Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Macho Madness: Die Hard Edition

Hey yo bromigoes and bromgias,

Busy day, applying to jobs. Just going to get to it.

The past three reviews have focused on Randy Savage in an unnatural state as a babyface. Don’t get me wrong Randy Savage is a great babyface. However, heel Randy Savage is his work that made him one of the legendary figures in the history of pro wrestling. In July of 1996, the wrestling world was turned upside down when Hulk Hogan, the epitome of good, turned heel and founded the New World Order with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. This led to greatest wrestling boom in history. Yes, folks, Hulk Hogan can point to the fact that he ushered in two separate wrestling booms in two different decades. The man is very good at what he does.

New-New-New-New World Order. For-For-For-For Life 

Savage after fighting the nWo (I hate autocorrect so much every time I spell out nWo it changes it to now, fuck it) through the winter of ’96. Savage figures if you cant beat ‘em join ‘em.  He became the nWo’s workhorse and picked a fight with a wrestler by the name of “Diamond” Dallas Page (DDP for short) over Kimberly (his wife and total hottie) appearing in Playboy. This is my all-time favorite Savage promo as he manages to imply he had sex with Pamela Anderson and says Liz and Tommy Lee were both cool with it. Then he spray-paints DDP and Liz spray-paints Kimberly. It was deliciously nasty. Of course, DDP, who had been rejecting the nWo’s overtures to join had to fight for his honor and challenged Savage to a No Disqualification match.

Brief background on DDP: he actually started as a scuzz-ball manager for wrestlers not particularly cast as a good one, just a real sleazy one. Think of how band managers are usually portrayed in the movies. He began wrestling late into the 30’s, much later than most. He kept his scumbag from Jersey gimmick, very white trash. Then in 1997 for whatever reason, WCW decided to turn him babyface giving him the gimmick of the common man that is going it along to fight the unstoppable machine known as the New World Order. Page, stood his ground, asking help from no man and proved himself to a true gritty, blue-collar warrior in this nearly year-long feud. 
The Common Man and his Uncommon Wife
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs “Diamond” Dallas Page in a No Disqualification Match.

Spring Stampede 1997

Savage’s backstage rant was hilariously spectacular. “I’m going to moiderize the bum. Then I am going to to throw a party. Invite a lot of women. Maybe 14 or 22. You got a problem with that, Liz? Not a problem. I LIKE THAT! SLIM JIMS FOR EVERYONE!!!”
Kimberly’s waist is wicked tiny and double damn is she hot. DDP and Kimberly walk to the ring with a purpose and Tony shills that DDP is the common man, a People’s Champion that has a story that resonates with everyone. Savage taunts DDP telling him that this is “his last day on the planet Earth”.  Savage does some stalling tactics, but Page is pissed and he takes to the Macho Man. Page is so pissed he almost kills Savage on a horrible atomic drop. Savage blocks the Diamond Cutter by hooking the ropes. Savage runs over DDP on the outside and almost takes on Kim. They do the usual 1997 tour of the arena with garbage cans and cables.
I have a string of pearls for those girls.

Back to ringside, Savage, the Paragon of Virtue, her is, pulls Kim hides behind DDP’s wife to halt DDP’s momentum. Elizabeth, lookin fineeeeeee, rakes DDP’s back and Savage shoves Kim into DDP and the waffles DDP sandwhiching Kimberly. Kimberly, who was not a fan of wrestling and never seemed very into it, must have hated working with Savage. Macho Man was a terrifying loose cannon that just flew around ringside like a whirlwind really knocking anything over that got in his way. An overzealous fan attempts to spur on DDP with such exhortations as “Look out behind you! He is going after Kimberly!” Alas, Savage is still able to connect with his double axe-handle as DDP was draped over the guardrails. Got to love, marks. Savage sends DDP into the ring steps and he seems oddly deliberate, maybe it is because DDP and him realized that DDP would blow up if they wrestled the usual Savage pace. I like it because it gives a new wrinkle to the Savage formula and it is almost more vicious.

