#WF026 – The Macho Man Randy Savage And Elizabeth

James Dixon & Arnold Furious:

 

AF – In order to compile this book, we all claimed various tapes, but this one proved so popular that we’re going to do a combined review. Pool our resources, if you will.

JD – I don’t know why we are getting our hopes up. As has been proven with some of the other profile tapes that we expected to be great, Coliseum will manage to make a three course meal out of it.

AF – Ah yes, but thankfully Randy Savage, during 1986 only wrestled bad matches against George Steele. Everything else was gold!

JD – If there is a George Steele match on here, I am going to be especially unpleasant. Steele is on my top 5 worst list!

AF – Even the most inept Coliseum tape compiler couldn’t fail with this one.

JD– Famous last words pal…

 

Hulk Hogan vs. Rusty Brooks
JD – Ok, so we start in October 1985 in Poughkeepsie, New York. The first question must surely be: who is that fat bastard!?

AF – Rusty Brooks.

JD – His opponent sure doesn’t look like Savage to me! Why is Hogan coming out?

AF – Hogging the spotlight already?

JD – He is, I don’t believe it! The first match of a Savage tape is a goddamn Hogan match! I know the guy loved stealing Savage’s glory, but this is new depths!

AF – This was actually quite the moment; Liz cutting a heel promo on someone! She questioned Hogan’s credentials. And rightly so, as he’s in the process of squashing Rusty Brooks. Who is a fat bastard.

JD– Maybe that is why this match is on here, because it is the only example of Elizabeth doing ANYTHING worthwhile as a manager, outside of SummerSlam ‘88.

AF – Decent promo though, and the start to the Hogan-Savage program from early ’86, which is gold.

JD– It is, but that is still no excuse for putting Hogan on first. A Savage squash followed by this MIGHT have been ok. At least it was 30 seconds

AF – Hogan’s music was balls before Real American. It sounds like someone wanking on a keyboard.

JD – It was probably Hogan’s band. What were they called? Metallica something?

AF – Hogan invented rock n’ roll. It never would have been as big as it was if he wasn’t involved.
Final Rating: SQUASH (Not rated)

 

Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
JD – We go to MSG next, for one of many matches between these two. This one took place in January 1986, so it is fairly early on.

AF – JIP. Savage is busted open and his blood is all over the ring. This is the middle of three big MSG matches they had. It’s actually my favourite match of the three. Sadly it’s reduced to the finish, where Liz stops Hogan from javelin throwing Savage into the ring post. When the roles are reversed, she moves out of the way and Hogan eats post and gets counted out.

JD – Holy shit, Hogan LOST! Hey, any win against Hogan in 1986 is worth celebrating.

AF – Of the trifecta of Hogan-Savage clashes, this is the one that got both guys over the most. Hogan had found someone he could play with, while Savage had injected new energy into the WWF’s main event scene. Energy Vince felt it needed.

 

Lumberjack Match
Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
JD – Ok, so this is also from MSG, and it took place in February 86. Is it me or is Savage’s music slightly different than in later years?

AF – It’s slightly awesome is what it is.

JD  – Absolutely, but that doesn’t change the fact that this version has a camp little outro in the middle.

AF – Speaking of camp, Hogan is wearing his No Holds Barred white trunks and fruity “bandana”.

JD – Well let me regale you with a little known fact: Hogan has better matches wearing white. The yellow makes him lazy, I have scientifically proven it. All the Hogan matches I have seen where he wears white have been good.

AF – Ok then! Hogan has taped ribs from the Bundy attack that set up WrestleMania II, and Bundy is one of the jacks.

JD  – So is George Steele… You can take a star off this match right away

AF – Bundy being there does rather undersell the angle considering Hogan has just strolled out of hospital to kick Savage’s ass.

JD – Actually, while the Bundy angle has been taped two days before this match, it didn’t actually air until March 1st. Thus, the only reason Hogan is wearing the bandages is in case anyone was at both shows live.

AF – Well, either way, it’s a pity the whole Bundy angle was planned out before these matches started happening, or we might have gotten Hogan-Savage at WrestleMania II. Why didn’t they just run that anyway? It’s not like Mach was doing anything.

JD – Well, Savage was one of the main attractions in NY, they used him against Steele in a blow-off, because their feud got pretty over, just proving that Savage could make the best out of anything back then.

AF – I suppose. I’m still retroactively trying to fix WrestleMania II though. It bugs me.

