The ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage is by anyone’s definition, a legend of the sport(s entertainment) of Professional Wrestling. Having been responsible for some of its most memorable moments in, around and out of the ring, there is nothing I can say about him that hasn’t been said before. Though, I will still say more words about him as I’m here to talk about a new DVD release of forgotten, little seen and in some cases, previously unreleased matches, spanning from 1985 to 1996 and taking in some of the all-time great rivalries Savage had. Let’s have a look at some of what was available in this landmark collection:
Corey Graves is in discussion with Sean Mooney, Bayley & DDP Yoga (who has the best Macho Man impression on the panel). They discuss some memories of Macho Man before introducing the first matches.
Match 1 – June 17, 1985 – Randy Savage vs Aldo Marino
Macho Man takes on Marino, otherwise known as Ricky Santana & Rey Fénix (not the one from Lucha Underground). Hart, Blassie, Heenan and Fuji are ringside, clearly, right from the beginning, he has a star as he makes quick work of Marino with two Elbow Drops for the pin. Post-match scouting and he shows off by throwing out Marino and hitting another outside diving elbow drop.
Match 2 – July 9, 1985 – Randy Savage Vs Mario Mancini
Macho Man enters like a giant golden moth. He makes equally quick work of beloved jobber, Mancini. Afterwards he grabs the mic and says he is ‘coming for Hulk Hogan, baby’.
Match 3 – August 3, 1985 – Randy Savage vs Paul Roma
The commentary team are playing up that all the managers are still trying to sell their services to Macho Man. This is literally the same match as before but with a different Italian. Elbow Drop, pin. And so it goes.
Back to the panel, this time about Randy and Miss Elizabeth. DDP talks about him and Kimberly stealing from ‘the Mach’ for their dynamic, Bayley admits to having certain feelings towards Savage during this era, Graves continues to look fantastic. In the words of The Rakes, the world is a mess but his hair is perfect.
Match 4 – September 9, 1985 – Randy Savage & Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura (w/Elizabeth) Vs Mario Mancini & Mike Rice
Randy is a dick to Elizabeth. Jesse, at this point, appears to be dressed as Hollywood Hulk Hogan, hairline and all. Another quick match. Macho Man wins with an Elbow Drop. Mancini doesn’t even tag in. The crowd hate Randy and Jesse, it’s a true sight to behold.
Match 5 – November 4, 1985 – Randy Savage w/Elizabeth vs Mike Atlas
Atlas is my new favourite wrestler. He’s a big, muscly dude who really wants everyone to see how many muscles he has, he’s even more of a body guy than Tony Nese. Also he nearly gets the pin off shoving his bum into Savage to break a rear waistlock. They Brawl outside, Atlas goes for a scoop slam but Savage turns it into a roll-up for the win. It’s a shame that we have no idea what happened to Mike Atlas after this as he’s another missed opportunity here, though Savage is clearly the star.
Match 6 – December 1, 1985 – Randy Savage w/Elizabeth vs S.D Jones
The S.D stands for ‘special delivery’. S.D gets in some offence but Macho Man takes advantage of a small window of opportunity, takes control, hits the Elbow Drop for the pin, grabbing a handful of pants for good measure. Special Delivery had charisma to spare but this was too slight to merit too much discussion
Match 7 – January 18, 1986 – Randy Savage w/Elizabeth vs Scott McGhee
McGee, A fine Yorkshireman by birth, puts up quite a contest, actually taking Savage to his limits and looking like he might pull off the upset. They go back-and-forth including some fascinating popcorn-based offence. This feels like the first proper ‘match’ of the set as both men are positioned as potential winners with McGhee hitting some basics like rope-running and a small package pinning attempt in such a textbook way that it’s surprising we never heard more from him. Randy, of course, wins with the Elbow Drop.
Match 8 – August 25, 1986 – Intercontinental Title – Randy Savage (c) w/ Elizabeth vs Pedro Morales
Interestingly, we jump straight past Macho Man beating Tito Santana for the IC title in February and straight to Macho man taking on two-time IC champion, Morales. This was an odd match as Savage was giving Morales a lot and he was not really reciprocating though the crowd were very up for a title change here which is a real testament to Savage’s abilities at drawing heat. Morales wins the match after a brawl outside leads to Savage not getting back in the ring before the count but retaining his title.
September 10, 1986 – Macho Lifestyles
‘Mean’ Gene Oakerlund interviews Savage and Elizabeth on their estate. This is a very strange segment that is mostly about Elizabeth receiving offers for Savage to do magazine centrefolds and go to Japan to fight three men. It ends after a woman turns up in their pool and Savage complains about all these women who just want him so much. It did, however, remind us that despite holding the Intercontinental title, his aim was still the Heavyweight belt so just a reminder to any kids reading this, devaluing the second title is not a new concept.
Match 9 – September 13, 1986 – Randy Savage w/Elizabeth vs Troy Martin
This match starts off with some lovely chain grappling and Martin nearly getting a three count off a small package till Macho Man is able to deposit Martin outside, hit a top rope axe handle then roll Martin back in for the Diving Elbow Drop for the pin. This match really shows off how much Macho Man was willing at this time to make his opponents look great, even during quick squashes like this.
