Throwback Thursday: WWE Hall of Fame Showcase: Macho Man Randy Savage

A look back at the career of The “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

Randy Savage 1986.jpg
(The “Macho Man” Randy Savage)

In June 1985, Savage, then considered the top free agent in professional wrestling, signed with Vince McMahon. His first appearence on Tuesday Night Titans featured many managers offering to be his manager (Bobby Heenan, Freddie Blassie, etc). However, Savage chose Miss Elizabeth to manage him. His gimmick was that of a crazed, ego-maniacal bully who mistreated Miss Elizabeth and went after anyone who even looked at her. He made his PPV debut at The Wrestling Classic on November 7, 1985 while competing in a 16-man tournament. He made it to the finals before losing via count out.

Later that year he began feuding with Tito Santana over the Intercontinental Championship. After a few disappointing losses to the champion Savage won the title on February 24, 1986 (a previously taped episode of Prime Time Wrestling) after using an illegal steel object to knock out Santana and pin him. He feuded with Holk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, George “The Animal” Steele and a few others over the title.

Savage would later lose the title to Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III in the Pontiac Silverdome. This match was unique for a few reasons; George Steele pushed Savage from the top rope to help Steamboat pick up the win and this match was choreographed, as opposed to the “in the moment” or “on the fly” type matches at this time in wrestling. Savage and Steamboat had laid out and rehearsed the match leading up to Wrestlemania. The match was named 1987’s Match of the Year by both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Wrestling Observer. Steamboat and Savage were seen cheering with and hugging other wrestlers after the match.

Savage won the King of the Ring tournament later in 1987. Savage’s popularity was rising to the point that he was being cheered by a majority of the fans despite being heel, so he became less hostile towards the fans and Miss Elizabeth. When The Honky Tonk Man declared himself “the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time”, Savage began a feud with him to get the title back, becoming a fan favorite in the process. On the October 3, 1987, edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event, he got his shot at The Honky Tonk Man and the Intercontinental Championship, but lost out on the title when The Hart Foundation, who along with Honky were managed by Jimmy Hart, interrupted the match, getting Honky disqualified. In the ensuing beatdown, Miss Elizabeth got Hulk Hogan to save him, leading to the formation of “The Mega Powers.”

Savage won his first WWF Championship in a 14-man tournament at WrestleMania IV.

At WrestleMania IV, he participated in the 14-man tournament for the vacant WWF Championship. He had successful matches against Butch Reed, Greg Valentine and One Man Gang, and then went on to the finals, in which he defeated “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, by pinning him with the help of Hogan. Savage retained the WWF title for over a year, defending it against the likes of super heavyweights One Man Gang and André the Giant.

The Mega Powers’ main feuds were with The Mega Bucks (Ted DiBiase and André the Giant), whom they defeated in the main event of the first-ever SummerSlam pay-per-view event, and The Twin Towers, a tag team composed of super-heavyweights Big Boss Man and Akeem (formerly the One Man Gang). In the case of the latter feud, Savage frequently became involved in Hogan’s matches involving one of the two villains (and vice versa); the two rival factions captained opposing teams in the main event of the 1988 Survivor Series, which was won by the Mega Powers.

Problems between Savage and Hogan developed, however, in early 1989 after Hogan also took Elizabeth as his manager. At the Royal Rumble, Hogan accidentally eliminated Savage from the Royal Rumble match and they started to fight until Elizabeth separated them. On the February 3, 1989 episode of The Main Event, Savage and Hogan took on the Twin Towers in a match that saw Elizabeth accidentally get injured at ringside. Hogan carried her to the back, which enraged Savage to the point that he abandoned Hogan later in the match. Savage and Hogan got into a heated argument with Savage declaring that Hogan was an inferior wrestler to him and that he wanted to steal Elizabeth from him. He then proceeded to attack his partner, then attacked Brutus Beefcake as he tried to intervene before finally being separated by security, thus Savage turned heel once again for the first time since 1987.

At WrestleMania V, Savage dropped the WWF title to Hogan after a reign of 371 days.  He eventually replaced Elizabeth with Sensational Sherri. Savage would co-main event SummerSlam 1989, teaming with Zeus, a character from Hulk Hogan’s movie, No Holds Barred, against The Mega-Maniacs (Hogan and Brutus Beefcake). Savage and Zeus faced Hogan and Beefcake in a rematch contested in a steel cage at No Holds Barred and lost again.

