RANDY SAVAGE TRIBUTE


Real Name: Randy Poffo
Alias: Mach Man
Most Notable Titles: WWF IC Champ, WWF Heavyweight Champ (2), WCW Heavyweight Champ (4)

Famous Feuds: Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Ric Flair, REicky Steamboat

Greatest Match: against ricky Steamboat, 1987

History: One of the greatest wrestlers of all time has to be "The Macho Man" Randy Savage. Wrestling however wasn't his first calling in the sporting world. Randy was a baseball player, and although he never made it to the big leagues, he had stints as a catcher with the minor league systems of the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox for five years. Randy was still playing ball when his father, pro wrestler Angelo Poffo, got Randy into wrestling. In November of 1973 Randy, all 175 pounds of him, had his first match against Paul Christy. Randy Poffo eventually gave up baseball and got into wrestling full-time.

In 1974 Randy began wrestling in the Georgia and Florida areas. He wrestled here occasionally under a mask as The Spider. Savage met up here with a pair of longtime friends, the Anderson brothers, and teamed with Ole Anderson to win the Southeastern Tag Team Championship. Poffo held the same tag title with his brother Lanny Poffo at one time. It was a remark made by Ole, who commented on how Randy wrestled like a savage, that prompted the name change. Randy Savage was born.

In 1978, Randy's father Angelo Poffo began his very own wrestling promotion, called International Championship Wrestling (ICW) in Canada. It was an independant promotion, which included such wrestlers as Lanny Poffo, Ron Garvin, The Sheik, and Ole Anderson among others. ICW also became one of the first independant promotions to declare its champion a world champion. Randy Savage defeated his brother Lanny Poffo in 1979 to become the second ICW world champion, a belt which he would hold three times over the next four years. Savage, however, would suffer because of the lack of success that his father's promotion was getting because of its refusal to work with "the big three" (AWA, WWF, or NWA).

Savage finally left ICW in 1983 and signed with the Memphis-based AWA, which was one of ICW's chief competitors. This was a crushing blow to ICW, which would ultimately fold in 1984, prompting Angelo and Lanny Poffo to join Randy Savage in Memphis. Savage took on Angelo as his manager, and with his father's help, Savage - at that time the second leading heel to Rick Rude in Memphis - won the AWA International Heavyweight title in 1984 from Austin Idol. After losing the title, Savage, who by now was probably the most underrated worker in the sport, teamed with Lanny Poffo in their feud against the Rock & Roll Express. In one of their matches, Savage piledrove Rick Morton through a table, something not so unusual today but unheard of for 1984.

After the departure of Angelo Poffo, Savage would (briefly) become a member of Gary Hart's first family, and received shots at AWA Southern champ Jerry Lawler. Ultimately, however, Savage and Rick Rude began feuding and Savage would wind up joining forces with Lawler in their battle with the 1st family. Lawler, Savage, and (at times) Poffo would battle Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy, Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert, and the rest of the first family until the end of 1984, before Savage once again turned heel by first defeating Lawler for the Southern title, then piledriving Lawler on a metal plate, putting him in the hospital. This would begin one of the bloodiest feuds in Memphis history. No DQ matches. Barbed Wire matches. Cage matches. Fireballs. Nothing seemed to be able to settle this feud. Savage would lose, then regain the Southern title from Jerry Oske, before signing to a loser-leaves-town match against Lawler. In a war, Savage would lose a bloody brawl, and be forced to leave Memphis for at least one year.

Savage entered the World Wrestling Federation in 1985, and would be targeted by several managers hoping to sign him, including Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Hart, and Bobby Heenan, but would turn them all down in favor of his real-life wife Elizabeth. Savage was successful right from the start, as he made it to the finals of the WWF's "Wrestling Classic" tournament before losing to the Junkyard Dog. From there, Savage targeted the Intercontinental title, which he would win from Tito Santana on February 6, 1986 in controversial fashion at the Boston Garden. Although he was a hated rulebreaker, Savage was anything but a closet champion. He defended the IC title against all comers, including George "The Animal" Steele, Billy Jack Haynes, and The Junkyard Dog. Savage would also come close on several occasions to defeating Hulk Hogan for the WWF world title as well in 1986, including a countout victory over Hogan at Madison Square Garden. A feud developed between Savage and The Animal after Steele began to swoon over Miss Elizabeth. It was a brutal and entertaining feud that saw Savage win a big round by defeating George at Wrestlemania 2.