Macho Man goes for a cover with his feet on the ropes, but DDP kicks out. Savage accuses the ref of a slow count and Liz thinks the ref needs glasses. Um, ok? Strike One against the ref. Savage jumps out to ringside and intimidates Michael Buffer taking his chair. He smacks DDP across the back with his chair. The ref grabs the chair and removes it. Strike Two against the ref. Savage now pissed. Beat the ever-loving shit out of the ring announcer and tosses the chair into the ring, but that allows the debilitated DDP to get back into the match. The announcers put over DDP’s will to win and defend Kimberly even as Savage is picking him apart. Savage kills DDP with a clothesline. Savage catches DDP’s foot, which leads to the usual DDP spot, where he spins around and hits a desperation clothesline. Even dumb Tony saw it coming making Savage look kind of dumb. 
That dastardly Macho Man. OOOOOHHHHH YEEEAAAAHHHH!!! Dig It!
The move took too much of DDP and Savage regains the advantage with a low-blow, however DDP continues to try to get his feet, really putting over his guts. Savage again intimidates Buffer, this time grabbing his signature weapon: the ring bell. Savage randomly shoves a cameraman. People must hate working Savage matches, such a Wildman. Kimberly snags the ringbell eventually, come on Kim, fuckin up the match. Savage to the top, but DDP gets his boot up and a beautiful sell-job by Savage. He now hit one of Savage’s favorite spot a backslide, which only gets two. Strike Three against the ref, you are outta here. Savage grabs the ref by the chin, paintbrushes him, piledrives him, rips his shirt, takes his belt off, and finally whips him and then whips DDP. HEEL SAVAGE IS THE FUCKIN MAN!!!!

The Brain wonders if the ref will ever walk again because he only has a 12 inch neck. BWHAHAHAHAHA Tony wonders WHAT HAVE WE BECOME????? Riveting, cutting social commentary. Apparently, someone explained to Dusty what playing possum is as he understands what Tony is talking about.
The heel turn resurrected both their careers.

A picture-perfect big elbow drop seriously that may be one of the best one ever by Savage (that was the desktop background for my computer when I was 8 years old for the longest time, could not find the picture). No ref. Evil nWo ref, Nick Patrick is out and embraces Savage. DDP, playing possum,  hits the Diamond Cutter, which WCW did a great job making it into a devastating finisher. Savage sells it well being out for a couple minutes. Patrick ends the drama by making the count giving DDP the win. “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash (nWo member) is incensed as he was observing and sticks Patrick with a powerbomb. Savage finally up goes LOONEY TUNES!!! Grabs Kimberly by the hair and threatens to deck her. This goes too far even for the nWo and Eric Bischoff (nWo president) steps in to calm down and reason with the Macho Man. So Savage shoves Bischoff and then decks him. That is why friends is why I love nWo Savage, totally unpredictable and out of control. You never knew what the hell he would do next. 

DDP is notorious for being a meticulous  pre-match planner. Most wrestlers work out the major spots beforehand, but fill in the gaps based on crowd reactions. Savage acknowledged that DDP couldn’t cut the pace he was accustomed to thus worked a very DDP-style match. Savage was great at adapting to different styles and really showed his versatility. He worked a deliberate pace, but it was still a chaotic Savage match as he was using everyone at ringside as props and ultimately decking his own boss. It is not a great match in  the traditional wrestling-way even as brawl. What it is a great character showcase. The gritty, gutsy common man fighting for his wife’s honor against a loose canon that has totally snapped and is steamrolling everyone. I give it ****.  DUH! I figured out another reason why the match was wrestled so undecidely Savage. They wanted to tell the story that Savage was not taking DDP seriously as in his league because DDP has been a career mid-carder and this is first ever PPV main event. Thus explaining why Savage’s intensity was down early on and why he fucked around with everyone. He took Page a lot more seriously in the following matches. I love it when storytelling becomes apparent.
I bet he is going to say scum or JAAAACCCCKKKKEEEDDDD!

