The SmarK DVD Rant for Macho Madness: The Ultimate Randy Savage Collection

The SmarK DVD Rant for Macho Madness: The Ultimate Randy Savage Collection

– Hosted by Matt Striker & Maria…why?

Disc One

Randy Savage v. Rick McGraw

From Primetime Wrestling, July 85, although the MSG show is from well before that. They fight over the lockup to start and Savage immediately gets frustrated and runs out to terrorize the front row. Back in, Savage works on an armbar and McGraw tries to counter out with a headscissors, but Savage picks him up in a fireman’s carry and drops him on the top rope. Savage goes to the arm again, but this time McGraw successfully gets him up for an airplane spin, which gets two. They slug it out and McGraw monkey-flips him out of the corner, and a backslide gets two. Savage stalls again, and catches McGraw with an elbow for two. Suplex gets two. He tosses McGraw and hits him with the axehandle to the floor, which was a major highspot at the time. McGraw is still fighting, so Savage suplexes him on the floor. Gene and Gorilla are aghast at the carnage here and think the match should be stopped. However, McGraw avoids a charging Macho and makes the comeback, then whips Savage into the corner. Savage does a flip and gets hooked in the Tree of Woe, allowing McGraw to fire away with boots. McGraw charges him again and Savage catches him with the hooking clothesline, and kills him dead with the big elbow at 12:43. This actually turned into a very watchable little match after a slow start, and it put Savage over as a killer. **1/2

Randy Savage v. Ricky Steamboat

From Boston, December 1985. Some weird-ass black and red tights on Steamboat here. They immediately brawl to the floor and Savage eats post. Into the ring, Steamboat starts working on the arm in dramatic fashion, and a shoulder tackle gets two before he goes back to the deep armdrags. Savage starts a criss-cross to escape, but then runs away and argues with the front row, which earns him Jesse’s admiration. Back in, another go at it, and this time Steamboat catches him with the armdrag again. Savage has finally had enough and dumps him, then follows with the axehandle to the floor. He lets Steamboat back in, then hits him with the knee to the back to put him out again, and snaps him back in. Elbow off the middle rope follows and a snapmare gets two. Steamboat fights back with a slam attempt, but Savage falls on top for two and then FLIES to the top rope, sadly missing the big elbow. This allows Steamboat to fight back with chops and an atomic drop. Dragon to the top, but Savage slams him off and goes up himself. Steamboat blocks the flying axehandle and puts Savage down with a kneelift. Suplex gets two. Soccer kick gets two. Steamboat fires away with the chops to put Savage on the apron, but he foolishly tries to suplex him back in, and Savage pulls an object out of his tights and nails Steamboat with it for the pin at 11:12. I can’t believe they recycled that finish two months later. Not the classic they’d go on to have, but fast-paced and hard-hitting nonetheless. ***1/4

WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Randy Savage

From MSG in December 1985, as Savage is just the hottest thing ever now and he gets his first shot at the title. Posedown to start and Savage already gets flustered and runs, and Hogan quickly overpowers him. Savage runs again to make sure no one would ever cheer for him, and Hogan starts working on the arm. Savage immediately pokes him in the eyes and drops the knee, but charges and hits the ropes instead. Hogan slugs him into the corner and follows with the clothesline as Savage is just bumping like nuts here, and an atomic drop puts Savage on the floor. Savage hides behind Elizabeth, but indeed it works and Hulk backs off and waits him out. Back in, Savage gets a cheapshot and actually tries a flying bodypress, but Hulk catches him and puts him out with a backbreaker. So Savage hides behind his woman again and then recovers his manhood by threatening the cameraman. Back in, Savage gets another cheapshot, and this time he’s fast enough to go up with the double axehandle and then toss Hogan out. He follows with the flying axehandle to the floor. Back in, Savage elbows Hogan down for two. It’s quickly time for the Hulk Up, however, and he puts Savage down with the clothesline and stomps him down. Big boot puts Savage on the floor, and this time Hogan moves Liz out of the way and sends Savage back in. Savage gets yet another cheapshot and goes up with the big elbow for two. The ref gets bumped, and Savage grabs the title and hits Hogan with it, resulting in the countout victory for Savage at 9:10. Fun as always with these two in the 80s. ***

Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. Randy Savage

Big star reaction for the Macho Man here. They fight over the lockup to start and Savage hides in the ropes and bails. Back in, Macho grabs a headlock and Tito reverses out of it. Savage hits him with a cheapshot and then runs away again when Tito gets fired up, so Tito chases him to the floor and they brawl. Savage wins that and brings him in for the double axehandle, but Tito catches him coming down and slugs away. He goes for the flying forearm, but Savage rolls out to escape, and catches Tito on the way back in. Tito gets an atomic drop for two. Savage goes to the eyes again and apologizes to the ref, then pounds Tito down with a running axehandle for two. Clothesline gets two. To the top for a double axehandle from WAY across the ring, and that gets two. Tito slugs back, but Savage goes to the eyes and again begs for forgiveness from the ref. Then he turns around and dumps Tito, following with the double axehandle to the floor. Tito fights back on the apron and beats on Savage in the ring, then adds an elbow off the middle rope for two. Tito makes the blind run at Savage in the corner and runs into a knee, and Savage gets two off that. Danny Davis gets bumped off that, but recovers as Tito gets a small package for two. Savage uses another cheapshot, but misses a kneedrop and he’s limping. Tito is all over it and it’s the figure-four as the crowd goes crazy. Savage quickly makes the ropes and goes to the apron, but Tito suplexes him back in. Another figure-four, but Savage kicks him off and goes to the apron again. He finds the historic object in his tights, nails Santana to block a suplex, and wins the title at 10:28, drawing a HUGE face pop. These guys had crazy chemistry together. ***1/2

Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. Bruno Sammartino

From Boston, January 1987. So this was the side-effect of the Steamboat throat-crushing angle in November of 86, as Bruno was interviewing Savage immediately after the deed was done, and Randy’s attitude towards the whole thing disgusted Bruno to the point where he basically vowed to kill Savage in retribution for Steamboat’s injury. Now there’s a good old fashioned angle. Savage hides behind Elizabeth and spits at Bruno to start, but Bruno attacks him and kicks his ass all over the ring, preventing him from running. He runs Savage into the turnbuckles and stomps him out of the ring, and sure enough Savage hides behind Liz again. Bruno decides to be the bigger man and turns back, so Savage clobbers him from behind and runs him into the post. That’s why Savage should have been in the Hall of Fame by now. He runs Bruno into the stairs and drops the axehandle to the floor. Back in, he goes up, but Bruno nails him on the way down and slugs away to make the comeback. Savage gets tied in the ropes and Bruno hits him with a running boot to the face, then puts him down with another boot. Bruno finally puts his head down and Savage catches him, but Bruno still gets the better of a collision. Savage hits the floor and drags Bruno out for the brawl, and Savage has finally had enough and just nails him with a chair to win by countout at 6:03. Good brawl that saw Savage get some comeuppance. ***

Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. Ricky Steamboat

No shock here as "Sirius" is edited out of Steamboat’s entrance, since it’s a commercial piece from the Alan Parsons Project and thus would cost a TON of money. You know the story here by now, but if you don’t, Savage was defending against Steamboat on TV and decided to crush his throat with the ringbell,and Steamboat was "injured" for a few months and returned PISSED. They decided to have the greatest match ever and spent three months planning out every spot to the smallest detail. Steamer uses his speed and armdrags Savage, then chokes him out and Savage bails. Back in, Savage suckers him in and chokes him out on the ropes, dropping an elbow for two. Blind charge misses and Steamboat goes to work with a wristlock and works the arm. Ricky Steamboat pops up on a video clip as well, listed as being "Ricky Steamboat," so I guess they must have settled with Bonnie. Also of note: He says "buyrate" for the first time I can remember on a WWE release. Savage backdrops him out of the ring to take over while George Steele pops up and comments in a totally normal voice, which is just totally weird to hear. Steamboat goes to the apron and Savage stomps the crap out of him, then snapmares him in over the top. Elbow to the head gets two. Kneedrop gets two. Steamboat comes back with a chop and Savage gets tied up in the ropes, but escapes, only to walk into a bodypress from Steamboat that gets two. He shoulderblocks Savage down for a pair of two-counts, but Savage lays into him with a high knee to the back and tosses him. Steamboat skins the cat back in, however, so Savage (right on the same level with Steamboat in a nice touch) clotheslines him right back out again. Savage knees him in the back again while he’s regrouping, sending him crashing into the front row, and the Animal rescues him and brings him back in. And Savage tosses him right back out again, and follows with the double axehandle. Back in, another axehandle and he elbows him down for two. Necksnap gets two. Atomic drop gets two. Suplex gets two. They slug it out as Steamboat starts with the chops, but Savage pulls out at gut wrench suplex for two. Backdrop suplex is reversed by Steamboat and he keeps chopping, but puts his head down. Savage charges and Steamboat dumps him, showing that he’s also thinking a few steps ahead, and the flying chop from the top gets two. Running chop gets two. Chops to the head and Savage bails to the apron, so Steamboat hammers him to the floor and chases him. Savage tries to sucker him in again, but Steamboat sunset flips in for two to counter. Rollup gets two. Jackknife pin gets two. Small package gets two. Catapult into the post gets two. Rollup gets two, and Savage reverses for two. It’s so great to see guys just trying to PIN each other and trying a whole variation of moves to do so. Steamboat charges again and hits the post, and the ref gets bumped when Savage sends him into the corner again. Clothesline sets up the big elbow, but there’s no ref. Savage grabs the ringbell in a nod to continuity, but Steele steals it from him in another nod to continuity, then shoves him off the top rope. Savage is dazed and tries to slam Steamboat, but he reverses for the historic pin and the title at 14:34. ***** Many have dubbed this the greatest match in history, and although you can pick nits and offer alternatives, I wouldn’t argue terribly much against any strong case made for it being so. It was pretty much the perfect match in every facet, from the storyline buildup to the execution (with nothing even resembling a missed or blown spot) to the crowd reaction to the historic nature and long-term influence it had on the sport in general. Every fan should see this match at least once in their lives.

Intercontinental title: Honky Tonk Man v. Randy Savage

From the Main Event in February 1988, this is a match that has a lot of lore and history swirling around it, moreso than you’d expect for a mid-level feud like this. Macho attacks to start and necksnaps Honky on the top rope, then elbows him down and out of the ring before running him into Jimmy Hart. Hart hooks him up to distract him, allowing Honky to attack from behind and get a sunset flip. Savage blocks it and slugs away in the corner, but misses a charge, which allows Honky to take over. Savage takes a run at Hart again and Honky clobbers him with the megaphone for two. To the floor, where Honky hits him with an axehandle off the apron, and back in for some sweet words for Liz. What a ladies’ man. He stomps Savage down and goes to hit on Liz again while Jimmy does his damage, and Jesse blames it all on Liz. The Honkster drops some elbows and he’s still focused on Liz, but Savage has had ENOUGH of this shit and makes the comeback to a giant reaction. He tosses Honky and hits him with the axehandle. Back in, another axehandle gets two. Honky collides with Jimmy Hart and Savage gets a sleeper as the crowd goes insane, but now Savage has to contend with Peggy Sue as well. Honky charges him on the floor, but Macho steers him into the post and gets the countout at 8:23. Tremendous heat, but not a lot going on in the ring. **1/2

WWF World title finals: Ted Dibiase v. Randy Savage.

