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WWE WrestleMania Top 10 Performer Series: Randy "Macho Man" Savage

Randy Savage carrying the lovely Miss Elizabeth

In leading up to what is being billed as the biggest WrestleMania of all time, I thought it would be fun to go back and look at the 10 greatest performers in Mania history. Over the next several weeks leading up to the big show, we'll go from number 10 up until we reach the top spot. Along the way, I’ll also point out a few wrestlers who just missed making the list and why they didn’t.

The list is populated based on a points system and with the help of Chris "Mookie" Harrington, the top 10 point getters are my top 10 performers. The point system is 1 point for each of the following:

  • Appeared in a match
  • Won a match
  • Appeared in a title match (any title)
  • Won a title match (any title)
  • Appeared in a singles World title match (including WWF, WWE, World and WWE World Heavyweight titles)
  • Won a singles World title match
  • Appeared in a main event
  • Won a main event
  • Appeared in the best match on the show, according to Dave Meltzer’s star ratings
  • Appeared in a Match of the Year

If you’ve missed any of the previous weeks:

Savage vs. Steamboat

7. Randy Savage (38 points)

Born Randy Poffo, the "Macho Man" did not have a long WrestleMania career but a truly memorable one. In the first decade of Mania, he was the Shawn Michaels to Hulk Hogan’s Undertaker. Usually competing in the match of the night, he was almost always a memorable angle and/or match, and with Savage, it was all about quality over quantity. Between leaving the ring for the announcing booth and then leaving WWF for WCW, he probably could’ve had at six or seven more Mania appearances than he ended up having.

Savage is one of the rare individuals that had a title match in his first Mania appearance. Savage successfully defended his IC title at a time when the belt meant far more than it does now, beating George “The Animal” Steele at WrestleMania 2. Anyone reading this knows that the following year, he had an all-time classic in another IC title defence, dropping the title to Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. The match was match of the night as well as match of the year and, according to many, the best Mania match of all time. It was around that time that the skill and working ability of Savage forced the WWF to turn him face, which ended up leading to one of the most successful and memorable runs to Mania a couple of years later.

At WrestleMania 4, Savage became the first and only person in WrestleMania history to win four matches in one night. Entrenched as a “good guy”,  he won the vacant WWF World title by winning a 160man tournament by defeating Butch Reed, One Man Gang, Greg Valentine, and Ted DiBiase in the finals. None of these were match of the night, but the performance was truly memorable and with Hogan about to take the majority of the year off, it established Savage as the top babyface, at least for the time being.

By WrestleMania 5, Savage and Hogan were on opposite sides in one of the best put together feuds the WWF has ever done. Hogan challenged Savage for the WWF title in the main event and won it in the match of the night. The following year, he took a step back as he established a new persona as the “Macho King”, teaming with Queen Sherri to lose a tag team match to Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire. While a terrible match, it was memorable.

In 1991 at Mania 7, Savage had another moment that anyone who witnessed it will never forget. In a career vs. career match vs. The Ultimate Warrior, Savage lost. It was a tremendous match but the aftermath where he split with Queen Sherri and then reunited with former manager and real-life wife Elizabeth was a special moment that had grown men in tears. This was also match of the night, and a top 10 finisher in the match of the year voting.

By the following year’s show, Savage had unretired and challenged WWF Champion Ric Flair. In another match of the night, Savage regained the title. He missed Mania 9 as he was on commentary but returned the following year to beat Crush in a falls count anywhere match. And just like that, that was it for the Macho Man at Wrestlemania as he left for WCW in 1995 where he remained a top star until the company went out of business in 2001.

His Mania career spanned just eight years and seven Manias, but Savage made the most of it. In 2015, Savage was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in a well-deserved honor after passing away the previous year. Fans will never forget the Macho Man, still chanting his name during shows today whenever anyone does his patented flying elbow. He more than deserves his lofty spot on this list.

Savage’s WrestleMania record:

  • 7-4 overall
  • 3-2 in title matches
  • 2-1 in World title matches
  • 1-1 in Main Events
  • 4 matches of the night
  • 1 match of the year

Honorable Mention: Ted DiBiase (22 points)

Ted DiBiase

In picking the honorable mentions, I’ve tried to choose wrestlers who had similar careers as the guys on the list. DiBiase’s career in the WWF was short but sweet. He was well down the list but the best years of his career were also prior to his WWF debut. Regardless, his run in the WWF and WrestleMania was memorable. Here’s his Mania history:

  • Mania 4: In the World title tournament, DiBiase beat Jim Duggan and Don Muraco and received a bye to the finals, where he lost to Savage in a WWF title match in the main event.
  • Mania 5: went to a double countout with Brutus Beefcake in a singles match
  • Mania 6: beat Jake “The Snake” Roberts by countout in a title defence of his Million Dollar Championship
  • Mania 7: lost to Virgil by countout in a singles match
  • Mania 8: lost in a title defence of the WWF Tag Team titles with partner IRS (as Money Inc) to the Natural Disasters (Typhoon and Earthquake)
  • Mania 9: successfully defended the WWF Tag Team titles with partner IRS (as Money Inc) against The Mega-Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake)

DiBiase appeared in one fewer Mania than Savage, but had no matches of the night and no World title wins. He was very slightly under Savage in the pecking for most of his career and while he had a solid WWF career, it wasn’t enough to crack the top 10. Like Savage, he was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame and still makes sporadic personal appearances for the company to this day.