the ring, so he can go all night long. Neidhart's question is to describe the level of passion in love making, and Neidhart compares it to a nuclear explosion. Back to Bret, "does he consider himself an arm wrestler, leg wrestler, or tongue wrestler?" Since he's from a cold climate and his nose is running and at a young age, he learned to lick his eyebrows. Jimmy's idea of can't-miss foreplay is to lube up the megaphone and stick it in your ear. How would #3 (Anvil) keep her warm in the cold? His answer is too intricate and not nice. This continues for a few more minutes, and it's lost its charm a while ago. When it's time for Miss Zimmerman to make her decision, she comes to the realization that this deal is worse than signing a WWE contract and all three of the bachelors aren't worth going on a date with. Jimmy calls her a real bow-wow. Good news: They have a back-up bachelorette, Miss Yolanda Jones, a short middle-aged woman with an afro and huge mole on her upper lip. She chooses Bachelor #3: Jim Neidhart. The big reveal is made, and he tries to back-peddle away from her, but the contract is BINDING. Jimmy and Bret enjoy the misery of Neidhart. This went too long and had about 15-seconds of actual comedy, mostly from Neidhart. This segment marked the last of McMahon's tenure as the host of TNT, for those wondering.
Coming Soon from Coliseum Video... "The Best of the WWF Volume IX" (featuring a Six-Man Tag with Andre, JYD, and Jimmy Snuka against Studd, Patera, and Jesse Ventura), "The British Bulldogs" (with highlights of a match against the Dream Team that I don't think made the final cut), and "Inside the Steel Cage" (with highlights of the famous match between Muraco and Snuka). Yes, TWO MATCHES OF JIMMY SNUKA FEATURED, about a year removed from his last appearance for the company.
Final Thoughts: Just like the TNT show itself, this was a hit-and-miss feature. For every good segment, there's one equally lame or unfunny. The tape starts hot and ends with one of the worst segments that fails to produce more than a few laughs, so it's best to watch through the Piper Christmas Carol segment and finishing up there. If you're a fan of the era, there's some great stuff here, and worth sitting through some of the crap that made it through the filter.
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