The Way Too Long Review of Macho Madness: The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection

So this is a set many thought they we would never see.  For whatever reason, the subject of Randy Savage seems to be completely taboo in the WWE.  The last time he got any significant playtime on a WWE television program is when his ex-wife died and got her own segment on Confidential.  I only remember that because they showed Stephanie McMahon gush over how cool their wedding was despite the fact that it was as fake as her tits.  Until this DVD, Vince McMahon himself had personally killed multiple chances at using Savage’s likeness in various video games and action figures.  In fact, he killed this very DVD at least once.  Presumably, someone pointed out to him that the project was already finished and that he could make some bank by releasing this set, McMahon’s heart grew three sizes that day and he decided to give us old school Savage fans a break.  So while I’m happy that I get to review something that I’m guessing won’t suck too bad, I’m really kind of disappointed that the WWE didn’t take this opportunity to make this into a full-blown hate piece like they did with the Ultimate Warrior.

Yeah I know, “The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior” was a total hatchet job that buried the Warrior and everything he stood for.  I was always kind of perplexed why the same ‘smart marks’ that would have shit all over every single Warrior match if he had still been active were crying foul because the DVD had the nerve to point out that he was off his fucking rocker.  You know what, I *loved* that DVD.  The Warrior fucked over the WWE three times and they had the power and the right to make him look like a fool, plus they had the time and the resources to  make some money off the process.  Good for them.  Quite frankly, the Warrior was and IS an asshole and a bigot and if anyone deserved to get demolished by the combined forces of the WWE Home Video department, it was him.

As time goes by, more and more 80s era wrestlers have come out against Randy Savage, saying everything from his matches were too scripted to he’s a paranoid narcissist with bad body odor.  That might all be true, who knows, but I wanted a hate piece mostly because I’m a curious sort of guy and I just have to know what Randy Savage did to piss Vince McMahon off on such a personal level that he would keep Savage’s name buried at the bottom of WWE history.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s not at a Chris Benoit level of taboo where when you so much as mumble his name it rains acid and the first born child of every Canadian wrestler dies.  But he’s close to that.  And enquiring minds want to know.

One last thing before I start reviewing the matches.  This is one fuggly DVD set.  I mean seriously WWE, considering the level of sophistication you guys have with your entrance videos and magazines, certainly someone could have come up with a better design for the DVD package.  Randy Savage is perhaps the most colorfully dressed guy in wrestling history, yet the color on the box is washed out, pale, and bland.  And the DVDs themselves are extremely basic in their label design.  As someone who collects a lot of disc based stuff (hardcore video game collector here), I like it when the stuff occupying my shelf looks good.  But who knows, maybe they had a really cool package designed, but Vince McMahon personally made it shittier on the five minutes he allows himself for a break period every week.  “Ha ha, now it looks boring!  That’ll learn him to fuck my daughter!”

-We’re hosted by Matt Striker and Maria.  Wow, really?  Maria?  Anyway, they talk about Randy Savage’s father, Angelo Poffo, who was a very good wrestler for his era and made Ripley’s Believe it or Not! for doing 6033 consecutive sit-ups.  We skip all his pre-WWE matches and go to his debut with the E.

Match #1
Randy Savage vs. Rick McGraw
7/9/85 Prime Time Wrestling

I’m kind of shocked to see Rick McGraw make a DVD.  For those who that don’t know, McGraw a bit of a trailblazer as he was one of the first wrestlers to die from a drug overdose.  Since the WWE didn’t usually give it’s jobbers contracts, the WWE doesn’t have to list McGraw as among those who died while being active in the company.  But it’s still kind of sad.  McGraw was one of the better fall guys the WWE had, and as you’ll see, he was very good at helping people make an impact.  He died four months after this match.

Savage goes insane upon his entrance and bitches out Howard Finkle for not giving him a proper introduction.  As a result he gets bigger then normal heat for a newcomer.    Lockup is all crazy and goes all over the ring, but nothing happens.  Savage gets pissed right away and bails to grab a chair.  A fan takes exception to this and throws a full drink at him.  The drink completely misses and actually ends up on McGraw, who was inside the ring.  Hilarious.  Huge heat for Savage as he bitches at the fans.  McGraw bails, so Savage bails.  Huge heat for that.  Fans absolutely HATE Savage.  Long stall follows.  But it’s a meaningful stall, as the fans are just giving Savage holy hell for it.  After a couple minutes, Savage returns and takes down McGraw with a wristlock takedown, then grounds it down with a mounted armbar.  McGraw to his feet, but Savage pulls his hair to keep the hold.  McGraw goes for a goes for a head scissors but Savage doesn’t allow him to take him over, then drops McGraw’s throat across the ropes.  Kneedrop into a chinlock.  McGraw comes back with an airplane spin into a nasty looking Samoan drop for two.  Shoot off but McGraw lowers his head right into a kick.  McGraw blocks a shot in the corner and rams Savage into the pad, then monkey flips him.  Backslide gets two.  Savage bails to chase off a cameraman, cuss out what looks like Stan Lee at ringside, then elbow McGraw on the apron.  Snapmare and an elbowdrop gets two.  Suplex and then a very strange cover gets two.  Savage misses a running elbow, but then hits another one that knocks McGraw out of the ring.  Savage climbs the ropes and brings the fans to their feet as he hits a sledge off the top to the floor on McGraw.  This stuff was not done in 1985.  Savage beats the count back in, but is not satisfied with the damage he’s done so he bails to suplex McGraw on the concrete floor.  Fans are stunned, but many are clearly enjoying Savage’s shtick.  Savage stops the count and knees McGraw off the stairs as he tries to crawl back in the ring.  What a dick.  God I love him.  McGraw gets up on the apron where Savage beats him up some more.  McGraw actually fights back, and the fans go ape shit for him.  Savage fights it off and hits a head of steam on the rope.  Mean Gene and Gorilla Monsoon agree that McGraw is done, but Savage misses another head of steam and wipes out huge on the ropes.  Mega sized pop for that.  McGraw is all angry and the fans are going nuts for him like he was Hulk Hogan.  He slings Savage into the corner, leading him to be stuck in the tree of woe.  McGraw beats on him, then slings him to the corner where both guys wipe each out with a clothesline.  McGraw apparently got the worst of it, as Savage is up and he climbs.  Flying elbow hits and Savage wins the match.  Fans are a mix of booing and stunned silence.  They know this guy will be a player as he picks up McGraw and tosses him out of the ring.
***1/2 Likely the best debut match of that era.  Instead of the average squash that a heel would get at the start of his run, Savage was given the time and the right opponent to establish himself.  Fifteen minutes later, the fans knew exactly who Randy Savage was, what his character was about, what his ring style was, and that he was a force to be reckoned with.  One of the three best ‘first impressions’ a wrestler ever gave in the WWE.  The other two in my opinion are the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.

-Clips of  Savage meeting with all the managers in the WWE trying to decide who would be the person to guide his career.  He turned them all down and chose Miss Elizabeth.  This was another brilliant idea.  The manic Savage character had no vulnerabilities.  I mean, you can’t really threaten a crazy guy, right?  The addition of the beautiful but possibly frail Elizabeth humanized him.  It also went counter to conventional thinking.  Regardless of the fans hatred of Savage, Elizabeth was always popular.  The fact that he was a dick and he had this nice, pretty lady with him just gave the fans more reason to hate his guts.  It was the clichéd love story right out of every high school movie.  The bully asshole jock who’s girlfriend was the sweet girl next door who always looked so sad and concerned when the jerk stuffed the nerd into the locker.  Everyone assumed she would dump Savage at some point and go with another, nicer guy.  I remember when I was in kindergarten and we used to talk about who Elizabeth was going to be with when she dumped Savage.  My money was on Ricky Steamboat.  My friend Owen insisted she would go with Hulk Hogan.  Good times.

Match #2
Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage
12/7/85 WWE Boston Garden Show

I have never seen this one.  Fans are so busy booing the shit out of Savage that they don’t have time to cheer for Steamboat.  Savage throws a cheapshot at Ricky, then uses Elizabeth as a human shield.  Savage gets whipped into the corner, then whipped to the floor where Steamboat throws him into the ringpost.  Pulls Savage’s arm onto the ropes, then snapmares him over.  Savage tries to get up and grab a handful of hair, but Steamboat pulls him down by the hair himself.  Jesse Ventura is all aghast.  Big leverage move with the armbar by Steamboat, then another.  Savage up only to get shoulderblocked down for two.  Steamboat fires off another armdrag into an armbar.  Ricky holds it for a while.  Savage pulls the hair to get out of it, then bails to the ropes.  His arm is all mangled and he needs a time out.  Steamboat bails and gives chase, and back in the ring Steamboat grabs a crazy ass flying hammerlock.  That was… that was cool.  Words fail me.  To their feet where we end up with a criss-cross sequence.  It doesn’t exactly make Savage want to jump-jump, so he bails.  Steamboat gives chase again and they return into the ring where Steamboat catches Savage with an armdrag into an armbar.  Savage dumps Steamboat, who skins the cat… only Savage is too smart for that and pushes him out of the ring again, then drops the sledge on the floor.  This match kicks ass.  Savage bails and runs around the ring, pushing Ricky over the guardrail.  Savage is still favoring the elbow because he rules and everything.  He runs at Ricky and whacks him, selling his own arm injury in the process.  He slings Ricky back in the ring, hits him with an elbow to the back of the head, then snapmares him for two.  Ricky goes for a slam but Savage falls on top for two.  Flying elbow misses and it’s a double KO.  A very quick one, and both guys get up.  Slugout is cut off by Savage, who tries to slam Steamboat in the corner, which leads to a reversal sequence ending with Steamboat getting an atomic drop.  He climbs, but Savage catches him and tosses him off the top.  Scoopslam and Savage climbs and goes for the sledge but Ricky punches him coming down.  Running kneelift by Steamboat and a suplex gets two.  Thrust kick gets two.  Ricky chops away on Savage.  Randy is in the ropes but Steamboat won’t stop attacking him.  Savage loads up some knuckledusters while the ref bitches at Steamboat.  Savage goes to punch Ricky with it, but Steamboat catches him with a backsuplex… or does he?  Savage punches him while in the suplex and covers for the pin.  Cheat to win, baby!  After the match, Savage drops the… what looks like a joint… and fights with Steamboat over it.  Steamboat wins and shows the wad of tissue paper he was hit with to the fans.  It’s worth noting that brass knuckles, even fake ones, are illegal in almost every state and thus they have to use flimsy looking shit like that.  But come on, whatever happened to a roll of quarters?
**** I wanted more, but what was here was awesome.

-So Savage gets more and more hated and the fans want someone to finally destroy him.  So after only five months in the company, he ends up in the main event at Madison Square Garden against Hulk Hogan for the belt.  It’s funny hearing Striker and Maria make a big deal out of this because having the hot heels get destroyed by Hogan is sort of how things worked back then.  The WWE would debut someone and have them squash jobbers until they were over just enough to make the fans think Hogan might be in danger.  The cookie then got cut, Hogan would beat them around the horn and they would end up either leaving or jobbing to some midcard faces.

Match #3: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
12/30/85 Madison Square Garden

Alfred Hayes is on commentary and he buries every previous champion in brutal fashion.  I haven’t seen this one either, and I’m seriously pumped as I’m guessing Savage is not going to go by the Hogan formula.  I know a lot of smarks don’t like to hear this, but Hogan honestly was not that bad a wrestler, especially when he was taken outside the comfort zone of his cookie cutter formula.  I once had a compilation tape of Hogan matches from Japan.  It was insane to watch because it was nothing like Hulk Hogan and the matches were all pretty dang entertaining.  Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t like Bret Hart or anything out there, but as an improrvisional wrestler he likely is pretty underrated.

