Apologies for the long-winded email. Ignoring the obvious (The "New" Generation featuring washed up wrestlers and guys approaching 40 years old) and with the new Randy Savage DVD drawing my attention to the subject, is there enough evidence to convince people that he didn’t belong at the top of the card at this point of his WWF run, and keeping him away from any main programs was for the better? It’s one of those fantasy booking scenarios that comes up all the time.
1. We can all hopefully agree that nothing was turning business around, so casually bashing his flop of a run in 1992 isn’t the strongest argument. However, SummerSlam and Survivor Series, two shows with him heavily featured in the true Main Event (matches that didn’t close the show, but were the selling points on PPV), were the lowest bought PPV’s. Coincidentally, both shows lacked Mr. Hulk Hogan, which brings me to point 2…
2. Hulk Hogan was the only name they could use to pop interest for WrestleMania IX. Savage flopped. Bret was flopping as Champion, too. Who in their right mind, business wise, would make the Main Event a battle of babyfaces when both weren’t draws and Vince hates face vs. face matches (Hogan/Warrior drew a disappointing buy in 1990 and both were a hell of a lot more over and better draws than either Bret or Randy in ’93). Then turn him heel, right?
3. Randy Savage was a poster-boy ambassador for the company, doing charitable work with Make-a-Wish and the Special Olympics, among other organizations. It’s the Cena argument. Why kill a hero who’s in a comfortable role doing something he loved to do?
4. Even though we’re in the era of staying off steroids (hopefully), Savage’s physique wasn’t the best. He looked small and weak, and we all know Vince’s obsession with look.
5. When the golden goose (Hulk Hogan) didn’t draw following WrestleMania IX, it finally meant opening the door for pushing new talent and trying recycled ideas. Yokozuna was the 1st long-term heel Champion since Billy Graham (Savage’s year-long run was only 2 months as a true heel) and drew well for the position the company was in, Lex Luger got the American flag wrapped around him (which ended up bombing because Vince had to hold off the big win for Mania), and new pieces were falling into place like Razor being the gate-keeper of the IC Title, the rise of Owen to a respectable spot on the roster, among others. Why, if Hogan didn’t trend upwards and he already had a poor run on top in ’92, would Savage suddenly be a high priority?
6. Match quality means nothing. Yes, Bret vs. Savage, on a big stage, probably would’ve kicked all kinds of ass, even in 1993, but when has that ever been a factor for WWE? I’m convinced had that match been booked, Hogan vs. Yokozuna or some other monster would’ve had top billing over their title match because casuals don’t pay to watch a great match.
I also have an 8-page spread on rebooking Starrcade ’89 if you’re interested.
Can you also expound on the Mount Rushmore of chokers and who else belongs besides Roman and Luger?
Anyway, I don’t think anyone was white-knighting for Savage to actually win the title at Wrestlemania. But having Savage lose there and then move into his proposed feud with Shawn Michaels would have been a far better use of him, I think. Or I guess you could even have Savage transition the belt to Yokozuna if you really wanted, but I don’t think it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things either way. People, myself included, are just saying that it would have been a more interesting main event than Bret-Yokozuna.