Now that DDP has proved he can hang with the Macho Man. It is time for Savage to take DDP seriously and crush his dreams.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs “Diamond” Dallas Page – No DQ Match
Great American Bash 1997

Liz is in quite the sequined, black jumpsuit, Savage is all business and it looks like he finally taking DDP seriously. You know how I can tell he licks his lips like an insane gecko. Tony expects that this fight will go all over the arena and given DDP’s limitations, I agree.  “SELF HI-FIVE” and the Smells Like Jersey Scum plays over the speakers as the sexy as all hell Kimberly gives the Diamond Cutter signal in the entrance-way distracting the Madness. DDP sneak attacks the Macho Man, hell after Savage’s Wildman performance last time, DDP has some big balls just stepping in the ring with this Madman. Page has the infamous taped ribs, which would last approximately  2 years and would give his matches an instant sympathy card, while he looked like a million bucks in the fans’ eyes for fighting through the pain and gutting it out. It was like the reverse Cowboy Bob Orton arm injury. I think it was a good gimmick.

Early cutter attempt and Savage wisely takes a powder. Pescado over the top onto the floor by DDP wipes out the Macho Man, but Page hurts his ribs. The Brain questions the wisdom of the move given both the ribs and the fact he has never done such a high-risk move. Tony retorts this shows the guts of DDP and just the lengths he will go to hurt Savage. Savage right on the ribs because he smells blood, baby. Savage hides behind Liz, but this brings out DDP’s inner scumbag and tosses Liz out of the way and calls her a bimbo. B.I.M.B.O. B.I.M.B.O. B.I.M.B.O. and Bimbo was her name-o. I am getting a strong John McClane of Die Hard vibe from DDP, I am digging it, which Brain emphasizes that DDP is willing to take on the New World Order by himself and is a double tough man for it. Savage gets the eye-rake like a true Macho Man apparently how the ribs were injured was petite Liz slamming a car door on DDP’s side. Really, Liz was on the one to do that irreparable damage. Fear and adrenaline can do wild things for a woman, as we found out from Desperate Housewives. Now we take the tour of the arena with Savage in command until Page sends him into a brick wall in desperation. Dusty gets excited about the PLUNDAH~! (a crutch) And says that DDP is really rag-tagging him. What??? Savage gains himself a breather by sending DDP crashing ribs first into the ring steps. Then Liz gives Savage a mysterious white substance, *wink* *wink*. Before Savage can ride the white lightning to victory, DDP approaches so Savage tosses his “energy powder” into DDP’s face taking some sort of PLUNDAH from Page and breaking it over his head. Savage exposes the ribs as the announcers discuss the psychological affects, Dusty says now Savage is doing the rag-tagging. Fans chant for the everyone’s favorite recluse, “WE Want Sting!” to put an end to this inhumanity. Personally, I don’t think the Macho Man has even begun. Yep, I was right. Savage has a zero tolerance policy for the ref’s tonight. He spits on this one, decks him, tears his shirt off and piledrives him into next week. If this was Memphis, Savage would be in prison and that ref would be legally dead. DDP is kicking and clawing, even hitting a headbutt, I have never seen DDP do that. Savage tosses a second ref over the top. Story of the match: Savage is not fuckin around. DDP gets another flurry, but this is all Macho Man as he lariats him over the top rope.

Ruh roh, Savage catches sight of Kimberly and grabs her by the hair bringing her over the guardrail. This nearly causes a fuckin riot in the front row. Seriously everyone is yelling obscenities at the Macho Man and at least two guys are thinking about taking a swing at him. Heel Macho Man, everyone, that best in the business. Another ref and this one calms him down before anything he regrets happen. Classic Macho high-knee to DDP’s back as Page was trying to create separation up the ramp. They end up finding a gimmicked BBQ picnic area that some VIP fans are sitting at. DDP takes advantage of all this PLUNDAH~! Really turning the tide with it. Dusty desperately wants him to use the grill and pops like mad when it happens. I love Big Dust. DDP leads Savage back to the ring by choking him with his own shirt. Once back, he sets up Savage to go balls-first into the ringpost. Signals for the Cutter, so Savage hits the jawbreaker, he really should stop signaling for it. Savage removes the protective mats off the floor and looks to maim DDP by piledriving him on the exposed concrete. When the ref tries to stop him, Savage decks him. ZERO TOLERANCE. Savage, being an uber-dick, decides to physically intimidate a photographer at ringside. I have watched wrestling for 15 years and 99% of everything you see is choreographed. But when Savage goes on his rampages of attacking cameramen and other ringside attendants you just don’t know. I love that of feeling chaos.