To the match, where Savage mocks Hogan by running through all his poses.  We lockup and Hogan shoves off in huge fashion and fires off all his poses.  Big pop.  Shoot off and Hogan gets a shoulderblock, then stalks Savage around, who bails.  Hogan bails too but nothing happens.  Savage tosses a chair in the ring, not to accomplish anything but just to mark his territory so to speak.  Back in, Savage teases a lockup, then bails again.  Fans are losing their patience with him, wanting him to hurry up and get destroyed already.  Savage comes in and rakes the eyes, then goes nuts on Hulk with punches and kicks.  Snapmare and a kneedrop to the throat, but a head of steam misses and Savage wipes himself out on the ropes.  Hogan shoots him from corner to corner, then clotheslines him.  Atomic drop sends Savage flying out of the ring.  Hogan goes in for the kill but Savage uses Liz as a human shield.  Monsoon is shocked, having apparently forgotten that Savage did the same thing in EVERY SINGLE MATCH he had up to that point.  Is there an unwritten rule that wrestling announcers are required to have memory issues?  Savage gets back in and puts his hands up to block Hogan’s shot, but Hogan doesn’t give chase and instead mocks him with it, but the retarded New York fans miss the joke because they’re too busy yelling for Hogan.  Snapmare by Savage and he climbs and goes for a crossbody, but Hogan catches him and gives him a backbreaker.  Huge pop for that.  Savage again bails to use Elizabeth as a human shield.  Oh just punch her, Hulk.  If Lex Luger can get away with it, you can too!  You’re a way bigger star then he is!  Hogan catches Savage elsewhere but Savage takes advantage in the ring and quickly drops a sledge on the back of Hogan’s skull for two.  Savage dumps Hogan through the ropes and drops a sledge off the top and to the floor on him.  Hogan gets back in, where Savage kicks him and elbows him for two.  Hogan starts to Hulk up and shoots off Savage for a clothesline and a running stomp.  Big boot knocks Savage out of the ring.  Elizabeth begs for mercy, so Hogan picks her up and sets her down out of the way.  Back in, Hogan shoots off Savage but lowers his head into a kick.  Savage climbs and hits the flying elbow… for two.  No power kickout by Hogan either, which is nice.  Savage bitches at the ref while Hogan recovers.  Hulk tries to clothesline Savage but misses and wipes out the referee.  Savage takes Hogan to the floor again, grabs the title belt and drops the belt on Hogan off the top rope.  He picks the referee up and instructs the ref to count out Hogan.  Which the ref does.  Um, what the fuck?  Then Savage acts all shocked when he’s declared the winner but not the champion and attacks the referee.  So Savage actually wins the match but looks like a total retard in the process.  I was wondering how they would fuck up.
* Big letdown for me.  It didn’t necessarily go with Hogan’s formula, but I always felt they were sleepwalking through the match.  The counter-productive ending was just the icing on the poop cake.  So I wasn’t satisfied, but apparently someone in the WWE was.  Because the Savage/Hogan feud was so hot and drew so well in the few markets they ran it in, they cancelled their plans for Savage to be the main event of Wrestlemania 2, feeling that he was too valuable to job out to the champ so quickly.  Savage was instead put in their ‘in case of emergency, break glass’ go to guy spot.  They never actually needed him, as Hogan ended up making 1986 the most profitable year the business had seen to that point via his feud with Paul Orndorff.

-So because the plans for Savage to chase Hogan leading to Wrestlemania 2 were cancelled, they decided he should be the IC champion instead.

Match #4: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage
2/8/86 WWE Boston Garden Show

Fans boo the ever loving shit out of… Tito Santana?  What prompted that?  I mean, I would have booed too, because I never liked him.  He just bored me to death.  But still, I can’t believe fans in 1986 would just totally turn on a guy like that.  On a side note, it would seem whatever issues the WWE had with using Jesse Ventura’s commentary have been cleared up, and thank god for it.  Lockup #1 goes nowhere.  It’s cousins Lockup #2 and #3 go nowhere.  Lockup #4, however did it’s homework and ate it’s veggies and as a result it goes on to bigger and better things, like a go behind waistlock by Savage.  This is reversed by Santana, and Savage gets to the ropes for a break.  He bails to the outside to catch his breath, while the fans are totally dead.  Back in, lockup and a headlock takeover by Savage into a head scissors by Santana and we break again.  Long stall and then Savage thumbs the eye.  Santana gets pissed so Savage bails again to jaw with the crowd.  Santana takes it to the outside but Savage gets the better of him and tosses him inside.  Savage climbs and goes for a sledge but Santana catches him coming down.  Tito brawls Savage around and scoopslams Savage, who bails before Santana can get the flying elbow.  Santana gives chase, so Randy returns to the ring and clubs Tito coming back in.  Santana catches a foot and atomic drops Savage for two.  Rake of the eyes by Savage, who then apologizes to the referee for cheating.  I kind of like that.  Savage drops an elbow for two.  Clothesline gets two.  I *loved* Savage’s clothesline during this era.  Fans pop for it too.  Savage climbs and buzzes the fans.  He drops the axe handle for two.  Savage’s hair is all over the place, like Bill Murray in Kingpins.  Savage dumps Tito to the floor and then drops the sledge off the top and to the floor.  Tito fights back on the apron by ramming Savage into the corner, then clubbing Savage on the ropes.  He stomps away and climbs.  Flying forearm off the second rope gets two as Savage gets his foot on the rope.  Tito punches Savage in the corner, then whips him across the ring.  Savage gets a foot up and it’s a small double KO spot, until Savage covers for two.  Tito does a power kickout that leads to the referee getting wiped out.  Tito covers again for a long two.  Backelbow by Savage but he misses a kneedrop.  Tito is pissed now and he starts kicking at the knees to set up the figure four.  Tito slings Savage to the center of the ring and slaps it on.  Fans are going totally apeshit for this.  Savage is in the center of the ring, but he starts to roll around and actually gets there.  Savage preps his hand with some kind of plunder, then kicks Tito off from doing another figure four.  To the apron, Tito goes for a backdrop suplex but Savage punches him with the knucks and covers for the pin and the title.  I’m having Deja Vu here.  Was this not the same finish as the Steamboat match earlier?  Booooo.
***1/2 Slow start, but pretty good overall.  I’m not a big Tito Santana fan but these guys kept things interesting from start to finish.  Good stuff.

-So Savage has the belt and the WWE wants to give him a big rub, so they pair him with Bruno Sammartino for a series of title defenses.

Match #5: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Randy Savage vs. Bruno Sammartino
1/3/87 WWE Boston Garden Show

It’s like the immovable force meeting the unstoppable object, only it’s the self-imposed exile vs. the ‘who knows what he did’ blacklisting.  I’m not exactly a big fan of Bruno Sammartino.  He’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ kind of wrestlers that anyone who missed his generation will never get.  Not particularly good on the microphone, very boring in the ring, not even the best body or anything.  Of course, back in the 60s and 70s you could coast on being an ethnic champion.  It’s rather pathetic that Bruno hates wrestling so much these days.  He wishes things were like in the old days, and he’s embarrassed at the international fame and fortune wrestlers make these days.  I guess he’s a proud man.  Well you know what?  Billy Graham is a proud man.  Verne Gagne is too.  And Bret Hart.  These are guys who had a bigger axe to grind with Vince McMahon then you ever have the right to claim, Mr. Sammartino.  But they worked with the WWE for the benefit of the fans.  Remember those?  The people that made you rich and famous, who cheered you on while you put in minimal effort.  They still might give a shit about you Bruno.  You’re an old man now, perhaps not long for this world.  It’s not swallowing your pride to go to the WWE and say “Okay, I’ll work with you guys on a DVD.”  It’s a way of honoring the business that made you a star, the family that brought you your wealth and success, and your way of saying to the fans “thank you for making my professional life so good.”

To the match, where Savage uses Liz as a human shield to stall at the start.  Sammartino catches him and punches the crap out of him, then sends him into the corner.  Fans *love* Bruno.  Savage tries to bail but Bruno catches him and kneelifts him, then kicks him in the face.  Bruno chokes Savage on the ropes, then slings him off.  More brawling by Bruno, with Savage selling this beating with gusto.  He bails and uses Elizabeth as a human shield again, then attacks Bruno as he goes back into the ring.  Savage rams Bruno into the post, then knees him in the back when he tries to get back in.  Savage rams him into the rail on the stairs, then drops the sledge off the top and too the floor.  Savage tosses him back in then drops an elbow.  A few axe handles and Savage climbs.  Axe handle looks to hit… but then Savage sells it like he’s hurt, and Bruno no-sells it and starts to slug away.  Well, that sucked.  Bruno was supposed to punch him coming down, obviously.  Bruno thumbs him in the eye, then starts to sell the axe-handle.  Wow.  Bruno recovers from his own offense and then kicks Savage into getting tied up in the ropes.  Punches by Bruno and a running kick.  Savage begs off, but Bruno keeps stomping.  Shoot off and a kick to the gut.  Fans are hot for everything Bruno does.  Shoot off but Bruno lowers his head into a boot.  Savage gets a headlock but Bruno shoots him off and shoulderblocks him out of the ring.  Savage drags Bruno to the floor and goes to ram him into the post, but Bruno fights back and hits the Bruno with a chair in full view of the referee, who doesn’t deem this significant.  The referee holds his count while he waits for Savage to get into the ring, then counts out Bruno.  Good lord, what a shitty match.  Bruno no-sells the chair shot and dives in after the bell to beat on Savage some more and slap on the bearhug.  Fans seem to boo Sammartino a bit.  The babyfaces come out to try and pry Bruno off of Savage, and it takes nine guys to pull his arms off.  Bruno then drags the six babyfaces so he can get closer to Savage.  An interesting way to push the hot newcomer I guess.
1/4* Barely worth watching, though I’m still amused that someone with as little going for him as Bruno would be so damn over, even in the era of Hulkamania.

-Onto his Wrestlemania III feud with Ricky Steamboat that started with Savage destroying Steamboat’s throat.  This led to a match you might have heard of…

Match #6: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
3/29/87 Wrestlemania III

Lockup, Steamboat flips Savage and we’re at a stalemate.  Savage bails and moves Liz to a different spot.  Ohhhh kay.  Back in, Steamboat armdrags Savage twice and gets a hangman’s choke, which leads to Savage bailing again.  Savage fights back with some punching and a rake on the ropes.  Backelbow gets two.  Elbow to the head, Savage misses a charge and Ricky grabs a wristlock, dropping off the apron with it.  Back to the wristlock for some elbows, but Steamboat runs into an elbow and Savage dumps him over the corner.  Steamboat tries to get back in so Savage elbows him, then grabs a handful of hair and brings him back in.  Elbow to the injured throat, snapmare over the ropes and back in the ring, elbow to the head gets two.  Kneedrop to the throat gets two.  Steamboat blocks a ram and fights back with some chops.  Big chop causes Savage to tie up in the ropes.  Steamboat chops away but Savage fights out with a kick.  Whip is reversed twice and Steamboat gets a crossbody for two, armdrag and shoulderblock for two, something else for two, damn are they moving fast.  Savage catches a knee and dumps Steamboat, but he skins the cat, and Savage catches him and clotheslines him out of the ring again.  Man is this match awesome.  Savage doesn’t let Steamboat recover and nails him from behind, knocking him clean over the guardrail!  George Steele picks up Steamboat and throws him back in the ring, so Savage dumps him again.  Savage climbs the top rope and drops a sledge off the top to the outside.  Savage throws Steamboat back in the ring and hits another sledge off the top.  Running elbow gets two.  Running hotshot gets two.  Atomic drop gets two.  Suplex gets two.  Now Steamboat is trying to comeback so Savage rakes the eyes.  Gordbuster gets two.  Steamboat fights back with some more chops, but he lowers his head and gets kicked.  Steamboat drops Savage over the top rope.  Ram to the apron, then back in for a chop off the top for two.  Another chop for two.  Diving chops and Savage is on the apron.  Steamboat chops him off there to the floor.  Savage gets back in the ring, and gets a sunset flip for two.  Savage rolls up Steamboat for two.  Steamboat gets a flipping rollup for two.  Small-package for two.  Slam and a slingshot, rollup gets two.  Rollup by Steamboat again for two, into a rollup by Savage with a handful of tights for two.  Savage uses a leverage move to post Steamboat.  The ref gets KOed while Savage uses his diving clothesline.  Savage goes up and hits the flying elbow but there’s no referee.  Savage goes to get the ring bell, which is how he injured Steamboat in the first place, so Steele blocks it.  Savage goes for a slam and Steamboat counters with a rollup for the pin and the IC title.
***** One of the best matches ever.  Steamboat isn’t very proud of it, because it was ‘too rehearsed.’  I honestly don’t think it shows at all.  The fans were hooked in by the ton of near falls and false finishes, and quite frankly, the speed was something refreshing to counter the slow and plodding WWE of the 80s.  I can’t say enough good things about it.

