If you follow me on twitter, you will know that I am a huge wrestling fan. I'm proud of it and I will own up to it. Pass judgement all you want, but Monday Night Raw continues to be one of the highest rated TV shows on cable television. You can't say that about the NHL on Versus, can you? :P
I'm sure we all heard about how "Macho Man" Randy Savage died today. It's obviously sad news, especially if you grew up in the 80's during the apex of WWF (Now WWE). Without question, you put Savage in that same group as 80's greats like Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. He was that good and that over with the crowd. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't really a big Savage fan growing up. I was more of a Andre the Giant fan and I always tended to gravitate towards the bad guys.
Does that shock you?
However, looking back, Savage was clearly ahead of his time. During the 80's, wrestling matches themselves, weren't anything to write home about. Frankly, they were pretty boring. Punch, kick, slam, punch, kick, slam, and 10 minutes later, Hulk Hogan would drop the leg. Savage was different. The guy could wrestle the best type of matches, even by today's standards. He could fly off the top rope or he could beat the crap out of you. He had charisma and really could connect with the fans at ring side. They bought into how well he performed. He had classic matches against Ricky Steamboat at WM3 and even made the Ultimate Warrior look competent during WM8. I assure you, Savage trying to make the Ultimate Warrior look decent is like Tyler Myers making Patty Lalime look like an NHL goaltender.
Anyways, I'm not going to bore you with more details about his in-ring ability. However, even though I wasn't a big fan of Macho Man growing up, I did have a favorite moment of his. It was 1997, and WCW was doing a show at the Marine Midland Arena. At the time, WCW and the Ilio DiPaolo foundation use to come together yearly for a wrestling show. At about the middle point of the show, Art Wander, who use to be a loud mouth radio host, came out in a NWO T-shirt.
Wander introduced Jim Kelly, who had just recently retired from football. They did some sort of ceremony honoring Kelly and the foundation, when all of a sudden, I heard a dark, raspy voice on the PA. "Jim Kelly, Jim Kelly, Jim Kelly?!" Here comes Randy Savage!! Oh, sh#t. Business is about to pick up. For about the next 5-10 minutes, Savage and Kelly traded insults with each other. Savage did the whole, "You're a loser because you lost 4 Super Bowls," rhetoric, while Kelly fought back with the "Well, at least my wife didn't leave me." Burn!
After the insults, the two of them started to push each other. However, before they could come to blows, Diamond Dallas Page came out. DDP was Savage's top rival and made the save for what would have definitely been a beat down for #12 (Sorry, but for today, Savage is over Kelly). Anyways, DDP and Savage wrestled to a no-contest, when members of the NWO came out and interfered. With DDP outnumbered, only the toughest blue-collar QB of all-time could even the odds. Kelly jumped in the ring and used his "vicious" forearms against the likes of NWO jobbers, Vincent and Stevie Ray. Then, DDP made his comeback and threw the rest of the NWO members out of the ring, only to follow them to the floor. With only Kelly and Savage in the ring, Macho Man was about to put Kelly out of action forever. However, Kelly caught him with a serious right hand, knocking Savage out of the ring.
Hooray for the good guys!!
When Kelly and DDP went back to the locker room, Savage, who was obviously shaken by the "Hand of stone" uppercut from Kelly, got on the microphone and said that he was going to get Jimbo when he returned to Buffalo. Which leads me to this gem of a video...
Wow! I don't even know what to say.
I just loved how Bruce Smith had the biggest grin on his face when he laid in those INTENSE forearms to the back of Savage. Knowing Bruce, I'm sure he complained that he didn't get enough shots in at Savage, because he was playing in a 3-4 defense. Nice denim shirt, btw. What about Jimbo? Going all Ken Griffey Jr. with his baseball cap. Did you see how angry Savage got when he started throwing wild hay-makers at Kelly? If only it was an even fight, Kelly would have been rocked!
While researching this story, I actually came across a quote from Kelly about that very encounter. "Randy "Macho Man" Savage -- I got in the ring with him once and threw him down [demonstrates elbow move] and came down with a 'wah-boom.'" Um, wha-boom? You see, this sort of exaggeration makes me think that Kelly's HUGE ownership group to purchase the Bills, is nothing more than John Fina, Fred Smerlas and the owner of Utopia.
With that, we never were able to see Savage vs Kelly III. Damn it. That match-up would have put Thunder Lips vs Balboa, Pros vs Joes, and Manute Bol vs William Perry to shame when it came to inter-promotional fights!
Anyways, I'll never forget being a 16-year old kid and seeing Kelly and Savage go at it.
RIP, Randy Savage. I hope you are getting it on with Miss Elizabeth and Sensational Sherri in heaven. You deserve it.