Savage adopted the moniker “The Macho King” after defeating Jim Duggan for the King of the Ring title in September 1989 (Duggan in turn had won it from Haku). On a later wrestling episode, he had a coronation as the new “King of the WWF” led by wrestler The Genius (actually Savage’s brother, Lanny Poffo), in which Ted DiBiase gave him a scepter as a gift. Savage would use that scepter as a weapon numerous times. The “Macho King” and Hulk Hogan met one last time (intended to end their ongoing year-long feud), when Savage got a shot at Hogan’s WWF Championship on the February 23, 1990 episode of The Main Event.

In late 1990, Savage started a feud with then WWF champion The Ultimate Warrior. The feud escalated at Royal Rumble 1991, when Warrior refused to promise Savage the right to challenge him for the title, should Warrior defend it successfully against Sgt. Slaughter (Slaughter had already granted Savage this opportunity, should he beat Warrior).  Before the match began, “The Macho King” Randy Savage attacked the champion, resulting in the Ultimate Warrior having to crawl to the ring. Later, Savage ran out to the ring and smashed the sceptre over Warrior’s head, (knocking him unconscious for Slaughter to pin), and then immediately sprinted back to the locker room. The events at the Royal Rumble led to a career-ending match at WrestleMania VII, which Savage lost. After the match, Savage was attacked by Queen Sherri as he lay dejected in the ring. This was too much for Miss Elizabeth who happened to be in the audience.Elizabeth rushed to Savage’s aid, fighting off Sherri and reuniting with her one-time love to huge crowd appreciation, with Savage becoming a fan favorite once again for the first time since 1989. Despite his retirement from active wrestling, Savage stayed in the WWF in a non-wrestling capacity.


(Miss Elizabeth)

Savage returned to television in a non-wrestling role as the “Macho Man” after WrestleMania VII as a broadcaster. Meanwhile the storyline with Miss Elizabeth continued. On June 17, 1991 Macho Man Randy Savage proposed to Miss Elizabeth in the ring. They were already married in real life but the gimmick was used in the company to promote crowd support for Savage and to feul a new feud with Jake “The Snake” Roberts. The couple then held a heavily promoted on-air wedding billed as “The Match Made in Heaven” at SummerSlam 1991 in New York’s Madison Square Garden. At the wedding reception, Elizabeth opened a gift package containing a live snake, which frightened her; newly-turned-heel Jake “The Snake” Roberts and The Undertaker crashed the reception and attacked Savage. This started a feud between Roberts and Savage, where Elizabeth quickly figured prominently.

The feud began to boil over during a television taping for WWF Superstars of Wrestling October 21 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when Roberts cut an in-ring promo to goad Savage – who was providing TV commentary – into the ring. After he was lured into the ring, Roberts attacked Savage, eventually tying Savage into the ropes before getting a live king cobra to bite his arm, according to Hulk Hogan and Jake Roberts on the Pick Your Poison DVD that the snake was holding on with the fangs and that Jake had a hard time getting the snake off Randy. Sid Justice was originally supposed to be the victim of the snake bite, but due to a biceps injury, Savage accepted to be snake bitten.

Savage then urged fans to lobby Tunney to reinstate him, under the rallying cry “Reinstatement! That’s the plan! Reinstate the Macho Man!” In response, Tunney reinstated Savage and announced a match between him and Roberts for the This Tuesday in Texas pay-per-view event. Savage won the match, and the two continued to brawl afterward. The feud continued throughout the winter, ending after a match on the February 8, 1992 episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event, which Savage won; Roberts had planned a backstage ambush of Savage and Elizabeth after losing the match, but was stopped by The Undertaker.

Savage then began an onscreen feud with WWF Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. According to the storyline, Flair claimed that he had been in a prior relationship with Savage’s wife Miss Elizabeth, going as far as presenting pictures of Elizabeth and Flair together. This culminated in a title match at WrestleMania VIII; Savage won the match and his second WWF Championship.