-They credit Savage with bringing guys like Edge and Chris Jericho into wrestling.  This leads to his feud with the Honky Tonk Man, the fallout of which effected the WWE for years to come.

Match #7: Intercontinental Championship
(c) The Honky Tonk Man vs. Randy Savage
2/5/88 The Main Event

So the back story: Savage was to get the IC title here, but the Honky Tonk Man refused to job to him.  I used to think this was bullshit, but Ted DiBiase has confirmed it to be true.  Honky Tonk threatened to walk if he didn’t get to retain the title, and Savage threatened to walk if he didn’t win the title.  With the battle lines drawn, Vince McMahon decided to fuck over Ted DiBiase, who was to win the WWE Championship at the main event of Wrestlemania IV.  Instead, Randy Savage got to be world champion, Honky Tonk’s reign would last another seven months, and everyone was happy.  Well, DiBiase wasn’t happy but who cares?

To the match.  The fans are pumped for this one.  PUMPED!  Because the end of Honky Tonk’s title reign is a certainty here.  Honky shakes his crotch at Elizabeth, then bails.  Savage gives chase and elbows Honky Tonk in the head.  Back in the ring where Savage hits the diving hangman.  Shoot to the corner and a backelbow by Savage and Honky bails.  Jimmy Hart comes in to offer advise and Savage gives them a noggin knocker (or brain buster as Vince McMahon called it).  Hart offers distraction which allows Honky to take over with some brawling.  Honky goes for a sunset flip but Savage punches him.  They trade reversals on a whip which leads to Savage hitting his chest on the turnbuckle.  Savage fights off Honky again and then goes after Jimmy Hart.  While Randy chases Hart around, Honky grabs the megaphone and nails Savage with it.  He stalls a bit and covers for two.  Fans didn’t buy it as a near fall.  After all, they know Savage is winning the title here.  Chinlock by Honky, but Randy fights out and gets a shoulderblock, only for Honky to catch him in a kitchen sink kneelift.  Savage flies out of the ring off it.  Honky drops a sledge on Savage off the apron then brings him back in the ring.  Punches and kicks by Honky, which the referee says no to, allowing Hart to get a free choke.  More stomping from Honky, more choking from Jimmy.  Savage tries to fight back and Honky gets the better of a double clothesline.  Elbow drops by Honky, who then bails to chase after Elizabeth.  Savage recovers and goes crazy on Honky.  He tosses him back in the ring, where Honky begs off.  It doesn’t work, as Savage tosses him back to the floor.  Sledge off the top and to the floor hits.  Scoopslam and the sledge off the top gets two.  Jimmy Hart gets on the apron, where Savage grabs him.  Honky charges but wipes out Hart and Savage grabs a sleeper.  Meanwhile, Sherri Martel gets in Elizabeth’s face.  Savage bails to jaw with her, then catches Honky coming off the apron.  Savage sends Honky into the ringpost, then returns to the ring while Honky gets counted out.  Fans pop for a second, then realize they’ve been screwed yet again.  BUT WAIT~!  Honky has his guitar and threatens to kill Savage with it, but Elizabeth gets in the way to protect him.  Honky swings anyway but Savage grabs the guitar and chases Honky off.  He then breaks up the guitar and celebrates.  He holds the ropes for Elizabeth to enter the ring, completing his face turn.
*** Decent match, crappy ending.

-Meanwhile, on the same show, Andre the Giant beats Hulk Hogan fair and square for the championship, which led to the championship becoming vacant.  Savage entered the championship tournament, beating Butch Reed in the first round, Greg Valentine in the quarter-finals, and One Man Gang via DQ in the semi-finals.

Match #8: WWE Championship, Tournament Finals
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
3/27/88 Wrestlemania IV

The Guest Ring Announcer is Bob Ueker.  The guest time keeper is Vanna White.  DiBiase has Andre the Giant in his corner.  The hot dogs are half-price.  This is it.  Savage gets a big elbow but Andre grabs a leg.  Fans want Hogan to show up.  Hammerlock sequence is traded and Savage gets a shoulderblock.  But Andre grabs the leg again.  The fans REALLY want Hogan now.  They trade wristlocks.  Ted chops the hell out of Savage and drops an elbow to the back of the neck.  Clothesline for two.  Shoulderblock and a sunset flip is blocked.  Clothesline by Macho for two.  Shots to the back of the head and a chop by Ted.  Back elbow and he jaws with the fans.  Savage ducks a clothesline and hits a running elbow and the diving hangman.  High knee dumps Ted over the top.  Savage goes for the sledge off the top rope but Andre blocks Ted.  Randy sends Liz to the back to fetch Hogan.  Ted takes advantage and drops a few fists for two.  Sleeper by Ted while Hogan arrives and man does he look pissed.  Hogan grabs a chair to sit and watch.  Andre grabs Savage so Hogan goes and wipes him out.  Clothesline by Ted and an elbow drop for two.  Suplex for two.  Gut-wrench suplex for two.  Scoopslam and Savage catches him on top and slams him off, but misses the flying elbow.  Million-Dollar Dream by DiBiase, but Andre goes to the well once too often and distracts the ref long enough for Hogan to hit DiBiase with the chair.  Flying elbow and Randy Savage is the WWE Champion.  Elizabeth has tears of joy as nobody had told her ahead of time that Savage was winning the championship, which is awesome.  Hogan should have really gotten out of the ring during the celebration though.  He just stayed there to the point where you could feel it become slightly uncomfortable.  But he sure as hell wasn’t going to allow Savage his moment in the lime-light.  Still, it’s pretty much my favorite championship victory celebration ever.
** Pretty ho-hum main event, though a great moment at the end.

-And thus Randy Savage is the 11th WWE Champion and goes on to have a series of rematches with DiBiase, the climax of which was this…

Match #9: WWE Championship, Steel Cage Match
(c) Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
6/25/88 Madison Square Garden

Never saw this one either.  I’m loving this DVD for matches I somehow missed.  Audio is pretty bad for this, which was clearly filmed for video because the production standards are a throwback to the pre-NBC WWE taping style.  DiBiase jumps Savage as he gets into the cage and chops away.  Savage fights back but DiBiase cuts him off with a backelbow.  Elbowdrop misses but Ted no-sells it and stomps away, only to miss a kneedrop.  DiBiase fights off Savage and tries to escape but Savage drags him back down and does a ten-ram on the turnbuckle.  Snapmare and a kneedrop by Savage.  Shoot off and Savage lowers his head into a stiff looking punch.  Backbreaker and a fist drop by DiBiase, then another.  DiBiase climbs but Savage catches him by the trunks, then snapmares him off the top.  Sledge by Savage but DiBiase blocks a ram in the turnbuckle and hits a stiff one of his own.  Savage blocks being rammed into the corner but Ted punches him anyway and then shoots him off for a clothesline.  Another fist drop and Ted starts to climb.  Savage catches him again and slowly drags him down by the hair, then stomps him in the face and Savage ends up tied in the ropes.  Virgil frees DiBiase and then cuts off Savage from escaping.  Ted back in control now with some punches.  Savage reverses a toss into the cage in very awesome, seamless fashion.  DiBiase sells this brilliantly of course.  Savage climbs and again Virgil stops him.  Savage gets tied in the tree of woe, allowing DiBiase to stop him again.  Savage fights him off and climbs again, but DiBiase cuts him off and slings him off the top.  DiBiase goes for the door but Savage grabs him.  back to their feet, Savage reverses a whip and both guys clothesline him for a double KO.  Savage recovers first and crawls for the door, but DiBiase stops him.  And Virgil was there to attack anyway.  Another double clothesline leads to another double KO.  Both guys recover and climb up other sides, and Virgil pushes Savage off.  DiBiase climbs down for no damn reason other then sheer cockiness.  He loads up a suplex on Savage but it gets reversed and we have another double KO.  Atomic drop by Savage leads to DiBiase flying into the cage.  Savage crawls for the door but Virgil throws it into his face.  DiBiase crawls for the door but Savage grabs him by the trunks.  Both guys slug it out on their knees, which is up there on my ten least favorite spots list.  Savage slings DiBiase into the cage and climbs, but Virgil again stops him.  A teenage fan actually climbs the cage to beat up Virgil and almost gets kicked in the face.  Savage gives DiBiase and Virgil a noggin knocker and climbs out of the cage to win the match.  Security is everywhere to stop the kid.  Makes you wonder where they were before the kid got into the match.  They quickly escort Savage out of there.  Presumably because the fan who tried to help him would then try to kill Savage or something.  Who knows.
***1/4 Not a bad cage match, but not exactly setting the world on fire either.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Disc one has the wedding of Savage & Elizabeth from Summerslam on it as well, plus all the stuff leading up to it from Superstars.  Starting with him popping the question in July of 1991, which he hesitates to do.  I mean if he was that scared of getting married, why on earth would she say yes?  We then go into the musical tribute to the two, followed by the wedding itself.  Shockingly, nobody interferes.  And they lived happily ever after.

Wait, what’s that?  They actually already were married?  You mean wrestling… lied to me?  And they actually were almost separated by this point?  And she went on to divorce him?  And she ended up with Lex Luger?  And he was charged with beating her?  And right after he was released from jail she died of a drug overdose and he went back to jail on unrelated charges?

OK, I stand corrected.  And they lived happily at some point thereafter.  I hope.

DISC TWO

-They show the opening video again for no goddamn reason.

-He joins up with Hulk Hogan to form the Mega Powers.  This leads to the main event of Summerslam in 1988.

Match #10
Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs. Andre the Giant & Ted DiBiase
8/29/88 Summerslam

Jesse Ventura is the guest referee and not wearing the traditional referee garb.  Believe it or not, this was a major controversy for which the WWE was fined for by the New York State Athletic Commission.  I don’t remember the back story to Ventura being the guest referee, but he’s still very much a heel here.  Now if this match was held today, Hogan would be the IC champ, the Bucks would be the tag champs, and all the titles would be on the line.  Further proof that the longer wrestling sticks around, the dumber the ideas get.  This popped a good buyrate, because in wrestling less is more.  Of course, this kind of match would only be done on Raw these days.  I still miss the old days though when you could do better then stunt-cast tag teams and draw it out longer then a couple weeks.  Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena, for example.  They should have made Shawn and Cena the tag champs the night after the 2007 Royal Rumble and built it up from there, and had them defend the title every week, with the communication slowly breaking down.  Of course, the WWE has yet to recognize my genius, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before they do and hire me.  Or have me killed.  Either way.