JD – A lot of their booking over the years bugs me. Why didn’t they do Bulldogs-Harts and Tito-Davis at Mania III? Why did they even bother with Mania IV?

AF – Savage works over those ribs like Hogan owes him money. “Where’s mah money bitch? POW. Where’s mah muthafuckin money?”

JD – I appreciate the visual of the bandage assisted double axe handle from Savage, but I am not accepting that it is a foreign object and thus hurt him more.

AF – Savage kinda has that Joe Pesci in Goodfellas level of dangerous about him. He’s a lot smaller, but he’s just got that look in his eyes. He’s a lunatic. You can’t reason with people like that.

JD – Of course he is a fuckking lunatic, he is called Randy Savage! I mean, just stop and think about that! He could quite easily have been called Horny Cannibal!

AF – Horny Cannibal Smith. That’s a wrestling name! Steele trips Savage up to setup the legdrop. Hogan takes it.

JD – Horny jobs to the usual tedium, colour me surprised. Hogan has won more matches on this tape than Savage has. That tells you everything you need to know about their relationship, and Hogan’s rub with Coliseum. We are secretly reviewing Hulkamania 1.5 aren’t we? Or I guess it would be: “Hulkamania 1.5, featuring Horny Cannibal & The Albatross”.

AF – Ok! Decent match again though. Plenty of Savage intensity.
Final Rating: **½

 

TNT Show
AF – Vince hosts with Lord Alfred. Savage gets all pissed off about magazines not featuring him. Someone sends Liz flowers and Savage proclaims someone is “IN THE DANGER ZONE”. Savage looks like he’s going to slap EVERYBODY out there. From Liz to Vince to the entire crowd. Although Piper went one step further and slapped Alfred Hayes. That made him more dangerous. I’d say the same for Terry Funk. Savage was very focused on whoever he was working against. In this case George Steele, who had sent the flowers.

JD– Focused? He probably doesn’t even know which planet he is on

AF – Sure he does; he’s on Planet Savage. Coffee instead of water on that planet.

JD– Absolutely. See, this is what happens when you go for those fancy Hollywood coffee colonics!

 

Macho Man Randy Savage vs. George Steele
JD – We are in Tampa, Florida for this one, and we go back to December 1985. The ropes are inverted with the blue at the top. It looks like NWA rather than WWF.

AF – George Steele is behaving like King Kong. The ape, not the Bundy.

JD – Interesting note about this match is the identity of the referee. Have you guy spotted who it is?

AF – Yeah, that’s Dean Malenko.

JD – It sure is! My fingers are crossed and I am hoping Malenko just shoots on Steele and takes his place. Malenko-Savage would have been awesome.

AF – I feel sorry for him having to watch Steele goofing around in there.

JD – You should feel sorry for ALL OF US having to watch it!

AF – Yeah, Steele wasn’t a great act… unless you were in middle school. And even then it wasn’t pushing your intellectual boundaries. Fortunately, they’ve selected a short match. They wrestled longer and far more hideous ones than this.

JD – Savage prevents Steele from catching him by hiding behind Elizabeth, which was a big deal back then really. It was such an unusual dynamic that Liz and Savage had, with her playing babyface while her tyrannical husband played heel. Not that Savage wasn’t popular though, because he had his support even then.

AF – Vince McMahon talks about fetishes as Steele eats the buckle, which is funny. Vince has so many fetishes that they are battling for control of his mind on a daily basis.

JD – Savage hits the double axe from the top while Steele is distracted by Elizabeth and eating the buckles, and that is all she wrote.

AF – At least Savage won a match in the ring!
Final Rating: ¼*

 

Randy Savage & Elizabeth at Home
AF – So, next is Mean Gene, visiting the Savage household.

JD – Nice house. I wonder who got that in the divorce…

AF – Savage ate it. Brick by brick, then ran around all 17 acres, proclaiming it the Danger Zone.

JD – Gene says he wants to talk about wrestling, and Savage responds with: “Wrestling. Yes! I am very great at wrestling aren’t I?” Damn right you are pal!

AF – I usually cite Bret Hart as my reason for getting into American wrestling, but Savage was certainly eye catching and one of the main reasons I started watching WWF. I think Savage is one of the greatest all-rounders too. His mic skills are crazy.

