Wrestler of the Day – March 27: Randy Savage

OH YEAH it’s the Macho Man.

 

As has been becoming more common, no timeline of course as it’s freaking Randy Savage.

 

We’ll start with the end of one of the longest stories in WWF history: the Mega Powers Exploding. The story had been built up for over a year but could arguably be traced back over twice that long as the two were rivals from the time Savage debuted in the WWF. Here’s the main event of Wrestlemania V with Savage defending the WWF Title against Hogan.

 

WWF World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage

This is huge and Savage is on fire here. As I said Liz is in a neutral corner despite never being Hogan’s manager as a singles guy ever. Savage comes out first for no apparent reason. Savage immediately heads to the floor to stall as you would expect him to do. The fans HATE him at this point after loving him like crazy a year earlier. Hogan finally shoves Savage down and it’s time to stall some more.

Back up and Hogan shoulders him down again for the third trip to the floor for Savage. As Jesse and Gorilla get in an argument over the value of managers, Savage grabs a headlock. Hulk shoves him off and Randy heads outside, only to hide behind Liz in a truly evil move. Back in again and Hogan actually uses a nice amateur move and hooks a front facelock. That wasn’t bad at all. Savage powers out of it (surprising as well) and pokes Hogan in the eye to take over.

A top rope ax handle gets one on Hogan and it’s off to an armbar. In something you don’t often see, Hogan is pulled down to the mat by his hair. It feels weird even typing that. Hulk uses a handful of trunks to launch Randy out to the floor and Jesse freaks out. Back in and a clothesline puts Randy down, followed by a series of elbow drops. Hulk is bleeding above the eye.

Randy gets in a shot to the face and puts on a fast sleeper which is transitioned into a chinlock. Hulk comes back with an atomic drop but an elbow drop misses. A shot into the buckle sets up a rollup with trunks for two on Hulk. Savage stomps on his fingers which ticks Hogan off. Hogan slams Savage to the floor where the champion doesn’t want Liz’s help. Hulk follows him out and rams Randy’s face into the barricade.

Savage escapes being posted and sends Hogan in by mistake. After sending Hulk back in, Randy yells at Liz a bit more and shoves her up the aisle. The referee ejects Liz, making the only interesting factor a nonfactor. Back to the floor and Savage drops the ax handle off the top to send Hogan throat first into the barricade. Savage goes after the throat with various evil measures but the elbow only gets two. Hulk Up, big boot, leg drop, new champion.

Rating: B-. It’s Hogan vs. Savage so these two are always going to have at least a watchable match, but at the end of the day this was pretty much designed to be a Hogan win and that’s what it wound up being. The smart move would be to have Savage keep the title by DQ or something, causing Hulk to chase the title until Summerslam for the title change. But instead we go with the easy (and not horrible) ending. It’s a good match here but not great.

 

We’ll jump ahead to Savage’s second title reign and a rare title defense from this time. From June 19, 1992 in Sheffield, England.

 

Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels

Shawn now has Sensational Sherri Martel with him. Savage still has a bad knee from Wrestlemania so he’s coming in at a disadvantage. Shawn takes him into the corner to start but Savage escapes with ease and sends Shawn to the floor. They fight for control over a hammerlock before Shawn charges into a knee in the corner. Michaels bails to the floor with the champion following him out. Randy throws a chair into the ring which winds up doing nothing.

Back in and Savage clotheslines Shawn out to the floor before dropping a double ax handle smash to Shawn’s face. Sherri and Liz get in a fight on the floor until Randy breaks it up and sends his wife to the back. Shawn uses the distraction to get in a shot to the back and take control. We head back inside with the champion getting caught in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two.

Shawn stomps away and hits a swinging neckbreaker for two, only to have one of his kicks caught by the champion. A slingshot sends Shawn face first into the post before Savage snaps Shawn’s throat across the top rope. Michaels is sent back to the floor for another top rope ax handle before being sent into the post.

Back in and another top rope ax handle gets two for the champion but an attempt at a fourth is countered by a punch to the ribs.

Michaels slams him down and hits a top rope fist drop for no cover as Savage rolls out to the floor. Shawn sends him into the barricade before going back inside, only to throw him back out to the floor. This is early in Shawn’s singles career so he doesn’t have a lot of experience or a deep offensive set to draw on. We head back in again and a right hand gets two for the challenger before Savage runs into the referee.

Randy takes over again and slams Shawn down before hitting the top rope elbow. There’s no referee to count the pin though so Sherri comes in to kick Randy a bit. Monsoon wants Randy to punch Sherri in the face because he’s not a nice guy at times. The referee comes in to count two on Michaels as Liz comes back to neutralize Sherri. Randy hits a top rope cross body for two before Shawn gets the same off a top rope sunset flip. Savage runs across the ring and heads up top for another cross body which is good enough to retain the title.