To the match, where the faces refuse to shake hand with the heels, which somehow makes them heroes.  Oh yes, and Savage is dressed in Hogan’s color tights, resulting in him looking like Hogan’s mini-me.  Ventura switches the location of the tag ropes just so he can assert his authoritah.  Savage and Hogan have an argument to start over who will be the face-in-peril.  Savage decides he will start, and ends up getting demolished by Andre the Giant, who gets gassed and tags out.  In comes DiBiase along with Hulk Hogan, who catches a foot and atomic drops Ted into Savage, and they beat him back and forth.  Clothesline by Hogan, which is sold with gusto by DiBiase like only he could do.  Double chop and double elbow after Hogan tags Savage, followed by some ramming by Savage.  Tag to Hogan who beats DiBiase from pillar to post.  Tag to Savage who drops a sledge off the top, then hits a kneedrop for two, with a slow count from Ventura.  Tag to Hogan and a double big boot gets two.  Scoopslam and a few stiff elbow drops, but Hogan runs into Andre, and evil referee Jesse Ventura allows him to beat up the Mega Powers.  Things settle down and DiBiase beats up Hogan, then Andre comes in to sit on Hogan a few times and choke him with the rope.  Andre slams Hogan into his boot and then slaps on a trap hold.  This goes on forever.  Hogan gets up only for Andre to choke Hogan with his singlet.  Well that’s thinking outside the box.  Ventura ignores all this cheating.  DiBiase in to smack Hogan around and clothesline him for two.  Fist drops by Ted gets two.  Chinlock now that is somehow clearly a chokehold to the announcers despite looking like every other chinlock out there.  Hogan tries to fight back but DiBiase muscles him back down and leverages it up and down.  That’s one of the things I loved about Ted DiBiase: he worked the hold instead of just laying on it.  Hogan elbows out of it and both guys clothesline each other for a double KO.  DiBiase tries to cut off Hogan from tagging out, but no dice.  Savage in with punches and a backdrop.  Diving hangman which DiBiase sells like a rubber ball.  God I loved his sell of that move.  Sledge off the top hits, but no cover.  Savage misses a charge in the corner and DiBiase retains control with a crossbody for two.  Andre in to sandwich Savage in the corner.  Andre gets all arrogant and sits on Savage.  Huge heat for this incredibly simple move.  Big Show, are you paying attention?  DiBiase in with a suplex for two.  Backbreaker and DiBiase climbs but misses a back elbowdrop off the second rope.  Hot tag to Hogan, who wags the finger straight away.  Punches in the corner, then a big clothesline.  Suplex to Ted, then a clothesline to Andre that actually knocks him down.  Weird spot where Hogan tells Savage to drop the elbow on Andre instead of Savage, done to plant the seeds of contempt in them but it somehow gets lost in translation.  Hogan slaps a sleeper on DiBiase while Savage goes for the elbowdrop on Andre, who gets a boot up.  Hogan doesn’t notice this, so Andre dumps both faces to the floor and Ventura starts to count.  All the managers get on the apron to bitch about what’s going on.  Ventura goes back to start counting, so Elizabeth takes off her dress to distract him.  The funny thing is DiBiase and Andre choose to play the angry “you fool, don’t stop counting” while still being unable to take their own eyes off her.  Good stuff.  Long before it’s time.  The faces recover and Savage manages to dump Andre by sledging him in the back.  Scoopslam to DiBiase and Savage climbs for the flying elbow.  Hogan hits the legdrop just to ice it.  One… two… and Ventura doesn’t want to count the three so Savage slams the arm down for him.  Like that would actually stand.
***1/4 Fairly entertaining, way more so then I expected going into it as I haven’t watched this match since I was seven.  DiBiase was game but needed someone more sinister then Andre to help with the heat portions of the match.  But it’s still good fun.  Of course, the bigger issue is that they blew a spot at some point that was supposed to start the slow burn towards their collapse towards Wrestlemania 5.  I’m guessing it was the spot where Hogan told Savage who to elbow, but even that seems weird.  I guess we’ll never know where it was supposed to happen.

Match #11: WWE Championship
(c) Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
4/2/89 Wrestlemania V

I get mail.  “When you review old matches, why do you list the title matches as “WWE” title matches.  It wasn’t WWE back then.  It was WWF.  It makes you look stupid.”

I don’t know what this guy is talking about.  I’ve been watching wrestling for over twenty years and I’ve never heard of this “WWF” he speaks of.  I’ve been watching WWE since the old days when wrestling centered around Madison Square Garden after the Vince McMahon took wrestling out of sleazy nightclubs and into real arenas.  I remember when Vince McMahon fended off all those scummy regional promoters despite being way under funded against them.  I remember when Hulk Hogan found refuge from the sleazy AWA and somehow managed to become a star under his watch.  I remember when WCW Nitro raided the WWE and stole all the old people that Vince McMahon was keeping on life support and tried to kill them by forcing them into athletic competition.  I remember when the ratings just kept going up during the Alliance angle.  I remember when Shane McMahon won the World Championship against Shawn Michaels and Triple H at Wrestlemania 20.  Don’t tell me I don’t know my history.  Jerk.

To the match.  Savage quickly bails to start.  Savage jumps in the ring they lockup.  Hulk easily throws him down like a rag doll.  Savage grabs a headlock, but Hogan fights off with a shoulderblock, and Savage bails again.  Randy bad-mouths Liz, then gets into the ring and quickly locks up with Hogan.  Randy is all wide-eyed and crazy during this match, which makes it much better.  Randy grabs a headlock, then freaks out and bails again.  Hogan gives chase this time, so Randy hides behind wife.  Back in, Hogan does an mat wrestling spot and ends up with a front headlock.  Savage fights out of that with a backdrop suplex, but he misses an elbow.  Wristlock by Hogan but Savage fights off and hits a sledge off the top rope for two.  He grabs an armbar.  Hogan tries to fight off so Savage grabs his hair to stop him.  Hogan uses Savage’s tights to leverage him out of the ring, but then he throws him back inside.  Ram to the turnbuckles, whip off the ropes and a big clothesline and a pair of elbow drops.  Hogan then rakes Savage’s eyes with his boots, which makes Jesse Ventura freak out.  Hogan puts his head down too soon, so Savage kicks him and hits his diving clothesline for two.  Headlock by Savage, with Hogan bleeding ever so slightly.  Hogan fights out with some elbows and a shoulderblock, but he misses an elbow and Savage rolls him up for two.  Hardwhip to the corner, and now Savage is going after the cut on Hogan’s eye.  Hogan gets back by ramming Savage into the corner a few times.  Hogan then picks up Savage and dumps him over the top.  Liz goes in to help him, but that only pisses off Savage, who nearly clubs her in the mouth.  Then Savage pulls out Hogan and beats him up on the outside.  Hogan fights back by ramming him onto the apron.  Hogan picks of Savage and tries to throw him into the turnbuckle, but Liz gets in the way so Hulk won’t hurt her husband.  Randy doesn’t care, so he pushes Hogan into the turnbuckle, nearly KOing Liz in the process.  Now Randy and Liz continue their battered-wife syndrome stuff.  He tells her to get the fuck out of his way.  Hebner ejects her officially for good measure.  Savage climbs the top and drops a sledge on Hogan on the outside.  Back in, Randy does his diving hangman spot, then pancakes Hogan on the ropes.  Scoopslam and kneedrop for two.  Savage takes off his tape and chokes Hogan with it while the referee swats at flies or something.  Blatant choke by Savage, until Hogan is out cold.  Savage climbs and hits the big flying elbow… for two as it’s HULK UP TIME!  Punch, nothing.  Punch, nothing.  Punch, Hogan’s up.  Punch, punch, punch, big boot, legdrop, seeya.
***1/4 Good match, not great.  Lacked a certain something.  Maybe if they had found a decent place to hold the match the crowd could have elevated it to something better.  Having Wrestlemania in the Trump Plaza was stupid, but doing it twice was downright retarded.  Fans ruined this match.

-So Savage is a full blown heel now.  He goes crazy…er, dumps Elizabeth, hires Sensational Sherri, wins the King of the Ring, calls himself the Macho King, and ends up with another title shot at Hulk Hogan.

Match #12: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
2/23/90 Saturday Night’s Main Event

James “Buster” Douglas is the guest referee outside official.  It was supposed to be Mike Tyson, but Douglas pulled off the biggest upset in the history of sports (fuck you hockey freaks, the only ‘miracle on ice’ is that anyone would actually watch hockey to begin with) about two weeks before this and knocked Tyson out cold to win the championship.  It worked out good for the WWE, as Tyson would show up eight years later and be one of the final ingredients needed to finally beat WCW in the ratings.  As for Douglas, people make fun of him for giving up the title his first match after winning it, but I don’t really care.  He was pretty much past his prime when he took the championship and had a good career before that.  He actually wanted to retire after winning the belt but he was talked into trying to milk the fame for all it’s worth.  After signing a few endorsements, he got knocked out, faded into obscurity, and was last seen as the punch line in an unfunny joke in the movie “Mars Attacks.”  But I still liked him as a boxer.  And my autographed copy of Buster Douglas Boxing for the Genesis holds a special place of pride in my video game collection, even if it’s worth less then a pack of juicy fruit gum.

Onto the match, which for some reason I don’t think I’ve seen before.  Shoulderblock by Hogan and Savage bails.  Douglas stops him from giving chase, then tells Savage to get back in.  He does, then knees Hogan in the gut and punches it out.  Diving hangman by Savage, which announcers Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura act like they’ve never seen done before, despite the fact that he had done that in every match he had been in to that point.  Savage knees Hogan out of the ring.  He climbs to hit the sledge but Douglas stops him from doing it.  Hogan gets in and grabs Sherri, and then Savage misses a charge and knocks her off the apron.  Sherri bumps harder off this then Hogan ever bumped in his life.  Hogan takes Savage to the corner and chops away.  Stiff backelbow in the other corner, then a ten-punch.  More chopping from Hogan and then a SUPER STIFF elbow to Savage.  Me thinks someone is trying to impress the world heavyweight champion.  Scoopslam and a pair of elbow drops, then mounted punches.  The referee tells Hogan to watch the closed fists.  Hogan then acts like he’s going to punch the ref.  What a hero.  Sherri trips up Hogan, allowing Savage to hit a head of steam on him, knocking Sherri down as well.  Diving clothesline by Savage gets two.  Kneedrop for two and a blatant choke.    Savage gets Hogan to the corner where Sherri blatantly chokes him.  Douglas catches her and acts like a pussy prying her off.  He then ejects her and the camera follows her ejection instead of the action in the ring.  BOOOOOOO.  Apparently the match was in a time out as the bell rings.  Or not, because we get back with Savage having a sleeper on Hogan.  Hogan goes to fight back and throws some elbows, then hits a shoulderblock.  Savage gets a clothesline and covers with one foot for two.  He dumps Hogan and drops the sledge off the top.  Back in, Savage drops the sledge for two.  Choke on the ropes and then a sling into the center of the ring for two.  Kneedrop for two.  Punches send Hogan to the outside, and Savage climbs but again Douglas gets in the way.  Savage elbows Hogan in the throat, then tosses him in the ring and drops the flying elbow for two.  Let’s Hulk Up, shall we?  No sell, no sell, no sell, finger wagging, punch, punch, punch, big boot but Savage falls out of the ring.  Well that’s a change.  Savage rakes the eyes but Hogan is still all hulked up and no-sells it.  In the ring, the referee gets wiped out just long enough to give Douglas an excuse to make the count when Hogan hits the legdrop to retain the title. After the match, Savage jaws with Douglas, then bitch slaps him.  Because nothing bad can happen from slapping the guy who just had knocked Mike Tyson out on his ass.  Sure enough, Savage gets knocked out cold.
***1/2 production foibles aside, this was clearly a better match then the main event of Wrestlemania V.  Faster paced and with a more lively crowd.  It felt like a big event, which is what was missing from Wrestlemania at the Trump Plaza.

