Coliseum Video looks at Randy Savage’s year at the top.
-This was released in late 1988, right around the time they started the slow build toward the heel turn and Wrestlemania V.
-Your host are Randy & Liz along with Mean Gene Okerlund.
-We lead off with highlights of Saturday Night’s Main Event, with Hulk Hogan showing up to save Savage from a 3-on-1 beating and creating the Mega-Powers.
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: HONKY TONK MAN (Champion, with Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue) vs. RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (with Elizabeth)
-Stipulation for this one is straight from the NWA playbook; Jimmy is locked in a cage and suspended above the ring to prevent interference. Jimmy and Honky both refuse to adhere to the stipulation, to which Savage offers a compelling rebuttal: “Oh yeah!” Savage takes matters in his own hands, dragging Jimmy by his tie to the cage and locking him in himself. Honky tries to pull Jimmy out and goes airborne along with the cage in a neat visual. The fact that Peggy Sue is allowed to remain on the floor telegraphs the screwjob here quite nicely.
-Savage unloads on Honky without bothering to take off the bandana or the sunglasses. Honky goes to the floor and Savage follows him out for more. Peggy Sue makes her presence known by trying to trip Savage on his way back into the ring, and seconds later, the referee is bumped. We’re not even three minutes into the match.
-Peggy Sue goes after Elizabeth and chokes her, which is a pretty surprising spot, actually. Savage goes after her to make the save and Honky sneaks up and knocks out Savage with the title belt. Savage tumbles out of the ring and it appears to be a count-out win for Honky, but the referee gives it to Savage by DQ instead. 0 for 1. Weird overbooked “TV feature bout” vibe for an MSG main event. Savage and Honky had really good chemistry together; they could have done more.
-Randy Savage says he’s so fired up that he could take on Peggy Sue, the Honky Tonk Man, the Million Dollar Man, and Mean Gene, who “keeps giving Elizabeth roses.”
-We get the closing moments of another Saturday Night’s Main Event match, with Elizabeth getting Hulk Hogan’s help to rescue the Macho Man once again.
-Next is a montage of Savage’s four victories at Wrestlemania IV, giving him the gold.
WORLD TITLE: RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (Champion, with Elizabeth) vs. ONE MAN GANG (with Slick)
-Joined in progress from Saturday Night’s Main Event. Big elbow by the Gang gets two. He goes for an avalanche. Savage dodges and throws a series of elbows. Clothesline sends Gang over the top and onto the floor. He hits the axehandle from the top rope, and Gang falls on top of a photographer. The photographer earns his pay by snapping a photo while Gang is on top of him.
-Back in the ring, Gang slams Savage to halt the comeback. Gang goes to the second rope and goes for a splash, but Savage rolls out of the way. Slick tries the always reliable plan B for a Randy Savage match, going after Elizabeth. Savage takes the bait and Gang takes full advantage with more clubbing blows. Referee turns his back to reprimand Elizabeth while Gang props up Savage for a cane shot from Slick. Savage ducks and Gang gets the cane flush in the jaw. He collapses into perfect position for the flying elbow, and Savage gets the three-count to retain. 1 for 2. Good, energetic TV match, and Savage followed the Hogan formula pretty well here, timing his comebacks and struggles nicely.
WORLD TITLE: RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (Champion, with Elizabeth) vs. “Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE (with Virgil)
-Savage attacks before the bell and clears the ring before he’s even taken off his cape. He finally does take off the cape, and the referee grabs it to get it out of the ring; Savage takes a quick peek to make sure the referee is dealing with the cape, then turns around and clubs DiBiase over the head with the title belt to knock him out of the ring. Awesome.
-DiBiase comes back in and gets clotheslined right back out. Savage goes after Virgil, but the ruse doesn’t work and DiBiase is back on the run again. DiBiase is bleeding hardway from the nose somehow. He manages to knock Savage out of the ring and follows him out there with a boot to the head. Virgil tosses him back in and DiBiase goes to work. Roger Kent speculates that DiBiase is trying to break Savage’s nose as DiBiase stomps and stomps and stomps all over Savage’s abdomen.
-DiBiase keeps getting two-counts and can’t seem to put Savage away, which makes sense because I can’t remember DiBiase ever beating Savage for the title. Piledriver that Should be Barred Because It’s Going to Kill Somebody Someday (copyright Roger Kent) gets two, apparently having failed to live up to its name. Roger begins quoting Mad Dog Vachon promos on commentary in the era where that wouldn’t be terribly okay with Vince.
-Savage makes a comeback, snapping DiBiase’s neck over the top rope (which DiBiase sells in his typical awesome way). Savage charges and DiBiase ducks, sending Savage onto the floor and his arm whacks a chair on the way down. Funny bit with Savage trying to sell an arm injury as a cue to DiBiase and then Elizabeth screws it up by pulling Savage by the arm to get him back up to his feet.