Rating: C-. The match was watchable but it was clear that they were out of stuff to do after about ten minutes. That’s a problem when this match runs just under seventeen. Shawn would get FAR better in the future while Savage would stay about the same for years to come. This would also be Liz’s last appearance with the WWF due to her real life divorce from Savage.

 

Off to WCW for a bit in one of Savage’s best feuds in the promotion. From Great American Bash 1997.

 

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage

Falls count anywhere. Buffer calls it lights out, which has meant a bunch of things over the years. Liz looks great tonight but Kimberly looks a bit better. Page comes in through the crowd and it’s on. A quick cutter attempt doesn’t work and Savage heads to the floor. Page dives on his but the ribs are still bad so it puts both guys down. Back inside Page takes him down with a clothesline and another off the top.

Back to the floor and they go into the crowd with Savage in control. They fight up towards a concrete wall and then through a door into the concourse. Page gets a crutch and waits for Savage to come back through so he can break the crutch over his back. Back to ringside with Savage hitting something like a spinebuster to further mess with Page’s ribs. Page gets a weapon somehow but Savage has powder to slow him down.

Page manages to hit him with whatever he had and both guys are down. Savage gets up first and takes the tape off of Page’s ribs. For no apparent reason he piledrives the referee and Page has an opening. He hits a headbutt but Randy goes right back to the ribs. A second referee comes out and is tossed as well. Savage sends him to the floor and goes after Kimberly but referee #3 (Nick Patrick) makes the save.

They fight up by the stage and there’s a VIP picnic area which they destroy. Dusty freaks out because there’s a barbecue pit. Page wins the battle of the smoked meat and it’s back to the ring. Savage gets crotched on the post and pancaked. The Cutter is countered by a jawbreaker and they head outside again. Savage loads up a piledriver on the exposed concrete but Nick Patrick makes the save and gets decked as a result.

Savage snaps (into it), sending Patrick into the barricade and beating up a photographer. Page comes back to send him into the steel and they go back in. A low blow stops the Diamond Cutter but another attempt at it connects. Both guys are down so here’s Hall. Page fights him off but Savage clocks him with Hall’s belt. The Outsider’s Edge lets Savage hit the elbow for the pin.

Rating: B-. Pretty solid brawl here but at the end of the day, so what? It’s certainly better than their Spring Stampede match and since Page won the first one I have little problem with him losing here. The NWO stuff was annoying but you knew it was coming. Pretty decent main event though and certainly the best in months.

Back to 1988 and Savage’s first World Title reign. He was still feuding with Ted DiBiase and would face him in a cage for the title on June 25, 1988.

WWF World Title: Ted DiBiase vs. Randy Savage

 

Oh yeah. This is on Savage’s DVD. I love that Fink has to tell us that it’s a cage match, WHEN THE BIG FREAKING CAGE IS AROUND THE RING ALREADY. I know fans are viewed as stupid but come on now. This is escape only and we’re in MSG so the crowd is white hot. DiBiase jumps him as soon as the bell rings. He misses a knee drop though and they slug it out from their knees. This is looking more like a fight than a match which is always cool when you have the talent to pull it off.

 

DiBiase beats him down and goes up the cage but Savage makes the save. The crowd is way into this already. Savage blocks a shot into the cage, I think. Actually maybe he did because he’s down already. Ted runs again but Savage makes another save. DiBiase gets his feet caught in the ropes coming down so Savage goes up, only to get caught by Virgil to put him back into the cage.

 

Randy sends him into the cage and goes up but gets punched by Virgil again. They’re doing a lot of “one guy goes up, the other guys saves, then reverse it”, which is great for building drama. Liz asked Superstar Billy Graham earlier today for some advice. “My advice is to gain about 50 pounds so you’ll look better.” That man is an idiot! DiBiase goes for the door but Savage makes the save. Then reverse that order and they do it again.

 

Both guys go up on opposite sides of the cage but Virgil makes the save. DiBiase jumps down for absolutely no apparent reason and stomps on Savage some more. A suplex is countered by Savage and he goes for the door but Virgil slams the cage on his head to break it up again. Graham goes on another rant about how Liz needs to gain weight to help her man. Savage makes another save as DiBiase goes for the door. He goes off on DiBiase as Virgil climbs up again. A fan climbs the cage to help Savage but Randy rams the heels’ heads together and climbs down to retain.

 

Rating: B. Solid old school style cage match here with the whole thing being based around drama and near escapes. Graham being an idiot got old fast, with him wanting the premiere sex symbol of wrestling ever up to that point to put on 50 pounds of muscle. Seriously, he said that. Anyway, fun match with lots of drama and DiBiase as the most evil thing around makes for a good main event.

