Monday, August 31, 2009

Mike Rickard Provides the Randy Savage Bio the WWE Didn't Part Two

Two weeks ago, we examined the exciting career of "Macho Man" Randy Savage from his earliest years up until his first feud against Hulk Hogan. As 1986 began to wind down, Savage was in strong control of the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship but that was about to change. A new challenge awaited Savage in the form of Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. Steamboat had entered the WWF in 1985 just several months before Savage's WWF debut. Like Savage, Steamboat was championship material but he had been mired in feuds against the Magnificent Muraco and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. However Steamboat had refocused himself and set his sights on Savage's I-C belt. Savage now faced the greatest challenge to his title yet.

Savage learned how tough of a competitor Steamboat was during a match taped for WWF Superstars. The fans would also learn the lengths to which Savage would go to hold on to his belt during this heated encounter. The fans watching this match knew they were watching a match for the ages. Steamboat fought with everything he had, putting the champion on the defensive. Steamboat's momentum made it appear almost certain that Savage was going to lose the championship. In fact, Steamboat looked to have won the belt until the controversial arrival of heel referee Danny Davis. Davis interrupted the count, giving Savage a chance to regroup. Savage capitalized and sent Steamboat out of the ring where "The Macho Man" proceeded to assault Steamboat's throat area. After throwing Steamboat back into the ring, Savage took the timekeeper's belt and jumped off the top rope with it, using it to crush Steamboat's larynx. Steamboat was hospitalized and fans wondered if he could ever come back from the devastating injury he had suffered.

Just when it looked as if Savage had ended the challenge (and career) of Ricky Steamboat, "The Macho Man" got a rude awakening when Steamboat showed up at ringside for one of his matches! From there, Steamboat made his presence known and Savage knew that he would have to do battle with the man who had taken all he could dish out and still come back for more!

A rematch was signed for Savage and "The Dragon" to appear at Wrestlemania III. In what is largely regarded as one of the greatest matches of all time, Savage and Steamboat fought over the Intercontinental Championship. The two fought back and forth with neither man gaining the upper hand for long. Finally, after referee Dave Hebner was accidentally knocked out, Savage clotheslined Steamboat and laid him out. He climbed to the top rope and delivered his deadly flying elbowsmash from the top rope, covering Steamboat for the pin. Unfortunately for Savage, the referee was still unconscious and couldn't make the count. Savage then went to repeat the move that had nearly ended Steamboat's career. Frustrated, Savage grabbed the timekeeper's bell and climbed the top rope to deliver the same move that had crushed Steamboat's larynx months earlier.. Perhaps remembering how Steamboat had saved him from the brutal attack of Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik many months before, George "The Animal" Steele knocked Savage off the top rope, giving Steamboat the opportunity to rally back. When Savage bodyslammed Steamboat, Steamboat hung on to Savage and rolled him up for the pinfall victory. Ricky Steamboat was the new Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion.

By now, fans were warming to Savage and he turned babyface. After the WWF Title was declared vacant when Andre the Giant sold the belt to "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, a tournament was held for the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania IV. Savage fought his way through three opponents to the finals where he faced "The Million Dollar Man" in the finals. However DiBiase was far from finished with his quest for the gold. True to form, DiBiase, DiBiase, stacked the deck by placing both Virgil and Andre the Giant in his corner. Things looked bleak for Savage but help came in the shape of Hulk Hogan. In the final round, Hulk Hogan lent his support to Savage by blasting DiBiase with a steel chair, helping Savage win the belt.

Shortly thereafter, Savage began feuding with Ted "Million Dollar Man" DiBiase and Andre the Giant. Savage was no match for both wrestlers so he teamed with Hulk Hogan, forming a tag team known as the Mega Powers. The MegaPowers met DiBiase and Andre at SummerSlam. Jesse "The Body" Ventura was appointed as the special referee but fans were skeptical that he would call a fair match given the financial incentives DiBiase would no doubt give him to call things in the Million Dollar Man's favor. In the end, the lovely Elizabeth unleashed her secret weapon- an eenie weenie polka dot bikini which distracted the Megapowers' foes and allowed them to rally back and defeat Andre and DiBiase.

Over the next year, the MegaPowers slowly began to split apart as Savage became increasingly jealous over what he thought was Hulk Hogan "lusting after Elizabeth". Finally, the Mega Powers exploded during a match between the dream team and the team of the Big Bossman and Akeem the African Dream Savage brutally attacked Hogan, setting up a main event match at Wrestlemania V. Elizabeth remained in a neutral corner during the match, in which Hogan regained the WWF Title.

Savage felt that Elizabeth had betrayed him and replaced her with valet Sherri Martel. "Scary" Sherri often aided Macho Man with the help of a loaded purse and Savage continued his winning ways in the WWF, eventually defeating "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan for the King of the Ring title. The Macho King (as Savage was known after defeating Duggan) then began a feud with the Ultimate Warrior after helping Sgt. Slaughter defeat the Warrior for the WWF Title. Before the match began, "The Macho King" (as Savage was calling himself) attacked the champion to the point where the Ultimate Warrior had to crawl to the ring for the match. Amazingly, the Ultimate Warrior rallied back until the "Macho King" blasted a ruby scepter over the Warrior's head giving Slaughter the opening he needed to clinch his win. Savage and the Warrior feuded, culminating in a retirement match in which Savage lost, forcing him to leave the squared circle. After losing the match, an enraged Sherri Martel attacked Savage but Elizabeth rushed to the ring and saved Savage.

