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WWE Randy Savage: Unreleased (Part 1)
by Scrooge McSuck
- WWE continues to pump out DVD sets even with more and more content added to the WWE Network. The quality of the packaging though, leaves a bit to be desired, as all three discs are crammed into one slot. The title can be a bit misleading, considering the DVD set "Unreleased 1986-1995" which featured all matches not meant for TV or were at any time featured on other video releases. In this case, it's a mix of rare and/or forgotten television matches, as well as a handful of true "never before seen" matches.
- Corey Graves is our host, along with "legendary announcer" Sean Mooney (YES!), Bayley, and Diamond Dallas Page.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Aldo Marino:
Taped on June 17th, 1985 from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, and featured on the July 6th episode of Championship Wrestling, and Savage's TV debut. Lockup and Savage with an arm drag. Bobby Heenan, Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Hart, Fred Blassie, and Johnny Valiant all come to ringside to scout the new talent, an angle they'd trot out here and there and usually ended up with a new manager introduced. Marino comes off the ropes with a sunset flip. Savage pops right up and hits his signature clothesline then hangs Marino up across the top rope. Savage comes off the top with an elbow to the back of the head and picks him up after a one-count. He tosses Marino to the floor and follows with the double axe-handle. Back inside, Savage hits not one, but two of the flying elbows, and Marino is D-E-A-D at 2:45. Post-match, Savage hits Marino with another flying axe-handle for the hell of it. Unless something stands out as good or bad, no star ratings. We'll go with a point system instead. An impressive debut for Savage. 1 for 1
"Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Mario Mancini:
Taped on July 9th, 1985 from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and featured on the July 27th, 1985 episode of Championship Wrestling. Lockup and Mancini with an arm drag. The pride of Hoboken, NJ! Mancini grabs a side headlock, but Savage forces a break in the corner and gives him a cheap shot. Savage with shoulders to the midsection, followed by a hip toss. He connects with a running high knee, sending Mancini into the turnbuckle. He tosses Mancini to the floor and hits him with the flying double axe-handle. Back inside, Savage with a slam. Mancini gets up as Savage sets up for the elbow, so Savage awkwardly hops off, snap mares him, and hits the Elbow for three at 3:06 (complete with an arrogant cover, sitting across the chest). No point for Mancini's botch. 1 for 2
"Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Paul Roma:
Another match taped from July 9th, 1985 and featured on the August 3rd episode of Championship Wrestling. The insert suddenly lists the broadcast date after listing the previous matches by their taping dates. I guess you must keep kayfabe when you feature two matches from the same setoff tapings. Lockup and a shove to the ropes. Savage grabs a waist-lock, but Roma forces a break in the ropes. Judging by Roma's physique, it's a shock it took so long for him to get any kind of a push. He cranks on the arm, but Savage quickly counters with an arm-bar. Whip to the ropes and Roma with a sunset flip for two. He plants Savage with a slam for another two-count. Roma comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. He tries it again and gets sent to the floor. Savage to the top with the flying double axe-handle. Back inside, Savage plants Roma with a slam, and the Flying Elbow finishes at 2:04. Good fire from Roma. 2 for 3
- The hosts reflect on the relationship between Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) & Jesse "The Body" Ventura vs. Mario Mancini & Mike Rice:
Taped on September 9th, 1985 from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and featured on the September 28th episode of Championship Wrestling. What is this, the Mario Mancini Appreciation DVD? THOUSANDS of matches to pick from, and we've got Mancini in two of the first four matches featured. Savage comes out for the first time (on the set) to Pomp and Circumstance. It didn't take long for the Elizabeth character to turn from shrewd business woman to damsel in distress, and it was 100%, no doubt in anyone's mind, the correct move. Ventura starts with Mancini. He pounds away at the midsection. Savage with a snap mare and jumping knee drop. Ventura with a slam. Savage tosses Mancini into his own corner and snap mares Rice in from the apron. Ventura comes off the ropes with a leg drop and plants Rice with a slam. Savage with the Flying Elbow to finish at 3:10. Good intensity and the plot of Savage mistreating Elizabeth is established. 3 for 4
Tony Atlas vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth):
