‘WWE Vintage Collection’ TV Report #156 – May 29th, 2011
Shown on Sky Sports in the U.K.
By Stephen Lyon.
This week: A Tribute to Macho Man Randy Savage. Entire show was devoted to Randy, featuring: Randy Savage vs Jim Young (Miss Elizabeth's debut - July 1985); Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage (WWF Champion vs IC Champion - February 1986); Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs Big Boss Man & Akeem (Mega Powers split - February 1989); Randy Savage vs Jake Roberts (MSG match - January 1992); and Randy Savage vs Stunning Steve Austin (WCW - May 1995).
Plus the great 'Macho King' coronation ceremony from September 1989, a short Mega Powers video, and a few closing words from Gene Okerlund on what the passing of Savage meant to him.
This was a great show, and arguably the best Vintage show ever.
Show opened with the same tribute video that aired this past week on Raw and Smackdown, except they replaced the Coldplay 'Nobody Said It Was Easy' song with a different, lesser known song, and the tribute video was slightly shorter.
No opening titles this week, as Gene Okerlund introduced the show and said that they would be paying tribute to one of the all-time greats this week, Macho Man Randy Savage.
1) Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Jim Young. This match aired on the July 13th, 1985 edition of 'WWF Championship Wrestling', taped in Brantford, Ontario, Canada on June 18th, 1985. Announcers for this match were Vince McMahon & Bruno Sammartino. Savage had debuted the previous week and was being billed as one of the hottest free agents in the WWF. Every heel manager was vying for his services, and it was announced that he would unveil his new manager after this match. Bobby Heenan, Mr Fuji, Jimmy Hart, Johnny Valiant and Classy Freddie Blassie were all in Savage's corner for this match, rooting for him. This was a total squash, as Savage knocked Young to the outside and jumped off the ring apron with a double axe handle. Back in the ring, Savage gave Young a vertical suplex, before pinning him after a big elbow drop off the top rope.
After the match, Savage gathered all five managers in the ring and praised them all, thanking them for their time, but then introducing his new manager. The doors at the back of the arena opened and in walked Miss Elizabeth, wearing an evening gown and looking beautiful. Sammartino started laughing and said, "Wow, who's this? Some kind of movie star?!" Vince on commentary put her over huge, saying, "Oh my goodness! What an absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous lady!"
A short clip from the February 8th, 1986 Boston Gardens WWF show aired. It was the closing moments of Savage defeating Tito Santana to win his first WWF Intercontinental title, by nefarious means of course. Santana tried to suplex Savage from the ring apron, back into the ring, and Savage nailed him with brass knux to score the pinfall win.
2) WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion, Macho Man Randy Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth in his corner) in a Lumberjack Match. This match was taped at Madison Square Garden, New York on February 17th, 1986. Announcers for this match were Gorilla Monsoon & Lord Alfred Hayes. This was a rare WWF Champion vs Intercontinental Champion non-title match. Hogan was wearing white trunks, blue knee pads and white boots, and his ribs were all taped from a recent attack by King Kong Bundy (this match took place in the run up to Wrestlemania 2). Both heels and faces surrounded the ring, and when Savage threw Hogan to the outside, Bundy jumped Hogan. Back in the ring, Savage worked over Hogan's injured ribs, tearing off the tape, and delivering a double axe handle off the top. Savage scored lots of nearfalls on Hogan, before nailing him with his big elbow drop from the top turnbuckle. Hogan immediately kicked out of the pinfall attempt and started his superman comeback, blocking Savage's punches and giving him a big boot to the face. Savage raked Hogan's eye, but the Hulkster no-sold it. Hogan knocked Savage down and scored the pinfall win after a legdrop.
A short video aired, made several years ago. A long-haired CM Punk recounted that his favourite Saturday Nights' Main Event moment of all time came on the October 3rd, 1987 edition of the show, when Hulk Hogan saved Randy Savage from a three-on-one attack by the Hart Foundation and the Honky Tonk Man, leading to the Hogan & Savage handshake and formation of the Mega Powers. Both Matt Hardy and The Miz were shown, commenting on how cool this moment was, a big part of their childhood memories. A brief music video aired featuring clips of the Mega Powers together and in action.
