wrestling / Video Reviews

The Wrestling Review Experience: Best Of Randy Savage 1985-1986

May 15, 2005 | Posted by Scott Rutherford

Back before the rap songs, the Hogan paranoia, the porn star girlfriends, the dead ex-wives and the general fan apathy towards him, Randy Savage was one of the top drawing stars of the 80’s. Unlike other 80’s stars, he could talk, go in the ring and draw tremendous heel heat or pop a crowd like nuts depending on his mood. This tape, sent to me by the ever excellent Matt Long of Wrestletapes, focuses on the first few years of his WWF career where he built his reputation for awesome and great ring work.

Let’s take a look.

The tape opens with a segment from the mid 80’s TV show TNT and Randy parading before Jimmy Hart, Bobby Heenan and Freddie Blassie and each has to tell him why he should pick them as a manager. I must admit Blassie offer of 25% more than any other offer he receives is about the best thing he could hope for. He chooses someone else.

Randy Savage v Jim “The Jobber” Young: Well, Jim really doesn’t call himself the jobber, but it was easier to call him that for review purposes so I wouldn’t have to go into intricate detail about who he was. Which is now beyond redundant. And this match happens to be shorter than the time it has taken to type this. Randy finishes with the elbow from the top rope.

Then he announces his manager rejecting Hart, Blassie, Heenan, Mr. Fuji and Johnny V and introduces his then wife Elizabeth, who is so amazingly hot even then but somehow managed to get better looking with age. Hearing Vince blow his load is funny, watching the guys in the crowd get an instant hard-on is amusing and special note that Savage starts the Liz mistreatment right from the start.

The Wrestling Classic Tournament. This was a one-night show that was essentially King of the Ring ten years before King of the Ring became an official PPV. This night Randy wrestled Ivan Putski, Dynamite Kid, Ricky Steamboat and the Junkyard Dog and pretty much showed why he ruled.

The pre-show draw shows Elizabeth choosing Ivan and Savage berating her for her choice.

Randy Savage vs. Ivan Putski: Savage spits at Putski and bails leaving Putski pissed in the ring. They lock up and Putski applies a full nelson, releases and spits back. They lock up again, into the ropes, Randy tries a running shoulder block which Ivan no sells. Savage comes back with some rights but Ivan fights him back into the corner and lays down some punches and kicks. Randy then grabs his legs and gets the surprise pin with his feet on the rope. 3 minutes but felt like 30. 2/10

Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat: Yup, two years before it meant anything but knowing what they could do, I reckon they would have put the match on at WM2 and not steal the show from Hogan/Andre. To the match. Savage attacks before the bell and they brawl to the outside but Savage gets the upper hand when Steamboat rolls back in after him. Steamboat gets a head scissors and Savage goes to the floor, Steamboat follows, gets an atomic drop and they head back in and proceed to chop the shit out of each other but Savage sneaks in a backdrop suplex. He heads to the top for the double axehandle but it gets blocked and Steamboat starts chopping wood again. Savage bails but Steamboat gets him back in with a suplex, Ricky gets the cross body block from the top rope but it only gets two. The start exchanging chops again (WHOOOO!) as Randy goes to the outside and tries to find a weapon in his tights. That sounded to gay didn’t it? Well he finds something in there and nails Steamboat to counter a suplex for the win. That match clocked in at just over three minutes but fuck me did it rock! 6.5/10

Randy Savage vs. The Dynamite Kid: Ahh, cruel world, why is this match so short? This match gets four minutes. Four fucking minutes! Lock-up to start as Dynamite works over Randy on the mat so Randy bails. They lock-up again against the ropes but as the ref tries to break Savage gets the cheap shot to control. Savage hits some elbows but Kid fights back with a stiff shoulder block and nails a vicious backdrop and hits a cross body for two. Savage blocks a sunset flip and Dynamite misses another cross body block. Kid shakes it off and nails a clothesline but Savage makes his way to the top but Dynamite crotches him. Kid then hits the superplex but Randy hooks the leg first and gets the pin, Super intense match. 6/10

Randy Savage vs. The Junkyard Dog: After two awesome matches the Memphis heel Savage emerges for this match and he stalls to start. Dog does what he does best and goes to a bear hug and then starts working over the back. JYD hits a clothesline for two and Dog bails. Savage takes advantage and hits the double axehandle to the floor, then drops another and tops it off with a chair shot. Back in and JYD block another axehandle from the top rope, Savage charges and gets back dropped over the tope rope and JYD wins by count out. 10 minutes. 10 fucking minutes for that. Poor Randy. 3/10

Mean Gene goes into the ring to interview JYD but Jesse Ventura interrupts and says Savage should be the winner anyway because he wrestled more times than JYD who received a bye earlier.