 

We’ll go even further into the past for Savage’s first major show: the Wrestling Classic. It’s a one night tournament and here’s the match of the night.

 

Semi-Finals: Randy Savage vs. Dynamite Kid

Oh dang that sounds really good. Again with the fifteen minutes though. There’s two matches left so they’re cutting it to fifteen minutes. That’s just brilliant isn’t it? They’re in different outfits again which they would do much better in 1988 at Mania 4. Savage is all patriotic in red, white and blue. Savage shows off his muscles which isn’t something that you see that often. Gorilla makes fun of his name and Jesse shuts him up by calling him Orangutan Monsoon. That was just funny.

This just looks awesome. Imagine Benoit against Savage and that’s what you’ve got here. In another great line, Gorilla asks what the point of having Liz out there is. Jesse says look at her and if you can’t figure it out you’re on your own. Jesse and Gorilla are just flat out greatness together. I really do see Benoit when I look at Dynamite. They’re that similar, even down to their muscle masses.

Considering the greatness of Hogan at the top and with great wrestlers like these two and Santana and Steamboat, how in the world could the WWF lose? In short, they simply weren’t going to for a good while. In a GREAT ending, Savage goes up to the top but gets crotched after an amazing dropkick. A perfect top rope superplex puts Savage down but he manages to hook his legs up with Dynamite’s for the pin. AWESOME ending.

Rating: A. Five freaking minutes for this? That’s ALL? I would pay to see more of these two as this was just great stuff. Screw the A-, as more time would make this an A+. Anyone that says neither of these guys were good in the ring, watch this match and if you still say that I’ll smack you with a halibut. That was a great ending and a great match.

 

Back to the future for the feud that brought Savage back to the ring. Savage was brought out of retirement when Jake Roberts and Undertaker attacked him at his wedding. Randy demanded a fight with Roberts at This Tuesday In Texas and that’s exactly what he got.

 

Jake Roberts vs. Randy Savage

Savage jumps Jake in the aisle and we’re off. The crowd isn’t cheering so much as roaring. I mean they’re hardcore here. The thing is it’s kind of hard to take Savage seriously here as he’s got a feather on his hat that’s at the very least a foot and a half tall. That’s just freaking huge. Ok good it’s gone now. As for why this feud is happening, Savage had gotten married but Jake wasn’t invited to the bachelor party because he was a heel. Well if nothing else that’s creative.

That led to Savage coming out of retirement to fight him, but one day on I think Superstars, Jake beat down Savage and put his (devenomized) cobra onto Savage’s arm, but it held on too long and the bite was worse than expected. Jake also shoved Liz, which made him the biggest heel in forever. They were supposed to be opposing captains in the Survivor Series main event but due to the cobra attack, Savage was deemed too hurt to fight so we got this instead.

Jake goes kind of low to break the momentum. Savage’s arm is screwed up because of the snake bite injury too. In a nice little touch, Jake rips the bandage off of the arm and there’s blood under the tape. His arm was fine, but they thought about it here enough to make it look like he’s injured worse than he really is.

Since the arm is so hurt Roberts is beating the heck out of Savage. Just as I say that, Savage gets a quick shot in and within 30 seconds he gets Jake down and hits the elbow for the win in a match that felt like it had 3 minutes cut out.

Now we get to the important part though. Savage gets the bell but the referee stops him, allowing Jake to get a quick DDT. Savage is down but Jake is still hurt too so Savage actually beats him to his feet. A second DDT puts Savage out cold though and Jake is up now. After faking leaving, Jake comes back and goes under the ring to pull out a little bag. This doesn’t sound like much but it’s an absolutely INSANE reaction for every tiny movement.

Liz comes running down and is FREAKING on Roberts. Jake is feeding on her fears here and it’s amazing stuff. Savage kind of gets up and he takes an unprecedented third DDT. No one had ever taken more than one before this so that was completely insane. He puts the cobra handler glove on and Liz just completely loses it. Jake slips the glove off and says that Liz better beg if she wants to save him.

They stand up and Jake secures his place in the 7th circle of eternal torment BY PUNCHING LIZ. Jack Tunney comes out to glare at Jake and suspend him for having a snake with him until he points out there was no snake in the bag, which confuses Tunney to no end, which is impressive for him as asking his name confuses him more than likely.

In the back, Jake says that when he hit Liz, it was the best feeling he’s ever had and he would pay to be able to do that again. He ends it by saying that Savage can come back again, but to bring his wife again because Jake can make her into something even he would want. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but this was one of the best heel promos I’ve ever seen in my life.

