WWE Vintage Collection Report: May 29th 2011
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund

Welcome aboard to a special tribute show dedicated to the memory of the late great Macho Man Randy Savage.

The tribute video played during WWE programming this past week opens the show. The part which features the Coldplay song “The Scientist” has been replaced by a new theme titled “Here and Gone,” which is written by Jim Johnston and is available for download on iTunes.

A solemn Okerlund introduces Savage as “one of the greatest superstars in sports entertainment history,” before taking us back to the very beginning of Savage’s career.

July 30th 1985: Championship Wrestling
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Jim Young
Savage had just recently debuted in the company. Billed as a free agent and hot commodity, Savage has Mr Fuji, Bobby Heenan, Johnny Valiant, Freddie Blassie and Jimmy Hart all out watching his match, lobbying for his services. Savage has promised to announce his new manager after the match. Young gets distracted by the managers, allowing Savage to knee him in the back. Savage tosses Young to the floor and comes off the top rope with a double axehandle. Back inside, Savage makes quick work of Young, giving him a delayed suplex, followed by his (soon to be patented) top rope elbow drop. 1-2-3. Winner: MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE. After tossing Young out of the ring, Savage invites the managers in, thanking each one for their consideration. Savage teases that the manager of the future WWF champion is behind the double doors (at the back of the arena.) Right on cue, the future Miss Elizabeth walks out, looking dazzling in a sparkling dark and silver sequinned dress, elbow length gloves and a big smile. Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon gush over her movie star looks on commentary. Savage stops Hart from opening the ropes for Elizabeth, who gets in on her own, before being shown off by Savage.

A clip is shown of Savage blasting Tito Santana with brass knux to win his first Intercontinental Title back on February 8th 1986. Savage pulls the knux from his trunks as Santana goes to lift Savage back into the ring from the apron.

February 17th 1986: Lumberjack Match
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Hulk Hogan
This is a rare champion vs champion bout joined in progress from Madison Square Garden. Hogan is sporting white trunks in favour of his customary yellow ones. Savage rolls Hogan out to the wolves on the floor. Don Muraco holds Hogan so King Kong Bundy (who Hogan was feuding with) can crush him against the ringpost with an avalanche splash. Savage exposes Hogan’s taped ribs and goes to work, gaining a series of nearfalls in the process. Hogan kicks out of Savage’s top rope elbow and Hulks up. Hogan staggers Savage with a big boot, but the savvy Savage cuts Hogan off with a rake to the eyes. Both criss cross off the ropes, but George “The Animal” Steele trips Savage, enabling Hogan to drop the big leg and score the pin. Winner: HULK HOGAN. Savage climbs to the top rope to stare down Hogan after the bell.

In clips lifted from the “Best of Saturday Night’s Main Event” DVD, CM Punk, Matt Hardy and the Miz all put over their excitement at watching the beginning of the formation of the Mega Powers on October 3rd 1987. Elizabeth convinces Hulk Hogan to make the save for Savage, who is getting beaten down by the Hart Foundation and Honky Tonk Man. Once the ring is cleared, the two back into each other, and tease a fight. Matt Striker chimes in about the defining moment that the two hands slowly locked together to confirm their alliance, which was solidified when Savage won his first WWF Title at WrestleMania IV.

The Main Event: February 3rd 1989
The Mega Powers w/Miss Elizabeth vs The Twin Towers w/Slick
Alas, all good things must come to an end. Trouble has been brewing for months between the Mega Powers fuelled by Savage’s jealousy and paranoia of Hogan, regarding his intentions towards Elizabeth. Savage hangs Akeem up on the ropes and lands a top rope cross body. Boss Man breaks up a pin, then Slick jams Boss Man’s nightstick into Savage’s back as he runs the ropes. Akeem throws Savage out of the ring. Elizabeth helps him back in, so Akeem throws him back out on top of Elizabeth. Hogan tends to both, but kneels over Elizabeth, giving her his focus. Savage gets up, pointing at Hogan in disbelief, before getting pulled back inside by Akeem. Savage takes a beating as Hogan carries Elizabeth onto a stretcher and accompanies her to the back. In the medical room, Elizabeth tells Hogan to “go help Randy” so Hogan runs back out. Savage avoids a Boss Man splash, tosses both heels to the floor, slaps Hogan, picks up his belt and leaves. Akeem squashes Hogan with a splash, but Hogan Hulks up, hitting the big boot and legdrop of doom on the African Dream to pick up the win. Hogan thwarts a post match attack by handcuffing Boss Man to Slick and rolls out of the ring to avoid a nightstick swing from Akeem. Winners: THE MEGA POWERS.

In the back, Savage chews out Hogan, accusing him of having lust in his eyes for Elizabeth and wanting his title. As Hogan asks Elizabeth to talk some sense into her man, Savage blindsides Hogan with a belt shot, knocking over a bunch of medical supplies. Brutus Beefcake interjects to prevent a second belt shot, so Savage beats him down. A bunch of officials come to the aid of Hogan and fend Savage off.

