The SmarK Rant for Randy Savage Unreleased (Part 4)

Hope everyone had a happy Canada Day!  We continue on with my least favorite period of Savage’s career, the one where he spends an entire year getting beat up for 5 minutes and then dropping the big elbow.  Strap in for a lot of Macho Man selling.

The panel talks about the snake-bite incident, and DDP does an amazing impression of Savage relating his paranoia about getting bitten by the snake. I mean, rightly so.

Reinstate! (11.16.91)

From Challenge, Savage and Liz do an interview and Savage begs Jack Tunney to be reinstated. The President’s job is to serve the people! But what about…no, never mind, not worth the crazy.

Randy Savage, Roddy Piper & Jim Duggan v. Ric Flair, Jake Roberts & Undertaker (12.02.91)

DAMN. Where’d they dig this one up? A dark match from Challenge, apparently. I would’ve been happy with Savage & Piper v. Roberts & Flair. Jake has his new ominous remix for his music, but he’s using his old babyface tights instead of the badass heel gear. Piper torments Flair to start and chases him to the floor, so Jake comes in. Piper: “You want Savage? YOU’RE STUPID!” So indeed Macho comes in and blitzes the Snake while Piper yells de-motivational slogans at him. Next up, Hacksaw and Undertaker, and that goes badly for Duggan as you’d expect. He comes back and clotheslines him to the floor, however. Can you imagine being around as a fan at this time, and then taking a few years off from watching and returning in 2000 to see Undertaker suddenly running around as a biker but still playing the same character in continuity? Wrestling is weird, man. Duggan gets worked over by the heels, but manages to bring Piper back in for a kneelift on Flair, but Ric goes to the throat and Piper goes FLYING, clearly having a blast working with Flair again. Taker and Flair take turns choking Piper on the ropes and Jake adds an atomic drop. See, now Piper and Jake was a dynamic we never got to explore and that would have been a HELL of a match, I bet. Flair tries a pin on Piper and uses the ropes, but Piper comes back and they do a pinfall reversal sequence to set up the hot tag to Macho. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and Savage drops the big elbow on Flair for the pin at 8:51. This was good fun, and the babyfaces won clean to send the crowd home happy. Can’t hate on that. 6 for 7.

Randy Savage v. The Barbarian (12.30.91)

OK, now this is getting random. This must be some kind of Coliseum Video deal because Mooney and Lord Alfred are on commentary. Ballbearing attacks to start and pounds away in the corner. Savage’s outfit looks like a roving gang of flamboyant abstract artists spraypainted a zebra and then skinned it to make wrestling gear. Barbarian misses a charge and Savage drops the big elbow at 2:00. Savage was clearly into his lazy “sell for 2 minutes and then drop the elbow” phase. 6 for 8.

Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan v. The Berzerker & Jake Roberts (01.28.92)

Squint and it’s almost like Bruiser Brody for the most awesome dark match main event in history. This one has the tizzime count on the screen so it’s a TRUE Unreleased hidden gem. Hulk clotheslines Berzerker out of the ring a few times, and Savage slugs away in the corner, but quickly falls victim to getting punched in the head and starts selling. Berzerker chokes away in the corner and gets a flying clothesline for two, and it’s time for the chinlock portion of our program. I am SO not a fan of 1992 Randy Savage outside of the really big matches. I mean, people who bitch about Bret Hart phoning it in should have to watch a marathon of Savage selling for midcard geeks and then winning in 4:00 with the big elbow and get back to me. Berzerker with a piledriver for two and Jake pounds away with elbows in the corner. Berzerker misses a kneedrop and Hulk gets the hot tag and cleans house on the heels, and Savage chases Jake all the way to the back with a double axehandle, but Undertaker appears and chases him right back. The Megapowers team up for a big boot and Hulk rolls up Roberts for the pin at 8:08. NOBODY was giving any more fucks than contractually obligated in this one and Savage was basically Hulk’s little buddy again. Barf. 6 for 9.

Randy Savage v. Jake Roberts (03.10.92)

Another Challenge dark match and nearing the end for Jake, so this likely won’t go long. Jake quickly attacks and lays out Savage with the short clothesline before going to the chinlock. Another short clothesline and he’s ready to finish, but Savage cuts him off and blue balls his DDT boner. Elbow out of the corner and he goes up with the double axehandle, but Jake bails to escape. Savage runs the arm into the post and they head back in, where Savage tries another axehandle and gets caught coming down. DDT in the middle and people are FREAKING, but Jake decides to stop and savor the moment, and Savage rolls him up for the pin at 3:48. SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT SAVAGE IN 92? 6 for 10.

This one is on a Blue Jays-style losing streak and the closer is still suspended for domestic abuse for another month, so I don’t know if it’s gonna pull out a victory from behind like Savage in 92.