Taped on November 9th, 1985 from the Boston Garden (televised on NESN). Savage uses Elizabeth as a shield. As if that will get heel heat in BOSTON. Lockup and Atlas shoves Savage across the ring. Savage goes for an over-head wrist-lock, but Atlas is TOO STRONG. Savage taunts, making sure to be in the ropes. Atlas muscles out of a waist-lock and sits Savage across the top turnbuckle with a press slam. Savage charges and gets caught for an atomic drop. Savage rolls to the outside and taunts a child. Back inside, Savage counters a front face-lock with an inverted atomic drop. He sends Atlas to the outside and rams him into the security barricade. Savage sneaks around the corner with a high knee. Back inside, Savage with a snap mare, but the knee drop missed. Atlas with right hands and a big headbutt. Atlas with a slam, but Savage counters with a small package for three at 6:08. Clean, too. I don't remember many matches of Atlas I enjoyed, and this wasn't one of them. In his defense, Savage didn't do much, either. 3 for 5
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. "Special Delivery" Jones:
Taped on November 4th, 1985 from the Civic Centre in Brantford, Ontario, and featured on the November 30th episode of All-American Wrestling (the insert incorrectly lists the date as December 1st). Savage hides behind Elizabeth, as per usual. Monsoon yells at him from ringside to be a man. Savage grabs a side headlock. Crisscross and Jones with a press slam. He comes off the ropes and hits a body press for two. Jones with a headbutt, knocking Savage into the ropes and tying his arms up in the process. Savage sits down on a sunset flip attempt. He goes for a slam but Jones lands on top for two. Jones with a back slide for two. I see Ventura is at ringside with Monsoon, and yep, they muted the commentary. Jones with rights and a headbutt. He misses a charge to the corner and Savage finishes with the Flying Elbow at 2:48. Yes, Savage's babyface formula was used as a heel, too. This wasn't bad, but we've seen enough squash matches. 3 for 6
Scott McGhee vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth):
Taped on January 18th, 1986 from the Capital Centre in Landover, MD. Anyone know what sports network carried these shows? Gorilla Monsoon doesn't take kindly to Savage's taunting in the ring. McGhee is of no relation to Tom Magee (Canadian Power-lifter turned wrestler turned victim of street violence in 2018). Lockup into the ropes and Savage with a surprisingly clean break. Monsoon can't help but refer to Savage as "The Not So Macho Man." Into the corner and another clean break. Alfred Hayes lets us know both men are sons of professional wrestlers, without naming names. Savage with a headlock and McGhee counters with a head-scissors. Whip to the ropes and Savage with an elbow. He takes McGhee over with a snap mare and connects with the jumping knee drop for two. McGhee counters a front face-lock with a suplex for two. Whip to the corner and McGhee posts himself on the charge attempt. Savage with a boot to the head and elbow across the throat. He grabs a box of popcorn and mashes it in his face. McGhee doesn't take kindly to the antics and whips Savage into the corner, flipping him upside down into the tree-of-woe. He grabs the box and gives Savage a taste of his own medicine. McGhee with an inverted atomic drop for two. Crisscross and Savage plants him with a slam. Savage blocks a roll-up attempt and ducks under a body press. McGhee with a small package for two. Savage hits the big clothesline and finishes with the Flying Elbow at 6:17. Best match on the collection based on in-ring quality. 4 for 7
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (c) vs. Pedro Morales:
Taped on August 25th, 1986 from Madison Square Garden. Morales in 1986 seems like such a bad idea on paper, like Bob Backlund in 1992-93. For comparison sake, both were 43 at the time of each reference and a decade removed from their glory days. Savage quickly plays the stalling game, and why not, the crowd reacts to everything he does. Lockup, Morales with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. He plants Savage with a slam, sending him to the floor. He tosses a chair in the ring in frustration and camps out. Back inside, Savage reaches into his tights for the phantom foreign object. He rakes Morales eyes and plays the innocent card. He hits a running high knee, knocking Morales to the floor. Savage follows, ramming him into the security barricade, then comes off the top with the flying axe-handle smash. Savage brings Morales back in with a suplex for a two-count. Savage to the top again, but this time Morales meets him with a fist to the midsection. Morales with left hands and a back drop for two. Sunset flip out of the corner for two. Small package (in slow motion) for two. Morales counters a snap mare with a back slide for two. They take it to the outside, where Morales gives Savage a taste of the rail. Savage with a chair but he misses wildly, and Morales rolls in for the cheap Count-Out victory at 7:19. Decent match until the absolutely crap finish. 4 for 8
