It’s March. The NCAA Tournament is alive and well (Go Gators), the road to WrestleMania 30 is shortening by the day, and if you are Irish, I’d say the month has been pretty good to you. For the wrestling fan of today, WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans cannot get here fast enough.
Thank you, Triple H, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and Hulk Hogan and so on. But with the promotion of the WWE’s largest wrestling event of the year, it pains me amid all the hoopla and pomp and circumstance there is one man missing from the events and the WWE Hall of Fame – The Macho Man, Randy Savage.
Savage held 20 championships during his professional wrestling 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, which makes him a ten-time World Champion. 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.
Savage – even with all the accolades, the honors and the popularity, may have been the company’s most underrated superstar. At least that is what this writer believes.
There are few truths the WWE doesn’t like to talk about when it comes to the height of its popularity – one being that the power in control of the company, yes Vince McMahon, loved big muscular beasts who were gym rats and spit out nails when then they gave a promo. While Savage was great on the microphone and an amazing talent in the ring – a precursor to the likes of Chris Jericho and CM Punk in to today’s WWE, he was never given the real opportunity to carry the then WWF on his shoulders like Hogan, Bob Backlund and Bruno Sammartino before him.
The same could be said for superstars like Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, Jake Roberts and Jimmy Snuka. There was a pecking order at the time that – although they were dynamic and they brought money in at the gate, the bigger, stronger superstars were the ones given reign with the WWF Title. A complete travesty of sorts, if you ask me.
The WWE has named its Hall of Fame Class of 2014 and still, no word of Savage’s name being added to the prestigious list. His father, the late Angelo Poffo passed away last year. His brother “Leaping” Lanny Poffo had nominal success in the WWF before his exit. Let’s hope in next year’s class, the likes of Savage, Ken Patera and Rick Rude all hear their names called, but in reality it will be a wait and see kind of proposition.
For most of his tenures in the WWF and WCW, Savage was managed by his real life wife “Miss Elizabeth”. 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!”. Elizabeth had as much to do with his early success as anyone.
I remember Savage from his days in CWF, the outfit owned by Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler. Both Randy and Lanny entered the Memphis scene, joining Jerry Lawler’s Continental Wrestling. While there, Savage feuded with Lawler over the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship. It was there that a star was born.
But 30 years after WrestleMania was born, it is Savage I think of when it comes to missing our greats of the past.
And while I see the WWE honor a great Hall of Fame Class and a true great in Andre the Giant, I have to ask … Is the WWE ever going to do the right thing and honor one of the five most important wrestlers in the WWE during the 1980s?
Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71
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