– Stars of the show: Capt. Lou’s belly, Capt. Lou’s diet advice, Capt. Lou’s personal hygiene advice
– Air date: Nov. 13, 1984
– Run time: 1:34 minutes
– Quote of the show: “I can’t stand for obesity. I really don’t appreciate fat people at all.” — Capt. Lou Albano
Apparently Vince McMahon looked at the roster of guests for episode 14 and decided he needed someone on the show with a little personality. So he called up Capt. Lou Albano and told him to sit through EVERY segment to liven up the show.
We’re at episode 14 with our weekly reviews of Tuesday Night Titans, the WWF’s iconic USA cable show that began in 1984. Part “Tonight Show,” part “The Muppets,” TNT introduces us every week to the people behind the wrestlers. Most are in character, some are not, but all are usually entertaining. Except for this week.
The in-ring action is secondary to the interviews, where McMahon usually skewers guests with his passive aggressive humor, while bullying co-host Lord Alfred Hayes with a strange brand of guised sarcastic humor that portrays Hayes as some kind of British stooge. This week, since it’s near Thanksgiving, McMahon introduces Hayes as “Her Majesty’s answer to our Thanksgiving turkey, Lord Alfred Hayes.”
McMahon has a different insult for Hayes every week and every time Hayes just sits there and laughs as he’s being obliterated. McMahon is the boss after all.
Capt. Lou Albano is the first guest. Albano appeared in the early episodes of the show and appears to be back to make us laugh. He rattles off his list of accolades, including 14 tag team champions, two intercontinental, and one world wide federation champion. Albano must be getting paid double-time today because he is putting over the sport, calling professional wrestlers “without a doubt the greatest living athletes in the world today.”
Albano says he is an IQ of 901.73 and that he is a linguist, bi-linguist, strategist and genius. Albano was great at free-styling gibberish and making it sound perfect for the moment.
In the ring, he is managing The Spoiler, but oddly the camera cuts to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, at ringside. Albano leaves the ring and cuts a promo saying The Hammer is too good to wrestle and doesn’t need to wrestle. Apparently, The Spoiler is not that good because he pins his opponent with a claw hold in a short match.
Back on the couch, Albano says he has been working with The Spoiler for seven years and that he is so strong that he can snap a pair of pliers squeezing a wooden board.
The next guest is a young Barry Windham, wearing a bright pink shirt. Albano decided to say on the couch, but his shirt is off and he has some kind of leaf in his pants.
What’s immediately clear is that Windham did not possess the same charisma as his father, Blackjack Mulligan, whom we will see later. Windham was soft-spoken, but came across more like a church member than a professional wrestler. Windham said he is successful because he works harder than everyone else. I guess his father didn’t help get into the business or anything. One thing is clear. He’s sporting great hair.
Windham says he has been wrestling since he was six years old, just as Albano let’s out an obnoxious burp, prompting a disgusted McMahon to say, “would you please stop!”
In the ring Windham, from Sweetwater Texas, is wrestling Charlie Fulton. The camera cuts to Hillbilly Jim in the audience, although at this time we don’t know who is. He is just some big guy in the audience that the camera chooses to show every week. McMahon is on commentary and says that “he’s a big, big man, whomever he is.” McMahon loves big guys. Windham, who is about 6 feet, 5 inches tall is also a big man and McMahon calls him a “good-looking young athlete.”
Windham would turn into one of the greatest professional wrestlers off all-time, and possibly the greatest for a short time in the 1980s in the NWA. Windham worked well for a big guy and possessed some remarkable timing and psychology in the ring. Windham wins with a bulldog and we’re back in the studio.
Albano never needed anyone on camera with him when he spoke and he doesn’t need Windham either. McMahon asks Albano to offer Windham some career advice and Albano showers him with a bunch of compliments about his ring ability, but then it all gets hilarious when Albano delves into nutritional advice.
He tells Windham he needs to go on a low-carb diet and eat chicken hearts and “unborn virgin goat’s milk” if he wants to get into shape. Windham finally shows some personality when he retorts: “Why should I take advice from a slob like you?” The comment hurt Albano’s feelings. He said he didn’t have to take that after he complimented Windham’s in-ring abilities. So Albano turned and said Windham had the brain of a dehydrated BB, which was one of Albano’s great lines.