From Wrestlemania IV, March 1988. Dibiase has Andre with him, Savage has Liz. Now there’s a mismatch. They fight over the lockup to start and Savage elbows out of the corner, but gets tripped by Andre. The crowd already can read 18 chapters ahead of the bookers and starts calling for Hogan. They exchange hammerlocks and Dibiase goes down, but Andre trips Savage again. Would YOU argue with him? Crowd wants Hogan again. Dibiase starts on the arm, but Savage reverses, so Dibiase rams him into the corner and pounds away. Clothesline gets two. Sunset flip is blocked by Savage, and he comes back with a clothesline for two. Dibiase takes a breather and regroups. He starts hammering on Savage and chops him down, and a back elbow. Another one misses and Savage elbows him down and necksnaps him on the top rope (with a great oversell from Dibiase), and a high knee puts Dibiase on the floor, into the protective arms of Andre. Savage finally gets smart and sends his woman to the locker room, sacrificing himself, as this gives Dibiase the chance to lay him out and drop the fists for two. Crowd knows why she’s gone. Dibiase hits the chinlock, and that’s Hogan’s cue. He takes a seat at ringside and Dibiase slugs away in the corner. Andre goes for Savage, but now Hogan makes the save. Dibiase clotheslines him and drops an elbow for two. Suplex gets two. Gutwrench gets two. Dibiase goes up, but gets caught and slammed, and Savage goes for the kill. Elbow misses, however, and Dibiase hooks the Million Dollar Dream. Andre gets a shot in, drawing the ref over, and thus Hogan comes in and blatantly cheats, hitting Dibiase with the chair, and Savage finishes with the flying elbow to win his first World title at 9:17. Definitely not their best match, as they were both burned out and surrounded by angles. **1/4

WWF World title, cage match: Randy Savage v. Ted Dibiase

From MSG later in 1988. Dibiase attacks Savage on the way in and hammers away in the corner, but Savage comes back with elbows. Dibiase fires back with his own elbow and drops the fist. I should note that the commentary team here is Ron Trongard, Superstar Billy Graham, and Lord Alfred Hayes, which is like someone’s idea of a sick joke. Normally I don’t advocate dubbing over of announcers, but here I’d make an exception. Savage rams him into the turnbuckles and drops the knee, but puts his head down and gets caught. Dibiase with a backbreaker and he makes the first escape attempt, but Savage yanks him down and slams him off the top. Dibiase comes back and slugs away in the corner, then puts him down with a clothesline and hits another fistdrop. Dibiase climbs again, but Savage hauls him down and hangs him upside-down before stomping him down. He tries to climb out, but Virgil climbs the cage and stops him, allowing Dibiase to slug away again. They send each other into the cage and Savage climbs again, but so does Virgil and down goes Macho again. He climbs again as Graham notes that the next time Virgil reaches through the bars, Macho should break his arm. Uh, that’s a bit of an overreaction. Roid rage, much? They clothesline each other and Savage goes for the door, but Virgil prevents the escape again. Graham continues his run by noting that Elizabeth should take up powerlifting because "she’ll still be beautiful 80 pounds heavier". What is he ON here? Oh yeah, lots and lots of drugs, right. Both guys collide and then both climb up opposite corners, but Virgil again slows up Savage, allowing Dibiase to bring him down and stomp away. Savage makes the comeback with a suplex and then sends Dibiase into the cage with an atomic drop, which is a nice bump from Ted. Savage goes for the door again and Virgil slams it in his face this time. Dibiase crawls for it, but Savage gets him by the tights and they slug it out from their knees. Dibiase goes into the cage again for another of his great bumps, and Savage climbs for it, only to meet Virgil again. And now the crowd is so riled up that some dumbass kid climbs the cage to help Savage, and he rams the heels together and jumps out to win at 12:25, probably to prevent things from getting any more heated. Great bumping and drama here, much better than the Wrestlemania match. ***3/4

Disc Two

Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage v. Ted Dibiase & Andre the Giant

The main event of Summerslam 88, of course. Special ref Jesse Ventura changes the corners around for reasons that are never adequately explained. Savage starts and immediately gets jumped in the heel corner, so he backs off and lets Hogan come in. Macho’s yellow-and-red Megapower variant tights are pretty badass, actually. Hogan counters all of Dibiase’s offense and atomic drops him into the corner for some bumping, then puts him down with a clothesline. The Megapowers team up with elbows on Dibiase, and Hulk runs him into each turnbuckle. Savage in with the double axehandle and he drops the knee for two. Double big boot gets two for Hogan. He drops the elbows on Dibiase, but Andre is not feeling charitable today and just comes in to destroy the faces. He tags in legally and uses the power of his ass on Hogan, then chokes him out and runs him into his boot. Andre with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to put Hogan down and we get some extended choking. Over to Dibiase, who slugs Hogan down and follows with a clothesline for two. Fistdrop gets two. He hits the chinlock, which gets Superstar inordinately worked up about the injustice of it all. Holy shit, mix some valium in with the other pills. Hulk fights up and elbows out, and it’s a double clothesline as a result. Hot tag Savage, but you know this isn’t gonna take. Backdrop for Dibiase and he necksnaps him on the top rope, then pops up to the top with the double axehandle, but a blind charge misses. He still manages a crossbody for two, but Dibiase tags the Giant in and Savage is fucked with a capital FUCK. Andre pounds at will and crushes him in the corner. Back to Dibiase, who gets a suplex for two. Elbow off the middle rope misses, and Hogan gets the tag again. Hulk slugs away on Dibiase and gets the corner clothesline, then follows with a suplex and slugs Andre down for the heck of it. He puts Dibiase in a sleeper while Savage tries the flying elbow on Andre, but the Giant gets his boot up and catches Savage coming down. See, that spot makes SENSE there and looks like it should. The heels clean house and things are looking bad for the Megapowers, but Liz pops onto the apron and does the famous striptease (just revealing a pair of bikini bottoms), leaving everyone so distracted that the Megapowers can stage the comeback. Using the power of the MEGAPOWER HANDSHAKE, they activate the Megapower Powers and finish Dibiase with the flying elbow and legdrop at 14:46. Pretty good tag match, actually, with a lot of different people getting offense instead of the usual formula. ***1/4

WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan

This of course was the biggest match in the history of history at that point, drawing millions of dollars on PPV after being built up for years. Savage dodges Hogan and plays some mindgames to start, and Hogan overpowers him on the lockup. Savage grabs a headlock, but gets overpowered again and bails. As any good man would do, he hides behind Liz, and Jesse approves. Back in, Hogan takes him down with a drop toehold to meet his wrestling quota for the night, but Savage suplexes out of his headlock. Hogan quickly recovers and slugs away, and starts working on the arm, so Savage goes to the eyes and drops the axehandle for two. Savage takes it to the mat with an armbar. Some really slick hair-pulling behind the ref’s back follows, but it’s wasted when Hogan dumps him to break the hold. That was some quality cheating by Savage. Back in, Savage eats turnbuckle and Hogan drops him with a clothesline, into the elbows, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage grabs a chinlock while Hogan bleeds, but he fights out and blocks a big boot with an atomic drop. Hogan misses the elbow and Savage sends him into the corner with a high knee, and that gets two. Savage goes to work on the cut and stomps on the fingers, but that just gets Hogan mad, and he comes back with some shots in the corner and the corner clothesline. Hogan, sportsman, dumps Savage over the top and Liz tries to assist him, but Savage is an independent guy and doesn’t want help. Hogan follows him out for the brawl, showing he was probably in cahoots with Liz all along, and she prevents him from sending Savage into the post, which allows Savage to turn the tables and give Hogan the same treatment. Liz keeps getting involved, so the ref sends her back to the dressing room as we hit a dead spot. With no more distractions, Savage gets down to business, dropping Hogan with the axehandle to the floor before they head back in. Necksnap and Savage goes to work on the throat, choking him on the ropes and adding an elbow to the throat. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes for broke, choking him out with the tape, and things look bad for the challenger. He goes with the straight choke and heads up to finish with the big elbow, and really I can’t stand to finish the review because it just hurts every damn time I watch it. Legdrop for the pin at 17:53. *** It was somewhat epic, but the crowd was just so dead and they couldn’t live up to the hype no matter what they went with. This one was such a heated feud that it needed something more akin to the current main event brawling style, and really they just went out there and did a Hogan match. Of course, at the time it made perfect sense to put Hogan over clean and send Savage down a different path with Sherri, but my god, Savage was on such a hot streak as a heel that they could have drawn MILLIONS by screwing Hulk out of the belt here and building up the chase to the rematch at Summerslam. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Randy Savage

From The Main Event III in February 1990, which is an odd choice for inclusion because no one watched this show and it was pretty terrible. There were rumors around this time that Vince was getting cold feet about running with Hogan v. Warrior at Wrestlemania, and was going to put the belt on Savage again and do Savage-Warrior for a more traditional face-heel match instead. Don’t know if there’s anything to that. James Buster Douglas is the special ref, coming off his 15 minutes of fame as the first guy to knock out Tyson and thus replacing him as the ref. Savage gets the necksnap to start and puts him on the floor with a high knee, but Douglas prevents any followup from Savage. Back in the ring, Randy accidentally puts Sherri down with a high knee and Hulk clotheslines him and slugs away in the corner. Corner elbow and Hulk slugs away, then puts him down with a clothesline before slugging away on the mat. Savage comes back with a back elbow and drops the knee for two. Sherri gets her cheapshots in, resulting in Douglas sending her back to the dressing room. And we take a break. Back with Savage holding a sleeper, but Hulk elbows out and overpowers him. Double clothesline, but Savage is fine and gets two. To the floor for the double axehandle, and back in for another one for two. Jesse notes that Earl Hebner counts like "he’s throwing a baseball 200 yards." He’s got a point. Savage throws the rights and puts Hogan on the floor, but Douglas gets in the way again. Savage slams Hulk and drops the elbow, but it’s Hulk Up Time. Big boot puts Savage on the floor and the ref is bumped as Hogan hits the legdrop, so Douglas counts instead at 9:55, despite Savage kicking out at two. BUSTER DOUGLAS SCREWED RANDY SAVAGE. This was on the shitty end of their never-ending series, although not WCW-bad. **

Randy Savage & Queen Sherri v. Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire

Really? This warranted inclusion? Dusty elbows Savage down to start and gets an earful from Sherri, but sends the heels into each other and out of the ring. Over to Sapphire, who of course makes the current Divas look like Trish Stratus as far as ring skills go, and she gets an airplane spin on Sherri for two. Sherri comes back with a slam, but Sapphire falls on top for two. Back to Dusty (thankfully, and when would I ever say THAT otherwise?) and he holds Savage for a slap from Sapphire, but falls victim to a knee from behind. Savage pounds away on the floor and drops the axehandle from the top, but Sapphire comes over and begs for mercy. Savage gives NO MERCY and throws her down because he’s the friggin’ MACHO MAN, then hits the flying axehandle in the ring for two on Dusty. Suplex gets two. Savage grabs his scepter and nails Dusty from the top (Jesse: "Ding!") but stalls instead of covering and tags Sherri in. She gets a flying splash for two and Dusty makes the comeback, elbowing Savage in the corner, and Sapphire comes in with a snapmare on Sherri for two. Sapphire gets all fired up and Sherri is amused by it, but Sherri leaves the ring and gets thrown back in by Elizabeth for two. Sherri mouths off at Liz again and Sapphire rolls her up for the pin at 7:30. Goofy but fun, and they kept the Sapphire portions short. **1/4 I try not to think about how all three women are dead now, because that kind of brings it down.