Match #13
Randy Savage & Sherri Martel vs. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire
4/1/90 Wrestlemania VI

Death Percentage: 50%.  BUT WAIT~!!  Dusty Rhodes brings out Miss Elizabeth.  Make that 60%.  The guys start, laughing about how cool it will be to still be alive in their sixties.  Man, that’s cold.  Shoot off to start and Dusty hits a backelbow.  Elbow thrust and Sherri comes in to punch Rhodes, but her hand gets stuck in his flab and she ends up getting absorbed into his body mass.  Actually, he just no-sells it and then throws Savage into her.  Tag to Sapphire, then he tosses Sherri into the ring.  Sapphire dances around and pushes Sherri into the ropes, then smacks her with her large ass.  Horrible airplane spin gets two.  Sherri fights back and goes for a slam, but Sapphire falls on top for two.  Guys tag in, and Dusty gives Sapphire some free shots, then throws Sherri away.  Savage dumps Dusty and brawls him on the floor.  Savage climbs to the top and drops the sledge.  Sherri rakes the eyes a bunch of times, then Savage drops another sledge off the top and to the floor.  He goes for another but Sapphire gets in the way.  Savage gets down and pushes her out of the way, then tosses Rhodes back into the ring.  Cover for two.  Savage loads up Rhodes for a suplex and actually manages to pull it off for two.  He grabs the scepter and drops it on Rhodes from the top rope.  Instead of covering, he taunts the fans and tags Sherri in.  She hits a splash off the top for two.  Power kickout by Dusty, then he blocks another sledge from Savage and noggin-knockers the heels into each other.  Elbows in the corner by Rhodes, but Sherri grabs a sleeper.  Blind tag by Sapphire who yanks Sherri down for two.  Lockup leads to Sherri getting slung out of the ring, where Elizabeth tosses her back in.  Sherri turns around into a strange looking suplex thing and things break down.  Sherri goes to jaw with Elizabeth only to get school-yard tripped by Sapphire and pinned.
DUD Fucking horrible.  Though credit to the WWE for finding someone even worse then Dusty Rhodes in Sapphire to make him look decent.

-Savage wants a title shot at the Ultimate Warrior, who ducks him like a total pussy.  So Savage interferes in the title match at the Royal Rumble and gives the belt to Sgt. Slaughter.  This leads to…

Match #14: Career Ending Match
Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior
3/24/91 Wrestlemania VII

The Warrior walks out so as to avoid being gassed for this match.  Lockup, nothing.  Warrior fires off a bitchslap.  Lockup and Warrior tosses Savage down.  Savage slugs it out and rakes the eyes.  Shoot off by the Warrior and a shoulderblock.  Sherri onto the apron to distract the Warrior.  Savage pounces but gets smacked down by the Warrior.  Double choke lift and an inverted atomic drop, followed by a standard one.  Choke lift by Warrior, and Sherri runs into the ring.  Warrior tosses Savage into Sherri.  Savage gets tied up in the ropes and Warrior stomps away.  Punch to the gut by Warrior, then another shoot off but he lowers his head.  Diving clothesline by Savage and he climbs.  Crossbody is caught by the Warrior.  He teases a slam, then sets Savage down and bitchslaps him.  Awesome.  Savage throws a chair into the ring, then pounces the Warrior.  Warrior shrugs it off and punches Savage down, who’s bumping like a pinball here.  Warrior kicks away in the corner, then stands up Savage for some punching.  Hardwhip to the corner but Warrior misses a charge and lands hard on the outside.  Sherri kicks Warrior on the floor and then Savage hits a sledge off the ropes.  Sherri brawls with Warrior, raking his back, only for Warrior to shove her down.  Savage hits another sledge on Warrior then tosses him into the ringpost.  Sherri kicks Warrior again, then Savage drags him back in the ring for a scoopslam and an elbowdrop.  Neckbreaker is countered into a backslide for two by Warrior.  Savage spits at the Warrior.  Sherri on the apron again, but Warrior catches a Savage boot and spins him around for a clothesline.  Warrior bounces off the ropes and goes for a shoulderblock but Savage ducks out of the way and covers for two.  Grounded sleeper by Savage.  Warrior fights out and a double clothesline knocks both of them out.  Savage gets help from Sherri and recovers, but Warrior gets a small package for two as the ref was out of position.  Savage knocks Warrior into the ref.  Sherri takes her shoe off and jumps off the top rope, but hits Savage by accident.  Warrior chases Sherri and finally catches her, but Savage grabs the tights and gets a schoolboy for two.  Hotshot by Savage and a diving over the top clothesline.  In the ring, Savage with a scoopslam for two.  Flying elbow hits.  Then Savage drops another flying elbow.  Then another flying elbow.  Then ANOTHER flying elbow.  And finally, a fifth flying elbow and this should be it.  He covers… for two.  Savage’s eyes are bugging out of his head like a looney toon.  Hulk up by Warrior.  Triple clothesline, gorilla slam, big splash… for two.  Fans thought that was the ending.  Warrior looks up to the heavens and asks them what he did wrong.  He looks at his hands, decides he has no power, bails on the match.  He gets as far as the apron before the Macho Man knocks him off with a clothesline.  Savage places Warrior on the guardrail and goes for the bombs away.  Warrior moves out of the way and Savage eats it.  Warrior feels the power and knocks Savage out of the ring with a shoulderblock.  He grabs Savage and places him back in the ring, then knocks him out again with a diving shoulderblock.  Warrior fetches Savage again for another shoulderblock.  This time Savage gets caught in the ropes.  Warrior drags Savage to the center of the ring and covers him with one foot to win the match.
***** One of the most awesomely constructed matches ever.  Warrior’s best match, maybe even Savage’s best match from an artistic point of view.  I loved it then, I still love it now.  It’s cartoonish and silly, but so what?  It’s timeless fun.  Of all the matches I’ve likely overrated (and by my own admission, I’m more generous with the five-stars them most) I still will stand up and defend this one the most.  I mean, what do people expect?  Flair vs. Steamboat?  This was fun.  Fun.  Remember fun?  The reason we watch wrestling.

-After the match, Savage gets back together with Elizabeth.  They get married at Summerslam, and then Jake Roberts pisses him off.  Roberts crashes the wedding reception, then gets a cobra to bite Savage.  Needless to say, it was on.

Match #15
Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts
12/3/91 This Tuesday in Texas

This really should have been on Jake Roberts’ DVD, as this feud was just about the high point of his entire career.  Savage runs out and kills Roberts while he makes his entrance.  Savage brawls Roberts all around the ring, still wearing his ridiculous hat and attire.  He drops a sledge on Jake, who then bails.  Savage takes off the silly stuff and then catches Jake in the aisle.  More brawling, but Jake comes out of nowhere with a low blow and follows that up by dumping Savage.  Randy tries to toss him into the ringpost but Roberts reverses and Savage’s elbow eats it.  Jake rings the arm around the post a few more times, then rolls in to break up the count.  Stall leads to Savage landing a few punches, but he’s still out of it and Jake hits an atomic drop.  Knees to the injured arm by Jake and a cross arm breaker.  He rips the bandage from the snake bite off of Savage and then continues to slam the arm into the turnbuckle.  Hammerlock, but Savage fights out of it.  That was just a little too quick.  Shoot off and Jake lowers his head into a kick.  Short-arm clothesline misses and both guys have trouble getting a whip off.  Referee Earl Hebner shows better reflexes then most wrestlers at this time by ducking out of the way of a hard whip.  Cool.  Short-arm clothesline attempt #2 by Jake works, to huge heel heat.  Roberts jaws with the crowd a bit, then loads up the DDT.  Savage avoids it and rams Jake into the corner, then drops the elbow off the top for the pin.  Well that was brisk.  Savage goes nuts afterwards and attempts to kill Roberts with the ring bell, but the ref stops him and Jake hits a DDT, then another.  Jake starts to leave, but the devil gets hold of Jake.  He tells him to grab the cobra that’s under the ring.  And smoke a whole lot of crack.  But get the cobra first.  So he grabs the cobra, but Elizabeth comes out to beg for mercy.  Roberts mocks Jake, ignores Elizabeth, and gives Savage ANOTHER DDT.  This is back when the move was considered lethal.  Jake opens the bag to get the cobra, places the protective glove on, then makes Elizabeth beg him to not kill him with the cobra.   The DVD then cuts off before Jake punches Elizabeth in what was one of the most intense moments in WWE history.  I’m guessing we can thank Chris Benoit for that one.
*3/4 Huge disappointment.  Way to short, and Savage seemed to have cut off every attempt Jake made at really heating the match up.  He made his comebacks way to quick and thus the drama was limited.  Granted, they cut the match short because they wanted to use the pay-per-view time for the post match stuff which was intense and awesome, but the downside to that is they never actually blew the angle off in the grandiose fashion it deserved.  It just sort of fizzled out.

-The plus side was this angle got Savage so over that he was in a position to win the WWE Championship again.  Hulk Hogan wanted to retire to focus on making movies and a Hogan/Flair match at Madison Square Garden failed to sell out, so the main events were switched around.  Savage instead got to take on Flair for the title, while Hogan and Sycho Sid stunk up the joint in the final match.

Match #16: WWE Championship
(c) Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage
4/5/92 Wrestlemania VIII

Flair tries to bail on the match but Savage gives chase and pounds on Flair in the aisle.  Mr. Perfect breaks it up and drags Savage to the ring.  In the ring, Savage hits a clothesline and a knee to the back.  To the corner, punches, then a ten punch.  It ends at three.  Hardwhip to the corner and a backelbow for two.  Savage misses a charge and Flair backdrops him over the top rope.  Flair rams Savage into the apron and kicks him down.  Savage gets to the apron only to get kicked around.  Chops and a suplex for two.  Backdrop suplex for two.  Hard whip to the corner by Flair, then another, then a big chop for two.  Kneedrop and Savage ends up rolling over to the corner.  Ric kicks him out of the ring.  Slam to the side of the apron.  On the apron, Flair suplexes Savage into the ring for two.  Hard whip to the corner and then some stomping.  Chop by Flair and Savage finally fights back.  Shoot off the ropes by Flair is turned slowly into a neckbreaker by Savage for two.  Savage slugs it out but Flair thumbs the eye.  Flair climbs to go for his patented 450 degree body press only to get caught by Savage.  Randy breaks tradition by climbing on the first rope before throwing Flair off.  Hard whip to the corner and a backdrop.  Clothesline by Savage, then a diving clothesline.  Hardwhip to the corner sends Flair up and over to the apron where he runs down to the other turnbuckle.  Flying sledge off the top gets a very close two.  Fans are pissed at that one.  Flair gets dumped over the top rope.  Bombs away by Savage to Flair on the floor.  Ram into the stairs by Savage, then into the ringpost and Flair bleeds, which *really* pissed off Vince McMahon backstage.  Suplex on the floor and Flair is bleeding a gusher.  McMahon had the nerve to tell Flair “Just when you’re this close to greatness, you go and do something (blading) to blow it.”  Never mind that Bret Hart obviously bladed during his match earlier in the night then tried to claim it was split open on the turnbuckle.  Give me a break.  In the ring, Savage mounts some punches.  Savage climbs and hits the sledge off the top for two.  Fans are super hot for this and bought that has the finish.  Scoopslam by Savage and he calls for the elbow and hits it… for two as Mr. Perfect drags Savage out of the ring.  Watching this live as a kid, I thought for sure they were setting up for a DQ.  Perfect and Savage jaw with each other giving Perfect a chase to toss Flair some knucks.  Brass knucks shot via Flair… for two.  Fans bought that as the finish, and again I bought it legit watching this live.  Perfect grabs a chair and whacks Savage in the knee with it.  Miss Elizabeth makes her way to the ring.  Flair starts to work the knee like a no-good bastard.  Half-atomic drop and he slaps on the figure-four.  It gets a few two counts.  A whole ton of officials are begging Elizabeth not to be there, among them Shane McMahon.  They won’t go away.  Come on.  It’s distracting.  Savage reverses it and Flair grabs Mr. Perfect’s hand for leverage.  The ref kicks Perfect’s hand away.  Small package by Savage… for two.  Everyone bought that as the finish.  Chops by Flair and another half atomic drop.  He holds onto the legs.  Savage blocks a punch and flips Flair around with a schoolboy and a handful of tights… for the pin and the title?  That was the finish?  Talk about anti-climatic.  Big clusterfuck brawl breaks out, and to top it off, the dumb fuck officials hold down Savage while Flair and Perfect beat on him.
**** Sure, it led to more matches, but this was a pretty underwhelming way to end a Wrestlemania championship match.  Ric Flair is noted as HATING this match, feeling it was too rehearsed.  You know, it doesn’t really come across just from watching it.  The problems with the match had nothing to do with the moves that were done or the psychology or the pacing.  The ending was underwhelming and after a lot of brilliant false finishes it called for something way better, and all the stuff with Elizabeth should have been done better.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You get Elizabeth’s debut.  Hey wait, shouldn’t that have been on the first disc and the wedding been on this disc?  Eh, either way.  You also get Randy Savage’s coronation as the Macho King following his King of the Ring win, with all the heels in the ring and his brother Lanny “The Genius” Poffo reading a gay incest poem for him.