In November of 1986 in a nationally televised match against Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Savage seriously injured Steamboat's throat after ramming Ricky with the timekeeper's bell from the top rope. The incident put "The Dragon" on the shelf with a crushed larynx for several weeks, and some felt Steamboat would retire. But he came back, and he and Savage engaged in one of the greatest feuds in wrestling history. The two fought in several bloody cage matchs, but the rivalry really climaxed at Wrestlemania III on March 29, 1987, when Steamboat (with the help of George Steele) finally ended Savage's 13-month reign (and at that time, the longest ever) as WWF Intercontinental Champion in front of over 93,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Steamboat would lose the IC title to the Honky Tonk Man in a major upset. This prompted Savage to challenge Honky for the title, and the two squared off on Saturday Night's Main Event in what turned out to be another big moment in the Macho Man's career. After Savage delivered his flying elbow finisher to the champion, the Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) interfered. They beat Savage down, and then held him in place while Honky prepared to strike Randy with his guitar. Elizabeth tried to intervene, but was shoved down by Honky Tonk and left for the locker room. Honky smashed the guitar over Savage's head, when suddenly from the back came Elizabeth along with Hulk Hogan. Hogan charged to the ring and along with Savage, sent Honky and the Harts fleeing. Savage then extended his hand to his former rival, and Hogan accepted. The two formed the team of the Mega Powers, and almost overnight Savage went from a mid-card wrestler to one of the biggest stars in the wrestling world.

In the Spring of 1988, the WWF title was vacated following a controversial match between then-champion Hogan and Andre the Giant. It was announced that a tournament would be held at Wrestlemania IV between the top sixteen challengers. The Macho Man was deemed one of those challengers. On March 27, 1988 the event took place at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, NJ. Savage would defeat Butch Reed, Greg Valentine and the One Man Gang, and then went to the finals where he defeated "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (thanks to assistance from Hogan) to become the WWF heavyweight champion.

Savage and Hogan continued their Mega Powers partnership all through 1988. They teamed up at the first ever Summerslam to defeat DiBiase and the Giant, and then went on to the Survivor Series where they were the sole survivors of their team. However, tension was visibly forming between the duo. Hogan took it upon himself to make Elizabeth his manager as well, and on several occasions hoisted Elizabeth onto his shoulder, a move Savage was known for. After the Big Boss Man attacked Hogan on the Brother Love Show in the Fall of 1988, Savage and Hogan started a feud with the Boss Man and Akeem, aka the One Man Gang. At the same time, Savage engaged in a feud with Bad News Brown after Brown accused Elizabeth of doing favours for then-WWF President Jack Tunney. The 1989 Royal Rumble rolled around, during which Hogan accidentally eliminated Savage, prompting a verbal altercation between the two for several minutes.

Several weeks after the Rumble, the Mega Powers would team for the last time. It was during a telecast of The Main Event on February 3, 1989. The team took on archrivals the Boss Man and Akeem. During this match, Savage was thrown from the ring by Akeem and fell onto Elizabeth, rendering her unconscious. Hogan rushed to her aid and carried her back to medical attention, leaving Savage to battle the opponents alone. Hogan eventually returned to the ring to re-join Savage, but as Hulk reached for a tag, he was met with a slap in the face by the Macho Man. Randy then grabbed his WWF title belt and left Hogan to fend for himself. After the match (which Hogan won) the Mega Powers again got into a verbal altercation in the back at Elizabeth's bedside. Savage accused Hogan of lusting after Elizabeth. He said the Hulkster and Liz were "leaving him in the backseat", but that he was number one in the Mega Powers, not number three. As Hogan turned to talk to Elizabeth, Savage nailed him in the head with his WWF belt and delivered more blows to the fallen Hogan. Hulk's longtime friend Brutus Beefcake attempted to come to Hogan's aid, and was also beaten up by Savage as were several WWF officials.

April 5, 1989 saw the WWF return to Trump Plaza for Wrestlemania V. The main event, deemed "The Mega Powers Explode" saw Randy Savage defend the WWF title against Hulk Hogan. Elizabeth chose to take a neutral corner for this match, ultimately putting an end to her alliance with Savage. Hogan got up from Savage's flying elbow during the match, and pinned the Macho Man to capture the title.