-DiBiase keeps trying to put Savage away, but the champ won’t stay down. Bad camera work ruins a complex spot, with DiBiase directing the referee’s attention to Elizabeth, then Virgil dashes over and unties a turnbuckle, but Savage reverses the whip into the buckle and knocks out DiBiase. Savage tries to finish, and Virgil runs in to break the pin and end the match in a DQ. Savage unleashes a royal ass-kicking on Virgil after the bell and the crowd pop for that is just crazy. 2 for 3. Well, this was just every kind of fucking excellent.
NON-TITLE: RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (with Elizabeth) vs. VIRGIL (with Ted DiBiase)
-From Superstars of Wrestling. Crowd is just crazy about Savage. Savage goes after DiBiase first. DiBiase puts his dukes up and Savage goes after him. That allows Virgil to sneak up for a cheap shot, but Savage knocks him right out of the ring. DiBiase distracts Savage from there and Virgil attacks from behind and this time, he’s able to take control.
-Virgil whips Savage from corner to corner, then distracts the referee so DiBiase can take a few free punches. Virgil heads up top for a splash, but crashes. Savage goes up top for a double axehandle, then slams Virgil into position for the elbow, but DiBiase comes up to the apron and he now has Savage’s full attention.
-Savage goes to the floor and chases DiBiase. DiBiase grabs Elizabeth and uses her as a human shield until Virgil can sneak up and attack Savage again. Back in the ring, Virgil connects with an elbow off the ropes for two. Clothesline gets two. Virgil tosses Savage to the floor.
-Elsewhere on the floor, DiBiase waves a fistful of dollars at Elizabeth, but Savage sneaks up with the top rope axehandle and a clothesline. Savage is all kinds of fired up and brings Virgil back in the ring, finishing him off with the flying elbow. Post-match, Savage gets double-teamed and has a $100 bill crammed in his mouth. DiBiase tries to continue the attack from there, but accidentally clotheslines his own bodyguard. Things turn into a pull-apart brawl, and usually it’s the jobbers who do the pulling apart in this kind of angle, but these guys just hate each other so much that it’s the stars who have to bolt to the ring to end the onslaught. 3 for 4. Good TV bout.
STEEL CAGE, UNDISPUTED TITLE: RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (Champion, with Elizabeth) vs. “The Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE (with Virgil)
-Both guys are fired up and go to work early, with DiBiase being the first guy to get a clear advantage. He misses a kneedrop, but manages to make his first move to exit the cage anyway. Savage stops him and rams him into the turnbuckle for ten shots. DiBiase tries to make another exit, but Savage gets handfuls of hair and tights, because it’s a cage match and he can, dammit.
-Savage gets rammed into the cage and DiBiase tries to leave again, but Savage stops him with another handful of tights. DiBiase gets his feet tangled in the ropes and Savage bolts up straight up the wall, but Virgil meets him up there and knocks him back into the ring. DiBiase connects with a “cork re-arranger” (copyright Roger Kent) but now it’s Savage’s turn to ram DiBiase into the cage. He attempts another escape and Virgil stops him again.
-DiBiase goes for the door and Savage hangs onto the million-dollar foot like his life depends on it. They collide on a double clothesline; Savage revives first and goes for the door, but Savage stops him. It’s amazing the fire this feud lit in MSG; the crowd has been completely losing their shit from bell to bell in both of the MSG bouts so far.
-Another double-clothesline, and they go to opposite corners and begin their ascent. Virgil knocks Savage off and DiBiase inexplicably stops his climb and just goes to town on Savage instead. That’s a mistake; Savage reverses a suplex and heads for the door, and now Virgil slams the door on DiBiase’s head, exactly hard enough to knock him out but not enough to make him bleed.
-DiBiase dives for the himself and has his fingers clawing into the bottom stair, which damn near causes a riot in the first few rows. Savage manages to bring him back in and rams DiBiase into the cage. He begins the climb and Virgil climbs to the top to stop him again, and this time the crowd has fucking had enough and some kid jumps the rail, heads up to the top of the cage, and throws punches at Virgil! They decide to go home immediately after that, with Savage noggin-knocking DiBiase and Virgil and heading straight to the floor to call it a night. 4 for 5. Another good match in a can’t-miss feud. They inexplicably show an instant replay of the fan’s interference.
UNDISPUTED TITLE: RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (Champion, with Elizabeth) vs. “Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE (with Virgil)
-From Wrestlefest ’88 with a pretty impressive stadium crowd. Hot start again to this one and DiBiase gets knocked out to the floor early. Back in, but back out with an atomic drop by Savage, and again DiBiase sells it beautifully. Now it’s DiBiase’s turn; he gets back in and uses a handful of tights to toss Savage to the floor. He rams Savage into the table at ringside a few good times.