DISC THREE

-So Savage is once again the WWE Champion, this time as the established authority.  This means that it was a young generation of stars who would chase the title.  Which explains why he dropped the title back to Ric Flair.  Oh well…

Match #17: WWE Championship
(c) Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels
4/19/92 Home Video Taping

OK, deep breath Charlie.  It’s a Coliseum Video match, so you know it’s going to have a cop out ending.  Still, no way Shawn Michaels is going to dog it in what is almost certainly his first televised WWE Championship match.  Lockup goes nowhere.  Another lockup goes to a corner where Shawn is held back from making a move.  Savage is still selling the injury from Wrestlemania.  Lockup and Shawn grabs a hammerlock, then a shoulderblock.  Savage lowers his head and Shawn slings him into a corner, but Randy gets a leg up.  Slam on the turnbuckle and Shawn bails.  Savage bails as well, so Shawn returns to the ring, where Savage throws a chair at him.  Savage returns to the ring and we restart.  Shoulderblocks by Shawn, but Savage dumps him.  Shawn skins the cat only to get dumped with a clothesline.  Sledge off the top and to the floor by Savage, and Heenan is calling him out on commentary over how stupid that is to do with an injured leg.  Back in, Savage loads up a piledriver, but we instead cut to Sherri and Liz fighting at ringside.  He sends Liz to the back, then gets hit in the back of the head by Shawn.  Slam into the stairs by Shawn, then back in he kicks at Savage.  Shoot off and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to huge heat.  It gets two.    Kick to the stomach by Randy but Shawn rakes the eyes.  Whip to the corner by Shawn, and Randy wants to explode out of it but Shawn cuts him off.  Shoot off and a punch to the gut leading to a neckbreaker for two.  It’s like they can’t get a good beat going.  To the corner where Shawn slugs it out.  Savage catches a foot and sling-shots Shawn into the turnbuckle for two.  Diving hangman and even Shawn can’t sell it as good as DiBiase does.  Shawn to his feet where Savage sends him outside with a knee to the back.  Another sledge off the top and to the floor by Savage, then a whip into the ringpost, which Shawn oversells like he’s Mr. Perfect.  Back in, Savage hits the sledge for two.  He goes for yet another but Shawn gets him with a punch to the gut.  Shawn flips out of a hiptoss with a clothesline.  I can’t tell if that was a save off a blown spot, but either way it looked cool.  Sweet chin music gets two.  This was about three years before it was established as his big move.  Scoopslam and a fist drop off the top rope and Savage ends up rolling out to the floor.  Shawn gives chase and rams Savage into the ringpost.  This incredibly fat girl jaws with Sherri as she gets a cheapshot in.  Heenan says “Look at that, two girls wearing the same dress!”  I miss the Brain.  Savage back in only to get dumped to the floor again.  Michaels distracts the referee while Sherri lays in a pretty stiff kick on Savage that in all seriousness looked better then any kick by any chick currently on the roster sans maybe Mickie James.  Shawn elbows Savage in the throat, then does some stinging jabs in the ring.   Shoot off and Shawn lowers his head and gets kicked.  Shawn ducks a clothesline and the referee gets wiped out.  Hotshot by Savage, followed by a scoopslam to set up the flying elbow.  He climbs and actually hits it, but there’s no referee.  Sherri comes in an starts to kick Savage in the head, but he no-sells it.  I don’t care how tough you are, if someone with boots like Sherri was wearing kicks you in the head, it’s going to hurt.  So lame choice for a no-sell spot.  Savage drags the ref in and covers for two.  He spits at Sherri, then Liz comes back to flip her into the ring.  Savage blocks the Tear Drop suplex and hits a crossbody for two.  Savage misses a charge and Shawn fires off a sunset flip for two.  Man, this really heated up at the end.  Savage goes for the sledge, but Shawn moves out of the way.  Savage doesn’t sell it and runs over to the other corner and springs off it with another cross body for the pin.
*** Very slowly paced which I’m guessing threw off Shawn’s timing.  Savage didn’t sell the injury, but that’s to be expected because Shawn didn’t really work it.  Peppy ending saved it somewhat.

-Hey, did you hear Savage was pretty popular?  Because he was.  Duh.

Match #18
Randy Savage & Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels
7/20/92 Home Video Taping

I think I just came.  Total combined world title reigns: 33.  And what’s more impressive about that is most of those reigns came from before the wild-west days of guys winning and losing titles in weeks time.  The last time anyone here held a world title was 2002.  Jim Ross ins on commentary in one of his first WWE matches.  Bret starts with Shawn, and since this is long before they hated each other, this should be spiffy.  Armdrag by Shawn to start.  Shawn gets all cocky from this and brings Savage into the ring.  Counter wrestling is won out by Shawn, so Bret throws an old fashioned elbow to show that it ain’t all about technicality.  Heenan is all depressed sounding on commentary, like his dog just died.  Blind tag by Savage while Bret hits an atomic drop on Shawn.  Clotheslines for all by Savage, then Flair tags in.  The craziness of this match just keeps hitting me.  Savage won the title from and lost it back to Ric Flair, who dropped the title to Bret Hart, who dropped the title twice himself to Shawn Michaels, who retired Ric Flair.  Cosmic.  Flair and Savage go at it now.  Lockup goes nowhere and Flair sounds off with a wooooo.   Lockup and Savage gets a hammerlock, so Flair bails to the ropes.  Pat on the back by Savage leads to a push by Flair and a bitch slap by Randy.  I fully expected Flair to flop off that, but he actually looked pissed at Savage off the smack on the back.  Push by Flair leads to a punch by Savage.  Another push leads to a bitch slap by Randy.  Huge pop but man does Flair look pissed.  I’ve seen countless Flair matches and I’ve never seen him look so legitimately pissed off during a match.  Flair tags Michaels and Savage goes crazy on both heels, but they stop him and Michaels starts tagging Savage in the corner.  Hard whip to the corner but Michaels misses a charge and the tag is made to Bret, who’s a house of fire.  He rings the arm and takes Shawn down with an armbar.  Crowd is super hot.  This match rocks.  Tag to Savage who does a sledge off the top, then both guys seem to draw a blank which leads to Shawn taking Savage to the corner.  Clothesline out of nowhere by Savage and a tag to Bret who I hope will undo the mess that happened when Savage was in.  He grounds Shawn down with an armbar.  If memory serves me correctly, Shawn and Bret got heat on themselves in the locker room by sounding off against the old timers for stinking up their matches.  There’s an irony in there somewhere.  Shawn rams Bret into the corner, then scoopslams him.  Tag to Flair who misses a big elbow.  Rake of the eyes by Flair and hard chops in the corner, but Bret fights back with a backdrop.  Tag to Savage who throws some shitty punches and man does his timing suck at this point.  The writing was on the wall for Savage at this point, clearly.  He gives up on the punches and hits a running elbow, then does a ten punch in the corner, but Flair turns it into an atomic drop.  Flair goes for the figure four a couple times but Savage keeps kicking off.  Michaels runs in but Savage hiplocks him.  Punch to Flair but Michaels gets a superkick to knock Savage out of the ring.  On the outside, Shawn holds Savage for some cheap shots by Mr. Perfect.  Back in, chop by Flair and a tag to Shawn.  Shoot off and a Triple H like flying knee.  Snapmare and some stompery by Shawn, then Bret distracts the ref like a tard while Sherri gets some cheap shots in.  Flair in and the heels double elbow Savage.  Stompery now by Flair and more cheap shots by the managers.  Shoot off by Flair and a chop for two.  Flair draws Bret in so the heels can do more double teaming.  Perfect lends a hand in drawing Bret and the referees attention.  Shoot off by Shawn who lowers his head into a kick.  Tag to Flair, who cuts off Savage.    Chopping and a snapmare with his feet on the ropes for two, two, and two.  Savage makes a desperate crawling lunge towards his corner but Flair cuts him off again.  Flair tries to hiptoss Savage but gets caught in a backslide for two.  Tag to Shawn but he gets caught in a small package for… nothing as Bret is distracting the ref again.  Flair flips them over so Shawn’s on top and it gets two.  Back suplex gets two for Shawn.  Now a side chinlock by Shawn, then a drop toehold.  Tag to Flair but Savage hits a shoulderblock.  He builds up speed instead of making the tag, and gets caught in a sleeper.  Savage uses momentum and drives Flair into the turnbuckle, leading to a flop.  Flair climbs for his patented triple somersault con hilo bendy moontwister supreme but Savage catches him and tosses him off.  Hot tag to Bret, who sends Flair into the corner and backdrops him.  Shawn gets sent to the corner, then Flair to the other corner, then back to Shawn who gets crotched on the ropes.  Flair gets suplexed over the top and back into the ring.  Backbreaker by Bret gets two.  Savage comes in and rolls up Shawn for two as the ref gives up on following the legal man, despite the fact that it never really broke down bad.  Savage reverses a whip by Shawn and sends her into Sherri, then rolls him up for the pin.
****1/2 Awesome match, and truth be told, I wasn’t expecting a pinfall since this was a home video match.  That said, the ending came out of nowhere and after Savage spent fifteen minutes or so as the face in peril, it called for a little bit more spectacular ending.  The young guys didn’t get enough attention here.  I know I rag on Bret Hart for being a bust in the ratings during his first run as champion, but I can’t totally blame it on him.  Just think, both himself and Shawn Michaels were months away from main eventing a pay per view at this point, and yet they barely got enough time to shine when paired with the established main eventers and get the rub that I’m guessing this match was designed to do.  Still, can’t fault them for the action in the ring, and the past-his-prime Savage was still game for taking a beating even if he was garbage on offense.  This is the highlight of the set if you ignore all the repeated stuff.

-Vince McMahon and the bookers take notice that Savage is a broken down man and pull him out of the ring to make him a commentator.  In my opinion, he wasn’t bad.  I liked Ted DiBiase and especially Mr. Perfect better, but he was far from embarrassing.  But Savage still had a fire to wrestle, and so he attempts a semi-comeback in 1994.

Match #19: WWE Championship
(c) Yokozuna vs. Randy Savage
2/28/94 Monday Night Raw

Vince McMahon calls Savage “Hall of Fame bound.”  Surreal.  I’ll address this in my closing thoughts for this set, but I still thought it called for attention.  Savage attacks Yoko from behind before Yoko could get his robe off or do his salt ceremony.  Yoko fights him down, but misses an elbowdrop.  Savage fires off a bunch of clotheslines to drop Yoko, but the ref is slow in making the count and it only gets two.  Yoko reaches up and punches him, takes his robe off, then slugs it out.  Well what do you know, the pace is totally slow and boring now.  Damn Randy Savage to hell for making me think this would be peppy.  I forgot this is Yokozzzzzzzzzuna we’re dealing with.  He grabs a choke in the corner, then rakes the eyes  Randy swings at nothing while Yoko stands around and does nothing.  Then more slow punching in the corner.  Savage punches back, but it’s too fast for Yoko so he rakes the eyes again.  Choke by Yoko, then Savage fights back by slamming his head into the canvas.  Yoko rakes the eyes again and headbutts him down.  Scoopslam by Yoko but a big splash misses.  High knee by Savage knocks Yoko out of the ring, then he knocks Mr. Fuji off the apron.  Sledge gets dropped off the top and to the floor.  James E. Cornette is out but Savage makes him run away.  Commercial.

