#WF059 – Macho Madness

Arnold Furious: I love Randy Savage so naturally I tried to claim all of his tapes during this era. I teamed up with Dixon on Macho Man Randy Savage & Elizabeth, but I’m taking this one down solo. DIG IT! Host is Gene Okerlund, with Savage and Liz.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Honky Tonk Man (c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
These two had a great series where the crowd was just begging for Savage to win the title back. Honky was supposed to job to him in the end, but refused. Savage ended up with a consolation prize of the WWF title! This is a quickie from September 1987. The actual match is much longer but Video Control clips it to the ending, as Savage escapes the Shake, Rattle and Roll and drops the big elbow. Bret Hart runs in to save the title for Honky with the cheap ass DQ. Boo! Liz brings down Hulk Hogan for the save and the Mega Powers are up and running. But this isn’t Hulkamania 8, or whatever number we’re up to, so back to the action.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Honky Tonk Man (c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
So we move ahead to December 1987 and another Savage title shot. There are a lot of matches they could have selected, so it’s a pisser they go with this one, because it’s not great. I guess it was chosen because it’s short, and because Savage didn’t win the title they want to move on to something else. But that’s not really the point. Anyway, this is the match where Jimmy Hart is suspended over the ring in a cage. Honky, stymied by losing his manager, brings out Peggy Sue for the first time, and it’s Sherri in a wig. I don’t think they ever revealed that it was Sherri. Alfred Hayes ruins the cage aspect by totally overplaying it and claiming it’s 200 feet in the air. Its maybe a quarter of that. Either that or Randy Savage is 25-foot tall and I’ve just lost all sense of perspective because of it. Savage’s opening shine is stopped by Peggy Sue tripping him up, showing her worth immediately. Liz responds by doing nothing. Savage is always fun to watch because he has so much energy and an exciting moveset. Savage escapes the Shake, Rattle & Roll again but gets distracted by Peggy Sue going after Liz. Was Randy jealous of possible lesbian assaults on Liz too? Honky uses the belt and wants a count out, but the ref saw the belt and calls it a DQ. They had better, longer matches that are on tape, but the WWF never seems to use them. The feud was blown off at the Main Event in February 1988 with Savage winning on count out. That match appears on Savage’s DVD set and is better than this match.
Final Rating: **½

 

Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
From Saturday Night’s Main Event. With the WWF title vacant, various wrestlers start to press their claim. This match is more about DiBiase than Savage, with Ted claiming he’s now unbeatable with Andre the Giant in his corner. Andre headbutts Savage into the ring post and the Macho Man gets counted out. This leads to another 2-on-1 and Liz brings Hogan down once again for the save. All this brings us up to the tournament at WrestleMania IV, a PPV so long that it’s still going on in certain time zones. They show highlights of Savage’s run to the title. All matches are covered in full, in long and sometimes gratuitous detail, in my WrestleMania IV review, so I’ll just briefly recap; he went over Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, One Man Gang and Ted DiBiase. Only the last two are important as they lead directly into his next matches. Gang got disqualified so the implication is that Randy can’t beat him straight up and DiBiase only lost because of Hogan so that’s two title defences right there. Again, the ‘Mania IV finish has more to do with the Mega Powers than Savage as a star in his own right, which always disappointed me because Randy was capable of taking the ball and running with it. He could have had a string of wonderful title defences against just about anybody with talent and yet, despite his title, ended up playing second fiddle to Hulkamania.

 

WWF Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. One Man Gang
So here’s the inevitable title shot for Gang, who the WWF were bizarrely serious about at the time. This took place on Saturday Night’s Main Event towards the end of April 1988. Savage hadn’t much experience with big lugs, as his IC title run and subsequent feuds had all been with guys like Steamboat, Santana and Honky Tonk Man. The closest he’d got to a lug was George Steele. They play it for sympathy, with Savage taking a beating and getting his only offence in from adjusting himself in defensive counters. It puts Savage over as creative, resistant and resourceful. But not strong. That is probably for the best because he’s not Hogan, and people were genuinely concerned he might lose the title. Gang seems more energetic than he was at ‘Mania and takes some fun bumps. He’s too slow going for the 747 Splash and misses. Slick meanwhile is looking to pimp out Liz, and Jesse Ventura goes off on one about what a detriment she is to Savage and his title run. Savage manages to protect her, avoid Slick and cause a heel miscue that sets up the Big Elbow. Much better than their brief and pointless ‘Mania bout. If he’d not already proved himself a worthy choice as champion then this summed Savage up. Gutsy, fast and unpredictable.
Final Rating: **

 

WWF Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Ted DiBiase
This is from May 1988 at MSG. DiBiase had already challenged post-‘Mania, winning on count out, but would continue to feud with Savage for most of the summer months. Savage comes in so WIRED that he can’t wait to take his robe off, and just jumps in there flailing wildly. At one early point smashing Ted right in the face, which draws blood from his nose. It is great stuff because Savage has someone to sell his moves! Not only that, Ted sells Savage as a threat to his well-being, which sets this title defence apart. Savage is so devastating in the early going that DiBiase has to control a huge chunk of the match afterwards to bring it back into perspective. It turns into a humdinger, back-and-forth with loads of energy. You could argue this is the best Savage-DiBiase match in a year that was loaded up with decent matches between the pair. Ted even has counters prepared and sees one of Savage’s patented elbows coming, ducks, sidesteps and throws him through the ropes in one motion. Virgil exposes a turnbuckle but DiBiase eats it and Virgil dives in there causing the DQ. Every match between these two was good, but this is probably my favourite. Mainly because of Savage’s intensity at the start but also because of DiBiase’s countering. If only they could have booked an actual finish here. I guess DiBiase can’t win because of the title and Savage can’t clean him out this quickly because they have months of matches left in the feud.
Final Rating: ***½