Retirement match: Ultimate Warrior v. Randy Savage.

In retrospect, the wrong guy went over. Thankfully, Warrior WALKS to the ring for once, conserving energy instead of blowing up in the first 30 seconds. They fight over a lockup to start and Savage actually gives a clean break, but Warrior powers him down. Savage knees him and goes to the eyes to gain the advantage, but Warrior overpowers him again and he bails. Back in, Warrior clotheslines him and gets a two-handed choke, into an atomic drop, both ways. See, Warrior can mix up the moveset when he needed to. Sherri tries running in, so Warrior tosses Savage into her and slugs Savage down. Savage gets tied in the ropes and Warrior stomps on him, then puts his head down and Savage hits him with the clothesline and goes up. Crossbody (!?) is caught by Warrior, but he just puts him down and slaps him. OOOOOOOO. Savage bails and tosses a chair in to distract the ref, then attacks Warrior from behind, but that gets him nowhere. This is cool because it’s about Savage losing his temper and Warrior not acting like a maniac for once, because it’s so important to him. Warrior stomps a mudhole in the corner and slugs Savage down, but misses a blind charge, his first high-impact offensive attempt, and Sherri gives him a shot on the floor. Savage follows with an axehandle to the floor, but Warrior shoves Sherri away, which again allows Savage to attack him. Again, when Warrior stays calm he’s in control, but when he loses it Savage takes over. Back in, Savage drops a knee for two. Gorilla then makes a ridiculous statement, that it’s the “largest audience in the history of PPV”, like they would know the buyrate an hour into the show. Warrior gets a backslide for two and Savage takes a powder, but Warrior catches him coming in with a clothesline. He misses the shoulderblock, however, and Savage gets two. We hit the chinlock and Warrior powers out, and they criss-cross into a double-clothesline, and both are out. Sherri distracts the ref while Warrior cradles Savage, and that gets two. Warrior loses his temper again and the ref gets bumped as a result, after a botched editing job, and Sherri goes in, hitting Savage with her shoe by mistake. Warrior goes after her again, again making a dumb mistake, and Savage rolls him up for two. Warrior slugs him down, but Savage sends him into the turnbuckle and necksnaps him. Another necksnap on the top and Savage clubs him down, slamming him for two. He goes up with the flying elbow, and then since it’s a special occasion, drops four more. You’d THINK would be enough to beat him, but it only gets two. Given that Savage was going to come back, they shouldn’t have done that, but it didn’t hurt the move in the long run, since Savage would start pinning guys with it again anyway. Warrior fights up, however, and slugs Savage down, setting up the THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DOOM and the gorilla press. Unlike the year before, he has enough strength left to actually pull it off correctly this time. The splash…gets two. The crowd is a little shocked by that. Warrior gets all freaked out and talks to his hands (maybe Jake slipped him a little something before the match?) and apparently the answer is to walk away from the match, which allows Savage to recover. Savage knocks him off the apron and puts him on the railing, but misses the flying axehandle and knocks himself silly. And now it’s the big comeback for Warrior, as he tosses Savage back into the ring, hits him with three shoulderblocks, and ends his career (well, forever IS a short time in wrestling) at 20:47. Easily Warrior’s best match ever, and one of my personal favorites of all-time, as Warrior paced himself and they delivered a great storyline and Savage worked his ass off. ****1/2 This is THE reason to see Wrestlemania VII. And then of course the big angle which followed, as Sherri turned on the fallen Savage and beat on him, drawing Elizabeth out of the crowd to make the save and thus reunite with Savage and turn him into the #1 babyface in the promotion, moments after his “retirement”. It still works, no matter how many times, and they’d be well advised to try the same thing with Trish and Jericho on Sunday. Unfortunately, Savage’s descent into dementia in the real world and Elizabeth’s ugly end while shacked up with Lex Luger would mean that the storybook romance wouldn’t have a happy ending, but sometimes it’s nice to remember when it MIGHT have.

Randy Savage v. Jake Roberts

From This Tuesday in Texas. Savage attacks during the entrance and the crowd is MOLTEN. He fires away in the corner and elbows Jake on the rebound, then goes up with the double axehandle, which sends Jake running. It’s amazing that someone could wear a feathered cowboy hat and still look badass, but that’s Savage for you. Savage tosses Jake back in, but the Snake goes low behind the ref’s back and tosses Savage to buy time. Jake slithers out and rams Savage into the post, right into the snake-bitten arm. Savage backs off to recover and tries to go for the eyes, but Snake eyepokes him first and follows with an atomic drop. Jake starts dropping knees on the bad arm and rips at the bandage, and in a nice touch there’s "blood" staining it where he was bitten. Jake goes for a hammerlock but gets elbowed, and Macho fights back and escapes the short clothesline. Another elbow and he sends Jake into the corner, but misses a charge and that allows Roberts to get his clothesline. Jake calls for the DDT, but takes way too long and Savage is able to ram him into the corner to break. He goes up and drops the elbow to finish at 6:25. That was somewhat more disappointing than I previously remembered it as. *** I mean, it was tremendously action-packed while it lasted, but it just ended too soon. Savage isn’t done yet and grabs his trusty bell, but Jake hits the DDT, twice, and the feud must continue. The ref sends Jake back to the dressing room with some harsh words…but then he changes his mind and reveals that he lied about leaving the snake in the dressing room. The lovely Liz charges out to protect her man with some pretty damn good acting, but Jake coldly pushes her aside and hits another DDT on Macho Man. Jake’s facial expressions are phenomenal here, as he tells her to "look into my eyes" while he does his evil works, appearing to feed off her fear. And then he goes for the all-time heel Hall of Fame and SLUGS ELIZABETH. Holy crap. Finally senile old Jack Tunney himself has to come down and threaten Jake with suspension to get him to stop. That was one HELL of a post-match angle, but they never had the definitive blowoff to end it. Still, Savage got the World title and Undertaker virtually beat Jake into retirement at Wrestlemania, so there was some indirect satisfaction, I guess.