During this time, Savage and Elizabeth separated in real life, and Elizabeth made her final WWF appearance on April 19, 1992 at the UK Rampage pay-per-view, where Savage defended his WWF Championship against Shawn Michaels. However, the Savage-Flair feud continued, keeping the Flair-Elizabeth television story line intact until Elizabeth’s final WWF appearance (the UK Rampage match between Savage and Michaels) aired on WWF Prime Time Wrestling in June. About this same time, WWF Magazine published photos of Savage and Elizabeth, which were identical to those featuring Elizabeth and Flair; it was revealed that Flair had doctored the Savage-Elizabeth pictures. The former couple were divorced on September 18, 1992.

For the better part of 1992, Savage and his old nemesis Warrior (who returned to the WWF at WrestleMania VIII), peacefully co-existed. However, when it was announced that Warrior was the new Number One Contender for Savage’s WWF Championship, old tensions resurfaced and they had several heated exchanges prior to the match. Savage defended the title against Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam 1992. Savage lost the match by countout, after having his knee injured by Flair and Mr. Perfect, but retained the championship. After the match, Warrior helped a badly injured Savage to the back. On the September 14 episode of Prime Time Wrestling (taped September 1), Savage lost the WWF title to Flair after interference by Razor Ramon.

He formed a tag team with The Ultimate Warrior known as the “Ultimate Maniacs” after both men were attacked by Flair and Mr. Perfect during their match at SummerSlam. After his title loss shortly after, an injured Savage backed Warrior to be the man to dethrone Flair. On the November 8, 1992 episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event, they took on Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) for the WWF Tag Team Championship. Money. Inc. lost by count out but retained their title. Savage and Warrior were scheduled to face Flair and Ramon in a tag team match at Survivor Series 1992. Warrior was fired from the WWF weeks before the event, so Savage chose Mr. Perfect, executive consultant to Flair, as his partner to replace Warrior. Perfect initially laughed off the suggestion, but was angered by Bobby Heenan and his insinuations that he could never again wrestle at his previous level, and accepted the match. Despite initial distrust (an interview prior to the match had Savage admit to Perfect that he neither liked nor trusted him), the duo defeated Flair and Ramon via a disqualification.

Savage continued to be involved in the WWF, mostly as a color commentator and only wrestling sporadically over time. His final PPV appearence was at SummerSlam 1994 where he was the Master of Ceremonies.

At the end of October 1994, Savage’s WWF contract expired and he signed with WCW. Randy Savage’s final WWF appearance was on October 17, 1994 In Burlington, VT. Raw was being taped for 3 weeks worth of programming, and the last episode that was aired on October 31 would be Savage’s last. During this episode, Bob Backlund was facing Lex Luger. During the match, Luger was attacked by Tatanka. Savage made the save and this upset Backlund. Then as the show was going off the air that night, Lex Luger was being interviewed backstage and Tatanka came out of nowhere and began to brawl with Luger. This was the last video footage aired of Macho Man. While off the air, Vince McMahon and Randy Savage were at ringside at the time watching the show from their monitors. Then Bob Backlund came out of the crowd, jumped the railing and attacked Randy Savage and put him in the crossface chicken wing. Savage was helped to the back after the incident. This was the last physical segment Savage would do in the WWF/WWE. On the November 7 episode of Raw, it was confirmed by McMahon that Savage did not sign a new deal with the company, and wished him the best of luck.

Savage continued to wrestle after his WWF career ended and wrestled for WCW and TNA before retiring.

On the morning of May 20, 2011, Savage died after suffering a sudden heart attack while driving with his wife in Seminole, Florida.  He was 58 years old. Savage became unresponsive and lost control of his Jeep Wrangler, crashing into a tree. It’s sad, our number one killer, heart disease got to one of our best wrestlers, at lease he died instantly and did not have to fight with drugs and sites like www.sideeffectsofxarelto.org

Initial reports of his death indicated that he had been killed in the collision.  An autopsy performed by the Pinellas-Pasco County medical examiner’s office found that he had an enlarged heart and advanced coronary artery disease (more than 90% narrowed). The drugs found in his system included a prescription painkiller and a small amount of alcohol. Savage had never been treated for heart problems and there was no evidence that he was aware of his heart condition. The cause of death was officially ruled as “atherosclerotic heart disease”.

He will be posthumously inducted by Hulk Hogan on March 28, 2015.

Full Throwback Thursday 2015 Hall of Fame Preview:

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