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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Macho Man – The Randy Savage Story Discs 1 & 2

November 25, 2014 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: Macho Man – The Randy Savage Story Discs 1 & 2  

 photo randy-savage-story-macho-mandvd_zpsfe6096f0.jpg

 

Disc 1

Disc 1 features the WWE “documentary” on Randy Savage’s life and wrestling career. As usual, it serves more as a promotional tool for WWE’s vision of Savage’s legacy as opposed to being a critical look at Savage’s life and career. That’s not surprising at this point, but it should always be noted when discussing WWE “documentaries.” With that in mind, WWE pays great tribute to Savage’s legacy as a performer. Savage was an all-time great performer who had a ton of kayfabe and artistic success, and that is accurately conveyed here (even if the documentary doesn’t cover every important aspect of his career). On top of that though, the documentary actually exhibits some restraint at times when it comes to giving an unnecessarily  flowery interpretation of Randy  as a person. While it seems without doubt that he was a good man, we all have warts that cause blemishes.

Miss Elizabeth was such an important part of Randy Savage the person and the character, and I think it would be a disservice to both of their memories to gloss over their troubles. Savage’s very destructive relationship with Elizabeth is discussed and a fair amount of the wrestlers interviewed at least hint (if not outright come out and say) that their relationship was not healthy in several ways. The combination of Savage’s legendary paranoia and the wrestling business were not the perfect match, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where their relationship could have ended well as a result. Savage’s brother, Lanny Poffo, was the lone dissenting voice in the discussion on the Savage/Elizabeth relationship.

Poffo was understandably quite protective of Randy in this documentary and was often advocating for the best possible spin on every situation. I can understand why Lanny would be acting this way, and to a certain extent, as Randy’s brother, he probably could offer more insight into Randy than anyone else interviewed. However, the Randy/Elizabeth drama always seemed like a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” situation to me. It’s hard for any version of their story that is not discussed with a dose of cynicism to have much credibility. There are not many people in the world who think the relationship was healthy in the long run for either of them.

Unfortunately, WWE did shy away from some other important topics. The major shortcomings of the doc are that Vince McMahon is not interviewed at all, and the story of Savage’s exit from the WWF is never set straight (and the rumors of Savage coming back at at least two different points in the nineties are never addressed at all). Obviously, Vince does not have to do anything that he doesn’t want to do, but the story of Randy Savage is clearly incomplete without Vince’s insight. Savage’s final years in the WWF and his eventual exit from the company are controversial topics that we got minimal insight on. If nothing else, it was certainly a missed opportunity for Vince and the WWE to bring some public closure to the issues.

In the end, this feature effectively conveyed how historically great and important Randy Savage was as a performer. It’s clear how respected he was as a wrestler and as a person by those who were interviewed (and a lot of them were some of the biggest names in wrestling over the last thirty years). Savage deserves to be spoken of and written about as an all-time great that was simultaneously ahead of his time and timeless as a performer. It makes it all the more sad that his legacy has been marred by how his career ended without much fanfare and (more importantly) that his life ended far too soon. It’s clear that he made an impact on his loved ones that far outstrips the tremendous impact he made on his fans and admirers. As Randy’s mother says about the loss of her son, “[Losing Randy] doesn’t get easier. You just go through the motions of it better.”

Other Notes on Macho Man – The Story of Randy Savage:
– The documentary was supplemented with clips from a 1993 Randy Savage interview where he appeared to be mostly out of character.
– Savage’s mother appears. I genuinely would have never guessed that she was still alive. Her presence proved to be quite emotional at a few different points.
– CM Punk’s talking head spots were not edited out.
– Lanny discussed Randy’s plan in the early nineties to work a two-year feud with Shawn Michaels that would end with Shawn retiring Randy for good. Probably something you should have done, Vince!
– I’ll never relate to the thinking that Savage was too old in 1993-94 to be an active performer in the WWF. That always seemed like a major miscalculation on Vince’s part.
– No one who was interviewed called out Randy when he came back to WCW after knee surgery for looking all juiced up. His new look was casually referred to him trying not to become stale. Personally, when a man in his forties puts on gratuitous muscle and surrounds himself with multiple younger women, it’s nearly impossible not to see him as a man going through a major mid-life crisis.
– Ricky Steamboat does a solid Randy Savage impression.
– Steamboat could also barely contain his annoyance with Randy’s perfectionist attitude leading to their matches being laid out step by step all the way through, but he then gets very emotional when he thinks back on the match.

 

Disc 2

WWF Superstars

November 22, 1986

Randy Savage(c) (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Ricky Steamboat [WWF Intercontinental Championship]
Dragon had some early success, but Savage got control after a diving double axe handle. Dragon came back after rolling through a crossbody attempt. As Dragon built some momentum, there was a ref bump. A second ref ran in to make a count, but the two referees went at it instead. Nonsense. The confusion allowed Savage to hit Dragon with a leaping knee to the back. Savage then hit a diving axe handle to the floor with Dragon’s throat on the barricade. Savage won via countout as best as I can tell, but there was no official ruling.