WWF title match: Ric Flair v. Randy Savage.

From Wrestlemania VIII. This is the famous “she was mine before she was yours” angle that would have been 100x better (and that’s saying something) if they had come up with it BEFORE the match was booked. On the other hand, you could just argue that Flair was playing mindgames with Savage after he found out he’d be defending against him. Savage beats on Flair outside to start, but gets distracted by Perfect, allowing Flair to start chopping. Savage hits him with a clothesline and knees him into the corner, then follows with a clothesline and a back elbow for two. He goes to the eyes, drawing the attention of the ref, but charges Flair and gets backdropped to the floor as a result. Flair follows and stomps on the knee, and back in he keeps stomping on Savage. Into the corner for some chops to set up a delayed suplex, which gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. He whips Savage around and into a chop for two. Kneedrop and Savage bails to take a breather, so Flair follows and rams the back into the apron. Back in, suplex gets two. Flair whips him into the corner again to stay on the back, and stomps him down in the corner. They slug it out as Savage comes back, and a neckbreaker draws the double count. Flair goes for a running punch, but Savage blocks and slugs him into the corner, allowing Flair to go up, but Savage slams him off and makes the comeback. Backdrop out of the corner and a pair of clotheslines, and it’s a Flair Flip, as Savage slams him off the top for two. Savage comes back with a clothesline to put Flair on the floor, and follows with a double axehandle that sends Flair into the railing, and he blades. Flair wasn’t smart enough to claim it was hardway, like Bret did, so he was fined and very nearly fired for it. Savage suplexes him on the floor and pounds on him back in the ring, then follows with the double axehandle for two. Up top for the flying elbow, but Perfect pulls out Savage at two. Savage, understandably, is upset and chases after him, but that allows Flair to grab an international object and nail Savage with it for two. Flair gets frustrated and pounds away, then chokes him down, allowing Perfect to ram a chair into his knee behind the ref’s back. And now, WHOO, we go to school, but Elizabeth heads down to ringside to provide support as Flair gets the figure-four. The heat is just insane at this point. Flair slaps him around when he won’t stay down, but Savage fights back and reverses it. Flair breaks the hold, but stays on the knee, until Savage gets a small package for two. Into the corner, as Flair hits on Liz and beats on the knee, into a kneecrusher, but he gives one “whoo” too many and Savage rolls him up for the pin with a handful of tights at 18:01 to win his second WWF title. Started slow, but once they got into the groove, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands with great near-falls and crazy heat. ****1/4 Flair gives Liz a goodbye kiss, and Savage goes nuts on him, triggering a huge brawl until the refs pull them apart. Sadly, we would never see the naked centerfold of Elizabeth promised in the buildup by Perfect & Flair.

Disc Three

WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Shawn Michaels

From England in April 1992. This was on an old Coliseum release, making it one of the true rarities on this set. This was so early in Shawn’s singles push that Savage might as well been facing a jobber, although they might have had an interesting angle with Sherri and Liz had they wanted. So don’t get your hopes too high for this one just based on the names. Shawn goes for the leg to start and Savage evades him, then blocks a charge with a knee. Shawn bails to regroup, and back in Macho evades him again and tosses him. Shawn skins the cat back in, but Savage clotheslines him out again. I THINK Macho would know a little bit about people trying that move. He follows with the double axehandle, and sends Shawn back in for a piledriver attempt, but a catfight at ringside draws his attention away. Savage sends Liz back to the dressing room to get her away, but that allows Shawn to attack from behind on the floor and take over. In the ring, Shawn stomps him down and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. He slugs Savage down and pounds him in the corner, then hits a neckbreaker for two. Savage tries to fire back, so Shawn pokes him in the eyes and slugs away in the corner. Savage comes back with a catapult into the post that gets two. Necksnap and high knee to the back puts Shawn on the floor, and Savage follows with the double axehandle and then runs Shawn into the post. Back in, double axehandle gets two. Another try and Shawn hits him coming down, then he does a slick counter out of a hiptoss, landing on his feet with a clothesline for two. Superkick gets two. Shawn goes up with a flying fistdrop to put Savage on the floor, as I guess he didn’t have the balls to start doing the flying elbow yet. Savage bails to the floor, so Shawn rams him into the railing and Sherri gets her shots in as well. Back in, Shawn tosses him out again and Sherri gets a nice high kick on him. Shawn sends him back in and pounds on the throat now, then slugs Savage down for two. Ref is bumped, and Savage drops Shawn on the top rope and then drops the big elbow, but Sherri comes in for more punishment. Savage gets rid of her and covers Shawn for two. Sherri keeps yapping, but Liz returns and gets rid of her, and Savage gets a flying bodypress for two. Savage misses a blind charge and Shawn goes up with a sunset flip for two. Savage with another crossbody to finish at 16:18. Kind of strange, as I’m guessing the original flying bodypress was supposed to be the finish and Shawn kicked out too soon, so they improvised a new one. Once again, the lack of finishing potential hurts the drama in a Shawn title match, much like Survivor Series 92, but it was great action with a motivated (albeit injured) Savage. ***1/2

Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels v. Bret Hart & Randy Savage.