This gives DDP enough time to get hold of a chair and waffle Savage. Savage counters with a low-blow. Page reverses a suplex attempt into the DIAMOND CUTTER~! WCW did such a good job putting over that finisher as deadly. Savage does his job and sells it like a champ.  But the is NO REF, Tony. The crowd is going apeshit. Here comes Scott Hall (nWo member) with the WCW Tag Team title in tow. He is ineffective at first, but the numbers game catch up to DDP as Savage clobbers him with the belt from behind. Outsider Edge (Crucifix Powerbomb) by Hall on Page that almost ends up getting fucked up, but it was one of the better ones I have seen. Hall tells Savage to go up top and hit him with elbow. Savage, ever-present of trying to get just that much more heat from the crowd, goes to a different corner. Why? So he can kick the unconscious ref. It is the little things that make Savage the greatest. Big elbow and the pin is academic.

This time the New World Order and Savage don’t fuck around. There is no deliberate attacks from Savage and a true nWo member comes out to make sure that Savage gets the duke. I don’t feel this match is quite up to snuff of the other two, but I don’t feel like splitting hairs and using quarter stars. This is a very good match and tells a great story. ***1/2

The Bad Guy

With that tainted finish, DDP finally realized he needed some reinforcements, which lead him to bring in Curt Hennig (Mr. Perfect in WWF) as his tag partner to combat the nWo of Randy Savage and Scott Hall. After some miscommunication between those two, he recruited, our old friend the “Total Package” Lex Luger to team against Savage and Hall. Finally at Halloween Havoc, the big blowoff to the feud would take place in a Death Match. Don’t worry, while Savage may have threatened to murder Page back in April, the outcome of this match is not that the loser dies. Rather, you win by incapacitating your opponent so they can not answer a ten count. This match has been re-branded a Last Man Standing match in modern times for obvious reason.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs “Diamond” Dallas Page – Death Match

Halloween Havoc 1997

Liz is rocking sexy leather short shorts. HAVE MERCY!!! OOOOHHHH YEEEEEAAAAHHHH!! Savage’s promo before this is a thing of beauty. “Slim Jim’s Halloween Havoc. Snap Into It! Check it out! Party Time. Las Vegas. It’s a gamble. But we like to gamble, don’t we? YES WE DO!!!!” DDP is in jeans because this is not a wrestling match, scumbag (DDP had a real penchant for using the word scumbag). This is a FIGHT~! Savage is choosing instead to rep his Slim Jim’s deal on his jacket, well Savage is fuckin BATSHIT so he doesn’t need jeans to convey he is in for a FIGHT~! The infamous ribs are still taped.  No Kimberly.

“Savage will drive you nuts” – The Brain, perfect.

They start outside, obviously, with Savage gaining the early advantage by working over the ribs. Page with nasty biel using Savage’s own shirt. Page hesitates allows Savage to hotshot DDP across the top rope. Macho Man is using combination of jabs and chokes to maintain control in the corner. Brief flurry of offense from DDP ends with both men colliding in a double clothesline. Dusty takes him to time define a double clothesline, which renders colleagues speechless that he spent time to explain something so self-explanatory.  I LOVE BIG DUST! Failed Diamond Cutter attempt leads to Page performing his pescado onto Macho Man on the floor. Dusty wonders why they are not using the “Utensils and PLUNDAH~!” Savage clobbers DDP with a double axe-handle as he was draped across the guardrail. Savage then connects with a nasty axe-handle off the guardrail onto a prone Page in the crowd. Sick spot. When Savage shouts “Move out of the way!” you move the fuck out of the way because he will run your bitch-ass over. Dusty is excited as the prospect of PLUNDAH~! Instead of a BBQ picnic, there is a prop cemetery setup with prop tombstones that Page uses to regain advantage and then hits Savage with some sort of object, which prompts the Dream to go into hysterics just shouting “HE WAFFLE-LEGGED HIM!” His colleagues try to continue commentating, but Dusty has gone into a trance just repeating that. Say it with me, I love Big Dust. Dusty informed me it is a “waitress tray” and Tony basically says “What the fuck?”Savage’s continuous work on the ribs is affecting DDP’s ability to string together offense, good selling and psychology from Page. Savage finally breaks his momentum sending him ribs first into the steel guardrail, but DDP semi-blocks it. DDP is left to crawl away, while Savage regains his wits, I mean he did he just get WAFFLE-LEGGED. Most people don’t recover from getting WAFFLE-LEGGED!!! You know why Savage is able to? BECAUSE HE IS MACHO~! The Power of Slim Jims Compels!