Savage then hit Dragon with the bell after the match. Steamboat was stretchered out.

This match featured some hot action and had a good angle to create a major issue between the two men. Despite these two guys having very different philosophies on professional wrestling. they had great in-ring chemistry.
Match Rating: **3/4

 

WWF
February 7, 1987

Randy Savage(c) (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Bruno Sammartino [Lumberjack Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship)
These guys had at least one other good match during this time period.

Savage tried to run away early, but the lumberjacks sent him back into the ring. Bruno was full of energy and was kicking Savage’s ass. Savage used some object to gouge Bruno’s eyes, and he then worked Bruno over. Bruno eventually fought back, and Savage went back to bumping like a mad man for Bruno. Savage got sent to the floor. He briefly brawled with Ricky Steamboat. Bruno applied the bearhug, but King Kong Bundy made the save to give Bruno the DQ win.

Hell broke loose, and everyone was brawling with each other.

Bruno and Savage had such a great dynamic. Did a Bruno/Steamboat vs. Savage/Bundy tag match ever happen? I want to go to there.
Match Rating: **3/4

 

WWF
February 15, 1987

Randy Savage(c) (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Ricky Steamboat [WWF Intercontinental Championship]
Dragon was in control at the start. Savage eventually got control though, and he tried to win via countout. Dragon managed to not get counted out, but Savage remained in control. Dragon came back after avoided a couple of leaping attacks from Savage. Savage managed to get back control after dumping Dragon to the floor. How poorly written is this recap? Sheesh. He went for the throat again with the diving axe handle, but Dragon avoided it and then made a comeback. Dragon started to choke Savage, and the ref had to pull him off. Savage got busted open. Savage fought back. Dragon went for several pinning combinations. Savage was getting discombobulated, but he managed to reverse an O’Connor Roll and got a handful of tights: 1…2…3!

Steamboat attacked Savage after the match.

I genuinely thought this was a really nice way to continue the feud between these two. Steamboat really got over how personal this feud had become for him, and that elevated everything in the match. Savage was his usual great self, as he was bumping his ass off to get over Steamboat’s rage. The match itself was more ‘good’ than ‘great,’ but within the context of their feud that shouldn’t be considered much of a slight.
Match Rating: ***1/4

 

WWF
September 18, 1987

Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. King Harley Race
Neither guy could get a firm advantage early on. Harley finally cut Savage off after a headbutt and a piledriver. Savage pretty much came right back though. Race managed to avoid the flying elbow, but Savage eventually got the O’Connor Roll with what appeared to be a handful of tights: 1…2…3

Race looked really old here in a bad way (whereas Bruno looked old in an awesome way earlier in the set). He just was not that interesting to watch here. For whatever reason, Savage was not flying all around to add some much-needed excitement to the match. This did not really work for me.
Match Rating: *

 

WWF
March 5, 1988

Randy Savage & Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel) vs. The Honky Tonk Man & The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) [Cage Match]
The match was an all-out brawl with no tags (thankfully). Santana was the first person to escape the cage, but all the members of a team have to escape to win. Neidhart was the second person to escape. Savage and Martel sent Hart and Honky into each other. Martell managed to escape, but Honky kept Savage in the ring. Savage was left alone with Bret and Honky, and he got worked over for a while. Hart easily escaped after a bit. Honky’s ego got the better of him, and he kept attacking Savage. He tried to stroll out, but Savage kept him in the ring. Savage eventually escaped to give his team the win!

Just a very fun match to watch. There wasn’t a ton of substance to the thing, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I wish WWE used this type of cage match today.
Match Rating: ***

 

WWF
July 8, 1988

Randy Savage(c) (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil) [WWF Heavyweight Championship]
Savage was wearing a neckbrace for this match. He was running through DiBiase early on. A Virgil distraction finally allowed DiBiase to cut off Savage. DiBiase worked him over for a while. After sending DiBiase into a turnbuckle, Savage made a comeback. Virgil completely failed at interfering. DiBiase managed to send Savage, injured neck-first, into a turnbuckle. DiBiase ripped off the neck brace and threw it at Elizabeth. “Shocking bad manners!” I love Alfred Hayes. The Million Dollar Dream was applied. Savage survived, but Virgil then hit him with a chair: 1…2…NO! Savage got a small package, but Virgil ran in for the DQ.

DiBiase and Virgil attacked Savage after the match.

This match threatened to get good a few times, but it never really came together and it had a bad finish. I’ve yet to see a Savage/DiBiase that I have enjoyed without reservation. The pairing just does not grab me the way it does for others.
Match Rating: **1/2

 

WWF
January 16, 1989

Randy Savage(c) (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Bad News Brown [Harlem Street Fight for the WWF Heavyweight Championship]
They were wearing STREET CLOTHES for a STREET FIGHT. Brown was in control early, but Savage came back and used his belt as a weapon. Savage went to use a chair, but Brown blocked the attack and got back control. Brown went to put Savage through a table, but he accidentally put the referee through the table (propped up in the corner). The crowd didn’t even really know how to react to that one. Brown hit (and I quote) The Ghetto Blaster, but the referee was still knocked out. A second referee appeared while Savage got a backslide: 1…2…3!