 

WWF Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Virgil
Savage claims this came about because he wanted to teach Virgil a lesson. This time with DiBiase playing the numbers game the other way round. He’s a better manager than Virgil too. Of course Virgil’s lack of wrestling ability allows Savage to run roughshod over him. Virgil spends ages lying on the mat at one point, while Savage finds time for an extensive argument with DiBiase. Savage soon returns to a position of dominance and finishes with the Big Elbow. It’s a rarity, as this is a Savage squash match where he doesn’t spend the whole match getting beaten up before pulling off the win. He totally bosses it. Virgil only gets a few moves in and that’s all down to DiBiase’s assistance.
Final Rating:

 

Steel Cage Match
WWF Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Ted DiBiase
Another title defence against DiBiase, there were a LOT of them during the year, in June 1988 at MSG. It is a BLUE BAR steel cage match. All their matches seemed to have screwy finishes, hence the cage. Ted alternates between punching Savage in the face and trying to climb over the top. DiBiase ends up getting beat up a lot because of these tactics, and every time he goes up top he gets hammered back down. As bonus for Ted is that he’s got Virgil on the floor, so when Savage attempts to climb Virgil just punches him through the cage. One of the benefits of the blue bar structure. I’m not a big fan of cage matches because if the feud lacks that bit of intensity then the match is limited. Sometimes it’s perfect, but this one only exists because of count outs and shitty finishes. A ladder match would have been much better for them… if such a thing existed at the time. Savage makes the best of the situation while Billy Graham explains that if Liz put on 80lbs of muscle she’d be more useful at ringside. Both guys try to climb out and for some reason Ted gives up, with Virgil having Savage in hand. That doesn’t make much sense to me. Savage tries to crawl out of the door so Virgil slams it in his face. That gives Ted an opening to crawl out and he’s INCHES away from a WWF title only for Savage to pull him back in. Savage again goes to climb out, which doesn’t make sense with Virgil there, and a FAN runs up the cage to save him! Virgil misses a kick by a few inches that would have sent the dumb kid sprawling backwards onto concrete. So close to death, idiotic fan! Savage noggin knockers the two heels and climbs out to retain. The effort was there but a truncated match never felt like the war it could have been.
Final Rating: ***¼

 

WWF Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Ted DiBiase
Again! This would be their FIFTH match on this tape. This time from WrestleFest ’88, but it was clipped off the tape of that show. It took place in July so it’s after the MSG blow-off. This is one of those Ted DiBiase dismantlings, that were usually entertaining, but not always because he was better at getting beaten up. The first third of the match is all DiBiase working the champ over and it’s not until Savage mounts his first comeback that the match comes to life. And promptly dies again with an extended DiBiase chinlock. Savage gets out but misses a charge and goes down selling the knee, which leads to a Funk Spinning Toehold. How about that! Savage doesn’t sell the knee much so we skip ahead to his real comeback involving the ropes and such. Virgil jumps on the apron, which leads to a heel collision and a surprise kick out by DiBiase. After that Savage decides his other knee hurts. Oh dear. Million Dollar Dream could easily finish but Savage finds the ropes. Virgil smacks him in the head with a chair and again we get a near fall. The crowd gets more worried by the second. Savage dispels those concerns with an inside cradle. Another good match. Didn’t like the knee stuff much, but the near falls had the crowd suitably freaked out. Fantastic timing on that Virgil chair shot too.

 

The Mega Powers vs. The Mega Bucks
From SummerSlam 88. Ted recruited Andre, again, because he couldn’t beat Savage by himself. Savage later named Hogan as his partner. Jesse Ventura is the special referee and he’s been trying to prove his neutrality, although Ted DiBiase has already bribed him, just in case. This is Andre’s last hoorah in the main events, as the WWF have milked him for all he’s worth. He simply can’t lift anything or even move around with any pace. As per usual DiBiase is cornered by Virgil, but also Bobby Heenan, while Macho Man has Miss Elizabeth out here. The Mega Powers earlier implied that Elizabeth was their “secret weapon”. Seeing as Andre can’t do anything DiBiase takes most of the match, which is good because his bumping suits Hogan fine and his technique matches Savage’s. It was implied in the build up that Ventura is scared of Andre and its noticeable that he never cautions Andre for anything. Andre limits himself to headbutts and leaning heavily on the ropes to hit anything else. It’s really sad to see a great wrestler and legend like Andre in this condition. You can see why Vince would want to carry on using Andre, because there’s no one else like him and when he’s finished there never will be again. DiBiase compensates everyone for Andre’s lack of movement by taking enormous bumps off everything. DiBiase uses Andre to rough someone up, then goes in there for the heat himself and then tags out again when he’s in trouble. Hogan almost costs his team the match by telling Savage to change corners, for no reason, on a rope move, which gives Andre enough time to recover and get a boot up. With both faces in trouble Liz jumps on the apron and takes her skirt off! PG-13 EROTICISM! The heels stand around with their minds blown because they can see Liz’s upper thigh. For 1988 its virtually pornographic. It was indeed a different time. Hogan blindsides Ted, Big Elbow from Savage and Hogan legdrops him to make sure. Ventura hesitates to count three but Savage forces his hand down.
Final Rating: **¼

 

Summary: It’s a surprisingly one-dimensional tape, as they wanted to get a Savage title run tape out there and he’d only really defended against DiBiase. So that’s all we get! Savage vs. DiBiase ad nauseum. While they had a series of good matches, the lack of variety makes the tape a little hard to sit through. I can see why they rushed it because a Savage tape a few months later wouldn’t have sold because he was turning heel with the belt. Still the quality makes it an easy thumbs up.
Verdict: 62

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