Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 539 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: July 21 2009
While the likes of Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Bret Hart would made WWE returns after their WCW stints, one legendary figure who never did resurface in WWE was Macho Man Randy Savage. For reasons that have never been publicly confirmed, Savage remained an outsider to WWE, with even a hint of a return seeming unthinkable. So, when WWE announced that it would release a Randy Savage DVD in 2009, there was a fear that it would not do the great man’s career justice, and even that it could be a burial to resemble the Self-Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior DVD.
Fortunately, the compilation was mostly a fitting tribute to the career of the Macho Man. No, there isn’t a documentary (this wouldn’t come until 2014, several years after his tragic death), and Matt Striker and Maria were a bizarre choice to present the DVD (actually just Maria, playing that confused little girl character, since Striker’s knowledge of wrestling history and topnotch Savage impressions make him a tolerable host), but this collection of matches does display why Savage was and is held in such high regard.
Ignoring Randy’s pre-WWE adventures in several territories, Macho Madness (which, incidentally, has superb colourful artwork which the Macho Man probably would have been proud of) opens with Savage’s Madison Square Garden debut against “Quick Draw” Rick McGraw. Bouts with Ricky Steamboat and Hulk Hogan from late 1985 are a cool preview of his future rivalry with those men, before Savage’s WWF tenure begins proper with his enjoyable Intercontinental Title win over Tito Santana from February 1986. Since this was the era of one PPV event per year, Randy’s year-plus reign, which got him over huge with fans despite his heel status, is remembered for one match, which had to be included here: his classic WrestleMania III battle with Steamboat, which was the greatest WWF match in the first few decades of its history. Before this, though, we get a bout of historic curiosity as he battles Bruno Sammartino, then approaching the end of a phenomenal career himself.
From there, we get clips of the formation of the Mega-Powers (featuring a ludicrously hammy expression by Hogan and their legendary quasi-handshake), before a battle with The Honky Tonk Man on The Main Event, the same show which saw the infamous “twin referee” hullaballoo that unseated Hulk as WWF Champion. Speaking of main events, that takes us to the main event of WrestleMania IV, where Savage (in the final of a tournament caused by said scandal) won his first WWF Title from “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, and a rematch inside a steel cage from MSG, the latter of which is very good. We then see The Mega Powers face The Mega Bucks (DiBiase and Andre The Giant) from SummerSlam 1988. It all seemed that things were rosy between Savage and Hogan.
But in reality, the seeds were being sown for one hell of a break-up, with the paranoid Savage believing that Hulk wanted to take away his beloved Miss Elizabeth. That brings us to their great WrestleMania V main event, which is nostalgic fun all the way. We later see them clash again in a SNME bout that includes a cameo by Smoking Joe Frazier, and after that we get a forgotten Savage match from WrestleMania, as he and Sensational Sherri face Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire at WM VI (Dusty’s music is inexplicably replaced by the UK Wheel Of Fortune theme, which spoils the presentation).
Savage, by now known as the Macho King, would then direct his attention towards The Ultimate Warrior, and here we get to relive their classic Career match from WrestleMania VII, with the post-match scene (a Savage-Liz reunion) providing a true WrestleMania moment. This leads to their on-screen wedding ceremony from SummerSlam 1991 (which is included as a DVD extra), but hold on! Their fabulous day was ultimately spoiled by the evil Jake Roberts, and after clips of Jake’s shocking snake bite attack on Savage, we see Macho get revenge against Roberts at This Tuesday In Texas, which is intense and exciting but could have benefitted from lasting a few minutes longer.
After that match, Savage’s retirement had officially been overturned, leading him to face Ric Flair in an underrated WWF Title bout from WM VIII, which was also preceded by a great plot-line as Flair suggested a past relationship with Elizabeth (“She was mine before she was yours!”). The next few matches are rare bouts from 1992: a very good European Rampage showdown with Shawn Michaels, and a fun tag bout as Savage and Bret face Shawn and Flair. The last WWF bout here is an unsuccessful WWF Title challenge against Yokozuna from February 1994. I was hoping that Randy’s final high-profile WWF match – his WrestleMania X Falls Count Anywhere battle with Crush – would be here, but it wasn’t to be. Instead, the collection moves onto his WCW tenure.
The first WCW bout is a forgettable bout with Flair from Bash At The Beach 1995, the Lifeguard stipulation for which is quite confusing (no surprise for a WCW match). After a later Savage-Flair bout from an early 1996 edition of Monday Nitro, we then revisit what was arguably Savage’s best WCW feud with Diamond Dallas Page, as he and DDP collide in stipulation from The Great American Bash 1997. The DVD culminates with Savage and Sid Vicious facing Kevin Nash and Sting at Bash At The Beach 1999, which has another confusing set of rules (whomever gets the fall leaves as WCW World Champion, meaning that Nash could lose the gold to his own partner; this scenario was used to instigate David Arquette’s risible reign as titleholder the following year). The DVD extras include plenty of classic Savage interviews, and the cheesy-but-great tribute video before the Macho-Liz wedding from SummerSlam 91.
Although the WCW selections are hit-and-miss, the WWF choices are as good as they could be (incidentally, Randy’s last ever match, a one-off six man tag appearance in TNA, is unsurprisingly not even mentioned), resulting in as good a Savage DVD as one could expect from an in-ring standpoint (and some of the matches are absolute classics). It does have its flaws and some minor omissions but on the whole, WWE took the high road and provided Savage fans with a worthy retrospective for the legendary, one-of-a-kind Macho Man.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent