I was ready to re-start late 2015 NXT since the Wrestlemania bump was done and this falls into my lap.
“Dark Side of the Ring” is a six-part series that’s on Viceland here in the states. It focuses on some of the tragedies around wrestling. The first episode is “The Match Made in Heaven” and it focuses on the relationship with Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Elizabeth.
Enjoy and discuss among yourselves if you so desire.
— The main people interviewed were Bruce Pritchard, Jimmy Hart, Lanny Poffo, Linda Bollea (ex-wife of Hulk Hogan for those of you living in a cave), Jake Roberts, Scott Hall and Eric Bischoff. They kept it to those seven for the most part.
— I would say the highlight for me was some of the old pictures that Linda provided. There’s a pretty funny one of Vince McMahon in a red speedo probably from the mid-80s. And a bunch of photos of Linda and Liz with Liz helping her take care of the Hogan children, etc. etc. There was also some good old ICW footage of Elizabeth doing some announcing and playing a role that was less familiar to us.
— Savage, of course, was super protective of Liz and did keep her locked up when she wasn’t with him. Jake understood because the locker room was a nasty environment and guys were pretty heavy on the ribs and other stuff. Hart, however, said it was unhealthy and you just can’t keep smothering someone like that and expect that it’s going end well.
— Jake was definitely the star when it came to the stories. The best one was before the cobra incident. He said that Savage asked him if the snake had the venomoid process to get rid of the poison, which Jake said it had. But that wasn’t good enough for Savage (rightfully so) and he told Jake to let the snake bite him first. So Jake claims he let the snake bite him and then Savage watched him for about 20 minutes to make sure Jake didn’t take any antibiotics or anything. Eventually Savage figured everything was on the up and up.
But it gets better.
According to Jake, the snake was pretty tame so he had to really agitate it to get it pissed off enough to bite someone. But he did and when it bit Savage it was supposed to be pretty quick but the snake was angry and Jake couldn’t pull it off. So Vince is screaming at the ref to tell Jake to get it off and Jake is like ‘I’m trying but the sumbitch won’t let go’. Hard to say how true that was. But Jake has a great way of telling the story.
— But Jake wasn’t done there. He refers to the “This Tuesday in Texas” card when he slaps Liz (one of the more shocking incidents I’d seen up to that point) and then he claimed that went Savage and Liz went to visit Liz’s grandparents in Tennessee that her grandfather wouldn’t let Savage in the house because he said he would never let anyone hurt her. Jake’s great line of “people are fake, wrestling is real” had me laughing. Still I’m not totally buying that one.
— They touched on most of the major angles from his start in the WWF until his time ended there. From his evolution as a verbally abusive husband (none of that shit would fly on WWE TV these days) to the Megapowers, to the dissolving of the Megapowers, to Liz leaving the road and him becoming the Macho King and being paired with Sherri Martel.
— The breakup comes around the time Hogan was filming Mr. Nanny (which I think was nominated for Best Picture but just got edged out by Schindler’s List) in Miami and Linda convinced Liz to come down to Miami and hang out with her and the kids for a couple of weeks. Liz meets some other people and starts having fun not being isolated by her crazy husband and realizes how nice freedom is. Savage can’t get a hold of her and flies down to Miami to retrieve her. He pretty much cuts her off from Linda and Hulk after that. Jimmy Hart staunchly defends Hogan here, saying he was way too busy filming a movie to have time to worry about their crazy relationship. Savage, however, felt like Hogan was taking her side.
— A couple months later Liz leaves him, presumably to go back to Miami to be around her new friends. That’s the end of their marriage.
— They pretty much gloss over Savage leaving WWF and Hall says that he got Liz into WCW on a contract making $250K a year. He was still very protective of her but she was different on and off screen. She was more social and verbal (and she actually made for a very entertaining heel). Scott (Keith, not Hall) mentioned in his previous rants that she was miserable there but they don’t mention that here. As I said they glossed over a lot after 1993.
— They go into Liz dating Lex Luger. This was an issue because Luger was married at the time. He put Liz up in another house he owned in the complex that he lived in with his wife and kids (that’s pretty ballsy). They did drugs, a lot of pills. The thing was Lex was a solid 260 pounds and as Hall states “Liz was like 85 pounds” so if they were doing a similar amount of drugs it was going to have a greater effect on her. They also had some domestic issues and an incident where Liz ended up with a black eye.
— Liz eventually dies from her drug usage at the too young age of 42. Lex really went into detail about it in a podcast with Bischoff on 2017. Bischoff said Lex showed a lot of remorse and took a lot responsibility for all the stuff that went down with he and Liz. They played some of the 911 call he made when she passed out from the drugs.
— They replayed a Savage interview after Liz died and he basically said they had closure on their relationship a few years prior and hadn’t spoke in a while but he was very sorry for her family and would miss her.
— It pretty much ends with Lanny showing off pictures of Savage after he got re-married. Lanny said he was very happy living a quiet life and doing work with the Special Olympics until he died. He went to tree that Savage ran into in the car accident (which is a few miles from where I live, there’s usually flowers and pictures around it.). Bischoff put Savage over as a nice guy who was extremely nice to young fans.
Bottom Line: Not much new material but still worth a glance. I kind of hate the way they dismissed Liz as a drug addict in the final 20 minutes of the broadcast. Now clearly not many people knew her so they probably couldn’t speak on her personality but the broadcast just painted her as an isolated, unhappy woman that was in wrestling and then she did drugs and died. They could have at least went more into detail on her later life. Savage came across as he normally does — pretty crazy and nutty but still well enough and everyone either talked about how cool he was or how nice he was.
Next week’s show is on the Montreal Screwjob. That ought to be entertaining.