Two time WWE Champion (04.08.92)

Savage does his post-Mania victory interview on Superstars. You know, it really bugs me when they have to retcon the title into “WWE title” because of all their branding bullshit. It was called the WWF TITLE, dammit! You don’t need to change it, even for legal reasons!

Randy Savage & Undertaker v. The Berzerker & Ric Flair (07.21.92)

Seriously, enough of the Berzerker already. We’re not even into the WCW disc yet, I don’t want to give up on this set prematurely. BE BETTER, RANDY SAVAGE DVD SET! Anyway, this is yet another dark match main event from Challenge. You know what would be awesome? Stuff like Savage’s run as USWA champion from around 93, or some of the early outlaw promotion stuff pre-Memphis. Just completely off-the-wall crazy things you’d never expect instead of all this lazy thrown-together footage with guys mailing it in. Or at least concentrate heavier on the 85-87 era when Savage was at his peak. Anyway, Savage and Flair half-ass work off a hammerlock and basically do nothing for FOUR MINUTES and then Savage tags in Undertaker and he destroys Ric. He even does a pair of press slams, which you never see from him, and it’s over to the Berzerker portion of our program. Taker gets booted to the floor and pulls Berzerker out for a quick brawl, which results in Berzerker getting run into the stairs a few times. Back in, the babyfaces double-team him and Savage gets two, but he immediately starts selling and the heels beat on him in the corner. Berzerker chokes him out with the Nash Choke in the corner and the managers get some shots on him from outside while Flair yells at a lady at ringside. Berzerker pulls up the mats and slams him on the concrete in the least-dangerous version of that spot you’ll ever see, and back in Savage gets tied in the ropes and beat on some more. Finally Randy escapes and it’s hot tag Undertaker, tombstone for Berzerker, and the big elbow finishes at 13:32, good night. Literally, this boring match put me to sleep. 6 for 11.

Randy Savage v. Razor Ramon (10.28.92)

OK! Intriguing! This could be a win, let’s hope for the best. As usual, our old friend the Challenge dark match main event. Razor hitting on Mike McGuirk while she gives him a disgusted expression is a good start. Ramon was pretty hot leading into Survivor Series so you’d assume he goes over via screwjob of some kind here. So the battle of Macho v. Machismo is engaged, and Razor immediately beats him down until Savage knees him into the corner and chokes him out on the ropes. And then Razor kicks him in the knee and starts working on that to get the heat. Blind charge misses, but he recovers with choking and works on the knee in the corner. Razor with a half-crab and he works the knee and works the knee and works the knee some more. Savage fights up and Ramon keeps kicking him in the knee to put him down again, and finally he decides to put him away with a spinning toehold of some kind, but Savage shoves him off and they fight on the floor. Macho with the double axehandle to the floor, but Razor beats the count at 10:04. What a flat finish. This was literally Scott Hall working the knee for 9 minutes. 6 for 12.

Randy Savage v. Terrific Terry Taylor (12.14.92)

This is from Prime Time Wrestling in the dying days of the show, and it’s apparently a “feature matchup”, which is really stretching the definition of that phrase. This was such a bizarre run for Taylor, as he got turfed from WCW during the Watts era and ended up back in the WWF in a JTTS role and occasional announcing role. The commentary from Gorilla is already talking about Savage in the past tense, like he’s Pedro Morales, with the announcers waxing nostalgic about his time as WWF champion and all the charitable work he does now that those days are gone. You know, those days of SIX MONTHS AGO. Savage works the arm and they get into a shoving match which ends with Taylor getting clotheslined to the floor. Taylor gets a jawbreaker back in the ring and chokes him down to take over, and a backbreaker gets two. Atomic drop gets two. Dropkick gets two. Savage comes back with a sunset flip for two, but Taylor gets a sleeper. Savage escapes, but Taylor takes him down with a spinebuster for two. Another dropkick misses and Savage rolls him up for two. Backslide gets two. Taylor puts him down with another clothesline for two. Savage misses a blind charge and hits Taylor’s elbow, but Terry decides to go to the top rope for the first time in his career and he lands on Savage’s knees. Savage comes back and necksnaps him, then pops up with a double axehandle for two. Atomic drop into a backdrop suplex gets two. Taylor misses a blind charge and hits boot, and Savage ends this disc on an up note with the big elbow at 9:43, oh yeah. 7 for 13, both guys were working hard and it paid off. “A great champion of the past!” declares Alfred Hayes. OUCH.

The Taylor match is well worth checking out, but the rest is a reminder of how limited Savage was becoming and how little faith that Vince had him in at this point.

Next up:  Savage takes one last crack at it before leaving for WCW!