Rating: C+. The match is a fast paced mess but the angle is just completely awesome. The problem was there was never the big match that these guys so desperately needed where Savage could destroy Jake with like 5 elbows or something because Flair came in and changed everything around.

 

Now we’ll look at a match in the company that made Savage a big deal. Back in the territory days, Savage’s family ran a company called International Championship Wrestling which went to war with Jerry Lawler’s CWA. They did a lot of the same stuff that happened in the Monday Night Wars like giving away results, but in the early 80s. The interesting thing though was eventually Savage wound up in Memphis, setting up a huge war with Lawler. Here’s a loser leaves town match from June 3, 1985 to finally blow the whole thing off.

 

Jerry Lawler vs. Randy Savage

 

The referee is on the floor so this can be an even bigger fight. Savage bails to the floor a few times and we get our first lockup nearly two minutes into the match. A right hand knocks Savage into the corner and it’s time for more stalling. It works so well that they do it again but this time Savage goes to the floor and throws in a chair. We get even more stalling until they spit at each other.

 

Lawler hits his second right hand and Randy goes outside again. We’re over five minutes into the match already. Back in and Savage snaps Lawler’s throat across the top rope to take over. Jerry hits Savage low to put him right back down and Savage bails into the crowd. We take a break and come back with both guys going down off a collision. Jerry fires off left hands but misses a charge into the post.

 

Now it’s Savage with right hands and a running knee to send Lawler off the apron. Jerry gets posted and busted open as this is all Macho anymore. We head back inside as Lance Russell says we’re 27 minutes in, meaning about fourteen minutes were cut off in the break. Savage hammers away at the eye and the referee stops the match due to the cut. That’s not good enough for Randy though as he wants things to keep going. Lawler says he’s not going out that way and says it should be a pin. That’s fine with Savage and they fight goes on. The strap goes down and Jerry goes nuts, ending Savage with two fist drops and the piledriver.

 

Rating: C. This was almost all backstory which is why a lot of the match wasn’t all that entertaining. The stalling is something you just have to get used to in Memphis but it doesn’t make for a bad match. It also would have helped to not cut out nearly fifteen minutes from the middle. Savage would be in the WWF in about a week.

 

We’ll jump ahead to WCW now as Savage faces someone you may have heard of in a US Title Tournament match on May 27, 1995.

 

US Title Tournament Second Round: Steve Austin vs. Randy Savage

 

Austin beat Jim Duggan to get here while Savage beat Butcher. Savage takes him down to start as the announcers talk about Flair beating up Savage’s dad at Slamboree. Austin is thrown to the floor and into the post….before the big elbow ends this in just over two minutes. Did I mention Austin was on his way out?

 

It’s back to the WWF and a match with one of Savage’s longest running rivals for the WWF Title at Wrestlemania VIII. I’ll throw in the awesome post match promos as a bonus.

 

WWF World Title: Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage

There’s no Liz in sight to start and Savage comes to the ring last. Oh and Mr. Perfect is in Flair’s corner which will come into play later. Flair tries to walk up the aisle so Savage decks him from behind. Perfect makes a save by throwing Randy down as things are looking chaotic already. They get into the ring and Savage starts fast with some shots into the corner and punches down onto Flair’s head.

Heenan is at his most biased ever and his voice is almost cracking already. A clothesline puts Flair down and a back elbow gets two. Flair comes back with a big backdrop to put Savage out on the floor as the champion takes over. Flair rams Savage’s back into the apron and takes over with a few suplexes including a belly to back for two. Heenan wants to see the pictures and I can’t say I blame him.

A big chop puts Savage down for two and we head to the floor. Savage has his back rammed into the apron again and Flair suplexes him back into the ring for two more. Randy comes back with a single right hand and the place ERUPTS. A swinging neckbreaker puts Flair down but he pokes Savage in the eye to take him down. The champ goes up top, only to jump into a clothesline from Savage. Savage whips him into the corner and we get a Flair Flip to the apron where Ric runs up top, only to jump into another clothesline for two.

Savage hits his third clothesline in a roll to send Flair out to the floor. A top rope ax handle sends Flair into the barricade followed by a shot into the post. Flair is busted open and there’s the Flair Flop on the floor. A suplex puts Flair down on the floor again as Heenan is begging for the match to be stopped. Back in and Savage pounds away before hitting a top rope ax handle for two.

The top rope elbow hits but Perfect breaks up the pin. Thankfully the referee doesn’t call for the bell as Perfect throws something to Ric. The referee is bumped but it’s not that bad. A shot to the face with the object puts Randy down but it only gets two. The fans are losing their minds on these kickouts. Flair pounds away and is pulled away by the referee, allowing Perfect to blast him in the knee with a chair.