JD – You won’t get a disagreement from me there, I think Savage was one of the all-time greats at his peak. He could sell a beating better than anyone. Did they ever do a talking Randy Savage doll? I know they did a Warrior one. Can you imagine how many kids would have been rendered catatonic by that? Savage receives a call from a magazine, offering him $500k to be their centrefold, which is “more than they offered Burt Reynolds”.

AF – Who would offer money for Burt Reynolds to take his clothes off?

JD – No-one! Savage doesn’t appear to know how to use a phone properly, still having the conversation after having put the phone down already.

AF – He gets offered $400,000 for 3 matches in Japan! Inoki is calling. Then, a typical situation in the Savage household; fans in his pool!

JD – I have no idea what to make of that entire thing.

AF – It was a documentary on the dangers of mainlining espresso.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Tito Santana (c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
JD – Next, we get a clipped down version of Savage’s IC title win against Tito Santana from Boston Gardens in February 1986, joined towards the end.

AF – It’s a pity they clipped this because it’s a great match. It can be found on other releases in full though.

JD – Yet we get the pleasure of seeing a full (albeit brief) Steele match and a random Hogan squash. I could have lived without the TNT show too.

AF – Tonnes of near falls here, and that Steamboat/Flair kinda of work rate from Mach. The suplex into the ring spot is the finish. Tito gets away with it once, but the second time Savage bashes him in between the eyes with the “International Object” to win the title.

JD – Clipped to hell, but entertaining with it.

 

The Body Show
AF – Next up, Randy Savage is on the Body Shop to celebrate his IC title win.

JD – Imagine being a fly on the wall backstage and listening to a conversation between these two guys. Good god it would be colourful. Two incredibly distinctive voices and personalities. With that being said, you would think it would be easy to sit and listen to these guys read the phonebook, but this is brief and pointless.

AF – Yeah, nothing much doing.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Tito Santana
JD – This is from the following month at MSG, and was the first of three consecutive MSG matches they had over three months, all of which are featured on here. We are joined in progress for this one.

AF – This is the crowd that the WWF draw the most money from so naturally they put on their best showings there. Savage, having won the belt in Boston, has to defend against a garden favourite in Tito. Savage gets trapped in the Figure Four and instead of submitting he throws the ref into Tito for the DQ. Ingenious!

JD – I am started to get irritated by the clip shows. Good action though, nevertheless.

 

No Disqualification Match
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Tito Santana
JD – Off the back of the last match, we have this the following month, and to prevent a similar non-finish, this is no-DQ. See, this is how to build a feud and utilise gimmick matches. There is a reason this is no-DQ, it is not just a random stip tacked on to sell a gimmick show.

AF – The run-on booking is good stuff. Again we are JIP. Savage would do anything to retain his title in these bouts and having lost the DQ, he starts using chairs and such. That backfires, as Tito chair shots him, with the EDGE OF THE CHAIR, on an axe handle to the floor. The rules do play to Savage’s advantage because he can cheat and he’s good at cheating. He takes a header into the ring post though, and bleeds everywhere.

JD – Savage was a fairly willing bleeder as a heel around this time, and he did an absolute gusher a few months later in a famous cage match opposite Sammartino and Santana.

AF – Well, this is the kind of match that eventually helped to turn Savage face as the blood doesn’t deter him. He still wants to do anything he can to win. Savage, blinded by the blood, punches the ref out. Tito takes advantage of Savage’s lack of sight by hitting the Flying Forearm but of course the ref is out. I love that Savage still kicks out even with Tito banging his hand on the mat because that’s his instinct and he might not be able to see that the ref isn’t there.

JD – It is little things like that, which separate Savage from pretty much every other chump in the business in the WWE era and beyond. That natural ability and incredible ring awareness is something that is sadly a lost art.

AF – Savage grabs the tights to reverse a pin and the champ retains. Gorilla kinda ruins the whole thing by saying Savage should have been disqualified for punching the ref, even though this was announced as no DQ. This would rank fairly highly on the Muta scale as the ref is covered in blood.

JD – There was actually just about enough of a match there to rate! What an excellent series these guys had. I still think a Savage-Santana program could have worked when Macho was the WWF champion, especially once he had turned back heel. Shame they had put the belt back on Hogan instead of giving Savage a longer run.
Final Rating: ***¼.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Tito Santana
JD – Ok, this is from MSG in May 1986, and Bruno Sammartino is the guest referee. Once again we are joined in progress.