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is on location at the home of Randy Savage and Elizabeth. The listed air-date is September 10th, 1986. Probably from Tuesday Night Titans, but who the hell knows. At the time, it was probably filmed as an excuse to show Elizabeth in a bathing suit. Okerlund asks Elizabeth about her tennis game between Savage cutting his usual self-centered promo. Savage allegedly gets an offer from an unnamed female publication to pose for half-a-million dollars. It's classic Savage, so worth a point. 5 for 9
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Troy Martin:
Taped on August 26th, 1986 from the Providence Civic Center and featured on the September 13th episode of Superstars of Wrestling (Episode #2, by the way). Martin would gain fame under the name "Shane Douglas", but here, he's a skinny enhancement talent. Lockup into the ropes and Savage sweeps the leg. He jockeys for position but Martin escapes to the ropes. Pedro Morales cuts an inset promo as Savage catches Martin coming off the ropes with an elbow. Martin counters a slam with a small package, but Savage pops right up and tosses him to the floor. Savage to the top for his signature flying axe-handle. Back inside, Savage comes off the top with another axe-handle smash. He plants Martin with a slam and finishes with the Flying Elbow at 2:09. Trivia note for everyone: The same episode featured Mick Foley, who trained alongside Douglas under Dominic DeNucci, having his jaw broken by Dynamite Kid. This is only here because of Douglas' appearance. I think we've seen enough squash matches on this set. 5 for 10
Hulk Hogan & Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) & The Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart):
6 for 11 for the rarity. Sorry, we'll wait until the end for judgment. Taped on January 5th, 1987 from the Meadowlands Arena, a Dark Match for the day's Superstars taping, and featured on "International Wrestling Challenge." At one time this match was available online, but it appears the account associated with the upload has been scrubbed. Hogan is the reigning WWF Champion, and Savage the Intercontinental Champion. Savage tries to sneak in, but it doesn't work. Steamboat pulls Honky in (still wearing the tights with goofy suspenders) and whips him into a Hogan boot. Steamboat with a snap mare and chop, then Honky gets to play ping-pong ball. Steamboat offers Honky to Savage, but he refuses to tag in. Whip to the ropes and Steamboat with a body press for two. Steamboat unsuccessfully lunges at Savage and goes back to working on Honky. Hogan tags in and he forces the tag, causing Savage to freak out (freak out!). Savage does everything he can to avoid Steamboat. Honky is forced back in and gets his clock cleaned some more. Honky escapes a chin-lock and takes Steamboat over with a sunset flip. Steamboat sweeps the leg and continues to scare away Savage. Honky rakes the eyes of Hulk and hammers away. Hogan regains control with an inverted atomic drop and charges into the corner with a clothesline. Steamboat with a whip and sleeper hold applied. Savage with a knee from the apron, and NOW he wants to get in the ring.
Honky holds Steamboat in place for a flying axe-handle smash. He chokes Steamboat across the top rope and rams him into the boot of Honky. Honky with a slam and a fist drop from the middle rope. Whip to the ropes, Steamboat avoids a back drop, but Savage grabs him by the hair to keep him away from making the tag. Hogan comes to Steamboat's aid on the floor, but Savage is as slippery as a snake. Honky cuts off a tag attempt and pounds away with rights. Steamboat comes back with chops and a shoulder tackle puts both men down. Hogan with the hot tag, and you could say Hulkamania is running wild (brother). He lays into Savage and Honky with rights and whips them into each other. Hogan with a big boot to Savage. Steamboat in with a flurry of chops. He goes to the top rope and hits a big chop to the top of the head. Steamboat goes up again, but Honky shoves him down. Hogan pounds on Honky while Savage grabs the ring bell and tosses the referee. Savage goes to the top, but Hogan keeps him from jumping. Steamboat slams him off the top rope and grabs the bell himself, but Savage bails. Meanwhile, Hogan tosses Hart and Honky into the ring for further punishment. Call it a Disqualification win for Hogan and Steamboat at 11:00, since the bell is obviously not available to be rung. Not a classic but entertaining for what it was. Decent action with Savage playing a superb chicken-sh*t heel, and again, a nice rarity. 6 for 11.
- Next topic for conversation: THAT Match. Don't look at me, the chapter is titled that. It's all about the match between Savage and Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III.