Although Savage could no longer wrestle, he continued to appear in the WWF as a color commentator. He also rekindled his romance with Elizabeth and eventually married her at SummerSlam. However the wedding reception was crashed by Jake "The Snake" Roberts and the Undertaker who attacked Savage and terrified Elizabeth with a snake they had placed in one of their gifts. Unable to wrestle, Savage was unable to exact revenge on Roberts until he received special dispensation from WWF President Jack Tunney. Savage and Roberts would feud for several months before Savage destroyed Roberts in a match on Saturday Night's Main Event.

His feud with Roberts finished, Savage turned his sights to the WWF Championship again (held by Ric Flair who had won the title at the Royal Rumble). Flair and Savage feuded with Flair taunting Savage that Elizabeth was "damaged goods" and that Flair had romanced her before Savage even knew her. Flair and Savage met at Wrestlemania where Savage won his second WWF Title. It wasn't long before Savage lost the title to Flair and began feuding with Razor Ramon (who helped Flair regain the belt from Savage).

Savage began wrestling less frequently in the WWF and joined Vince McMahon as a color commentator on Monday Night RAW. Savage found himself thrust back into the spotlight when his protégée Crush turned on him, blaming Savage for an injury he suffered at the hands of Yokozuna. Savage would face Crush at Wrestlemania X in a Falls Count Anywhere Match, proving that he still had it in the ring. Then, in a surprise move, Savage left the WWF for rival World Championship Wrestling (WCW) becoming one of their top babyface wrestlers and teaming with Hulk Hogan. Savage rekindled his feud with Ric Flair and battled Flair over the WCW World Title after winning his first WCW belt in a 60 man battle royal. The Savage/Flair feud was taken to another level when Miss Elizabeth entered WCW and turned heel against Savage by joining Flair.

The Macho Man became involved in one of the biggest angles of all time when WCW was invaded by the New World Order. Savage defended WCW against the NWO, rekindling his feud with Hulk Hogan (a founding member of the NWO). Savage challenged Hogan for the WCW Championship but the continued interference of nWo members made it impossible for Savage to wrest the belt from Hogan.

After his WCW contract expired, Savage disappeared from the company for several months before resurfacing at the 1997 Super Brawl PPV. Savage shocked the fans when he interfered in the WCW title match between champion Hulk Hogan and challenger "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, helping Hogan to retain the belt. Savage was now a member of the New World Order he had spent several months fighting.

Now a member of the nWo, Savage battled WCW's babyfaces such as Diamond Dallas Page and Lex Luger. The feud against Page went on for most of 1997, culminating in a Las Vegas Death Match at Halloween Havoc. After feuding with Page, Savage found himself embroiled against "The Total Package" Lex Luger. After the program with Luger ended, Savage found his rivalry with Hulk Hogan was far from over. With Sting holding the WCW championship, Hogan and Savage found themselves fighting over who would challenge Sting for the belt. Hogan and Savage's rivalry quickly ignited into downright hostility when Hogan tried to keep Savage from winning the belt. When Savage won the belt, the nWo found itself split into two factions with Hogan leading his teammates against the nWo members who had sided with "The Macho Man". Once again, Savage was a babyface as were his comrades in what became known as the nWo Wolfpack.

Unfortunately for "The Macho Man", years of wear and tear had taken their toll on his body, forcing him to undergo knee surgeries. This would lead to Savage's absence from WCW for most of 1998. When he returned, Savage introduced his new female valet Gorgeous George. He also introduced the fans back to his heel side as he allied himself with Sid Vicious as well as two new female companions, Madusa and Miss Madness. This team would see Savage capture the WCW title once again, this time in a tag match at Slamboree. The reign lasted all of one day with Hogan defeating Savage the next night on Monday Night Nitro.

By 1999, WCW was beginning to tailspin as the WWF overtook it in the Monday Night War. Savage continued working for WCW until his contract expired in 2000. His last major program saw him allied with WCW's veterans known The Millionaire's Club against the young upstarts known as The New Blood. Savage then disappeared from the world of wrestling for several years.

Despite his absence from wrestling, Savage remained busy, appearing as a wrestler in the blockbuster film Spider-Man and recording a universally panned rap album entitled Be a Man. During his hiatus from wrestling, Savage challenged Hulk Hogan to a shoot wrestling match for charity. The match failed to materialize but rumor has it that the two ran into each other at a TNA show.

With WCW out of business, fans began to wonder if Savage might show back up in the WWE. Over the years, rumors have flown that Savage is persona non grata at the WWE. While no one knows the reason why, Vince McMahon has made it clear that Savage is one of the very few people who he will not do business with. Fans wanting to see the Macho Man in action were excited when Savage returned to the ring for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) in 2004. Sadly, his appearance was short-lived and fans were shocked to see that the once muscular Savage had become a shell of his former self.

Since this time, Savage has been noticeably absent from the world of wrestling. However he still remains one of the most popular men in the history of the business. Despite a fifteen year absence from WWE television, Savage's Macho Madness DVD proved to be a success, demonstrating that while he is gone from the airwaves, he is not gone from the hearts and minds of wrestling fans everywhere.

No comments: