Wrestlemania III Attendance, also Randy Orton

Hi Scott,

I e-mailed you a few weeks ago with an article claiming that the 93,000 for Wrestlemania 3 was actually a legitimate number and was just wondering what your take on it was. It was during the week before Wrestlemania, so I understand if you were too busy to answer (or if you didn't want to dignify an uproxx article with a response, which is also understandable).

I have a question regarding Randy Orton that's been bugging me for awhile, though. In every shoot interview that Bayless has posted where the wrestlers are asked about him, everyone has praised Orton to high heaven, either as a joy to see him wrestle or by those who have faced him as the perfect person to wrestle against. I know he's not shitting in *everybody's* bag, but why the universal praise? Is it because he's never hurt anyone in the ring?

Thanks,

Vince

​Zane Breslov, the actual promoter of the show, has gone on record saying that there were only 78,000 people in the building.  I have no idea why this 93,000 thing persists even though we know they've literally lied about the Wrestlemania attendance every year for the past two decades.  Is it because ​people think that one year was when they were telling the truth?  
As for Orton, wrestlers have different standards as far as what they like than fans do, obviously.  

Randy Savage/Crush Summit: Savage shoots on Hogan

Hi,
 So I am watching the Monday Night Raw episode on the WWE Network where Crush turns heels and attacks Randy Savage, because Crush says Savage turned his back on him because he didn’t save him from Yokozuna a while back. During the episode, Savage makes a Comment how he friendship went down the drain with Hulk Hogan. And he also made the comment how Hogan is an backstabber, big ego and how Hogan thought of himself as God but there’s only one God. This seems like an shoot from Savage and not something Vince told him to say.

​I dunno, sounds like something Vince would say by my reckoning.  But as noted a few days back, Hogan and Savage had a really bizarre relationship and they were definitely in the "hate" portion of it in 1993.  ​

Randy Savage’s WWF Title Run


Scott,

How was business going when the Macho Man was the WWF Heavyweight Champion for a year? Was he as over as Hogan? 

​No one was as over as Hogan, but Savage was a totally legitimate champion who drew just fine.  In fact after the heel turn he caught fire and probably should have remained champion, but that's a tough argument to make.  Really, he got to be World champion for a year during the peak of Hulkamania, I don't think he was complaining too much.  ​

Let Me Tell You About Randy Savage, Brother!

Hey Scott–

Loved your Sporting News piece (and a fan of your work for close to 15 years now.) I am thrilled that Savage will finally get his due. As a Bay Area native, you can bet I'll be there at the ceremony. I also won't be one of these small-time indie guys who thinks it's appropriate to attend a ceremony such as this in a Shane Douglas t-shirt; Horsemen finest all the way, baby! (with perhaps a pair of Randy's lava shades on for a bit of flair.)

However, there is one turd in this resplendent punch-bowl; Hogan is doing the induction speech? Given the metric-ton of made up bullshit the Orange Goblin has dropped on us over the years (how heavy is Andre now?) what is going to come out of that man's mouth?

What do you expect out of Terry Bollea on March 28th? And if you had your druthers, who would you have inducting Randy before Lanny makes his speech (hopefully with a poem for good measure?)

​It should have been Lanny doing the induction, period.  We didn't need a separate speech; the show is long enough as it is.  The Hogan thing is strictly a ratings and ticket-selling ploy and a pretty transparent one at that.  I bet you any money though that Hogan will tell a story about how Steamboat and Savage had their classic at Wrestlemania III and then Hogan was the first one to go shake his hand and congratulate him on the great match or something.  In fact, he probably booked it himself and refereed it.  ​

October Classics: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage – Halloween Havoc ’97

So, the other match I was referring to yesterday was this one. DDP and the Macho Man had quite the rivalry in 1997, even going so far as to involve Elizabeth and Kimberly. They met at Spring Stampede earlier in the year, with DDP getting the win. At Bash ’97, Savage got the win. Bash at the Beach ’97 saw the two team with Curt Hennig (DDP) and Scott Hall (Savage), with Savage/Hall taking it, then another tag match at Fall Brawl ’97, with DDP taking up with Luger against Savage/Hall, with Luger/DDP winning that one. Finally, it culminated at Halloween Havoc in a Las Vegas Sudden Death Match.

Randy Savage vs DDP (HH97 Part 1) by mrbling


Randy Savage vs DDP (HH97 Part 2) by mrbling

randy savage ring attire

hey scott, how are you? hope you and the family are doing well.

my question regards randy savage and specifically how he went from having the coolest attire i ever remembered – the tights with the star motifs, the yellow boots, the sunglasses, the bandana, that somehow segued into one of the worst in-ring outfits i saw: yes that combination of long tights, tassels and stupid cowboy hat (and how unfortunate that he saved his most hideous color/design combination than in his blowoff tuesday in texas match with jake the snake).

i just wanted to ask when exactly did randy change his look, and why? as i can recall, he changed nothing of his character along the way (still, the crazy, wild-eyed, paranoid wrestler) but just did a complete 180 with regards to his look.

thanks for reading, scott.