3) 'The Mega Powers', Hulk Hogan & Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Big Boss Man & Akeem (w/Slick in their corner). This match aired live on NBC on the February 3rd, 1989 edition of the 'WWF Main Event', held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Announcers for this match were Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. This was the culmination of the trouble that had been brewing between the Mega Powers for the previous six months. Match was joined in progress. Savage took Akeem down after a crossbody block dive off the top, but Boss Man broke up the pinfall attempt. As Savage ran the ropes, Slick rammed a nightstick into Savage's back. Both heels then beat up Savage, with Akeem throwing Savage through the ropes and on to Miss Elizabeth on the outside, knocking her out. An incredulous Hulk Hogan then knelt over the pair, before rolling Savage off Elizabeth, and checking that Elizabeth was still breathing. Savage revived and only saw Hogan kneeling on top of the prone Elizabeth. Before Savage could do anything about it, the heels grabbed him and threw him back in the ring to pummel. Meanwhile Hogan picked up the unconscious Elizabeth and carried her to the back, where she was placed on a stretcher and wheeled to the first aid room, Hogan accompanying her all the way there. After receiving the all clear that she was okay (they edited out Hogan's infamous verbal screw ups), Hogan ran back to the ring to help Savage. Savage threw both Boss Man and Akeem to the outside, then went over to Hogan in the corner and slapped him across the face. Savage then left with his WWF title belt.
In the ring, Akeem splashed Hogan in the corner, but Hogan made his superman comeback, giving Akeem the big boot to the face, punching Boss Man and pinning Akeem after a legdrop. After the match, Boss Man tried to handcuff Hogan, but Hogan turned the tables and somehow cuffed Boss Man to his own manager Slick. Hogan confronted Savage backstage, with Savage saying, "Those eyes lust after Elizabeth!" and Hogan imploring Elizabeth to, "Try to talk some sense into this guy!" Savage nailed Hogan in the face with his WWF title belt, then pummelled Hogan on the floor of the first aid room, whilst an injured Elizabeth in the corner screamed for them to stop fighting. Brutus Beefcake ran in to try to split up the fight, but Savage punched him in the mid-section and left.
This was one of the all time best angles that the WWE have ever done, and easily one of the most memorable. It was also somewhat of a groundbreaking angle for the WWF at the time, as they never did angles like this during this era. Attacks were usually carried out in the ring or on interview segment sets in the arena, not backstage.
A 'Special Report' segment hosted by Lord Alfred Hayes aired next, from the September 23rd, 1989 edition of 'WWF Wrestling Challenge'. Hayes introduced clips from the previous weeks' edition of 'WWF Superstars', featuring Savage defeating Hacksaw Jim Duggan to become the new King of the WWF, after using the loaded purse belonging to his new manager, Sensational Sherri. This was followed by the coronation ceremony from the September 30th, 1989 edition of 'WWF Superstars'. This was just wonderfully campy. Savage and Sherri were sat on thrones in the ring, surrounded by every heel in the promotion. The Genius read a specially poem for Savage, featuring the words, "The Macho Man is everything that everybody everywhere would ever ever want to wear a crown!" and proclaimed Savage to be the new Macho King Randy Savage. Ted DiBiase then presented Savage with gift, a solid gold sceptre. This segment was great.
The closing moments of Summerslam 1991 aired, with Savage and Elizabeth getting 'married', and Savage kissing his new bride as balloons fell from the ceiling of Madison Square Garden. Then, footage taped later that night at the wedding reception aired. As Okerlund looked on, Elizabeth was opening the wedding gifts, with one box containing a snake. Elizabeth screamed, as Jake Roberts and The Undertaker entered the scene. Undertaker nailed Savage in the head with his urn, as Roberts tried to terrorise Elizabeth with his snake. Sid Justice made the save, running in with a chair and chasing away the heels.
Next up, Lord Alfred Hayes obtained pre-match comments from Randy Savage, before his upcoming match with Jake Roberts at Madison Square Garden, Savage directing his comments towards his hated foe, Roberts: "You think you're Shakespeare, you think you're so eloquent when you talk... But I don't even care about that Snake Man, I'm gonna put you down, Ohhh Yeahhhh!"
4) Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Jake Roberts. This match was taped at Madison Square Garden, New York on January 31st, 1992. Announcers for this match were Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan. This match was joined in progress. Roberts was putting the boots to Savage, but missed with a short arm clothesline when Savage broke free. Savage gave him a double axe handle blow off the top, but Roberts caught him with his knees in the corner, after Savage charged at him. Roberts hit his patented short arm clothesline and signalled for the DDT, but when he tried to deliver it, Savage blocked the move. Savage clotheslined Roberts, then gave him the big elbow drop off the top for the pinfall win.
A clip aired from the December 5th, 1994 edition of 'WCW Saturday Night', with Randy Savage making his WCW tv debut.
5) Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Stunning Steve Austin (w/Colonel Robert Parker in his corner). This match aired on the May 27th, 1995 edition of 'WCW Saturday Night', taped at the Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, Georgia on May 11th, 1995. Announcers for this match were Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan. Match was joined in progress. Savage was dominating Austin, until Austin caught him with a couple of right hands. Austin missed with a splash off the top, and the fight was taken to ringside. Savage threw Austin in the crowd barricades and the ring posts, which had giant 'Slim Jim' advertising logos on. Savage threw Austin back into the ring and gave him the big elbow off the top for the pinfall win. This was pretty much a squash match, as Austin was on his way out of WCW at this point, but was obviously included on this show due to the significance of this being the one and only time that these two legends faced each other in a singles match
A short Randy Savage promo from 'WWF Mania', taped in 1993 aired. Savage talked about defeating Ted DiBiase in the WWF Title Tournament Final at Wrestlemania 4, and how it was a great moment in his career. Footage aired from said match, whilst Savage spoke.
In closing the show, Okerlund stated that this show merely scratched the surface of Savage's career, and in no way can one hour do his career full justice. He said that they will continue to pay tribute to Savage's legacy in the weeks, months and years to come on this show.
Okerlund solemnly said that he worked with Savage for 22 years, and that he was 'a very, very good man and a total professional'. He closed by saying, "We're gonna miss you brother", as a piano version of Savage's theme music played, over a new 'In Memory Of...' graphic of Savage.
This was a really emotional ending to the show, as it felt very heartfelt and genuine.
Closing thoughts: This was a great show and a really wonderful tribute. I'm sure people could criticise the match choices, as there were far better Savage matches out there, and everyone has their own favourite. Generally speaking, there is a 'no use of a match more than once' policy on this show, which explains why some of Savage's more famous matches never aired. I think that the very fact that they even made this show was very cool.
On a personal note, as a fan growing up with the WWF, Savage was always one of my favourites. Wild, out of control, unpredictable and dangerous - Savage was all of these things and more. Despite the flamboyant ring gear and croaky, unmistakable voice, he was one of the most believable characters ever. When he reunited with Elizabeth at Wrestlemania 7, everybody could understand the emotion he was feeling as he embraced her. In the space of 20 minutes, he went from one of the most hated WWF superstars to one of the most beloved. When he wanted to be reinstated because Jake Roberts was constantly calling him out, you wanted Jack Tunney to do the right thing for once and let Savage wrestle again. When Roberts made his snake bite Savage, and even worse, when Roberts slapped Elizabeth, you wanted Savage to kick Roberts' butt so bad. I don't think I have ever seen a babyface wrestler so mad doing promos, yet fully justified in doing so. His defence of Elizabeth in his matches with Flair in 1992 were fantastic. His feud with Flair in 1995 and 1996, particularly in 1996 when Elizabeth turned heel and Savage was mad that his ex-wife was 'spending his money' was also a great storyline, perfectly played by Savage. I was lucky enough to see Savage wrestle live - not at Summerslam 1992, but at the first WWF house show I ever attended in April 1992, in Birmingham, England. Savage had just won back the WWF title, and successfully defended the title against The Mountie on the show that I attended. Even on that show, I recall Savage putting on a great performance for the live crowd.
Rest in peace, Randy Savage.
Quick plug: If you enjoy my weekly 'WWE Vintage Collection' tv columns such as this, then you may like to check out the latest June 2011 issue of 'Fighting Spirit Magazine' (Issue 67), with CM Punk on the cover, featuring interviews with both CM Punk and Trish Stratus, plus my 'Wrestling Round Up' TV Lounge column, recapping this past months' WWE & TNA tv shows, as well as WWE & TNA ppv reviews, and much more. Available this week, in all good newsagents in the U.K. & Ireland, and for fans worldwide, subscriptions are available here at: http://www.fightingspiritmagazine.co.uk/subscribe.asp !
1) Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Jim Young ('WWF Championship Wrestling': Brantford, Ontario, Canada - taped on 18/06/85, aired on 13/07/85).
2) WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion, Macho Man Randy Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth in his corner) in a Lumberjack Match (MSG, New York - 17/02/86).
3) 'The Mega Powers', Hulk Hogan & Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Big Boss Man & Akeem (w/Slick in their corner) ('WWF The Main Event Live on NBC': Milwaukee, Wisconsin - 03/02/89).
4) Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Jake Roberts (MSG, New York - 31/01/92).
5) Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Stunning Steve Austin (w/Colonel Robert Parker in his corner) ('WCW Saturday Night': Center Stage Theater, Atlanta, Georgia - taped on 11/05/95, aired on 27/05/95).
Please note: I DO NOT sell DVDs or tapes of any of these shows. Sorry!
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St Helens, England, U.K.