Even if you don’t remember the WWF show Tuesday Night Titans, if you’re at all familiar with Vince McMahon, you wouldn’t be surprised that he tried to be Jay Leno and do a wrestling-themed talk show in the 1980s.
Vince was Leno, the late Lord Alfred Hayes played the sidekick, and there was even a house band. The program was cheesy by most standards, but nonetheless I have distinct memories of some of the skits and angles produced on Tuesday Night Titans. Here are my top moments leading up to No. 1:
5. Hulk Hogan jams with Mean Gene Okerlund. It’s well known Hogan was a musician before becoming a wrestler, and in this episode of Tuesday Night Titans, Hogan strapped on his bass and sat in with the house band while Okerlund performed a rendition of “Tutti Frutti.”
4. Paul Orndorff fires Bobby Heenan. “Mr. Wonderful” losing the main event of the original WrestleMania led to tension between him and Heenan, and things came to a head on this episode. As usual, Heenan is hilarious, going into a rage after Orndorff cans him. And Heenan brings out his “ham and egger” line, too. I believe this was the first of two separate times Orndorff fired Heenan in the 1980s.
3. Roddy Piper slaps Hayes. Piper was on Tuesday Night Titans to explain his actions after he attacked Jimmy Snuka during Piper’s Pit, which was one of the all-time classic WWF angles. After a period of Piper going off on Snuka, Hayes interjected about Piper’s demeanor, which led to Piper slapping him hard in the face. It was a shock at the time.
2. Andre the Giant grabs McMahon. Leading up the original WrestleMania, Big John Studd had been taunting Andre, saying Andre could not bodyslam him. Studd had been pushing his $15,000 “body slam challenge” as a build-up to the match. McMahon argued that Andre should also put something on the line for the match, and actually said if he didn’t, people would say Andre “was yellow.” At that point, Andre grabbed McMahon by the collar, told he was going to slam Studd, and threw Vince back into his seat. McMahon was tremendous here, including whipping his coffee cup in anger at the end of the segment. This was actually the first time I can remember any wrestler actually assaulting McMahon as part of an angle.
1. The debut of “Fuji Vice.” I’m amazed how many people still talk to me about this skit involving Magnificent Muraco and his manager, Mr. Fuji. It was a takeoff on the popular Miami Vice series, and was highlighted by terrible acting (Muraco reading off the cue cards is memorable). It’s even more hilarious now to think this stuff even got on the air. If you don’t have time to watch the whole nine minutes, the first 40 seconds with the opening montage is the least you can view. Muraco and Fuji also did other skits, like “Fuji General” (a parody of General Hospital) and “Fuji Chan” (which mocked whodunit mystery programs). The latter had a great scene during which someone yelled, “Someone stole the jewels!” and Muraco exaggeratedly tapped his suit’s side pocket to show everyone he had the stolen goods. It’s really hard to explain in words what train wrecks these skits were, and for that reason, “Fuji Vice” takes the top spot on my list.