Despite the tragic timing of The Ultimate Warrior’s death there was at least some consolation for wrestling fans that he had been able to patch up his differences with Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation. Such “luxury” was never afforded to The Macho Man Randy Savage. But at least the WWE have seen fit to follow up 2009’s Macho Madness collection with this, The Randy Savage story.
We follow the Macho Man’s early exploits in “real” sports before the acknowledgement that with a father (Angelo Poffo) immersed in the business, it was perhaps inevitable that his final career destination would be the squared circle.
Holding the documentary together are the comments of Randy’s brother, Lanny (most known to many fans as The Genius in the WWF). It’s refreshing that early on in the piece Lanny admits he owed his career to his brother (saying that one of Randy’s first acts upon signing for the WWF was to ask for a job for his little brother) and whilst that revelation will not hold any surprise for long-term fans it does mean that we can appreciate the candour that, for the most part, permeates his contributions.
Covered is Macho Man’s entry to the WWF, as is the happy serendipity that saw his real-life wife Elizabeth become his manager. Many talking heads (such as Hulk Hogan and Ted DiBiase) offer up the same old stories that we have heard for many years about Randy and Liz, such as that he rarely let her out of his site and would lock her in their dressing room when he had other business to attend to. Lanny refutes them point blank so I suppose it will be up to the individual viewer to decide what they believe. Lex Luger, who of course knew Elizabeth and was in a relationship with her when she died, doesn’t comment on the veracity of the statements but does say that if it was true he wouldn’t blame Randy for trying to protect her from “the sharks”.
His famous WrestleMania III bout with Ricky Steamboat gets it’s due prominence and it’s fascinating to listen to “The Dragon” talk about how Savage prepared for the match. From there it’s Randy’s crowning glory at WrestleMania IV as he wins the WWF title and the year long build up to WrestleMania V where the Mega Powers team of Randy and Hulk Hogan “exploded”. Hogan, as ever, seems to be veering between reality and working with his comments on his relationship with Savage.
The irony of Randy and Liz having to re-enact their wedding in front of the world at SummerSlam 1991 whilst their real life relationship was faltering is covered as is the move away from the ring that the WWF forced on Randy. Lanny paints the final straw as Savage’s idea for a lengthy feud with Shawn Michaels being turned down point blank by management. It’s also argued that it was this general rejection by WWF that took Savage to WCW with the attitude of proving that he still had plenty to offer.
His WCW run is covered, and Lanny admits that towards the end Randy ramped up the extras (three valets, piling on the muscle) to distract from the fact he was no longer the worker he once was. A particular highlight of this section are some heartfelt words from Diamond Dallas Page, who was “made” by his feud with Savage.
From there Randy’s post wrestling life is covered, as he undertook lots of charity work and reunited with his childhood sweetheart and got married again. The fact that Savage had transitioned easily to life away from the spotlight only to not get the years he deserved to enjoy that adds poignancy to the story. Seeing his mother remember the day she got the phone call to say he had passed away will bring a tear or two to every viewer’s eyes.
Although the documentary swerves some parts of his career, it is an effective look back at what made Savage such a legend of the squared circle and it also helps to paint a picture of the man behind the gimmick. Led by brother Lanny there is an impressive cast of talking heads (including CM Punk and Randy Savage himself) and his private world, with long-time friends telling us what Randy was like away from the ring.
As for those hoping we might find out the real reason why Randy Savage was one of the small list of stars that left WWF/E but never came back…well there’s no definitive answer. Lanny Poffo suggests the “Nacho Man” skits offended Savage but also states that we will never learn the exact details. And unless Vince McMahon offers up any reasons, he may well be right.
The match selection on the other discs suffers somewhat since a lot of Savage’s most iconic matches were already released on the Macho Madness collection. Still, for fans from the time there is a lot to enjoy.
There are a couple of matches with Ricky Steamboat which, if not coming anywhere near close to their WrestleMania III battle, are a cut above most things you see on WWE TV today. A Lumberjack match with Bruno Sammartino and a Harlem Streetfight with Bad News Brown are fun changes of pace and, whilst perhaps not living up to what you might expect, a six-man Steel Cage match and a Savage/Hogan one-on-one are fun too.
Into the 90’s there’s an entertaining bout with Roddy Piper and an intriguing bout from Germany versus a young Shawn Michaels. The SummerSlam 1992 bout against The Ultiamate Warrior is also included, as is the September 1992 bout where he defends his WWF Title against Ric Flair.
Three WCW matches round off the DVD, including a great effort in a Steel Cage against Flair from Superbrawl VI and another chapter in his great rivalry with Diamond Dallas Page in a Las Vegas Sudden Death match from Halloween Havoc 1997.
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An excellent, if not entirely encompassing, documentary feature and an entertaining set of matches make for a must-have set for any fans of the Macho Man. It’s worth checking this out in conjunction with the previous Macho Madness match set for the full picture of what made Randy Savage one of the all-time greats, but even on it’s own merits, this is a great collection.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch.fm for providing our copy of Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story. Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story is available DVD & Blu-Ray from Monday, November 17th 2014 in the UK and Tuesday, November 18th in the US. You can pre-order your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.