This brings out Liz who marches through some suits (one of which being worn by Shane McMahon) as Flair works over the leg. The knee crusher sets up the Figure Four (complete with interference from Perfect). Heenan: “SHOW ME THE PICTURES!” Randy turns the hold over but Flair breaks it quickly. Savage’s leg is done but he grabs a two count off a small package. Flair says this is for Liz as he stomps on the knee even more. He grabs Savage’s leg but Savage gets in a quick right hand and rolls Flair up (with a handful of trunks) for the pin and the title.

Rating: A. If you ever want a match based on the good guy overcoming insurmountable odds, this is pretty high up on the list. Savage came back from EVERYTHING and while Liz was there, she wasn’t a major factor at all. The match is a masterpiece with both guys looking great. Savage was in a career resurgence, despite being world champion only three years earlier. Anyway, great match here and it still holds up very well today.

Post match Flair tries to kiss Liz, triggering another brawl. Perfect helps take Savage down and lets Flair pound away for a bit. Referees finally break it up and Savage is announced as the new champion to a big roar.

Flair, Perfect and Heenan go on a huge rant against Savage with Flair saying that Savage is going to be lying about being champion and lying about having the love of Liz. They tell Savage to do it again and claim that Savage was a cheater which won’t work again.

Savage gives a rebuttal, saying that he’s going to go after Flair no matter where or when it is. He hands Liz the title and says that it’s hers. As for Flair, Savage is for him and it’s going to continue. I love these two promos and they still work very well.

 

Another of Savage’s major rivals was of course Hulk Hogan and as I mentioned, they fought several times before Wretlemania V. Here’s one of those matches from December 30, 1985.

 

WWF Title: Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan

This is one of about 1000 matches these two had and since it’s from around 85, this should be sweet. Apparently this is the first time they’ve ever fought so Savage is almost brand new at this point. Savage poses to start and they finally lock up with Hogan shoving Savage away with ease. Hogan establishes his power advantage early on so Savage bails, hiding behind Liz as he would tend to do.

LOUD Hogan chant starts up as Savage stalls even more to big time heat. We’re in the Garden again if you didn’t guess that. The fans are ridiculously into this as it was easily the biggest match in the world with Hogan being the unstoppable champion and Savage being the best heel in company history, being totally insane and amazing in the ring. You have to keep in mind that heels until then were either evil foreigners or big muscle guys.

Enter Randy Savage who is not only nuts but is young, small and fast. No one had ever seen anything like him and he was pushed as an absolute killer. This would have easily been the main event at Mania had the timing been right. By waiting four years to pull the trigger on that it was huge and the buyrates reflect that.

Savage’s stalling is awesome here as the fans want to see him get his head kicked in but he won’t do it. Hogan catches him coming off with a cross body and throws him to the floor. Savage pulls Liz in front of him again as the stalling and everything here is just working. Savage jaws with some fans so Hogan is like screw it and blasts him. Hogan takes too long to get in though and Randy takes over.

Double axe from the top to the floor has Hogan in big trouble. Savage gets back in to BIG heat. The Hulk Up happens rather early it would seem and the big boot sends Savage to the floor again. More Liz interference allows Savage to take Hogan down and hit the big elbow for two. Hogan gets up but hits the referee by mistake. Savage gets the belt and jumps off the top to clock Hulk who is on the floor.

Hogan is busted open and down on the floor. Savage wakes up the referee and literally does the counting for him in a funny bit. Savage grabs the belt and runs in the ring with it, declaring himself champion. I don’t see why he shouldn’t be. He defeated the champion in a title match didn’t he? He carries the belt with him and then is PISSED when he’s told it didn’t change hands.

Rating: B. Another great match here with both guys having a ton of fun out there. This was a natural fight and it worked like a charm every time. These early matches they had were definitely the best matches they had as the novelty was still there. This was very fun as the crowd was way into it. Solid match and very fun.

 

One more WWF match from the 1980s that I bet you’ve never seen before. This is one of the matches that eventually caused the Survivor Series.

 

Randy Savage/Harley Race/Adrian Adonis vs. Roddy Piper/Junkyard Dog/Ricky Steamboat

This is elimination rules and it was a brand new idea at the time. They were popular enough that a PPV version was made later in the year. For some reason, Slick is on commentary. These are all matches at Wrestlemania and the last appearance in MSG for Piper so gee, I wonder who will win here. Savage runs and hides from Steamboat but they wind up starting.

Savage tries to roll away and it’s Race in now with no tag. Off to JYD and it’s rolling headbutts time. They look at each other for awhile as Steamboat plays cheerleader. Belly to belly puts JYD down and it’s off to Savage again. He loads up the elbow but stops to yell at Steamboat. Piper shoves Randy into the now legal Steamboat. My goodness I’d love to see Savage and Piper have a feud. Not the kind they had in WCW either.