We’re back and Savage is trying like hell to get Yoko back in the ring.  Gee Wiz, maybe it’s not a good idea to knock a six-hundred pounder out of the ring when you can only win the title by pinfall.  Didn’t he watch Yoko vs. Lex from Summerslam?  Savage rolls in the ring to break up the count.  I guess he’s a crafty veteran because Lex Luger was too dumb to figure that one out.  He rolls out again, but Cornette distracts him long enough for Yoko to get a cheap shot in.  Yoko rams Savage into the stairs a few times then rolls him back into the ring.  Yoko slugs away at Savage, and Savage comes back with punches of his own.  Savage drops a sledge on Yoko, then a crossbody for two.  Kneelift but Yoko fires off a throat thrust out of nowhere.  He goes to gasp for air on the ropes so Savage rolls him up for two.  Yoko slams him face-first on the canvas.  Quote from Vince McMahon, “If you’re Bret Hart or Lex Luger, who would you rather face, Yokozuna or Randy Savage?”  Let’s see, the guy who’s years past his prime or the guy who’s so fat he could presumably have a heart attack in the ring which would make pinning him easy, assuming you can fight off the twenty or so guys he usually has interfere in his matches.  Tough call.  Yoko smacks Savage to the corner, then whips him to the other side where he hits a big splash.  One of the things I hated about Yoko was, in all seriousness, most of his moves should have been enough to put anyone down.  The avalanche in the corner for example.  It looked way more devastating then the Banzai Drop did.  I still think he was a crappy champion but they could have made him work if they had just let him squash the holy hell out of everyone top to bottom like Goldberg did.  Let the babyface get in a tiny bit of offense, have him just swat it off and hit one big power move for the pin.  Basically have him with no established finisher, just any move that involves him dropping the full weight of his girth on someone.  Not only would that have worked better, but it would have been anything but boring and it would have made it bigger when someone finally kicked out of one of those moves.  Anyway, back to the match, Yoko drags Savage to the center of the ring to set up for… a legdrop?  Lame.  He misses it, but Cornette distracts the ref so Fuji can hand Yoko an old wooden bucket.  Savage takes it from Yoko and hits him with it, but it’s a double KO.  After forever, Savage drapes an arm across for two.  Savage fights Cornette off the apron, then climbs and hits the flying elbow for two as Crush runs in and forces a DQ.  Fans are pissed and Yokozuna looks like a douche as a result.  Fans chant for Lex Luger to make the save, then barely react when it’s Bret Hart who runs out.  Of course, Bret marks will say that Luger wasn’t over and the fans were calling for Hart to be the champion, when in fact it varied from city to city as to who was the fans choice to be the big babyface.  Anyway, Bret gets destroyed so Lex comes out, now to barely any reaction himself, and the faces fight the heels off.
** Just about as good a match as these two were capable of having together.

-And that was pretty much the end for Savage in the WWE.  Unhappy that he wasn’t being used as a top guy anymore, he jumped to WCW.  Allegedly, he had promised Vince McMahon he was sticking around and this is the real reason why he’s black listed.  Which doesn’t explain why Stephanie McMahon calls out “Ooooh Yeah” during sex with Triple H, but that’s neither here nor there.  Anyway, WCW could have used Savage to do a series of dream matches that couldn’t have been done when he was in the WWE, but that wasn’t how WCW rolled.  They always wanted to have their own version of WWE main events, and this was no exception.  Thus, we get more Flair vs. Savage matches in this set.  Two more in fact.  Oh come on, I love Savage and Flair but if they wanted to include these, they shouldn’t have used the Wrestlemania 8 match which has been on disc elsewhere.  Booooooo!  Anyway, they run down the history of the Savage/Flair feud in WCW, which centered around Savage’s father.  This leads to a “lifeguard” match at Bash at the Beach.  Even Maria makes fun of how stupid that sounds.  Striker assures her that it’s just a lumberjack match, only it’s on a beach so they call it a lifeguard match.  And laughs are had by all.

Match #20: Lifeguard Match
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
7/16/95 Bash at the Beach

This show was done on an honest to god beach, which makes for an interesting looking atmosphere.  Then again, I hate beaches because I hate having sand in my shoes.  I can’t imagine how much it would suck to get some stuck in your tights.  Lockup goes nowhere.  Shoulderblock by Savage and mounted punches, then a clothesline to the corner and a backdrop.  Clothesline, then another, and then another to dump him to the floor where the lumberjacks… excuse me… lifeguards, fight over getting Flair back in.  Savage stomps him on the apron and then chokes with the foot.  Ten punch in the corner but Flair turns it into an atomic drop.  Chopping by Flair and then he dumps him to the evil lumberjacks.  Macho takes a nasty bump off of this, though the lumberjacks and the shitty WCW production values miss where he hit.  But it was an audible thunk.  Shoot off and Savage gets a backelbow, then a slam into the turnbuckle.  Slug out, and Flair tries to chop away, but Savage does the stinging jabs and a running elbow.  Brawl to the corner, then a whip to send Flair up and over to the floor, where he’s tossed back in.  Flair dumps Savage and AGAIN he takes a nasty bump, this time hitting a cameraman at full speed.  Even worse, nobody is there to catch him because the douchebag cameraman was in the way and thus he flies off the elevated platform the ring and floor is sitting on and lands in the sand.  And he’s sweating so of course now he’s covered in sand, and thus the ring will be covered in sand, and man this whole thing was a bad idea now that I think about it.  Anyway, Savage is on the apron where he reverses Flair and suplexes him to the outside, which is still grounds for DQ in WCW at this point.  Tony Jabroni on the announce table says it wasn’t intentional.  Bobby Heenan goes nuts and says “What do you think it was?”  Funny stuff.  Regardless, it’s a lumberjack match.  I’m fairly sure that means it’s no DQ.  Shoot to the corner and a backdrop by Savage, but he rakes the eyes.  Shoot off and Savage grabs a sleeper.  Savage fires a single elbow to escape, then hits a shoulderblock.  He bounces off the ropes and ends up in another sleeper.  Apparently Flair didn’t learn his lesson from years before with this move and Savage, because Randy leverages him into the top turnbuckle to knock him out.  Flair recovers first and chops away.  Shoot off the ropes and a chop, then Flair dumps Randy OVER THE TOP ROPE and to the floor, and again nobody catches Savage and he falls to the sand.  Yipes.  In a weird spot, Flair climbs, Savage hits the ropes, and Flair falls off the top and his jaw lands on the back of Savage’s head.  It wasn’t a botch, just a really dumb idea that the fans in attendance don’t react to because it wasn’t well done.  Speaking of the fans, it sounds like the match is lacking heat, but with outdoor shows the crowd always sounds more quiet then they actually are.  Flair hits a half-atomic drop out of nowhere, then starts to work the leg.  Leg snapper off the second rope by Flair, then chops in the corner but Savage will not allow Flair too much offense and starts to fight back.  “It’s like it wakes him up!” says the Brain on commentary.  Flair fights that comeback off and slaps on the figure four.  Savage turns it over, and Flair lets it go.  Delayed suplex by Flair leads to a brief double KO.  Flair turns over and covers for two.  Savage fights back while the commentators talk about the upcoming show in North Korea that will be attended by 300,000 ‘fans.’  Of course, those people that attended those shows were forced there at gunpoint, but by all accounts they ended up having a good time even if they were starving to death and would have rather had a bowl of food instead of wrestling.  Savage fights back and backdrops Flair.  Savage climbs and hits the sledge off the top but Arn Anderson runs a distraction.  Savage takes out Arn Anderson, but Flair rakes the eyes.  In a neat spot, Flair gets backdropped over the top rope only to be caught by Brian Knobbs and placed back in the ring.  If Knobbs wanted to help Savage, he would have let him fall, but still, cool spot.  On a side note, one would think Knobbs would be near the bottom on a list of people you would trust to catch you if you must perform that kind of spot.  Anyway, the ref gets distracted by this stuff so Arn Anderson runs in an DDTs Savage.  Flair covers but it only gets two.  Backslide by Savage gets two.  Savage charges in the corner but runs into a backelbow.  Flair climbs to go for his patented octopular flip press through five burning rings into a bowl of Jell-O but Savage catches him and tosses him off.  Sledge off the top by Savage, scoopslam and he climbs.  Flying elbow hits for the pin.  Pretty straight forward ending, which is very un-WCW like.
***1/2 Pretty good match, with slight differences from their WWE encounters to make it worth watching.

-Savage would go on to win the WCW Championship at World War 3 that year, but Flair would take the title at Starrcade, simply as an excuse to make Starrcade “Flair’s show.”  I’m pretty sure at that point everyone considered Starrcade to be Flair’s show.  Savage was promised his win back and thus…

Match #21: WCW Championship
(c) Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage
1/22/96 Nitro

Hulk Hogan, never one to allow Savage to have a moment in the spotlight, interferes with his entrance to ask for a title shot on the off chance that he wins the belt here.  I’m half-shocked Hogan didn’t wait to do this until after the match so that he could be involved in stealing the thunder from Savage yet again.  Then again, I’m so confident Hogan will show up during the match that if he doesn’t, I’ll undergo a sex change WHILE being water-boarded.  Ha, top that Sean Hannity!  Anyway, Hogan always inserted himself into Savage’s moments of glory.  At Wrestlemania 4, Hogan wouldn’t get out of the ring to let Savage celebrate his first title.  Savage didn’t even get to main event his next title win at Wrestlemania 8.  I’m noticing a pattern.  People talk about Hogan and Savage’s love-hate relationship, but I can’t totally fault Savage for being bitter with Hulk, who always muscled in on his big moments in the ring (and allegedly muscled in on his wife in real life, but that’s a rumor for another time).

To the match, where Flair gets bitch slapped by Woman at ringside, then beaten around by Savage.  Flair no-sells being tossed into the ringpost and tosses Savage into the guardrail.  In the ring, Savage gets a clothesline for two.  Punches in the corner but Savage charges into a back elbow.  Kicks by Flair and a chop.  More light brawling and then Flair gets bored and tosses Savage out of the ring.  Jimmy Hart gets some cheap shots in, then Flair chops away and whips Savage over the guardrail and into the stands.  Savage is brought back to the ringside area, where he attempts to fight back.  Flair charges and gets backdropped on the floor as we go to a commercial, but not before Savage misses the sledge off the top and to the floor and eats the guardrail.  OK, everyone go to PWInsider.com now and read all of the 400 pop-ups you get.  If you don’t, it’s like we’re stealing this match.

We’re back with Savage fighting back with the stinging jabs.  Ten punch in the corner which Flair actually doesn’t turn into an atomic drop.  Flair gets tossed up and over to the floor, then fails to make a comeback and gets slammed in the guardrail.  Back in, Flair begs off, but Savage won’t hear it and slugs away.  Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff brags about how Miss Elizabeth is back and the Mega Powers are reunited.  Oooh, rehashing an angle that’s been dead for over seven years.  I can’t believe this company nearly bankrupted the WWE.  Savage gets a backslide for two.  Chopping by Flair and a half-atomic drop leads to the figure four.  Flair uses the ropes for leverage, then claims he didn’t, then does it some more and gets caught.  Flair jaws with the ref and gets punked out by him.  Always hated that, and I’m not alone as bookers nation wide used to give Flair holy hell for letting refs get heat off him.  Kneedrop by Flair and a chop.  Flair climbs to go for his patented superfly space twister rocketsault over a pile of dog poo and into a 980 degree frog splash with a cherry on top but Savage catches him and tosses him off.  Sledge off the top, then another.  Savage calls for the elbow drop, but gets distracted by Jimmy Hart.  Savage takes care of Hart while Arn Anderson loads up some brace knucks.  He goes to punch Savage, but hits Flair instead.  Hulk Hogan runs out to stop Anderson and save my manhood while Savage drops the flying elbow for the title.
** Unnecessary for this DVD set.  Like a cliff-notes version of their previous matches.