Savage sends his ribs and then his “noggin” into steel ringsteps. But Page just keeps on coming because he has guts. Savage frustrated, smacks around a cameraman, steals camera. DDP blocks his close-up with two feet sending the camera right into the Macho Man’s face. As both men are out, Liz somehow has found Dusty’s phantom waitress, stolen her tray and proceeds to WAFFLE-LEG the referee. Immediately, Dusty is rubbing it in his colleagues faces that no one believed him about the waitress tray and for the second time, Dusty has rendered his partners silent. Holy Fuck, Liz is choking DDP with a cable, (“Extension Cord” according to Dusty). Kim comes out to put a stop that nonsense. She is all like “I am the only woman who can choke my husband for sexual pleasure, you vixen” Liz is all like “Why did Randy say I would do this spot. He doesn’t even invite me to his parties anymore.” Dusty is all like “CATFIGHT!  CATFIGHT!  CATFIGHT!  CATFIGHT!  CATFIGHT! “ Finally they get the waffle-legged referee out of there, Kimberly drags Liz to back by the hair. Savage is up and there is a new ref for him to deck.  Page hulks-up gets his typical combination of atomic drop and pancake. Savage hooks the ropes to block the Diamon Cutter. Savage selling fatigue like a champ, nearly falls off the top and then delivers an exhausted big elbow that lands on the ribs. Savage is on spaghetti-legs barley can lift Page for a bodyslam. Savage struggles to hit a big elbow, which gets him a 9-count. Savage’s selling is amazing as he is struggling just to stand. Ref bump as DDP’s leg whacks the ref’s head, but DDP reverses into the DIAMOND CUTTER!!! All three men down. 7-Count. 

Diamond cutter attempt reversed into a backslide with a low-blow kick by Savage on DDP. As Page rolls to the outside, Hogan dressed as Sting, WAFFLE-LEGS DDP in the ribs with a bat. The ref is forced to count out DDP. Savage celebrates his victory looking as if he lost, but to make him feel better he WAFFLE-LEGS a ref and takes a shot at DDP’s ribs. The commentators out over DDP’s hearts and guts and that it took two men and a woman to beat a man with busted ribs. 

I think this is one of rare instances when a wrestler wins by losing. DDP is one of the very few wrestlers that made it out of the WCW mid-card mire because he was one of the few that was well-booked, but the big help came from Savage’s selflessness. Hogan and Nash are notorious for burying people to make themselves look good and to hold them down. Savage was not afraid to lose to DDP in Page’s first PPV main event. Savage was a true professional and sold like a champ for DDP. They should show this selling performance at the end of this match to every kid that wants to be a wrestler it was that good. The story of DDP is that he is a fighter. Like John McClane of Die Hard, just a everyday blue collar guy, not afraid to get his hands dirty and get his ass-kicked while standing up for what’s right. DDP actually won by losing and a true credit to Savage to put him over and the booking team.
Killer picture, Macho Man, The Bad Guy, Hollywood Hogan, Big Sexy

This match and the Spring Stampede matches are toss-ups for me. I feel that both matches have long spells where the offense could be more varied. Basically it comes down to the character showcase for Savage’s Wildman persona at Spring Stampede vs. Savage’s incredible selling at Halloween Havoc. I give the edge to Stampede by a bit, but I call them both ****.

There you have folks, Savage’s greatest feud in WCW creates a new star and proves to be one of great selfless acts in wrestling. This is the greatest feud of the nWo era and the only close feud in 1997 was the Hart Foundation vs Stone Cold. I am a Savage mark so I would argue for this one, but most people would give the nod to Austin/Harts. But Savage did not make a name for himself in WCW. He wrestled in his prime for Vince McMahon in the WWF and it is time to venture to Savage’s most famous moments.

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