Off to Adonis and he runs from Piper. Everything breaks down and all six are in there. A double suplex puts Roddy down and Adrian hooks the sleeper on him. That doesn’t last and Piper hooks a sleeper which is broken up just as quickly. JYD is waiting on an opponent now. I know it sounds like I’m skipping a lot but they’re moving in and out of there so fast that it’s almost impossible to keep up with.

Adonis works on the Dog but hits him in the head because heels are stupid. Everyone goes to the floor and Roddy hits Adrian with a chair. Back to some form of sanity as Piper hits a belly to back suplex on Race but Savage breaks up the cover. This has been incredibly fast paced. And there’s a bell. Uh……why? Adonis and JYD were both counted out because they were legal. Ok then.

Piper vs. Race now and make that Piper vs. Savage. Piper blocks a suplex as Gorilla and Slick argue. Savage misses a shot into the ropes but Race prevents the tag. And never mind as he makes it just a second later. Steamboat speeds things up on Race as Slick yells about karate. Everyone gets in again and my goodness is there some talent in there. There isn’t a bad combination at all out there.

Steamboat rolls up Race but Savage reverses it and somehow it gets the pin, after about 15 seconds of Steamboat being down. I don’t think so but whatever. Ok so it’s Piper vs. Race/Savage. Piper of course is all cool with going straight for Race and they go to the floor. Savage tries to hit him with a chair but they get back in and somehow Savage is now legal. Top rope double axe gets two. Powerslam gets two for Race. Piper grabs a gutwrench suplex but Savage makes the save.

Savage goes up but the double axe hits Race, allowing Piper to steal a pin and it’s 1-1. Now THIS should be awesome. And this is how Piper goes out of MSG? This works I’d think. Race won’t leave so Piper throws Savage into him and then bulldogs Randy down. Savage tries to bail but suckers Piper in and gets the first punch in. That weird clothesline Savage does takes Roddy down for two.

They start choking away at each other and this is so awesome. Piper actually shows off his strength and holds Savage up in a choke. They collide and Savage is knocked to the floor. Piper gets up but then lays down and plays possum. Savage goes up for the elbow but Piper moves and a small package ends the Macho Man. TOTALLY AWESOME and vintage Piper.

Rating: A. I had a blast with this. The talent levels out there were completely insane and they gave us twenty minutes of a great match. These matches could work so well if they were done right and this one was, especially when they have the time to put it together. The eliminations were a bit off, but this was probably the first one ever. Great match though and an absolute blast.

World War 3

Arn Anderson, Alex Wright, Brian Knobbs, Ricky Santana, David Taylor, Scott Armstrong, Sting, Joey Maggs, Pez Whatley, Disco Inferno, Meng, Stevie Ray, Mark Starr, Buddy Lee Parker, James Earl Wright, Lex Luger, Eddy Guerrero, Cobra, The Giant, Paul Orndorff, Khris Kanyon, Bobby Walker, Bobby Eaton, Chris Benoit, Randy Savage, Marcus Bagwell, The Yeti, Kurosawa, Hugh Morrus, Zodiac Man

VK Wallstreet, DDP, Scott Norton, Brian Pillman, Craig Pittman, One Man Gang, Super Assassin #1, Mr. JL, Bunkhouse Buck, Kensuke Sasaki, Mike Winner, Hawk, Shark, Steve Armstrong, David Sullivan, Scotty Riggs, Johnny B. Badd, Black Bart, Steven Regal, Dick Slater, Maxx Muscle, Super Assassin #2, Fidel Sierra, Kevin Sullivan, Jerry Saggs, Jim Duggan, Booker T, Big Bubba, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.

If I’m right then the first twenty of that list are in one ring, next in another and the last in a third. No clue which is which but whatever. There are three teams of commentators: Tony and Bobby, Larry Zbyszko and Chris Cruise (I don’t know him either) and Dusty and Eric. Let’s get this over with as the word mess could be defined as this.

First of all there are three cameras and the screen is cut into three small shots. We’re not told which is which. Not that it matters as you CANNOT SEE A THING! Seriously, they’re so crowded and so small you can’t see anything. Once we get a ring down to ten they go to other rings until there are 30 left and they all go to one ring. That makes PERFECT sense right? Having 30 people at once in a ring couldn’t go bad could it?

Ok so Eric and Dusty have ring 2. Tony and Bobby have ring 1 and the other guys have ring 3. Got it I think. Cruise is trying but he’s annoying so far. Keep in mind this is all pre stuff and the match hasn’t started yet. I’m just killing time until everyone gets to the ring. Buffer calls it the best battle royal ever. They’re going to show the 92 Rumble? Ok now he just needs to shut up so we can get through the end of this. Ah there we are. Oh wait we have to do a ton of pyro first.

