Friday Morning Backlash: A Disgrace to the Memory of Randy Savage

Good Friday morning, Pulse readers! Some of you may know me as Kyle Sparks, that one guy who recapped ROH on HDNet ages ago. Since the program ended, I’ve pretty much been in limbo here at the Pulse, and recently started feeling like a lazy schlub for not actually doing anything despite enjoying the clearly elevated and lucrative status of a member of the Pulse Wrestling staff.

Be that as it may, I talked with Mr. Glazer about wanting to get writing again and decided to come back and take the coveted Friday spot here in the Backlash, because…well, why not? I wanted to get back into writing, and heaven knows that if I don’t weigh in on CM Punk, then who will? Who will?!

I kid, I kid. The real story today, boys and girls, is going to center around an allegedly crooked independent wrestling promoter (no, really? He couldn’t be!), and the story he’s raised surrounding the late, great, “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

The St. Petersburg Times reported on the event, which was held July 9th at the All Sports Arena in New Port Richey, FL and has been called “a blemish on the name of wrestling,” a “stench,” “a rinky-dink operation,” and “a disgrace.”

The story can be found by clicking the link above, but in case you don’t feel like clicking through, here’s a rough outline. By no means is this meant to be a direct time line, but rather a sketch of events according to the Times piece:

Promoter Dino Puglia wanted to do a tribute show for Savage, and in the process help out All Children’s Hospital and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. He contacted Savage’s brother Lanny Poffo, who told Puglia that he would be in Niagara Falls that weekend, but gave his blessing for the show. Despite this, Poffo showed up on advertising for the event and it was marketed that he would attend.

Likewise, The Honky Tonk Man was billed to attend as well, but wasn’t even aware of the show until the day before. Padding his case, Honky posted the following video to YouTube of a phone call where he confronts Puglia about the false advertising.

Further, neither hospital ever actually agreed to be linked to the event either. Apparently Puglia (or whomever he designated to do so if it was not, in fact, him) never contacted either organization about using their name, logos, likeness, etc.

Finally, as discussed in the Times piece by former WWE and WCW star Big Vito, the technical issues. There was no sound system and no bell. In attempting the customary 10 bell salute, Puglia simply repeated the word “ding” into the microphone.

Suffice it to say, neither Vito nor Poffo have anything positive to say about the event; Vito in particular, as he apparently helped organize it until he and Puglia had a falling out, the paper says. Naturally, Puglia blames Vito for the problems such as the promotions and allegedly banned Vito from the event. Of course, Poffo says that it was the first (and naturally, last) time he’ll ever work with Puglia.

Oh, and in a final, fitting end to this nonsense: when things got really, really heated backstage, with most of the boys, as well as a band for the event demanding to get paid…Puglia faked a heart attack, presumably to leave the building.

As blogger Brandon Stroud wrote on the Uproxx sports blog With Leather: “When You reach Fred Sanford territory, you know something is wrong.”

I’d normally sum up here, but I really don’t think this one needs much editorializing. Simply put, I pray that someday a true Savage tribute show gets done, and the get as much talent, time and money as they possibly could need to do it. He’s influenced so many guys in the ring today that it would be a shame to not do so. Especially not if it can get done right. With the number of people Savage influenced—directly and indirectly—one has to think there would be enough goodwill out there to get this done.

Anyway, thanks for reading, gang; as always, I welcome any comments, questions, suggestions for future columns, etc. It’s a pleasure to be writing again, and it’s always fun when I get to work Fred Sanford or other obscure TV folk into my columns. It’s like I’m Andy Wheeler or something! So in continuing efforts to ape my more successful brethren, let’s try to generate some comment interest here. If I’m going to be a consistent part of the Backlash, maybe it’d be fun to try to name my column. Thoughts?

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