The Original “Mr. WrestleMania”


Long before “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels dubbed himself “Mr. WrestleMania,” which is no doubt a well-deserved moniker, “Macho Man” Randy Savage was stealing “The Show of Shows” on a consistent basis.

On this week’s edition of WrestleMania Rewind, which aired Tuesday night on the WWE Network, the match between Savage and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania IV was profiled. It reminded me that at one point, Savage was the guy having the best matches and doing some amazing stuff at the biggest annual pro wrestling event every time out.

At WrestleMania II, which was Savage’s first WrestleMania appearance, he had a pretty good little battle with George “The Animal” Steele. The next year, at WrestleMania III, Savage had what was considered for a long time to be the best match in WrestleMania history against Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. In my opinion, the Savage-Steamboat classic is still among the top five matches in the history of the event.

WrestleMania IV, which was the subject of this week’s WrestleMania Rewind, which is my second favorite show on the WWE Network (WWE Countdown being my favorite), we took a stroll down memory lane and re-watched the build to the one-night tournament for the vacant WWE Championship.

In one night, Savage competed in four separate matches, all of which ranged from good to great. In his first outing, Savage had an excellent little match with “The Natural” Butch Reed. His second round match was against Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, which was another solid in-ring performance. In the third bout of the evening for Savage, the “Macho Man” proved he could pull a good match out of a not-so-good performer, as he managed to have an enjoyable little bout with One Man Gang. And of course in the finals, Savage tore things up with DiBiase. A great one night performance from one of the best in-ring performers of that era.

At WrestleMania V, which had one of the best year-long build-ups to any main event in WrestleMania history, the “Mega Powers” collided as a heel Savage went one-on-one with the ultra-popular Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship. Savage was basically a place-holder as champion until Hogan finished filming one of the worst movies ever made — No Holds Barred.

Again, Hogan isn’t exactly considered to be among the best technical in-ring workers of all-time, but on this night, he and Savage — largely due to Savage — put on a hell of a performance. It was a great match, and one that a lot of credit should be given to “Macho Man” for turning out as well as it did.

At WrestleMania VI, which featured the iconic showdown between Hogan and Ultimate Warrior, Savage managed to damn-near steal the show with “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. If Hogan-Warrior didn’t turn out as well as it did, which nobody expected prior to the show, Savage-Rhodes would have likely been the best — and certainly the most fun — match of the evening. The post-match stuff with Rhodes, Sapphire and Miss Elizabeth was really enjoyable, fun stuff.

WrestleMania VII once again proved that Savage had the ability to pull great things out of not-so-great performers, as he and Warrior, in their infamous “retirement match,” had a great outing. Outside of Hogan-Warrior, many consider this match to be the best of Warrior’s career, and some would even argue that this one was the better of the two. It certainly wasn’t because Warrior was a technical wizard, it was because Savage, with his infamous overly pre-planned style of working, designed a match that even with Warrior’s limited in-ring abilities, would come off as a great.

The original plan for WrestleMania VIII was going to be one of the most anticipated showdowns ever, as Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair were originally scheduled to battle for the WWE Championship. Instead, WWE split things up and decided to put on a double main event, one featuring Hogan and Sid Justice, while the other would feature Savage and Flair battling for the WWE Championship. The Savage-Flair match, as you would expect, was excellent. In a little trivia note, Shane McMahon actually made one of his first on-camera appearances in WWE as one of the officials who tried to keep Miss Elizabeth away from ringside during the bout.

If you go down that list, it’s pretty clear that Savage did some amazing stuff at a number of WrestleMania’s. There are very few people who have a resume like that at WrestleMania, so it’s only right that people recognize Savage as the original “Mr. WrestleMania.” Why Savage hasn’t been honored in the WWE Hall Of Fame is beyond me, although I assume the rumors about Savage and a certain underage bosses daughter have something to do with it.

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