-Back inside, DiBiase tries to finish but can only get two again, doggone it. Savage reverses a suplex to mount a comeback. Bodypress gets two. DiBiase halts the comeback with a headlock, and that goes on roughly forever before both guys get their second wind and Savage rams DiBiase into the turnbuckle to break the hold.
-DiBiase again blocks the comeback by dodging a corner charge. Spinning toehold by DiBiase, but Savage kicks him away. DiBiase goes to the top rope but meets a fist to the gut on his way down. Series of punches by Savage, and he snaps DiBiase’s neck on the top rope again. If DiBiase sold it that well for you, you’d want to do it in every match too.
-Savage goes to the top rope and Virgil knocks him off. Savage and Virgil brawl on the apron and DiBiase tries to sneak up with a knee, only to knock Virgil off. Savage sneaks up with a roll-up and the crowd is stunned that this isn’t the finish.
-DiBiase clamps on the Million Dollar Dream, but Savage makes it to the ropes, where unfortunately Virgil is waiting with a chair. Virgil connects and DiBiase gets two, and again the crowd can’t believe that didn’t finish. Savage gets a roll-up out of nowhere, and THAT gets three, which makes me think Jim Cornette booked this. 5 for 6.
-We recap the Mega-Powers/Mega Bucks saga, leading to our grand finale…
MEGA-POWERS (with Elizabeth) vs. MEGA-BUCKS (with Virgil & Bobby Heenan)
-From Summerslam ’88. Hulk & Savage are wearing matching tights, and of course the colors are red & yellow because God forbid Hulk might compromise his image. Jesse bullies all of the managers equally as a show of authority. He then arbitrarily switches the tag ropes to different corners and yells at Hogan when he asks why.
-Savage & Andre start and Andre chokes and chops as only he can. DiBiase tags in immediately and demands Hogan, and of course Hogan is cool with that. Hogan blocks a boot and gets an atomic drop and the Mega-Powers pinball DiBiase for a while while Jesse protests. Double elbows off the ropes and a double elbowdrop, and Jesse lights into Hogan about getting out of the ring. So then Hogan tags in to make himself legal out of spite and mops the floor with DiBiase.
-Savage tags back in with a double axehandle off the top rope. Double boot off the ropes by the Mega Powers. Bodyslam by Hogan and elbowdrop after elbowdrop. He attacks Andre for no reason and gets what he deserves for the unprovoked assault. Savage runs in and gets attacked for his troubles. Andre tags in and sits on Hogan a few times, then chokes him with the bottom rope. Nerve hold by Andre, which Hogan fights by attempting a bearhug. That spot may actually be the best use of both those holds I’ve ever seen, it made perfect sense. Hogan is too weak and lets go and Andre switches the nervehold into a choke with his shoulder strap. Mega-Bucks double-team Hogan in the corner and DiBiase goes for the pin off a clothesline and it gets two. Surprise of the night: Graham beats Gorilla to complain about failure to hook the leg.
-Headlock (which is obviously a choke, according to our commentary team). Hogan fights it and fights it as the crowd refuses to lose hope. Jesse lifts the arm and of course, Hulk keeps it airborne at three and fights out of the headlock. Double clothesline K.O.s both men. Hogan gets the hot tag and Savage lays into the exhausted DiBiase. Snapping the neck over the top rope is predictably beautiful when sold by DiBiase. DiBiase comeback is blocked by a bodypress that gets a slow two from Jesse. Andre tags in to try his luck and attacks Savage in the corner. DiBiase re-enters with a suplex and a backbreaker. DiBiase misses his Million-Dollar Elbowdrop That Always Misses and Hogan tags in to kick some ass.
-Andre tries to make the save but Hogan clotheslines him hard enough to knock him over. Hogan gets a sleeperhold on DiBiase as Savage goes to the top rope to finish off Andre, but Andre raises the boot to knock Savage out of the ring, then pulls Hogan off DiBiase and launches him out of the ring. Jesse starts to count and suddenly all of the seconds hop on the apron to yell at Jesse, and Elizabeth rips off her skirt out of nowhere and struts on the apron, showing off a pair of long, smooth, well-tanned legs that make a man shake his head and realize that he’s looking perfection right smack-dab in the oh my god, I’m ogling a dead woman—Er, Mega Powers re-enter and send the giant out of the ring, flying elbowdrop and a running legdrop K.O. DiBiase, and Jesse won’t count three, so Savage grabs his arm and forces it to the mat to finish it. Jesse remains heel, and DiBiase’s memorable run as Heel Numero Uno comes to an end. 6 for 7. A textbook demonstration of how to blow off a feud without a gimmick match or a title belt involved.
The problem with the Savage-DiBiase feud is that the weakest match of the series (Wrestlemania IV) is the best-known. By all means, check this one out and see two guys put on a hell of a show over and over and over again.