-Savage would drop the title a month later at Superbrawl in a cage match.  The scary thing is according to Flair, the original plan was for Flair to lose at Superbrawl to both Randy Savage and then his father Angelo on the same show.  Flair refused the job and demanded he win the championship back, which was granted to him, but he was fired from the booking committee as a result.  He ended up dropping the championship to the Giant soon afterwards.  Anyway, the nWo arrived in 1996 and despite the logical sense it would have made in having Savage join the group from the get-go, he didn’t join it until later.  The nWo then held a ‘membership drive’ to demand people to join them or be destroyed.  On top of their list was Diamond Dallas Page, but he refused to join and thus this next match…

Match #22
Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page
6/15/97 Great American Bash

Never saw this one but I’ve actually heard good things.  Believe it or not, this was the main event of this show.  Kimberly Page comes out instead of Dallas, which leads to Page jumping Savage from behind in the ring.  Shoulderblocks and Page goes for the diamond cutter really quick, but Page bails.  Plancha by Page (!), then he hurts himself celebrating due to a previous rib injury.  Thus Savage recovers first and kicks away, but Page fights back and slams him into the turnbuckle.  He also tosses Elizabeth out of the way in the process.  And holy poopie, Elizabeth was much hotter here then she was in the WWE.  It’s the hair.  I never liked her hair in the WWE.  Back in, Page climbs and hits a flying clothesline off the top.  Someone is trying to prove they’re good enough for the main event.  I can see the conversation.  “No Eric, really!  I can wrestle like Shawn Michaels!”  Page dumps Savage to the floor, then bails to get his eyes raked.  Over the guardrail we go where Savage drops Page onto the rail.  They fight into the crowd where everyone has to pat the wrestlers on the back.  Very bizarre.  I mean, if I see a huge fight going on, I’m going to try and break it up, not pat the two fuckers beating the shit out of each other on the back as if to say ‘good job.’  Page reverses a whip and sends Savage through a door, then breaks a crutch over his head.  The funny thing is this match was done over a year before the WWE made the wild main event brawl around the building the standard for pay-per-view main events.  We fight back to the ringside area with both guys basically tripping over the guardrail and taking a nasty fall.  Savage up to send Page into the stairs.  Savage loads up a hand full of powder.  Well what do you know, it didn’t backfire and Page gets a face-full of it.  Then Savage breaks something over DDP’s head.  Not sure what it was, but it certainly wasn’t the hubcap that Tony Jabroni on commentary suggested it was.  But who knows, maybe Schiavone has hubcaps made of glass to go with his brain that’s made of whipped cream.    Savage unwraps Page’s ribs, and the fans love Page so much they’re chanting for Sting.  It’s no DQ, so Savage punches the referee and gives him a piledriver just to be a dickhead.  Then more punches for DDP, who fights back with a headbutt.  Savage cuts off Page’s comeback, then kills another referee that comes out.  Page charges in the corner but Savage moves and then clotheslines him.  Another clothesline to dump Page onto referee Mickey Jay on the outside.  Savage threatens to beat up Kimberly, and the referees are all aghast at this, despite Page throwing Elizabeth around earlier in the match.  Referee Nick Patrick, who apparently is a ‘former member’ of the nWo at this point, comes in to save Kimberly.  The fight comes over to a picnic area, where Page fights back and breaks another not-a-hubcap over Savage’s head.  The fans don’t react because they can’t follow the action.  Page throws Savage through a fence, then through a table, then dumps a barbeque over Savage.  He then rips off Savage’s shirt and starts to choke him with it.  We end up back in the ring where Page crotches Savage on the ringpost.  Pancaked piledriver by Page (think Styles Clash) and he goes for the Diamond Cutter, but Savage hits a jawbreaker to send DDP flying out of the ring.  Savage tosses Page into the stairs then exposes the concrete.  Nick Patrick tries to stop him from piledriving Page, so Savage kills Patrick, then a cameraman.  DDP uses this distraction to hit one of the shittiest chair shots I’ve seen.  He tosses Savage in the ring, but Randy fires off a low blow.  Suplex attempt by Savage is turned into the Diamond Cutter but Page, but it’s a double count out.  BUT WAIT~!!  Here comes Scott Hall.  He stomps Nick Patrick as he makes the count, then goes to hit Page with a tag title belt, but Page fights him off.  He calls for the cutter again but Savage hits him with the title belt and Hall hits the Outsiders’ Edge.  Savage climbs and hits the flying elbow and Hall gets the referee up and the pinfall is counted, seconds before the PPV cuts off.
*** Stupid but somewhat entertaining brawl.  Page proved he was at least as good as the other old farts who were main eventing at the time, despite what all the IWC haters would say about him.  The WWE would actually have a match with the same basic concept in Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels a few months later at Ground Zero that was ten-times better (I actually go five-stars on it) and made much more impact.  WCW’s biggest problem was they had all this escalating violence and wild brawls but no payoffs to it and no progression.  Whereas the WWE used the similar Ground Zero match up as an excuse to create the Hell in the Cell, this match served no function to further any aspect of the nWo storyline.  The angle wasn’t moving slowly, it was stuck in a tar pit.

Anyway, that was a decent way to end the set, so I guess I’ll write the bottom line now and…

Wait, there’s one more match?  Which match?

-Matt Striker starts to talk about… Team Madness.

Awwwwww fuck.

Match #23: WCW Championship, Tag Team Match
(c) Kevin Nash & (not a champion) Sting vs. Sid Vicious & Randy Savage
7/11/99 Bash at the Beach
Special Stipulation: If you pin Nash, you win the championship, including Sting, but if Sting gets pinned the championship doesn’t change hands, or maybe it does, hell they don’t even know.  I mean in theory, Sting could pin himself to win the championship if that were true, but anything that required a little bit of planning was off-limits for WCW.  And while we’re on the subject, why not just do a fatal four way?  I mean talk about stupid.  Why back in my day…

*TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES*

OK, let’s try this again shall we?

Match #23: WCW Championship, Tag Team Match
(c) Kevin Nash & (not a champion) Sting vs. Sid Vicious & Randy Savage
7/11/99 Bash at the Beach

Funny moment as a “WWF Sucks” sign is censored.  Not the ‘sucks’ part, just the ‘WWF’ part.  See there, anonymous fan, if you had the foresight to know that the World Wrestling Federation would get into a pissing contest with the World Wildlife Fund over the rights to WWF.com then your sign would have been unblurred for everyone to see even in 2009.  Unless it had the name “Benoit” on it.  Then you would still be fucked.  Anyway, the match starts with Savage caught between Nash and Sting on the outside, and Sting brawling Savage around.  In the ring, crappy punches by Sting and a crappy atomic drop, but crappy Sid tags in.  Actually, as many people know I’m an incredibly pathetic mark for Sid, but come on, I don’t expect him to be any good in there.  Sid slugs it out, then shoots him off.  Clothesline misses and Sting hits a crossbody followed by grounding and pounding, then a clothesline to dump Sid.  He recovers on the outside, remembers he’s Sid and he doesn’t have to sell that kind of shit offense so he comes in and pounds on Sting.  Charge misses for Sid, and Sting kicks away at him, but Sid reverses a whip and sends Sting in the corner, then punches him down.  Love the shitty delayed bump off that by Sting.  Man, if these guys had worse timing they would have to build a time-traveling DeLorean and dump Biff Tannen in a bucket of horse shit just to fix it all.  Savage in, who does nothing, then Sid back in to hit a running boot.  Sid goes to hook in a camel clutch, but Sting kind of floats into it too much so it ends up looking like the worst full nelson ever.  Sid repositions him and does hook it in, but Nash saves.  Because Sting presumably could have given up  and lost him his title, or maybe not.  They really haven’t been clear if Sting can lose the title on Nash’s behalf.  If he can, then Sting can presumably pin himself.  Savage in, but he’s old and crippled and can’t get any offense in, so Sting fights him off and hits a standing dropkick.  Nash finally tags in.  Punches for all.  Sidewalk slam to Sid, then knees in the corner to Savage.  Charge in the corner, then the big foot choke.  More punching by Nash, then a big elbow, then he tells him both guys to suck it.  You know, the WWE made a mistake putting Nash and Hall in the nWo when they came into the WWE.  They should have just put Hall, Nash, Trips, and Michaels together and called them the Clique.  Had them act like a combination of DX and the nWo.  That might have made money, even if Hall was drunk, Michaels was stoned, and Nash was tearing muscles if he so much as tried to take a step forward.  Sting in to stomp away on Savage, who’s gotten almost no-offense in.  Unable to do any damage to his opponents on his own, Savage gets in an offensive maneuver… kinda… he moves out of the way of a Stinger Splash and Sting eats guardrail.  Sid then slams him on the guardrail, then the Macho Whores toss Sting around a bit.  Back in, Savage chokes with a foot, then Miss Madness (later Molly Holly) gets a choke in.  Macho Man is Mucho Pooped after all this offense so he tags Sid in, who hits a scoopslam followed by a chinlock and the fans are hate-hooing this shit.  In a spot I *hate* we get the old “both guys collide and knock each other out leading to the babyface landing head-first on the heel’s crotch” spot.  This leads to a double KO.  Tags around.  Nash hits a running big boot to Sid, then beats on both heels.  Sidewalk slam again to Sid, then more punches to Savage who’s seriously sucking wind here.  Madusa and Miss Madness come in only to get slammed into each other.  Stinger splashes for everyone, including the Macho Hoes and then one to Nash and Savage in the corner.  Fans love everyone in this match so much they start chanting for Goldberg.  Gorgeous George comes in and hits Nash in the ass, which counts as a low blow of sorts, then Sid hits a slam and Savage hits the flying elbow for the pin and the title.  For real yo?
DUD Easily one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen.  And thankfully we don’t have to watch his stunt-casting matches with Dennis Rodman.  Right?  Let me check the match listing.

Oh thank god.

By the way, if you thought it was odd that Hulk Hogan didn’t somehow insert himself into that last match to once again steal what limited thunder Savage had, think again.  What was going to be an extended reign for Savage ended the next night when Hogan invoked his creative control clause and gave himself back the championship.  Anyone who bitched about that obviously didn’t see how bad Savage was at this point.  Legend has it Savage now packs a loaded gun on him at all times and that he scribbled the name “Hogan” on the first bullet loaded into the chamber.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You get 17 classic promos and skits, which I never bother watching.  If you’re into that kind of stuff, it looks like a nice collection of them.

BOTTOM LINE: Twenty-three matches.  If you discount all the repeats, this is a must have collection.  If you already have some of the matches on disc elsewhere, the exclusive stuff is actually still worth your time if you’re a fan of Savage or just someone interested in 80s and early 90s WWE wrestling.  If not, chances are you’ll find most of his matches to be similar to each other and thus the set feels like it’s lacking in variety.  I know that statement sounds weird for a set devoted to one guy, but it’s the first time other then Hulk Hogan’s set where I actually felt I was watching carbon copies of the same match over and over again.  I’m going thumbs up, and actually I don’t know if they could have done a whole lot to make the set better.  What you see with Savage is what you get.

As for his place in wrestling history, I’ve always said that it breaks my heart when the big stars of yesterday are shunned by the current product and can’t find a place to be honored in it.  Considering this DVD is actually selling pretty good, I think it proves that Savage deserves a spot in the hall of fame and that whatever sore feelings the company has with him should be resolved so that the fans who still love him can enjoy him making occasional appearances and enjoy seeing him become a “WWE Legend.”  Just as long as he doesn’t wrestle.  Ever.  For real.  Never.

Tags: , , , , , ,