Following his defeat, Savage took on "The Sensational" Sherri Martel as his new manager. The two became a potent team, and did battle against the likes of Hogan, Brutus Beefcake and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Savage brought in Tom "Tiny" Lister (aka Zeus), who had starred in the movie "No Holds Barred" with Hogan, in the Summer of 1989 and took on Hogan and Beefcake at Summerslam that year in a losing effort. The two teams were matched up again (along with their respective partners) at the Survivor Series, and again at Christmas of 1989 in a special steel cage tag match. Savage and Zeus were again unsuccessful. Savage turned his sights to Duggan, and with the assistance of Martel captured Duggan's "King of Wrestling" crown, and deemed himself "The Macho King". Savage feuded with Duggan for the latter part of 1989 before engaging in a rivalry with "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, who Savage called a commoner. At Wrestlemania VI, Savage and Martel locked up with Rhodes and his manager Sapphire in the WWF's first intergender match, a match that Rhodes and Sapphire won.

Savage next directed his attention once again on the WWF title, now held by the Ultimate Warrior. Martel challenged the Warrior on behalf of Savage at the 1991 Royal Rumble, but the Warrior denied them. As a result, Savage interfered heavily in the Warrior's title defense at the Rumble against Sgt. Slaughter, and cost UW the title. The Warrior sought revenge, and challenged Savage to a "Career Ending Match" at Wrestlemania VII. In one of the greatest matches in WWF history, the Warrior defeated Savage to end his WWF career. Although Savage left Wrestlemania without his career, he also left with Elizabeth back at his side, as she came to his aid after the match when Sherri began beating on him.

Randy Savage (who dropped the "Macho King" name and went back to being the "Macho Man") began doing commentary on WWF Superstars. During this telecast, Savage proposed marriage to Elizabeth, who accepted with an emotional "Oooh, yeah!", Savage's trademark. The two (who were already married in real life) were wed at Summerslam 1991. During their reception, they were presented with a gift box by Jake "The Snake" Roberts, a box that contained a cobra. A little while later on WWF Superstars, Savage was attacked by Roberts, tied in the ropes where he then fell victim to Roberts' cobra, which bit Savage's arm. The Macho Man began to campaign to WWF President Jack Tunney to reinstate him as a wrestler so that he could do battle with Roberts. Tunney eventually agreed, and the two met on December 3, 1991 at the WWF's "Tuesday in Texas" PPV. Although Savage was victorious in the match, he was the victim of Roberts' DDT finisher several times after the match. Elizabeth entered the ring and begged Roberts to leave Randy alone, but the Snake struck her in the face. Savage and Roberts engaged in a feud that saw them do battle across the U.S. Savage was victorious in every match, and after beating the Snake for the last time in early 1992 during a telecast of Saturday Night's Main Event, Randy turned his attention to the WWF title.

In the Spring of 1992, the WWF issued a list of the top five challengers for the WWF championship held by "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Those challengers were Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, Roddy Piper, the Undertaker and Savage. Hogan was chosen as the contender to meet Flair at Wrestlemania VII, but when Hogan became preoccupied with a feud with Sid, Savage was picked as the replacement. The match took place at the Indianapolis Hoosier Dome in front of over 70,000 people on April 5, 1992. The match had become personal after Flair began stating that he'd had a relationship with Elizabeth. Savage went into Wrestlemania on a mission, and after a hard fought match caught Flair with a small package to score the pin and win the title.

Savage defended the title for several months, including a big defense against the Ultimate Warrior at Summerslam '92 at Wembley Stadium in England in front of over 80,000 people. Flair interfered in this match, and then on September 1, 1992 Flair took advantage of Savage's injured leg to regain the WWF title.

Following the WWF title loss, Savage's actual wrestling schedule began to reduce as his commentating duties increased. He also divorced from Elizabeth in 1992. He engaged in a brief feud with Razor Ramon, and again with Crush that resulted in a "Falls Count Anywhere" match at Wrestlemania X, a match Savage won. The Macho Man appeared occasionally in Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1994, a company that was affiliated with the WWF. But in the Fall of that year Savage's WWF contract expired, and Randy left the WWF, putting an end to a legendary WWF career.

Savage signed with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in late November of '94 and made his WCW debut on WCW Saturday Night on December 3, 1994. He won the WCW title on November 26, 1995 at WCW's World War III. A year later Savage became a part of WCW's successful nWo angle. Savage would remain a key player with WCW for the next several years. He then took a hiatus from the company, only to return with a new look, a new attitude, and a new manager in the lovely "Gorgeous George".

In 1999, Randy Savage's WCW contract expired, and he wasn't re-signed. He remains out of the wrestling spotlight, but will forever be considered one of the greatest wrestling stars of all time.

In summer 2002, Randy Savage made a guest appearance in 'Spiderman - The Movie' and there's a possibility that he will make his final comeback in the WWF in the near future to end his career



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