Basically he went off steroids for good in late 89, I think because he wanted to have a baby with Liz but I could be misremembering that, and he got very self-conscious about his shrinking physique.  So the tassels and shirt were his way of disguising the lack of muscle mass at that point in his career.  

The Postgame: Randy Orton, sympathetic figure?

Thousands of words have been written in recent months from any corner of the internet about a WWE star whose run on top has been submarined by bad writing, bad booking and a perceived lack of faith from within the company almost entirely based on what we see on-screen.

I’m going to write some more of those words today, but as you probably figured out from the headline, they won’t be about Daniel Bryan.

It’s hard to make a strong case that one should feel bad for Randy Orton. He was born into the business and earmarked for success before he even hit the main roster. He’s never really drawn significant money but has maintained a lofty spot near the top, if not at it, for 10 years now. He was dreadfully boring in the ring in his first turn as a main event heel even if his character was mildly interesting. He was dull as dishwater- albeit very over with most live crowds- as a top babyface from 2010 to 2013 even if his ringwork was generally proficient in this period. Not only that, but if they followed their own drug testing rules to a tee, he’d have been long ago unemployed. (Allegedly, along with many other backstage miscreant behavior he’s been accused of.)

It’s not the kind of career Daniel Bryan, CM Punk or most other wrestlers would ever have been afforded the opportunity to have, or more accurately have continue past….any number of points, really. And that’s only if we stick to what we know (never drawn money) and leave out what we think we know (the backstage misbehavior) and what we perceive (i.e., any opinion of him as a performer).

Thus, it’s a difficult exercise to even imagine Orton as any sort of sympathy case. In the long view, he’s certainly not one.

But in the here and now, it’s hard to imagine a champion getting any shorter shrift heading into Wrestlemania.

In the beginning, Orton as the flunky avatar for what the Authority wanted to be the ideal WWE champion was a great hook: it was a nifty twist on the old corporate heel champion bit that’s been done so many times. But something strange happened that made the perplexing booking that ensued so much worse: he was terrific in the role. As this piece is more a dissection of everything that’s been wrong with how Orton has been booked in the last seven months, and less an paean to Orton, I’ll direct you to the Masked Man’s excellent Grantland piece from two months ago if such an ode is your thing.

From vacillating between dominant corporate champ and the Authority’s underachieving whipping boy to cleanly jobbing to almost the entire Elimination Chamber lineup leading up to that show, his on-screen portrayal has been uneven at best, and not meritocratic in the least based on his actual work in recent months.

But in the so-called “Reality Era” of WWE that we now not only view but actively participate in, that’s never the whole story, is it?

The tumult surrounding the Wrestlemania build is, of course, well-documented: crowds are becoming more agitated every week that Daniel Bryan is kept out of the main event. CM Punk quit. A very audible fart in church would be received better than Batista’s return and instant placement into Wrestlemania’s main event has been.

Caught in the middle of this, quietly continuing to do the best he can with what he’s been given, is Randy Orton. If you can’t get past his background, maybe this is another example to you of Orton being handed something he doesn’t deserve. And maybe you’re right. But let’s say an audible is called for, say, Batista or even Lesnar as the corporate “face of the WWE” to face underdog Bryan at Wrestlemania, a cool-sounding idea that many floated. The part-time star usurping the spot of the guy who’s been here every week, doing as he’s asked and having good matches pretty much every time out.

Sounds familiar.

Aren’t these the circumstances that made CM Punk quit?

Maybe he should be closer to the midcard than the main event in the first place, but we can’t blame Randy Orton for Daniel Bryan not being in the WWE title match. We can’t blame him for Batista’s return, or how poorly he’s been received since. Nothing in life takes place in a vacuum, though, and Randy Orton has long ago used up whatever goodwill would have engendered a sympathetic reaction to how shoddily he’s been booked since Summerslam.

I guess if there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that even an asshole with a spot he never earned in the first place can be unfairly jerked around in professional wrestling. Even if it’s all the way to the bank.

Cesaro vs. Randy Orton: SmackDown, Feb. 14, 2014

You marks are all kidding yourself if you think that Orton putting him over clean as a sheet and the announcers treating it as a big deal will have ANY effect on his rise to the next level.  No one pays attention to that SOUTHERN RASSLIN shit.  It’s the fact that he is now just Cesaro that will determine his main event fate.  GENIUS.

Also, burying this on Smackdown and putting yet another Orton-Cena match that means nothing on RAW?  GENIUS.

Also, I think Ellen Page was taking the “mutants as metaphor” aspect of the X-Men movies a bit too seriously.  There’s method acting and then there’s taking it too far.

Also, more like ROBOFLOP, am I right?

That’s all I got tonight.