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat & Billy Jack Haynes vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) & Hercules:
Taped on March 22nd, 1987 from the Wrestling Challenge taping at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ. The insert again has the wrong date, listing March 21st. I know broadcast dates are up for debate, but the day of taping shouldn't be hard to figure out. There's commentary from Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, so who knows where this came from. International TV or intended for release and never used? Steamboat wants Savage but settles for Hercules. Lockup and Steamboat gets sent to the corner. They do a test-of-strength, with Hercules easily taking control. Steamboat fights to his feet and breaks the grip with a knee to the hands. Hercules with a hair pull to take the Dragon down but he misses an elbow. Steamboat with chops before sending him into the boot of Haynes. Whip and Hercules bails to avoid a double elbow. We get an exchange of obscene gestures and Savage tags in. Haynes with a side headlock and shoulder tackle, followed by a hip toss. Hercules with a distraction, allowing Savage to hit a running high knee. Whip and Hercules with a clothesline. Haynes blocks a suplex from Savage and tosses him with a press slam. Whip to the corner and Haynes takes Hercules out with a clothesline. Savage and Hercules continue to cut the ring in half. Savage with a cheap shot to Steamboat, then tosses Haynes to the outside. Back inside, Savage with a snap mare but misses the elbow. Whip to the ropes and Haynes takes Savage down with a clothesline. Steamboat with a hot tag, running wild on both opponents with chops. Savage reverses a whip and tosses Steamboat over the top rope. Steamboat comes in with a sunset flip on Hercules for two. Now Steamboat gets worked over. Whip and Steamboat with a body press on Savage for two. Haynes with his hot tag to pound away on Hercules. Whip and he nails Hercules with a clothesline, then drops him with a press slam. Heck breaks loose. Steamboat tosses Savage out and Haynes applies the Full Nelson on Hercules. Savage from behind with a double axe-handle, so the referee calls for the bell at 11:52, giving the match to Steamboat and Haynes via Disqualification. Lame finish to a good match (***). 7 for 12.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat (c) vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth):
Taped on May 15th, 1987 from the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, TX, the first time the WWF ran a show at that location. Probably the only televised rematch between Steamboat and Savage following WrestleMania III. This too was available online, but that account was terminated, too. The quality is a bit foggy and wouldn't surprise me if this was ripped off from that account (see also: Bret vs. Andre from Milan on the Dungeon DVD set). They lockup roughly a few times before being forced apart in the ropes. Lockup and Savage with an arm drag. Steamboat blocks a cheap shot in the ropes and sends Savage running after a chop to the head. Back inside, Savage blocks being rammed into the buckle and unloads with jabs and elbows. He chokes Steamboat across the top rope and slingshots him into the center of the ring for a two-count. Steamboat blocks a snap mare and the two fight over a back slide, won by Steamboat, but it only gets two. Savage up first, knocking Steamboat down with an elbow before tossing him to the outside. Savage tries to bring him in with a slam, but Steamboat counters with a small package for two (call-back to the Mania III finish). Steamboat rolls through a twisting body press for another two-count. Whip to the corner and Savage with the hook clothesline.
He goes to the top rope and hits the flying axe-handle smash, followed by a running elbow for two. Steamboat throws a series of chops, trapping Savage in the ropes. Savage quickly escapes, but Steamboat sees him coming and tosses him into the corner, trapping him in the tree of woe. He lays into Savage with strikes despite the referee's count. Whip and Savage with a kick to the chest to counter a back-drop attempt. Steamboat fights his way out of the corner and comes off the ropes with a palm strike for two. Savage goes to the top again, but this time is met with a fist to the midsection. Savage blocks a sunset flip and drives a fist between the eyes of the Champion for two. Steamboat with a roll-up off the ropes for two. Savage misses a splash across the ropes. Steamboat pulls Savage off the ropes and sends him into the corner with a slingshot. Savage with a rake of the eyes to create separation, but a piledriver is countered with a back-drop. Steamboat to the top for a flying chop to the head for two. Savage with a handful of tights, sending Steamboat into the corner. They go through a series of counters until they collide in the center of the ring. Savage rolls to the outside and retrieves his trusty friend, the timekeeper's bell. He smacks the turnbuckle with it, knocking himself out, and Steamboat covers for three at 10:57 to a mixed reaction of jubilation and disgust (Savage was getting seriously over as a babyface, even here). Great match and well worth checking out (****1/4). 8 for 13
- Bayley talks about her ring gear being inspired by Randy Savage and getting help from the man who worked with Savage on his back in the day, which leads us into Savage's run as WWF Champion in 1988.
- From April 9th, 1988, Randy Savage cuts a promo about being the NEW, UNDISPUTED WWF Champion. More vintage Savage is OK with me. 9 for 14.
