When one of the most intense wrestlers of our generation meets one of the most elegant distractions and one of the biggest liabilities in and out of the ring, a gasoline-like explosion will most likely happen.
While McMahon was creating the image that bigger was better and that sports entertainers had to be mammoth to hold the WWE Title, Savage hit the company by storm and created his own dramatic story. Once he was united with the lovely and elegant Elizabeth – his real life wife – the WWF because a soap opera as well as wrestling company.
No two people, together, captured the hearts of wrestling fans and in a way, made it cool for women to like what had been traditionally a “men’s sport.”
Savage held 20 championships during his 32-year career. He held six world championships between the WWF and WCW, having won the WWF Championship twice and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship four times. He also won the ICW World Heavyweight Championship three times and the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship once.
A one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWE (formerly WWF) has named Savage as the greatest champion of all time and credited him for bringing “a higher level of credibility to the title through his amazing in-ring performances.”
He was also the 1987 WWF King of the Ring and the 1995 WCW World War 3 winner. A major pay-per-view attraction in the 1980s and 1990s, Savage headlined WrestleManias IV, V and VIII, as well as four of the first five SummerSlam shows, the 1995 edition of WCW’s Starrcade, and many other events. Hulk Hogan, face of the WWF during the professional wrestling “Golden Era” of the 1980s and early 1990s, has recognized Savage as a highly influential performer, and the only man during Hogan’s dominance with whom revenues “would stay the same, or get better” when he was WWF Champion.
For most of his tenures in the WWF and WCW, Savage was managed by his real life wife “Miss Elizabeth” Hulette. He was recognizable by wrestling fans for his distinctively deep and raspy voice, his ring attire, intensity exhibited in and out of the ring, using “Pomp and Circumstance” as his entrance music, and his signature catch phrase, “Oooh yeah!”.
Savage died of cardiac arrhythmia while driving with his second wife Barbara Lynn Payne, in Seminole, Florida on the morning of May 20, 2011.
Elizabeth had as much to do with Savage’s success as he did, some could argue her beauty and her timidness, which led to Savage’s distractions in the ring, made her an even more popular figure since “The Macho Man” began his WWF career as a heel.
Miss Elizabeth’s first major angle was during Savage’s feud with George “The Animal” Steele in 1986.
In the angle, Steele fell in love with Elizabeth, angering Savage and leading to a series of grudge matches between him and Steele.
Their feud was one of the WWF’s most popular of the 1980s; it carried on for more than a year, thanks to the feral Steele’s continued innocent crush on Elizabeth. She also figured prominently in Savage’s 1986 feuds with Hulk Hogan and Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat.
After injuring Steamboat’s larynx, Savage lost his Intercontinental Title to Steamboat at WrestleMania III in 1987.
The Savage-Steamboat match concluded with Steamboat defeating Savage. Steamboat later lost the title to The Honky Tonk Man. Honky’s insistence that he was the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time instigated a challenge from Savage, the former champion. In their match, which aired in 1987, on NBC’s Saturday Night’s Main Event, Honky shoved Elizabeth to the mat before assaulting Savage with a guitar. Elizabeth ran backstage and persuaded Hulk Hogan to rescue Savage to form The Mega Powers, running off Honky and his allies, Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.
While their marriage did not last and they moved on to WCW after their time in McMahon’s circus, to this day, their union is one that has not been duplicated and will go down in history as one of the best if not the best ever in the business.
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