Up next is Mike Rotundo, Windham’s tag team partner. Albano and Windham are still on the couch.
McMahon spends a lot of time talking about Rotundo’s legitimate athletic background, noting that his was a football and wrestling star at the University of Syracuse. In the ring, we see tag team action with Windham and Rotundo taking on two jobbers named Mohammed Sadd and Bobby Bass. Rotundo does not look like he has a wrestler’s body. He’s a bit flabby.
The two win their match, and we’re back on the couch. Windham and Rotundo spent a lot of time together as a tag team, but Rotundo also spent time with Windham’s sister, whom he married. The couple would produce two children, who are also two of today’s WWE rising stars, Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas.
On the couch, Albano is mumbling to Hayes every time Rotundo speaks and McMahon says he is going to have call security if Albano doesn’t shut up. Apparently Windham and Rotundo were tag team champions in other places prior to going the WWF, but Albano is not impressed with their regional victories.
“What about Rhode Island? Have you won the Rhode Island tag team championship too?” Albano says. HAHAHAHA. Windham and Rotundo aren’t impressed with Albano either. They said if they ever needed a manager it would not be a Albano.
Occasionally we see a match on TNT and now’s the time, so McMahon takes us to a match-up between Rocky Johnson and Nikolai Volkfof. This was not a good match. Johnson wrestles a lot like his son, but without the charisma and Volkoff was an even worse worker. Volkoff threw a tremendous right hand that only missed about about five feet.
The announcers are talking about how Johnson chose pro wrestling over pro boxing. Volkoff was actually a likable guy; he would have worked better without the Russian gimmick. He was just too goofy to be considered a great heel. He could have done great as the third man in the Bushwackers. There were lots of shoulder blocks in this match. Volkoff won when he clotheslined Johnson off the top rope for the victory.
The next segment is about the dumbest segment in the history of TNT. McMahon and Hayes say they have found the “world’s oldest fan,” some guy named Lloyd Lynch.
This was bad, bad, bad variety show comedy. The guy was clearly about 40 years old and dressed up as some octogenarian. He was far worse of an actor than Jamison, the nerd who would show up later on “The Bobby Heenan Show.” Hayes helps him to his seat. McMahon asks him how long he has been a fan and he says that in 1834 he watched his first match. He said his favorite wrestler was the Swedish Angel, and then promptly falls asleep on camera. He starts talking about women’s wrestling and attempts to demonstrate a “double-toe half nelson” as he kicks his right leg up in the air.
Suddenly Lloyd freezes and Hayes has to pull his leg back down. Dumb. This segment may have worked with a better actor or better writing, but let’s hope we never see this guy again. I wonder who he was? We get another big dose of boring next with the debut of David Bruno Sammartino, Bruno Sammartino’s midget sidekick. No, it’s actually his adult son, who looks a lot like a shorter version of his father, but without all the disgusting body hair.
He talks like his father also, although he may be slightly more articulate, which if you watched Sammartino’s induction of Larry Zbyszko, you’d know isn’t that difficult.
Lil’ Bruno says he has wanted to be a professional wrestler since he was five years old and that it’s an honor to be compared to his father. We are treated (Yes! Yes! Yes!) to a match with Lil’ Bruno and man, did he stink up the joint.
They put him in there with Mr. Fuji, who looked like he wanted to take a nap throughout the match. Fuji’s chops and kicks make John Cena’s offense look like Brock Lesnar’s. Fuji was moving in slow motion which didn’t make Lil’ Bruno look good. He sold a lot, falling to one knee. Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes are calling the match and Hayes says he is surprised DBS can take all off the punishment because Fuji’s blows cause “internal pain and suffering.” It is true that Fuji’s offense in this match will make you want to vomit.