Match 10 – January 5, 1987 – Randy Savage & Honky Tonk Man w/Elizabeth & Jimmy Hart vs Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat & Hulk Hogan
This is the first appearance on this set of Savage’s two most notable ring opponents/partners. There are some shenanigans early on as Savage does not want to take on Steamboat and keeps refusing to join the match. Even when forced to tag, Savage refuses to join the match. It’s strange seeing a match where the heroes are the ones working the heat section as Tonk plays almost a villain-in-peril inversion. Down the home stretch, this match really starts to get going as Tonk and Savage really try not to have to actually face either of their opponents. The victory goes to Hogan and Steamboat via disqualification but it’s not entirely clear why. This match is fun but feels like it takes too long to get going with its early shenanigans.
We have some discussion of Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat from WrestleMania 3. Once again, DDP is compelling here, talking how they stole some of that match’s formula for a match with Marc Mero and how Randy Savage might be the only man more obsessed with the details than him. Also, Bayley reminisces about the time that Steamboat was a trainer for FCW/NXT.
Match 11 – March 21, 1987 – Randy Savage w/Elizabeth & Hercules vs Ricky Steamboat & Billy Jack Haynes
I was going into this match having confused Hercules in my mind with WCW’s Zeus. Different people. The more you know. Once again, Ricky and Billy Jack win via disqualification. It seems to be rare that you ever actually see someone disqualified for interference as Steamboat and Haynes win after Savage went off the top rope when not tagged in so this was oddly refreshing. I’ve already forgotten Haynes and Hercules.
Match 12 – May 15, 1987 – WWF Intercontinental Title – Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat (c)
This is a fun alternate take of Steamboat-Savage as we get a filmed house show title defence from the Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas. This being a house show match, there’s no commentary but there are multiple cameras so we get the normal high level of sports photography of this era. While not quite of the molten-gold level of their ‘Mania match, this was still very fun with a good technical base and for the era, some impressive high spots. Steamboat retains with a pinfall after Savage hits his head off a metal cylinder on the turnbuckle. Easily the best thing in the collection so far.
Bayley and the gang discuss the influence of Macho Man’s incredible outfits on Bayley’s own outfit and move choices with Bayley doing top-rope Elbow Drops and more importantly, the influence of his costume designer. They then move on to discussing Savage’s historic win over Hogan for the Heavyweight title, how he was smaller than the traditional WWF guy but how he made himself larger-than-life and indeed, bigger than Hulkamania.
April 9, 1988 – Inspiration
Macho Man delivers a short promo about how he is the champion and Ted DiBiase is not because he has the inspiration of Miss Elizabeth and DiBiase does not. This was a solid, little TV promo but an odd inclusion on the boxset beyond to the set up the next match…
Match 13 – September 24, 1988 – WWF Heavyweight Title Steel Cage Match – Randy Savage (c) w/Elizabeth vs Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil
DiBiase attacks as soon as he can get his hands on Savage. One thing I appreciate about this is that they show a screen-in-screen view at times of Elizabeth’s reactions to the match. It’s a much less jarring way of doing this than just cutting away to her in the middle of the action. Despite history telling me that Savage wins here, this match does have the big fight feel as both men’s desperation to succeed really makes it feel like either could walk out of here with that big gold belt. I’m normally not someone who complains about outside intervention unless it directly impacts the match and in this cage, there’s just a bit too much Virgil to the detriment of a good performance by DiBiase, though the spot where Savage is literally clawing at his opponent to keep him from escaping through the door is rather beautiful. Savage escapes after banging Virgil and DiBiase’s head together and climbing out for the victory.
Match 14 – October 7, 1988 – WWF Heavyweight Title- Randy Savage (c) w/Elizabeth vs Akeem
What a treat this must have been for the Paris Audience. My first thought upon witnessing this was that Akeem’s theme is a banger, my second thought was when I saw Akeem up close and realised ‘oh, that’s a white man doing an ‘African’ gimmick. This is less fun’. Equally interesting is that I can’t tell if this feels more or less offensive than Virgil’s slave character. That it turns out Akeem was actually also known as One-Man Gang so it’s fun, I’m learning about all sorts of bits of WWWF/WWF/WWE history. Though one thing I am more comfortable discussing is how one-sided this match was, not in an offensive sense but in that there was one good wrestler in that ring and one Akeem. Luckily Savage showed great fire and kept it going till he got the win. This was a bizarre match if just for the sight of Savage working underdog to Akeem!
Match 15 – October 24, 1988 – WWF Heavyweight Title- Randy Savage (c) w/Elizabeth vs Andre The Giant w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan
Well, what did you expect? Thi was precisely what you thought it would be, Andre spends 90% of the match beating the piss out of Savage, Savage makes a fiery comeback but instead of him being able to hit the Elbow Drop, Andre rolls out of the ring, Savage follows and attacks at ringside, Heenan grabs the legs as he climbs back in so the ref calls for a DQ win instead of a countout. This was clearly designed to protect Andre but at the expense of a satisfying ending or at least it would be if not for quite how entertaining the four people in the match are. I just wish there was more than one big match on this disc without a screwy finish.
And all that is just Disc 1 of 3. Suffice to say, this a pretty comprehensive overview of un- and little-seen matches with enough here to satisfy older fans but also to explain the mythos of Macho Man quite thoroughly to any newer fans who want to understand who he was, beyond being Bonesaw McGraw in Spiderman, everyone remembers that. The discussion sections with Graves, Bayley, Page & Mooney are entertaining but clearly not the meat of the collection, here to provide palate-cleansers in what is an almost-exhausting overview of the lesser-seen moments of the careers of one of the greatest of all-time. What really shines through is that regardless of the match, Savage gives it his all and he makes even the most throwaway of matches, essential. In short, would I recommend you snap into this collection? Oooh yeeeah.
WWE: Randy Savage Unreleased – The Unseen Matches of Macho Man is Out Now on DVD