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Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 372 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: November 17 2014
Ooooh Yeahhhhhh! This DVD provides a long-awaited documentary on the life and times of the legendary Macho Man, Randy Savage, along with a selection of matches. But does this live up to the hype?
The documentary, lasting around 90 minutes, begins a little awkwardly with a car accident sound effect, followed by tributes by Randy’s brother Lanny “The Genius” Poffo on the sight of the crash which led to the Macho Man’s death in 2011. From there, it covers Randy’s life from growing up to his pre-wrestling baseball career and then onto his entry into wrestling and, in 1985, the WWF.
Significant time is devoted to Savage’s growing popularity and main event status in the Federation, as well as his classic feuds and matches with Ricky Steamboat and Hulk Hogan, and his at-times rocky marriage with Miss Elizabeth (the two divorced in 1992). We then revisit Savage’s role as spokesman for Slim Jim, his exit from the WWF for WCW in 1994, his charity work, his WCW run, his post-WCW banishment from WWE, the death of Elizabeth in 2003, his attempts to move away from wrestling and his second wedding in 2010 to Lynn, and his own tragic demise on May 20 2011. Across the feature are comments from most of Savage’s top opponents and co-workers, along with family (including his mother and, as stated, his brother Lanny) and friends.
It is a strong, in-depth documentary of the Macho Man, which pays tribute to his legacy but also does not ignore his flaws. One big positive is the use of an interview by Savage recorded in 1993, which is surprisingly informative for a filmed discussion from this era, and which provides context for some stories that, without this input, may have seemed incomplete. The talking heads are relevant and have worthwhile comments, although Lanny rejecting certain views on Randy’s relationship with Elizabeth seems like a bit of a whitewash based on the overwhelming percentage of wrestlers who believe that these opinions are true.
On the down side, the opening scene is slightly unsettling. Three of Savage’s greatest feuds (with The Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts and Ric Flair) are not acknowledged at all in the documentary, which is disappointing (hey, the incident when the snake bit Savage is covered on the OMG DVD). And whilst it is refreshing of WWE to acknowledge that Savage was never provided with a return to WWE, and notes that there was anger which somehow couldn’t be overcome, it doesn’t really explain why (at least from WWE’s standpoint; Savage’s gripes with the company are mentioned), which is disappointing for what was a key selling point of the documentary.
(The reason behind the WWE-Savage problems is one of wrestling’s great mysteries. Some explanations are plausible, other rumours are more scandalous and probably untrue. What is known is that Savage left the WWF an hour before a live Raw, according to Jerry Lawler on the Greatest Wrestling Stars Of The ’80s DVD, which no doubt upset Vince; but Savage did apparently negotiate with the WWF in the late 1990s about a possible return, so it seems an example of a grudge which simply did not heal. That being said, Savage did film a commercial for WWE All-Stars and promote his classic action figure in 2010, none of which would have happened had there been massive hatred on both sides; it does seem like wounds were in the process of healing at that point, which only makes his death the following year even sadder.)
The matches spread across discs two and three are largely enjoyable, ranging from a few lesser-known bouts against Ricky Steamboat (one of which is surprisingly bloody for a PG-rated DVD), several 1980s clashes from the Boston Garden, and rare bouts against Harley Race, Bad News Brown (which feels bizarre considering the time in which it took place and has an abrupt ending), Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Shawn Michaels (according to Lanny, Savage had pitched for a long-running feud with HBK by which to end his WWF career; that this was declined is a reason why he chose to defect to WCW).
The most famous match included is his SummerSlam 1992 WWF Title defence against The Ultimate Warrior, a really good match which proves that the Warrior did possess more than a couple of moves, and which links nicely into his never-before-released WWF Title loss to Ric Flair a few days later, and is a great example of wrestling storytelling. Flair reappears in a WCW Title Cage bout; Savage also has WCW matches against Arn Anderson and Diamond Dallas Page to conclude the DVD.
As stated, one should find a lot of entertainment and plenty of action across the match selection; however, if you did not purchase Macho Madness: The Ultimate Randy Savage Collection, released in 2009, you may be wondering where Savage’s most high-profile matches are. The answer is in the question: the previous Macho DVD contained all of his greatest bouts, and understandably did not want to repeat content here. I was fine with this, but you may not be.
So, does Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story live up to the hype? To me, it kind of does, but there are definitely some missing chapters from the documentary, and the match selection is good but not comprehensive. Despite these flaws, I still rate this as a good wrestling DVD which old-school fans should buy; you just need Macho Madness to complete the package.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Good