Not sure I’ve ever mentioned Fred, my buddy from high school on here before, but if ever he need to be brought up, today’s the day. Because Fred was just about the biggest “Macho Man” Randy Savage fan I’ve ever met. He also was a huge influence on my early wrestling fandom, which led to this site, which led to you being here reading today.
While I did pretty much fall head over heels for the WWF in the mid 80’s, my favorite wrestlers weren’t always the guys on the top of the card. Sure, the British Bulldogs won the tag team titles and were a featured act, but others I liked were barely even a blip on on anyone else’s radar. Ever met a guy who had “Leapin'” Lanny Poffo on his WWF Mount Rushmore? You’re talking to him.
Fred, though, knew the score better than I. Nonstop he would tell me about how awesome the Macho Man was, and eventually, it got through my thick skull. Now? I’d argue that Randy Savage’s heel run in the WWF is one of the greatest periods in the company ever. Week after week, Savage would come out looking like an utter mad man, destroying fools in his path while cutting some of the greatest promos in the history of the business. Everyone knows the “cup of coffee”, but even when Savage went completely off the rails and lost his train of thought, it was incredible.
Fred was right. Savage was awesome.
I’ll never forget going to the very first Survivor Series. It was six hours from my house. We somehow convinced Fred’s dad to drive us, leaving his family on Thanksgiving morning and taking us to the Richfield Coliseum. Seeing Savage in action, tearing the Honky Tonk Man apart, was something I remember every single second of to this day, over 30 years later.
There’s no question that Macho was a legend. With that in mind, he certainly deserved a better ending to his career.
Make no mistake – while Savage’s WWF stint was his best, his time in WCW had some high points. He won the world title there several times and had a few matches with Ric Flair that were tremendous. But seriously, everyone remembers Macho’s run for one thing, right?
Right. His awesome final WCW theme, What Up Mach?
I kid, I kid, though I did dig that theme. No, we all remember him being surrounded by his blonde bombshells. And you know what, the guy looked like he was having fun so good on him. It could have been worse.
And of course it did get worse, as WCW.
And Vince McMahon had absolutely blocked him from ever returning to the WWF. Yes, we’ve heard the rumors. Who knows if they were true.
So the legendary “Macho Man” Randy Savage didn’t have his final match in the WWF…nor in WCW…but in…
I hardly remembered it either. But yes, much like his rival the Nature Boy, the legendary Savage saw his career come to an end in a TNA ring.
A bit of backstory. The top heel group in TNA at the time was comprised of Jeff Jarrett, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash, collectively known as the Kings of Wrestling. While they had a new name, they were effectively still the New World Order of old. Heck they were even still throwing guys into the side of trailers like they did to Rey Mysterio all those years ago. And just like then they rarely got any type of comeuppance.
Except for this one time when 20 guys snuck up on their dressing room, stealthily knocked, then punched Scott Hall in the face when he opened the door then ran away like a bunch of hooligans.
Wait a minute.
Why is Kevin Nash in the room naked?
I mean, I’m not imagining that right?
Who sits on a couch with their buddies while they’re only wearing a towel?
Leading the charge for TNA would AJ Styles and…Jeff Hardy.
Styles for his part did whatever he could to help the company. He no doubt had several opportunities to head off for greener pastures, but he stuck it out in hopes of giving them a hand in turning the corner. The epitome of a company man.
On the other hand, we have Hardy who would show up, have a few matches, flake out, vanish, then randomly reappear. I mean seriously, this is the guy who would wind up giving the company one of its absolutely most embarrassing moments ever (and consider the ground that covers!) and here he was defending its honor.
In the end, though, they were just placeholders for a man who was coming to save the day.
A macho man.
You’d be forgiven, honestly, for not recognizing Randy Savage here. Long gone was any flamboyant colors or even fringe. Instead, he was decked out from head to toe in black: hat, sunglasses, shirt, pants, boots, belt, and a giant leather duster.
TNA, being TNA, also decided to ‘spruce up’ his usual entrance theme of Pomp and Circumstance with the most annoying and unnecessary wailing guitar you ever done heard.
I know they’re supposed to be the bad guys here, but I gotta side with Nash mocking Savage’s killer new tune by playing
air chair guitar.
It would all lead to what would wind up being Randy Savage’s final match, a six man tag at the Turning Point pay-per-view, with Hall, Nash, and Jarrett vs. Savage, Hardy, and Styles.
Yes, AJ, that means you.
Come to think of it…Styles may wind up in the final match of Undertaker AND Randy Savage’s career. Someone should ask him about that on Twitter.
Also show him this photo, where he looks to be like 14 years old.
Also, one has to ponder the most amazing thing about this encounter. Not that it was Macho’s last match, but we had a match featuring Jeff Hardy and Scott Hall in 2004 and THEY BOTH SHOWED UP.
Ironically, Savage did NOT show up at the start because we were told he was KIDNAPPED.
That may have been for the best, as the match itself was the usual TNA mess. Spots blown, people falling down, stuff that made zero sense…like the fact that Hall and Nash dressed up as Elvis impersonators.
See, because they were the KINGs…of wrestling.
Also at one point Hardy was going for his finisher, the swanton bomb. Hall looked to foil his nemesis by hitting him in the back with a guitar…
…which caused Hardy to fall forward and crush Jarrett in what realistically would have been the stiffest and most effect use of the move in his entire career.
What can we say? TNA gotta TNA.
Finally, at long last, Savage made his way to the ring. If you were expecting to be told how he escaped from being kidnapped, think again.
Say it with me kids – TNA gotta TNA.
Macho hits the ring a house of fire, punching Jarrett and Hall and Nash, with the latter doing his usual buffonish overselling. I was thinking of doing that as an animated GIF, but seriously, that one frame was better than seeing it in action.
Besides, I wanted to save that bandwidth for the final finishing move of Randy Savage’s career.
The big flying elbow?
A double ax handle perhaps?
Maybe grabbing the ring bell and driving it into Jarrett’s throat?
Instead, the last move Randy Savage ever performed in a match was a punch.
Really. He pinned Jeff Jarrett with a punch to the face.
Thus what wound up being two minutes of “action” was the swan song for one of the greatest performers I’d ever seen. I will forever thank you for all the memories, Macho Man.
But not this one.
Before I leave tonight, though, I do want to make note of something. While I was working on this induction, I dug back into this era of TNA and hit me – it is woefully underrepresented in our Inductions area.
Anyone remember Raven dressed as a knight for whatever reason?
How about the most insane overacting interviewer in the history of the business, Shane Douglas?
Remember the time that Road Dogg serenaded a national television audience with a GORDON LIGHTFOOT tune?
You got away for a long time TNA…but we’re going to fix that, I promise!