Interesting juxtaposition of the old and new generations here, which makes this a well-known rarity that people have often asked me about. There’s some tricky editing going on here, as this was originally recorded well before Jim Ross came into the WWF, but it was released on a Coliseum video during the short period when both JR and Bobby Heenan were in the promotion together, so that’s where the commentary comes from. The faces clean house to start, so Flair starts with Savage and works a headlock, which Savage turns into a hammerlock. Things get heated and turns into a shoving/slapping fight, which the crowd eats up. The heels pound on Savage in the corner despite his efforts to fight out, but Shawn misses a blind charge and it’s over to Bret Hart. He works on the arm and trades off with Savage on that as they double-team him. Over to Flair, and he fires the chops on Bret in the corner, but Bret backdrops him and brings Savage back in. He elbows Flair down and pounds away in the corner, but Flair brings him down with an atomic drop and tries the figure-four. Savage kicks away from that, but Shawn slips in with a superkick and Savage hits the floor. The combination of Sherri and Perfect gets their shots in and sends Macho back in to be the face in peril. Shawn with a high knee and he stomps away, and Flair drops the knee. Shawn chokes him out on the apron with the tag rope while JR bemoans everyone getting their cheapshots in, so Bobby offers to go down and get one too. More double-teaming from the heels, as they prevent Savage from getting to his corner, and Flair gets a snapmare for two. Savage fights back with a backslide for two. Small package on Shawn, but Flair pushes them over and Shawn gets two. Shawn with a backdrop suplex for two. Shawn goes to a side headlock and works on that to really slow things down, and Flair comes in for a sleeper, but Savage runs him into the turnbuckle to break. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, and it’s hot tag Bret. Backdrop for Flair and he runs Shawn into the corner, as we get dual Flair Flips. He suplexes Flair in from the apron and gets the backbreaker for two. Savage comes in with a rollup on Shawn that’s not actually legal, but that gets two anyway, and then he runs Shawn into Sherri and pins him at 16:23. I’d have to debate the legality of that finish. In other words…BRET SCREWED SHAWN! Fun match from four legends, although not as good as I remembered due to some problems meshing all the styles. ***1/2

WWF World title: Yokozuna v. Randy Savage

From RAW, February 1994. Kind of a strange one to pick, unless it’s because it’s Savage’s final shot at the WWF title. I would have thought they’d go with Savage v. Crush from Wrestlemania X instead. Savage gets tired of waiting for Yoko’s entrance, so he attacks before the bell…and gets clobbered as a result. Not smart. Yoko chokes him out in the corner and slugs away, then adds a slam, but misses the big fat splash. Savage sends him to the floor with the high knee and adds the double axehandle, and we take a break. Back with Savage trying to muscle Yoko back into the ring to avoid a countout (take notes, Lex Luger), but Jim Cornette allows Yoko to get a cheapshot and run Savage into the stairs. Back in, they slug it out and Savage wins that one and follows with a flying axehandle. Flying crossbody gets two. Rollup gets two. Yoko finally goes with a low headbutt to make the Macho Man a bit less macho, and he follows with the avalanche. Savage is done, but Yoko drags him into the middle of the ring to gloat, then misses the Hulkbuster legdrop. Savage gets the salt bucket away from Yoko and puts him down with it, and that gets two. He stops to knock Cornette off the apron and goes up to finish, but the big elbow only gets two before Crush runs in for the DQ at 10:57. Well you know that finish was coming, but Savage is so good at building sympathy that you almost thought he might make the big comeback and win anyway. ***1/4

Over to WCW now…

Lifeguard match: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair.

This would be a lumberjack match, except with lifeguards mixed in. Nyuk nyuk. Savage knocks him down and pounds away to start, and a trio of clotheslines put Flair out. The lumberjacks put him back in, but Savage chokes him out on the apron. Savage pounds away in the corner, but Flair gets an atomic drop out of the corner and starts chopping. Savage gets tossed and the babyface lumberjacks gently put him back in, and Flair chops again. Blind charge hits elbow and Savage slugs away and knocks Flair down with an elbow. Flair Flip and he heads out and back in via the lumberjacks. Savage gets tossed to the sand and thrown back in. Suplex back in is blocked, and Savage suplexes Flair to the outside. Back in he goes. Tony notes that Savage’s suplex was not a deliberate toss over the top. I’d say SUPLEXING a guy over the top is pretty deliberate, but the rule says that you BOTH have to be in, which is why it’s not a DQ. Just in case your teacher ever puts that on a pop quiz in history class. Flair takes over with a sleeper, but Savage sends him into the corner to escape. Flair chops away and tosses Savage, which SHOULD be a DQ, but I guess this is no-DQ or something. Back in, Flair comes off the top and collides with Savage in a weird spot, and Savage whips Flair around and slugs away. Sleeper is reversed by Flair into the kneecrusher, and goes to work on the leg. Savage keeps fighting back, but hits boot on a charge and NOW! WHOO! WE GO TO SCHOOL. Figure-four, but Savage reverses pretty easily. Flair gets a delayed vertical suplex for two. Savage comes back and slugs away, and Flair goes out again and makes a run for it, only to be caught and brought back. Back in, Savage backdrops him and gets the axehandle, but AA comes in and distracts the ref. Flair charges and gets backdropped over the top, but Arn comes in again and DDTs Savage. Flair gets two. Savage gets a backslide for two. Charge hits elbow and Flair goes up top, gets slammed, and the big elbow finishes at 13:53. That was so predictable that I typed the finish like 30 seconds before it happened. Match was nothing special and lacked emotion – it just felt like a couple of guys doing their usual match. **1/4

WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Randy Savage

From Nitro, January 1996. Savage brings a bevy of women with him, including Woman, but that turn doesn’t come until later. Savage attacks on the floor, and Flair whips him into the railing, but Savage comes back with a clothesline for two. Blind charge misses and Flair stomps him down, then tosses him again for another brawl. Flair sends him into the railing again, but Savage backdrops him on the floor and we take a break. Back with Flair pounding away in the ring, but Savage fires back and we get a Flair Flip. Savage slugs away in the corner and gets two. Backslide gets two. Flair comes back with a kneecrusher and the figure-four, but the ref catches him using the ropes. He continues on with a kneedrop and goes up, but of course gets slammed off and Savage hits him with the double axehandle. Jimmy Hart distract the ref and AA comes in, but hits Flair by mistake and the big elbow gives Savage the belt at 7:54. Another formulaic outing from them, but I understand why it’s here. **1/4

Falls Count Anywhere: Randy Savage v. Diamond Dallas Page

From Great American Bash 97. I can see why this feud worked so well, given both guys’ obsessive need to plan matches in advance. Page attacks out of the crowd and Savage runs away, so DDP hits him with a pescado, so Savage hides behind Liz. Page is no gentleman, so he shoves her aside and brings Savage back in for a flying clothesline. Out goes Savage again and they fight into the crowd for some nice bumps, and back to ringside where Savage finds a handful of powder in Liz’s purse. Probably Lex Luger’s. So with DDP blinded, Savage goes after the eternally injured ribs and the crowd wants Sting. How will DDP ever learn to stand on his own that way? Stupid crowd. Savage has had enough of the ref’s Vulcan half-breed interference, so he piledrives him. Sure, why not? Savage slugs away in the corner and we get another ref, so Savage gets rid of him as well. DDP tries to come back, but runs into a boot in the corner and gets clotheslined to the floor. So they fight up to the strangely-positioned picnic area (!?!) by the stage, and that gets destroyed in short order. Savage getting slammed through a picnic table justifies the whole goofy mess, in fact. Page brings him back into the ring and posts him, then follows with a pancake , but Savage blocks the Diamond Cutter with a jawbreaker. Page bumps back to the floor again off that and Savage tries a piledriver on the concrete, but the ref argues with Savage about it, and sure enough he gets beat up as well. Plus Savage goes all Sean Penn on a photographer, which gives Page a chance to jump him from behind. Back in the ring, Savage goes low, but Page goes BANG, Diamond Cutter. And there’s no refs left alive. Scott Hall comes out and distracts Page long enough for Savage to nail him with the tag title, and the Outsider’s Edge follows. Savage kicks the ref again on the way up, but still finishes with the big elbow at 16:44. This was like a Michael Bay movie in wrestling match form, but it fit the storyline. ***1/2

WCW World title: Kevin Nash & Sting v. Randy Savage & Sid Vicious

From Bash at the Beach 99. Yeah, it’s a tag match with the World title on the line, is that weird or something? Don’t all promotions do stuff like this and survive? Oh, and did I mention that this was supposed to be the blow-off for the infamous Hummer Driver angle? Sting attacks Savage on the floor to start and slugs away in the ring, so Savage tags out to Sid right away. Sid pounds on Sting, but gets clotheslined to the floor. Back in, Sid pounds on him again because that worked so well the first time, but misses a blind charge. Sting pounds away, but Sid randomly decides not to sell and just clotheslines Sting down in the middle of the comeback. Back to Savage and the heels do some double-teaming, leading to Sid’s ridiculously bad camel clutch. You’d think that someone who did a simple move like that as much as he did would actually learn to do it properly. Sid chokes Sting out in the corner and Savage slugs away, but Sting dropkicks him and finally tags World champion Nash into the match 7 minutes along. Corner clothesline for Savage sets up the Nash choke and framed elbow. Back to Sting, but he gets caught on the heel side and sent into the post on the floor. Back in, Sid goes to a chinlock while Tony points out that for a match where three men could win the belt, no one has actually tried to win the belt and it’s been a pretty dull match thus far. Yes, he actually said that. Sting comes back and makes the hot tag to Nash, but now all of Savage’s harem run in and Sting beats them up for some reason. He hits the Stinger splash on Nash, the only time where it’s even suggested that Sting might want to win the title himself, but Nash goes for the powerbomb on Savage. Gorgeous George turns on Nash after previously turning on Savage 10 minutes previously, and Savage hits the big elbow to win the title at 13:20, his last one. This was absolutely god-awful, and not even fun to laugh at or anything, and I’m pretty sure Savage lost the belt back to Hulk Hogan the next night. -*

Extras:

– From WWF Superstars, July 1991: Savage asks Elizabeth for her hand in marriage. Roddy Piper yelling "Get down on your knees!" is pretty awesome.

– From Summerslam 91: Randy Savage marries Elizabeth.

– From Superstars, July 1985: Randy Savage brings out the major managers and thanks them for everything they’ve taught him in the past month, but then double-crosses them and introduces Elizabeth as his manager instead. That’s a brilliant angle, in fact, as he took what he needed from each manager and then dumped them after playing them all off each other. And so it begins.

– From Superstars, September 1989: Randy Savage is crowned the Macho King.

– And finally, 30 minutes of classic incomprehensible promos from the master of them.

The Pulse:

It’s a good collection of matches, but I wouldn’t call it "The Ultimate" or anything. It’s missing a bunch of title changes and pivotal matches for one thing, and some of the choices are just bizarre (Yokozuna?). I suppose they can always do a sequel if this one sells (which it will) but it would have been nice to focus even more on old-school Macho Man from the 80s instead of running with multiple Flair v. Savage and Hogan v. Savage matches.

Still, highly recommended, flaws aside, because Macho Man is awesome.

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