The SmarK Rant for the Dark Side of the Ring – Season 1, Episode 1

The SmarK Rant for Dark Side of the Ring S01E01

“The Match Made In Heaven”

So apparently this show is available on Crave TV up here, and I subscribe to that particular service.  So let’s start from the start and give it a look.

Bruce Prichard (“former WWE executive” at this point) introduces the early days of Macho Man and how he lived the gimmick 24/7.  Lanny Poffo notes that he was being upstaged by Randy every day, but he was happy to hold the ropes for him because it was over.

We meet Linda Bollea, Hulk’s ex-wife, who was basically Elizabeth’s only friend of note on the road.  We get an amazing recreation of Savage meeting Elizabeth at the gym, which is narrated by Scott Hall for a big laugh.

Liz quickly started working for ICW as an interviewer, and they were married soon after.  Then Jimmy Hart goes to the WWF and six months later brings Savage with him, and in turn Savage demands that Liz come with him.  This of course gave us the brilliant dynamic of the alpha jock with the attainable cheerleader who could clearly do better than him.

We head to Wrestlemania IIII, as Lanny Poffo talks about how Randy was a perfectionist and it always killed him that he could never top that match.

Back to Linda, who talks about how they all realized they lived in the same area of Florida, which led to barbeques with the Hogans and Savages where they’d go over match ideas while Liz went along with whatever they suggested.  This led to the formation of the MEGAPOWERS in late 87.  And with nowhere left for the team to go, they could only explode, especially with one of them being a “paranoid schizophrenic.”  Yeah and Randy was pretty bad too.  Jimmy Hart notes that Randy’s insane jealousy was real, which made it all the more effective.

The talking heads discuss how Savage would control Liz and how she looked and acted, including taping down her boobs to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions and dictating how she got in and out of the ring.  Bruce notes that when you take that real life stuff and put it on TV, then “you get really fucked up”.

Next up, a discussion of having wives on the road, including having them scrubbing the blood off the wrestling boots in the hotel, and how much of a miserable existence it was.  Linda was concerned that Liz was needing more friends and socialization, and in fact Liz asked to be taken off the road and wanted Savage to retire as well. So this gives us Queen Sherri, who could take bumps and would give it back to the guys if challenged.  And then at Wrestlemania VII, Savage loses his career to Ultimate Warrior and reunites with Elizabeth to seemingly get off the road.  This leads to the “wedding” at Summerslam, which Bruce notes is the first time that Savage ever showed a human emotion.  Jake Roberts:  “I did the reception bullshit and put the snake in the box and all that crap.”  So then Jake tells a hilarious story about negotiating the snakebite angle with Randy because Macho was paranoid about the snake being de-venomed and wouldn’t do the angle unless Jake was bitten first.  So he capitulated while Randy watched, and then when they did the TV angle, Jake “slapped the shit out of the snake” so it would be good and angry so he could get revenge.  And then the snake mauled Savage and wouldn’t let go, as apparently they had to edit it way down for TV because the snakebite went on even longer.  I can’t even do Jake’s telling justice here.  Also, Jake relates the story of how Randy couldn’t show up at Liz’s family home in Tennessee because they thought he couldn’t protect their daughter based on Jake slapping her on TV.  So Randy had to kick Jake’s ass for their benefit.

In 1992, Liz leaves Savage and goes to live with Linda and Hulk for a while, while Randy is freaking out because he doesn’t know where she is.  So he bursts into Hulk’s house threatening to raise hell, so Hulk takes him on a search for Liz and Savage perceives that Hulk was taking Liz’s side, which led to the end for their real-life friendship.  Finally Liz can’t take anymore and leaves him.  Savage got all weird and withdrawn, and then one day Vince announces to everyone that Savage had jumped ship to WCW.

Macho Man goes to WCW, along with $750,000 a year in Slim Jim money for the company, and later brings Liz with him.  So we jump ahead a bit, as Liz calls up Linda and admits that she’s been dating Lex Luger…who was married at the time.  Everyone knows it’s going to end badly, especially when Lex was putting her up in the same complex as his family was living in.  Plus they were pilled up all the time, which doesn’t go well when you’re a third of the weight of your wrestler boyfriend.

By 2003, Lex is arrested for beating her up, and then we get the horrific 911 call where Liz overdoses and dies.  Bischoff hated Luger for manipulating someone like that, but years later now he respects Lex for taking responsibility later on.  And then 7 years later, Savage gets remarried and finds happiness, but then suffers a heart attack while driving and dies in a car accident.  Bischoff gets all choked up thinking about how much Savage loved working with kids, and Lanny relates a story about how Savage would sign autographs for kids, but first demand that they do their best in school.  OR ELSE.

What a great episode!  I love that they ended on the positive and remembered all the great things about him instead of dwelling on the morbid Luger saga, and the whole thing was extremely well produced and professional.  It really made me remember yet again why I loved Savage so much.  I’m definitely gonna keep watching this show.

Next up:  The Montreal screwjob.  Well good thing we haven’t talked about THAT for a while.