WWF Championship; Steel Cage Match:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (c) (w/ Elizabeth) vs. "Million $ Man" Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil):
Taped on September 24th, 1988 from the Philadelphia Spectrum, originally featured on PRISM Network. This was probably the end of the Savage/Dibiase rivalry, although one could argue other locations (NY and Boston) got the blow-off at least a couple of months earlier. The Spectrum only drew 4,000 to this show, so you can tell the bloom is off the rose. Dick Graham and Rod Trongard on commentary together is TORTURE. As a fan growing up, neither man existed in the WWF when it came to syndication. Dibiase attacks Savage before the bell, pounding away with rights. Whip to the ropes and Dibiase with an elbow, followed by a back breaker. Savage rolls away from a knee drop but gets laid out with an uppercut. Dibiase climbs, unsuccessfully. Savage sends Dibiase to the corner and meets a boot. Savage prevents another attempt at escaping and slams him off the top rope. Whip to the ropes and Savage with a diving body press. Dibiase pops right up and lays him out with a clothesline. Another escape attempt backfires. Savage sends Dibiase into the steel, and wow, Graham is almost as dumb as Michael Cole with Vince screaming in his ear. Virgil climbs up to block Savage's escape route, allowing Dibiase to recover and slam him to the canvas. Dibiase with his signature fist drops. Savage blocks a suplex, taking Dibiase over with his own. Virgil blocks Savage's escape for a second time. Whip is reversed, and a double clothesline has both men down in the middle of the ring. Both men climb opposite sides of the cage but Dibiase loses faith in himself and pulls Savage back down. Dibiase with a clothesline, fist drop, and choking. Savage ducks under a right hand and knocks Dibiase into the steel with an atomic drop. Savage goes for the door, but Virgil slams it back in his face. Savage hangs onto the ankle of Dibiase, preventing him from going through the door. They slug it out from their knees, with Savage getting the better of things. Savage knocks Dibiase off the top rope by giving him and Virgil a double noggin knocker, and he makes his escape to retain the WWF Title at 12:31. I'm not a fan of cage matches with escape rules, but this was pretty good (***1/2). 10 for 15
WWF Championship Match:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (c) (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Akeem:
Taped on October 7th, 1988 from the Bercy Stadium in Paris, France, originally presented on Canal+ and rebroadcast on Prime-Time Wrestling on November 8th. Someone must've forgot to clue in the folks in France, because the ring card girl accompanying Akeem has "One Man Gang" printed on the card. Slick is absent, no doubt with the Big Boss Man for his house show run with Hulk Hogan (their tour worked the Houston Summit the next night). Akeem dances around like a goof after displaying his strength. Lockup into the corner, Savage ducks a cheap shot and rocks Akeem with an elbow. He grabs the challenger by his beard and hangs him up across the top rope. Savage to the top rope with a flying body press for two. Akeem with a big clothesline to take control. Savage sends Akeem into the corner but runs into a knee. Akeem with an atomic drop. Savage with a series of strikes but a rake of the eyes breaks his momentum. Akeem takes him over with a suplex for two. We slow things down with a bear-hug. Savage escapes and unwisely attempts a slam. Akeem with a leg drop for two. Savage comes back, taking Akeem over with a snap mare and dropping the knee for two. Akeem with a slam and elbow drop, but he misses a splash from the second rope. Savage tosses him to the floor and follows with a double axe-handle. Back inside, Akeem meets Savage coming off the top with a fist to the midsection. Akeem traps Savage in a tree of woe and tosses referee Tim White, drawing the Disqualification at 10:13. Post-match, Savage knocks Akeem out of the ring and poses with Elizabeth. It's been a while since we've had a match worth skipping. This broke that streak. 10 for 16
WWF Championship Match:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (c) (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Andre The Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Taped on October 24th, 1988 from Madison Square Garden. This is a rematch from September 29th, with the stipulation that Savage could lose the title if he's counted out due to the way he lost in their last encounter, and both managers are forced to remain in their corners. Andre immediately grabs Savage and knocks him out of the ring with a headbutt. Back inside, Andre with choking in the corner. Savage with elbows, so Andre chokes with the singlet strap. Savage with a flurry of rights and lefts, knocking Andre into the corner. Andre with a knee to the face and a double chicken-wing. Andre removes a turnbuckle pad. Savage teases a comeback, staggering Andre with a variety of strikes. A double axe-handle knocks Andre into the ropes, and he blows his favorite spot. Savage to the top rope, connecting with the double axe-handle, taking Andre off his feet. Savage to the top again but the elbow drop missed. Andre rolls to the outside, with Savage following from the top with another axe-handle. Heenan pulls Savage out of the ring to try and get him counted-out, but the referee sees it and calls for the Disqualification at 6:59. I'm all for more Andre on DVD sets (maybe a set dedicated entirely to him), but his matches with Savage generally stunk (likely due to his dislike for Savage in the first place). This was better than usual, but still not good. 10 for 17
Final Thoughts: Once we get through the parade of squash matches, there's some good stuff here, even if some of it has been available elsewhere at some point. Savage/Steamboat from Houston is the best match on the disc and worth checking out, as were the tag matches featuring the two of them partnered with Hulk, Haynes, Honky and Hercules (no, that streak of alliteration wasn't intentional) and the cage match with Ted Dibiase. The stuff worth skipping wasn't particularly bad, just fluff to pad things out. Disc 2 picks things up with footage covering 1989 through 1992.
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