Quick clip from Ventura’s Body Shop. Notable for Savage noting his mental insanity and freaking out every time he talks. Indeed.

Hulk Hogan vs. Rusty “The Jobber” Brookes: This is a jobber match from Superstars in about ’85. Randy sends Liz into the ring before the bell to ask Hogan why he doesn’t wrestle anyone with any credentials. Hogan takes exception to that, Brookes attacks from behind Hogan fights back and wins with the usual. After the bell Savage attacks, Hogan comes back and throws out Savage, Randy wants back in but Liz restrains him. Massive heat for this.

Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan: This is their first match in the WWF and it’s at MSG. Randy imitates the Hogan posses to huge heat. Lock-up and Hogan overpowers Savage and throws him to the mat to a huge pop. Lock-up as Savage hits the side headlock, whip but Hogan gets the shoulder block and Savage bails. Back in and they lock up, Hogan goes the armbar, Randy counters with a rake to the eyes, hits a snap mere, kneedrop but misses a corner charge. Hogan whips and nails the clothesline in the corner, atomic drop and Randy goes to the floor and hides behind Liz so Hogan can’t get him. Back in Savage gets a snap mere and goes up top for a flying cross body block, Hogan catches and drops him into a back breaker as Savage runs outside again and hides behind Liz. Hogan finally gets him, throws him back in but Savage takes advantage of Hogan rolling back in. Double axehandle from the top rope gets two. Hogan gets thrown to the floor, the double axehandle to the floor from the top rope hits the mark and they head back in. A few Savage punches and he gets another two count and we get the hulk-up, clothesline, big boot but Savage falls back out of the ring. This time Hogan move Liz out of the way, throws Savage back in and gets a kick and elbow combo for two. Hogan charges, misses and clotheslines the ref. Randy gets in a belt shot of the top rope to the floor, Hogan blades, Savage revives the ref and gets the count out win. Randy parades with the belt then runs when Hogan comes to. Hogan gives chase, carries Savage back to the ring and beats the piss out of him. Sweet match. 6.5/10

Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan: Again from MSG and is the rematch from above. Savage attacks before the bell and they brawl. Savage gets the advantage and nails the double axehandle from the top for a two count. He gets the belt, hits Hogan twice and another from the top rope. Hulk fights back and chokes him out with his bandanna, nails an arm drag then imitates Randy’s pomp and circumstance posses. Hogan tosses Savage, rams him into the post and Savage blades. Back in and Hogan unloads then picks him up in a chokehold. Randy fights back, tosses Hulk and rams him into the post, double axehandle form the top rope, rolls him back in, elbow from the top and that only gets two. Hogan hulks up, whips Randy to the corner, clothesline, another whip and he nails the elbow and Savage tries to escape. Hogan gets a whip into the big boot but no leg drop as he tosses Randy to the floor. Hulk tries to post Randy, Liz gets in the way and Savage slides off the back and posts Hogan. Hulk is counted out, he isn’t happy and wrestlers from the back pull them apart. Iron Mike Sharpe sighting here. Great brawl. 810

Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan: This is a title vs. title lumberjack match and is pre WrestleMania 2 which means Hogan has his ribs taped up from the King Kong Bundy attack. Usual crew from the mid 80’s WWF surround the ring. Hogan is also wearing his alternate white trunks. They brawl to start as Hogan takes advantage, whip, clothesline, belt shot and a back suplex. He tosses Randy out, the faces don’t touch him, Hogan then has to get out and throw him back in. Hogan gets in an elbow, goes for a choke then takes him to the corner, whip into a back elbow, armdrag. Hogan runs the ropes but gets tripped up by King Kong Bundy on the outside. Savage takes advantage and gets a headbutt, eye rake and sets up the double axehandle from the top rope for a two count. Savage tosses Hogan who gets the crap kicked out of him by the heels including a Bundy Avalanche against the ring post. Hogan crawls back in but Savage throws him out once more and Bundy once again gets in an Avalanche. A double axehandle from the tope rope and Hogan gets rolled back in but only gets a two count. Savage clotheslines Hogan and removes strapping from Hogan’s injured ribs and works them over. Another axehandle from the top rope hits the ribs but still can only get a two count. Kneedrop also only gets a two as a MASSIVE Hogan chant goes up. Elbows gets another two as well as another double axehandle to the ribs from the tope rope. Savage goes up top, hits the big elbow but Hogan just kicks out at two, Hulks up, whip, big boot and they start a criss-cross, George Steele trips Savage, leg drop for the one, two, three. Sweet match that just kept humming along with smart use of the lumberjacks and logical interference from Steele and Bundy for the up coming WM matches. 8/10

We get part of the “Hulk Who” TNT interview as well as Liz receiving roses from George Steele. Randy doesn’t take this to well.

Randy Savage vs. George “The Animal” Steele: Steele tries to molest Liz to begin. Yeah, that goes as well as you would expect. Steele chokes Savage from the outset and Savage beats feet to the outside. Back in and Steele uses his one offensive move, biting, then tosses Randy over the tope rope. Randy gets back in with some token offense, Steele nails a forearm, body slam and then goes to rip open the turnbuckle. Liz distracts him, Randy nails the double axehandle form the top rope for three. Stupid crap. 1/10.

Now this is what I’m talking about. While Savage was a top-level heel almost from the day he entered the WWF, this is the feud that put him on the map. Tito Santana was a very popular Intercontinental Champ and had not long ago won back the title from Greg Valentine in a wickedly intense cage match. The ensuing feud between Santana and Savage was one of the lost classics of the 80’s. This tape traces the majority of the feud. YEAH BABY!

Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage: JIP from the old Boston Garden. Savage nails the double axehandle form the top as a big Tito chant breaks out. Santana fights, gets an elbow from the second rope, lands some punches and nails the flying forearm, which knocks Savage out of the ring. Randy hides behind Liz, who falls and when Tito tries to help her up, savage dumps him over the railing into the crowd and beats the count back in. 6/10

Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage: Rematch JIP at the Garden again. Tito is working over the knee than applies the figure four-leg lock. Savage rolls to the rope to get the break and goes looking for something in his trunks. Vertical suplex on Savage and Tito goes for the figure four again. Savage fights it, gets the foreign object from his trunks, does a huge air swing in Santana’s direction but misses. Tito goes for the back suplex, Randy nails him with the foreign object , three count and we have a new champ. Thus begins probably the greatest reign of any Intercontinental Champ. 6.5/10.

We get an interview clip at Savages house. A recently married couple pulls up outside and the bride flips and chases after Randy’s limo when he pulls in…….yeah. Has the advantage of Liz spending the entire 10-minute promo in a swimsuit.

Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana: At MSG and JIP with Tito hitting forearms, nails a clothesline and hits a body block. Santana applies the figure four but Savage gouges the eyes for the break and rolls to the floor. Tito brings him back in and nails the flying forearm but as he goes for the cover Randy pulls the ref onto of them for the DQ loss.

Now we start hitting out straps and have a feud where one incident leads logically to the next match. So since Randy got himself DQ, the rematch was made a No DQ.

Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana: JIP as Tito is laying a beating on Randy outside the ring, Savage fights back, tries a suplex which gets blocked but nails a backbreaker instead. He chokes Tito on the tope rope and tries a con-chair-to but finds post only. He quickly tries a double axehandle to the floor but Tito counter with the chair to the mid-section, YEOWCH! Back in the ring and Tito lays some punches and forearms and KO’s Savage. When he comes to he starts heading to the back and Tito launches himself from the apron 15 feet and nails a double axehandle of his own. Nice. Back inside and Tito nails an elbow from the top rope and applies the figure four, Savage goes for the eyes and they head outside again where Randy tries to post Santana but gets blocked and Randy instead tastes the steel and blades. Back in and they trade blows with Tito getting the upper hand, Randy knocks out the ref as Tito nails the flying forearm but there’s no one to make the count. Tito nails a body slam, covers but still no ref! Randy gets the advantage and goes for a slam of his own but Tito slide off, tries a roll-up, which Randy reverses and gets a three count with a hand full of tights. Wicked match. 7/10

I also wish to bring up a point that during this match Gorilla Monsoon is screaming for Savage to be Dqed…in a no DQ match. And people complain about Michael Cole.