Ok ring 1 is the center ring. Got it. Hogan is there. I think Sting and Luger are in ring 2 with Giant. That puts Yeti in ring 3. Hawk fights Hogan. That’s weird to say the least when you think about it. The problem becomes clear early on: FAR too people being eliminated. We have no one gone in the first minute or so. Never mind as Yeti is gone. Everyone goes after Savage but that doesn’t work of course. Hogan and Flair are on the floor fighting.

That’s another thing they improved on later as people keep going through the ropes and under them, making it very confusing. MIKE WINNER IS OUT!!! A bunch of heels go after Hogan. Guess how well that works. This three camera thing is idiotic. Knobbs puts Mark Starr out. See what I was talking about when I said too many jobbers? Three guys are out of ring 1. Hogan gets ganged up on again and does a nice thing of punches to get out.

That was far faster than I’ve ever seen Hogan throw them. Bagwell and Kanyon are out so there are 17 left in ring 3. Stinger Splash hits someone as Black Bart is out. Anderson and Luger are fighting on the floor but they’re both in still. Benoit and Savage are fighting. That’s a good sounding feud. Imagine that in 98 or so. Dang. Another jobber is out. Giant goes off and puts like 3 or four out at once which was really badly needed.

Sting vs. Giant is a fun feud. That ring is thinning out a bit. Ring 2 in case you care. In ring 1 a guy is taken out on a stretcher. Shockingly, all of the big stars are still left. Ring 2 is being broken up as we have ten left there. They went into ring one, so ring 2 is eliminated I guess you would say. Instead of dropping us down to two cameras of course, we stay with three. Brilliant.

Benoit hammers on DDP which is another solid sounding feud. Wallstreet is out, more commonly known as IRS. Norton is gone too. That’s enough and we head into the first ring as we have approximately 30 left. Screw the rules I guess. Savage beats on DDP. It’s about 2 years away but that was a great feud. Everyone beats on Hogan with Zodiac choking him with his boot. I say choking when I mean putting his foot about a foot from Hogan’s throat.

You can see the tights between the gap. That’s pitiful. Pittman, like an idiot, puts a cross armbreaker on a guy. Pillman goes after Hogan. That’s just odd to see. 29 to go apparently. Bubba and Duggan put each other out. Dave Taylor vs. Hogan is weird to see. Luger has been on the floor for the majority of the match. That’s kind of smart. Screw the kind of part actually. It’s brilliant. Disco is out. Hogan vs. Booker T is ANOTHER weird combination.

Now why did these guys never get to fight Hogan other than in a massive mess of a match? Jerry Sags and Booker are both out. That puts us at 23 and you can see the ring FAR more clearly now. Savage and Luger fight in another ring, and when I say fight I mean do nothing of note. Regal is gone as Hogan and Giant start fighting. DDP and Badd go out together. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Pittman is out and we’re getting low on people now. Benoit is gone blast it. 16 left. It’s mostly big names and a few midcard guys left. Kurasawa is out. He doesn’t get to sit on the throne of blood with the title I guess. Meng is out. Zodiac is gone. Sorry for just listing names off like that but there isn’t much else to say. Morrus is gone and I think that’s 10 to go. Bit more than that actually. Pillman is gone.

Hogan puts Hawk and Sasake out. That gives us ten left: Hogan, Orndoff, Gang, Luger, Savage, Giant, Sting, Guerrero, Flair and Anderson. Not bad. Orndorff remembers its’ 1995 and is tossed. The Horsemen go after Eddie but he gets out of a spike piledriver. He and Arn do a nice sequence. Naturally Eddie would do nothing for a LONG time after this. Flair gets a figure four on him for good measure. Savage tries to slam Giant but since HE ISN’T OVERLY STRONG it doesn’t work.

Eddie is out and we have 8 left. Savage is referred to as a former world champion and then chokeslammed. Hogan puts both Horsemen out, confirming that he is indeed better than you. The final six are Hogan, Savage, Luger, Sting, Gang and Giant.

Since getting rid of Anderson and Flair at once wasn’t enough, Hogan puts out Sting, Luger and Giant AT THE SAME TIME. Sweet goodness this gets ridiculous at times. Giant pulls Hogan to the floor but no one sees it. Savage dumps Gang out to WIN THE TITLE! Sweet. Oh look Hogan is upset. You put Arn Anderson, Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger and The Giant out inside of 40 seconds. BE HAPPY MAN!

Rating: F+. This was more or less a disaster. The camera work is the biggest issue here. It is AWFUL. You flat out cannot tell what is going on for the majority of this match and that just doesn’t work at all. That and the ton of jobbers being in there. I mean seriously, Pez Whatley? Cut this down by 15-20 guys and it’s FAR better. Other than that though, this was awful.