After Fuji’s senile beat-down of Lil’ Bruno, DBS wins with a small package. What a finish. Albano took a break during the world’s oldest man segment, but is now back on the couch for Lil’ Bruno. Albano puts Hornswoggle over, saying he has “magnificent biceps and triceps,” and that he very much respects his father, even though he doesn’t like him. But here he goes again. Albano suggests that Lil’ Bruno go on a high protein diet. He should eat fewer than 20 carbs a days, and lots of liver and chicken.
Albano before storming off the seat, leaves Lil’ Bruno with perhaps the greatest advice ever bestowed on a second-generation athlete: Son,why don’t you change that name, Sammartino. Change your last name.” I don’t know whatever happened to David Bruno Sammartino. He apparently didn’t change his name.
TNT is keeping it real this week with its next guest, Blackjack Mulligan.
Mulligan is the father of Barry Windham, but apparently Mulligan didn’t pass down any of his charisma to his son. Mulligan packs a ton of charisma, the kind that JBL could only dream of. Mulligan promises to take on some of the company’s biggest heels, including The Iron Sheik, Big John Studd, Nikolai Volkoff, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
In case anyone was confusing Mulligan with Hayes, Mulligan reminds us that he’s from Texas and that “we are simple folks. We are kind of basic country folks. We are bread and butter and gravy and beans.” In the ring, Mulligan destroys Ted Grizzly with a flying elbow to the chest.
Of course, since McMahon has never missed an opportunity to exploit a negative stereotype, this week’s culture (ridiculous stereotype) segment features Mulligan and his band of “continental cowboys,” square dancers, and a mechanical bull.
But before we see anyone ride the bull, we go to Piper’s Pit to watch Mulligan confront Piper, who is interviewing SD Jones. Mulligan says he is going to set Piper straight because Piper never lets anyone talk on his show. Giving him the one-eyed squint, Mulligan says he is going to start his own show where everyone can hear the other side of the story. Apparently this was supposed to launch “Blackjack’s Barbecue,” but I think just like the lost “Missy’s Manor” vignettes they had a short life. I don’t remember them.
We’re back to the bull, but it’s not Hayes who rides, but McMahon. McMahon rides well when it’s on the super-slow mode, but as soon as the speed picks up, McMahon goes the way of every other amateur rider — straight to the floor.
Not actually, but he’s off really quickly, but lands on his feet. Albano is back with the Hearts & Flowers segment, with Albano as the guest answerer. First question: “My husband is from the Old World. My husband refuses to use deodorant. What should I do?” Albano has his own recipe. He tells her to get some rubbing alcohol and mix it with olive oil, witch hazel and some shaving lotion and tell him to use that. He also says she should tell her husband to trim his armpit hair.
Albano says he has a tough time with that question because he himself doesn’t smell because he takes three or four showers a day. The next question is from a disgruntled woman who says her husband is too fat, but that she has heard of a book out called “The Fat Person’s Guide to Ecstasy,” and whether he knows anything about it.
Albano slays it with his response of “I can’t stand for obesity. I really don’t appreciate fat people at all.” McMahon gets the perfect set-up so he interjects with: “What would you call yourself, Mr. Albano?”
Albano says of his belly: “I don’t call that fat. That’s all muscle. You don’t realize the muscle toning. It’s merely an optical illusion.” And here we go again. Albano says the woman should tell her husband that he should follow a low carbohydrate diet, eat less than 20 grams of protein per day, and that he should drink “unborn virgin goat’s milk.”
Albano drives it home with this gem: “Fat is not all bad. Remember you can eat anything you want, but only swallow half.” The show ends with a video vignette of “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff wrestling three matches, winning all of them. Apparently McMahon wants to restart Orndorff’s push.
Fortunately McMahon had the foresight to put Albano on the show to carry it. Albano, like Heenan, was absolutely hilarious, with a great sense of comedy timing. Most of the guys on this episode would not enjoy long, successful careers in the WWF. Albano went to Hollywood and made some movies. Windham enjoyed a great career in the NWA. Rotunda, under various names, wrestled in WCW and in Japan, and would eventually return to the WWF as Irwin R. Schyster. Lil’ Bruno’s WWF run was mysteriously short-lived. Mulligan didn’t last long. I hope we never see that “Old Man” again.