Randy Orton: Face Of The Company

Just to expand on something in the comments from RAW thread:

What’s amazing is like you said, why haven’t they done ANYTHING with the “face of the company” gimmick? Instead of being HHH/Steph’s chew toy, Orton could have actually been an interesting heel character. Show videos of him being the “face of the company” at public events and being hated— photo ops with kids who can’t stand him, being obnoxious on local TV appearances, stuff like that. Have him come out and review his latest Randy Orton merchandise, or berate interns because his locker room didn’t have enough fresh cut flowers,. Give him a lackey to carry a mirror so Orton can look at himself as he comes down the ring. Bring a fan in the ring because Randy wants to let the commoner worship the face of the company. There’s a million ways you could go with Orton as the pompous champion who prides himself as being the most popular person in WWE when obviously he’s not.

I don’t know if you watch NXT or not, but this is an exact description of the Bo Dallas character and his Honky Tonk Man 2014 deal.  And although it’s fun for the most part, it does NOT work for the guy who is supposed to be the champion, and it’s not going to work for Bo when he gets called up.  They’ve really booked themselves into a corner with Bo and this deal, because once he loses that belt the character is dead in the water and really Bo is LONG past the point where the joke has been beaten into the ground as it is.  Orton might be able to make it work, but it’s not translating to Dallas as a top guy, I’ll say that. 

Terrific Masked Man piece on Randy Orton

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10158206/why-randy-orton-now-champion-need

I’m sure this will engender some interesting discussion, if it hasn’t  already in a threadjack somewhere. Personally, I think he’s 100 percent correct. I’ve admittedly never been as down on Orton as some of you- never a big fan, either- but he’s killing it in this role. I wrote shortly after his heel turn that he was the perfect avatar for the Authority in that storyline, but it’s pretty obvious he’s a lot more than that now.

Greatest Randy Orton vs. John Cena Match?

First of all, I loved the ending to Raw this week. It was a balls-to-the-wall ending that planted the seeds and foreshadowed things to possibly come. That said, I am not excited for this unification match. The unification of the titles is something  fans have looked forward to seeing for years, and the build just hasn’t come close to living up to the hype. It feels like just another PPV main event, to be honest.

Anywho, what is the greatest Orton and Cena match in your opinions?  Personally, I have to go with their “I Quit Match” from Breaking Point 2009.

Road-agents and wrestlers sometimes put a lot thought into the match and surprise me with their creativity. That is what happened on this night: They structured out a masterpiece that displayed a strategical plan and in-ring characterizations (two things that lack in modern wrestling imo.)

Orton channeled something you’d see straight out of a horror movie, torturing Cena with painful devices and triggered his already injured head. Through the power of facial expressions and body language, he made it clear that his character was trying to do more than just win the match; it was trying to end Cena’s career.
But as compelling as a character’s strengths are, its weaknesses are even more compelling. And, Orton’s weaknesses were exposed by Cena, even in a vulnerable situation, as Orton became too concerned with toying with Cena rather than finishing him off. That led to Orton receiving his comeuppance by hoisting on his own petard.
This was a very well structured brawl, with good psychology and storytelling. Cena’s comeback being too abrupt, Orton tapping out a wee too quickly, and the lack of color are the only things holding this down from being a 5-star classic.

George Steele on Randy Savage

http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/men-action/201306/george-animal-steele-jim-myers-wrestling-elizabeth-randy-savage

Kind of fascinating look at one of the underrated programs of 1986, if you ask me.  Also a great look at how bonkers Randy Savage was.

———————

Oh he was crazy all right.  Funny to read that excerpt and think of George Steele writing it.  Not the kind of guy you'd normally think of to be making literary allusions and sly pop culture references.  

Going for the hatrick with Randy Orton

Hey, speaking of Jesse…. > Since you have two people writing in about Randy Orton, might as well give you a lucky number three on the subject in terms of a third email on him.
>
> Any reason why the WWE refuses to turn Randy Orton heel? With the ascension of Punk, the WWE has been struggling with the need to find heels and let alone those who are big enough to be credible threats. And as it has been said, Orton seems to know that his days as the top face is over what with him wanting to go heel.
>
> This is most notable when you consider that Sheamus has effectively upstaged Orton as a top face on Smackdown and the fact that Orton would have been tailor made for a rival for Punk during his time as a good guy world champion, far better than Jericho in terms of a filler feud during the first half of 2012.
>
> Does Vince fear that turning Orton heel might hurt his merch sales? Or is it more or less him being contrary simply for the sake of being contrary, especially since Orton himself has requested a return to the dark side for his character?
>
> Jesse He just turned on Smackdown, didn't he? Unless he was possessed by Dr. Octopus.

Match of the Day: Randy Savage v. Ultimate Warrior

Not sure if you are still doing Match of the Day. Here is a cool one from January 89 – a rare title defense from Macho Man’s first title run. HEEL Savage vs. ultimate Warrior. Very cool match

I swear they’re still kicking themselves for not finding a way to stretch out heel Savage’s title run, because he was drawing nuclear heat as champion.  How crazy is it that Savage’s heel turn, on one of the most-watched wrestling programs in history, was in February and then he lost the belt in APRIL?  They literally took the belt off him a MONTH after making the biggest heel in wrestling.  Still blows my mind.