Post match, Gene comes out to talk to Savage, and, and I can’t believe this, HOGAN WON’T LEAVE!!! Yes, to everyone’s shock, Hogan throws a fit about how he should be champion and how he didn’t go out and how there is a cloud over Savage’s reign. Savage more or less says he’s champion and get over it. I love that.

 

Now for the main two matches, which I’m sure you can guess for yourself.

 

Intercontinental Title: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat

The fans give an audible pop for Savage which even the announcers have to acknowledge. George Steele comes out to back up Steamboat and show off that green tongue. They shove each other around a few times before Randy takes an early breather. Savage misses a back elbow and Steamboat hits a pair of those perfect armdrags of his. Randy is lifted into the air via a choke and it’s back to the floor.

Back in and Savage gets in his first shot before sending Ricky into the buckle. Steamboat immediately comes back by grabbing the wrist and lifting Savage into the air. Savage comes back with an elbow to the face before sending Steamboat over the top and out to the floor. Randy starts going after the throat but has to stop to try to get his left arm working again. Steamboat sends him into the buckle and chops away, sending Savage into the ropes.

With the champion tied up, Steamboat fires away with a vengeance. Savage gets loose and Ricky hits a cross body for two, kicking off one of the fastest sets of near falls you’ll EVER see. Randy finally slows him down with a knee to the back and a toss over the ropes, only to have Ricky skin the cat. Savage throws him out again and knocks him into the crowd for good measure. The top rope ax handle keeps Steamboat down even longer and Savage is in full control.

Savage hits a clothesline for two which Gorilla doesn’t like. Gorilla: “That could be a disqualification.” Jesse: “For what?” Gorilla: “Intentional.” Jesse: “Well of course it was intentional!” Gorilla could find some weird stuff to complain about at times. After a pair of Savage suplexes for two, Ricky starts firing back and sends Savage out to the floor. A top rope chop gets two for the challenger and they speed things up all over again.

We get another chase on the floor followed by a sunset flip by the Dragon for two. They trade ANOTHER great pinfall reversal sequence as Jesse declares this one of the greatest matches he’s ever seen. A slingshot sends Savage face first into the post and there’s a sunset flip for two for the Dragon. Savage reverses an O’Connor Roll with a handful of tights for two. Randy uses the tights again and sends Dragon shoulder first into the post.

They reverse an Irish whip and the referee gets bumped. Randy hits another clothesline and drops the big elbow but there’s no referee. Savage goes to get the bell but Steele takes it away. That earns the Animal a kick in the head so he shoves Savage off the top. Steamboat is back up and famously counters a slam into a small package for the pin and the title.

Rating: A+. This is the greatest match of all time so what do you expect me to give it. I’m amazed at how well this holds up nearly 26 years later as there is nothing wrong with it at all. The story goes that these two practiced this match at Savage’s house for three months beforehand and it shows. Not a thing is even close to screwed up and they’re so fast out there it’s unbelievable. How anyone can say this is anything but perfect astounds me to this day. If you haven’t seen this before, watch it now and take notes.

And of course from the following year.

WWF World Title: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase

Savage and Liz are now in white and Andre is with DiBiase. Macho blocks some punches in the corner but Andre trips him up like a jerk. Andre does it again and Savage is catching on that he’s got a problem. They trad some cranking on the arm and DiBiase’s sunset flip doesn’t work. A clothesline gets two for Randy and he sends DiBiase to the floor where Andre says go ahead and jump.

Realizing he’s in trouble, Savage sends Liz to the back the obvious reason (hint: the fans are chanting HOGAN). DiBiase hooks a chinlock and heeeeeeeeeeeere’s Hulk. The look on Hogan’s face and his jaws going all over the place make him look high as a kite. Ted pounds away in the corner and Andre pulls Savage to the outside. Hogan jumps the giant but Savage is in big trouble.

A gutwrench suplex gets two for Ted but he goes up top for reasons of general stupidity, earning that slam off the top by Savage. Randy tries a quick elbow but only hits the mat. DiBiase puts on the Million Dollar Dream but Hogan, ever the hero, comes in and whacks DiBiase in the bak with a chair. Savage runs to the top and the big elbow gives him his first world title.

Rating: B-. This was a decent match and the place went NUTS for the win, but they were both really tired and it slowed them down a lot. The Hogan cheating wasn’t really necessary and it made Savage look a bit weak, but at the end of the day it didn’t make that big of a difference. Still though, huge moment here.

It’s Randy Savage. I think you can guess my opinion.

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1 comment

  1. ted says:

    IMO the greatest there has ever been. There will never be one like him again.