So now that everyone figures out that Randy will take out a ref during a match to save his skin, the employ the services of a special enforcer and that man happens to be Bruno F’n Sammartino!

Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana: Lock-up to start and Tito gets an armbar but Randy hits the ropes for the break and walks on the apron on the outside. Tito doesn’t stand for this shit and bumps him to the floor. Savage comes back in as they lock up again and Savage gets an arm drag. They continue to feel each other out but this time Tito nails the arm drag. They lock up again as Savage gets a side head lock but Tito makes the ropes and Bruno steps in to make sure there’s a clean break. Lock-up again and Santana goes behind for the roll up attempt but Savage escapes and dumps Tito over the top and hits the double axe handle to the floor. Back in and Randy hits a running knee to the head, take down for a two count. Savage applies a rear chin lock, nails some knees to the back, goes for the cover and instantly complains about Bruno’s slow counting. Savage goes back to the chin lock and Tito manages to break using elbows to the mid-section but Randy tosses Santana through the second rope to halt the momentum. Double axehandle to the floor back in and Randy nails a kneedrop for a one count, Tito starts fighting back but Randy gets a side headlock, whip and both hit shoulder block and are down for the count. Savage beats the count first but misses the double axehandle and Santana gets a knee lift and Savage falls to the floor. Back in and Tito nails a backdrop into a figure four and Randy makes it to the ropes for the break, Tito charges at Savage in the corner but finds knee but kicks out of the attempted cover at two. Savage tries for a slam but gets countered and wears a suplex. Tito nails the flying forearm, applies the figure four again but Randy rakes the eyes to break. Savage with a gut wrench only gets a two count then tries a back suplex but Tito blocks that, gets the figure four again and just when Randy looks done, Adrian Adonis attacks Bruno. Big brawl erupts and Tito chases off the heels with a chair. Awesome match! 8.5/10

That sets up a tag match for the next month and we get an interview where Gorilla notes that Adonis may have bitten off more than he can chew. Adonis notes he can chew allot. Considering his character at the time was a fat gay man, that’s a scary thought!

Randy Savage & Adrian Adonis vs. Bruno Sammartino & Tito Santana: You know, for an old guy Bruno could still go in the ring. On day I hope he gets to make a one shot comeback and knock Hogan on his ass and shout “Over 30 sell-outs of MSG in a row you asshole!” To the match…Santana and Bruno hit the ring and a wild brawl starts the match and heels bail out quickly enough. Savage throws a chair in just because. Tito goes medieval on Adonis while Bruno tries to get at Randy but Randy is smart and hides behind Liz because Bruno is too much of a gentleman to touch her. Tito gets Adrian laid out on the announce table but Randy takes advantage of this and nails Tito which Adonis takes full advantage of by slamming Tito onto the concrete floor. The match starts proper with Bruno wanting to go but none of the heels want a bar of him but Randy gets distracted and Bruno brings him in by force, kicks the crap out of him and throws him into Adonis. Savage loses his bearings and tries to tag in Tito and gets nailed for his troubles. Tito tags in legit and unloads as both heels sell everything like death. The frenetic pace keeps up until Santana blows a body press and Adonis takes control with a suplex. Tito plays Mexican-in-peril and eventually tags Bruno is and all hell erupts again. Savage tries to placate Sammartino but Tito is having none of that shit and kicks him in the face. NASTY. Santana follows that up with a chair shot, which remarkable only gets Bruno a two count. Both Bruno and Randy tag out and Adonis takes control once more but misses a big splash from off top but Randy nails the double axehandle to keep the heels in front. Santana eventually makes the hot tag again and all four brawl to the floor and Randy beats the count back in to give the heels the duke. Fucking insane brawl not seen in the WWF for years before or nearly 10 years after. 9/10.

Well this tape is the shit! If you ever wanted to know why Savage is a wrestling god, get this now. All the Hogan brawls are must see and the last two matches on the tape are some of the best 80’s wrestling seen in the WWF during that time. When you add the various interview clips and The Wrestling Classic matches you seriously can’t go wrong. The most fascinating thing about this tape is realizing Savages move set is so simple and basic, but it’s how he does everything and the intensity at which he does it is a sight to behold. Savage would be a superstar today if he debuted, I have no doubt about that.

Get this now!. Matt knows what’s good for you!

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Scott Rutherford