In a “Special Report” segment hosted by Lord Alfred Hayes on the September 23rd 1989 edition of Wrestling Challenge, we see Savage beating Hacksaw Jim Duggan to win the kingship of the WWF. Savage uses the loaded purse of new manager Sensational Sherri to knock Duggan out for the win.

Fast forward one week later. Savage and Sherri are sitting on thrones inside the ring, surrounded by most of the heel roster. The Genius (Savage’s brother Lanny Poffo) reads a special poem, putting over both for their regal splendour, adding that Randy saved the crown from ravage and will now be known as Macho King Randy Savage. Mr Perfect helps Savage put on a purple sequinned robe, which has “Macho King” written on the back in silver writing, and is complete with silver and red stars. Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase hands Savage a gift worthy only of a King, in the form of a gold sceptre, telling Savage it’s a gift a King should never be without. The sceptre is completed with a big silver ball on the top. Savage’s kingship lasted an impressive 18 months before he lost a career- ending matchup to the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VII.

The end of Savage and Elizabeth’s nuptials are replayed from SummerSlam 1991. Pink and white balloons fall from the ceiling as the newlyweds kiss. Later on at the reception, Elizabeth is opening the presents in front of Savage and Okerlund. Elizabeth screams and falls back when she opens a box that contains a snake. Jake Roberts and Undertaker enter the room, with Undertaker knocking Savage out with the urn. Sid Justice runs both off with a chair.

Lord Alfred Hayes interviews (a reinstated) Savage backstage at Madison Square Garden, moments before a match with the snake. Savage states that he doesn’t like Jake and what he stands for. After noting he got married in the same building, Savage says he will keep Elizabeth safe by not bringing her out to the ring.

January 31st 1992: Madison Square Garden
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Jake “The Snake” Roberts
We pick things up with Jake in control, swatting Savage with his boot as Savage desperately crawls after him. Savage counters a backbodydrop with a kick, then ducks a short arm clothesline to nail an elbow and series of punches in the corner. Savage elbows Jake down after an irish whip, then hits a double axehandle from the top rope. Savage drags Jake to the corner, only to run into a knee. Jake shoves Savage down, hoists himself up out of the corner and hits a short arm clothesline. Jake signals for the DDT, only to foolishly waste time talking trash to the crowd. Savage blocks the DDT by holding onto the ropes. Jake goes down clutching his head, allowing Savage to put him away with his patented elbow drop. Winner: MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE.

A brief audio clip plays from Savage’s WCW TV debut on the December 5th 1994 edition of Saturday Night. Savage tells Okerlund he wants everyone to freak out as he is here for one reason and that is to take it to the limit. Oooohhhhh Yeeeeaaaahhhh! Savage would go on to win the world title four times during his WCW tenure.

May 27th 1995: WCW Saturday Night
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Stunning Steve Austin w/Colonel Rob Parker
This is the first and only in-ring meeting between the two, and is a quarter-final matchup in the WCW U.S Title tournament. Austin (who was on his way out of the company) had got by Hacksaw Jim Duggan in the opening round, while Savage bested the Butcher. The match is joined in progress. Savage drags Austin’s face across the top rope, and chokes him in the corner. Austin goes to the eyes and works over Savage in the corner. Austin misses a top rope splash. Savage tosses Austin to the floor, sending him into the “Slim Jim” sponsored ringposts and guardrail. Savage throws Austin back in, where a slam and patented elbow drop takes care of him. Sting would end up winning the tournament, as Savage would go to a non-contest with Ric Flair in the semi-finals. Winner: MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE.

In a short retrospective from a 1993 episode of WWF Mania, Savage talks fondly of his first title win at WrestleMania IV. As Savage talks, clips air of his final match with Ted DiBiase. Savage admits he was winded by the time his fourth and final match came about. Savage puts over being in the ring with someone like DiBiase, who had been around a while, wanted the same thing as him and would do anything to stop him. Savage notes he wanted it just a little bit more than DiBiase, admitting in closing that it was a big thrill and the best night of his life.

Closing out the show, Okerlund says he had the pleasure of working with Savage for 22 years and he was a total professional. After admitting that the time dedicated today could never do justice to such an incredible life and career, Okerlund promises we’ll continue to honour Savage’s legacy in future weeks of Vintage Collection. Okerlund remarks “we’re going to miss you brother” as we fade to a in memory graphic to the sound of a slow melancholic version of Savage’s unforgettable ring entrance music “Pomp and Circumstance.”

This was a very emotional, heartfelt show. Kudos to the WWE production team for a job well done. Many of Savage’s great WWF moments were captured and were a joy to relive. The omission of famous WrestleMania matchups against Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior don’t hurt the show, as they’ve already been covered before. Even the wedding was recapped just a few weeks ago, so nothing major has been glossed over. If anything, finding new footage, instead of recycling old matches is a refreshing change.

You could argue that several weeks could have been dedicated to Savage, as he certainly had quite the career. However, something is better than nothing and I have the feeling that we’ll be seeing a lot more Vintage Macho Man in the coming weeks.

RIP Randy Savage. Keep on dropping those elbows in heaven. Oooohhhh Yeeeaaahhh!

See you next week!

Any comments or discussion points drop me a line at shaunmb1@hotmail.com