AF – Although essentially all that’s clipped is Savage walking around and eventually, after like 4 minutes, taking his robe off.

JD – For once I don’t mind the clipping! These early tapes really were a nightmare for it though.

AF – The feud is in full swing by this point. Generally Tito has been cheated out of regaining the title by Savage’s determination to never, ever lose.

JD – Lots of stalling in the early going, and any time they try a move it gets countered or escaped because they know each other so well. They had great chemistry. Savage was so believable and intense as a crazed madman, and Tito possessed bucket loads of fire, so they clicked right away

AF – As a character, Savage had no problem with hurting people who were a threat to his title, which made the title mean something and thus made Savage’s defeats mean something too. Then they switched out Tito for Steamboat and it got even better. That’s not to say this wasn’t a great feud though, because it was.

JD – That is why I always preferred the IC title growing up, and a lot of my generation did too. The belt was the workers title, and you knew an IC title match was going to be good. Well, until Kerry von Erich got it and subsequently half-assed all of his matches. Santana mounts a comeback and they have a slugfest, before they collide in the centre and both go down, but Sammartino’s count is pretty slow.

JD – Santana catches Savage as he goes for the axe handle, and he finally gets a head of steam and looks like he has a chance of winning this match. Savage is bumping all over the place for Tito here.

AF – I will say, Vince’s run-on booking was the business in ’86. This feud soon drew in Bruno and Adonis and became a tag feud.

JD – Yeah, it was superb. The WWF were the kings of progressive booking and bringing others into pre-existing feuds. They did it with a lot of guys and it helped elevate more than just those initially involved. Everything was logical as well, which is how it should be.

AF – Adonis runs in from the crowd here, as he had been doing to help Savage out. Not sure what their relationship was.

JD – Maybe Elizabeth did Adonis’ laundry? Based on the bed sheet he appears to be wearing, it was probably a tough job.

AF – Bruno stomping on Adonis’ wig is marvellous. You crotchety old fuck, you!

JD – He was older than God by then, but he could still work like a mofo. I was happy to see him get shoehorned into this, and Savage clearly had a great time working with him. Another fun match, and the shenanigans actually made sense and led to something, so they are welcomed.
Final Rating: ***

 

Randy Savage & Adrian Adonis vs. Tito Santana & Bruno Sammartino
JD – We are at MSG for the fourth time in a row, and indeed for the fourth month in a row, this being from June 1986.

AF – Savage’s pre-match interview with Gorilla is wonderful. He claims to have legally pinned Tito 42 times in the last match but Bruno was too old and slow to count to three.

JD – I told you Bruno’s count was slow!

AF – The faces have a huge opening shine before the bell, just beating the piss out of the two heels. They come firing back and Tito gets slammed on the floor. Savage tries to do his pointing pose on the top rope but Bruno doesn’t stand for shit like that and just runs up and punches him in the stomach. The match finally gets underway and it’s constant action with the crowd getting super-hot for it. Adonis takes a mean bump for a fat boy as the heels continue to struggle. Tagging was perfect for Bruno in the mid 80s because he was still over and could still move, but it helped his tag partner get over and allowed Bruno some resting time, whether he wanted it or not. They tried to do the same thing with Hogan, at his peak, but it never worked like this.

JD – I don’t think he did want it, because Bruno was still a better worker, and quicker than a lot of the slugs on the roster. I would take a Sammartino match from ’86 over Bundy, Studd, Steele, etc any day of the week.

AF – The match keeps falling to pieces as everyone keeps brawling all over the place. They even work a setup where Bruno saves Tito at ringside, but Savage uses the opening to axe handle him off the top. Bruno gets counted out and the heels win. Brilliant stuff. They’d promptly have a cage match to settle the score, which is even better and appears on the Inside the Steel Cage tape.
Final Rating: ***¼

 

Summary: We said at the top, it’s hard to go wrong with Savage in 1986. His only bad matches were against Steele, and thankfully there’s only one of those on here, and it’s less than five minutes. Everything else centres on the Hogan and Santana feuds, which produced better matches. Heels make for better videotapes. Between this and the Piper one, I think it shows. Though it has to be said, for all she is included in the title, Elizabeth was barely relevant to this at all. If you can stand the frustrating clipping, this comes recommended.
Verdict: 62

One thought on “#WF026 – The Macho Man Randy Savage And Elizabeth

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