Brown attacked Savage after the match. A bunch of wrestlers separated them after the match. They mostly failed though.

Honestly, this match mostly stands out for them doing a table bump that felt like a mid-nineties table bump. I genuinely cannot think of an earlier moment in time where someone went through a table like that. This was on its way to being a better match. It just needed a few more minutes to reach a higher gear.
Match Rating: **3/4

 

WWF
April 24, 1989

Huk Hogan(c) vs. Randy Savage (w/ Sensational Sherrie) [WWF Heavyweight Championship]
Savage got the early advantage. Hogan fought back quickly enough. A slap from Sherrie allowed Savage to cut off Hogan with a leaping knee strike. Hogan Hulked Up and made a comeback, but Savage fired right back after another Sherrie interference spot. Savage used an illegal object, but Hogan Hulked Up again. Proper Hogan comeback time. They went to the floor, and Savage managed to win via countout after Sherrie interfered again.

Savage and Sherrie tried to celebrate with the belt, but Hogan ruined the party.

This was a fun brawl, but it obviously had a very unsatisfying finish that holds it down.
Match Rating: **3/4

 

Check out some free Randy Savage matches!
Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts
Randy Savage vs. Bad News Brown
Randy Savage vs. Aldo Marino (WWF debut)
Randy Savage vs. George “The Animal” Steele
Randy Savage, Jeff Hardy, & AJ Styles vs. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, & Jeff Jarrett

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: [email protected] Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website,FreeProWrestling.com. Check out a full/organized list of all the wrestling show reviews I’ve done at 411mania.

7.5
The final score: review Good
The 411
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  • sdelfin

    I’ve noticed some, if not most, of the wrestlers of the time would not always bring their best to house shows and I can understand why. I know I’ve seen Steamboat looking lethargic and unimpressive even in some inconsequential TV matches. That would be my guess as to why some matches, like Savage/Race didn’t reach their potential. On a more positive note, I haven’t yet come across that particular Savage/Steamboat match so I’ll have to check that out. I did once see a Steamboat/Savage match that was recorded after Wrestlemania 3 which was also very good and cool to come across.

    • TJHawke411

      When it comes to Savage, I don’t even mind watching his lesser matches from his WWF days. He’s a pure joy to watch before WCW (and he still had good WCW stuff from 1995-1997).

  • Scott

    I was really confused and disappointed they skipped the entire Macho King era since it was such a big part of his career.

    Savage at his laziest would basically sell death a minute into a match then come back with the bodyslam/elbow, I remember being frustrated by it as a kid because he was so different to almost everyone else in WWF. Glad that while they’re not all great I’m happy there’s none of those matches on the DVD.

    “I’ll never relate to the thinking that Savage was too old in 1993-94 to be an active performer in the WWF. That always seemed like a major miscalculation on Vince’s part”

    Maybe I’m being too kind to Vince but do you think maybe it was more he was worried about Savages physical well being and/or thought it was best for him to slow down?

    • TJHawke411

      WWE docs are just never going to be what we want them to be. I genuinely want some of these topics (ECW, WCW, Savage, Flair, Hogan, etc.) to get the Ken Burns (not actually him) treatment. WWE insists on producing easy-to-digest “theatrical” (for wont of a better word) cuts.

      Everything I read suggests it was his age, as Vince wanted a “youth movement.” Savage would have been a perfect part-timer to help usher in that era. He easily could have gone until 1997-1998 as a part-timer based on his work in WCW (where he was probably working more often.)

      • Scott

        I wasn’t expecting any kind of expose but just ignoring almost 2 years of his career where he had one of the most iconic matches in Wrestlemania history just seems odd.

        • TJHawke411

          I guess I should have clarified that things like that never surprise me.

  • Ice Dagger

    Macho Midlife Crisis is one of my all-time favourite “unintentional” gimmicks.

    Also: kind-of darkly hilarious that Vince thought Savage was too old to wrestle in 1994 at the age of 42, but thought it a BRILLIANT! idea to have 45 year-old Batista win the Royal Rumble this year.

    • save_us_DaJ

      Probably a context thing, with Vince only seeing Savage as “too old” relative to the New Generation push. So many older names have stuck around in this generation, so Batista’s comeback probably didn’t seem quite as out of place to him.

      I don’t know why it didn’t occur to Vince to keep an older name around to put over the new guys. Although come to think of it he kind of did that fleetingly with Backlund – maybe given how Backlund was utilised in the New Generation it was best for Savage to stay mostly on commentary.

  • Paul Westbrook

    THIS DVD set is indeed a Must Buy for me. OOOOOOH YEAH!!