Saturday, May 12, 2012

Macho Madness: Insatiable Incredible Intensity





Anyone interested in a one man gangbang? No takers? You want me to finish that Most Bitchin Glam Metal Albums countdown? Patience rewards those who wait is what this past week’s episode of Modern Family taught me and now I am willing to wait.

Of course, congratulations to my personal redeemer, LeBron James on winning his 3rd MVP in four years once again proving Love conquers all. (There goes any chance this gets picked up by any major wrestling sites)

For those who don’t know, I am the Grand Prince of the Street-Walking Gypsies, the #AAFolkHero, Coolest Kid in the Room, Martin Boulevard (@superstarsleeze) and this is my blog: Riding Space Mountain. While it was never my intention to embrace my love for wrestling as aggressively as I am about to this coming week, I am unemployed and the hotel management industry is not what it once was. So with the grim one-year anniversary of the tragic death of my childhood hero, Randy “Macho Man” Savage upon us, I wish to pay homage to the BATSHIT~! Lunatic that all wrestling fans have come to love.  Not out of compulsion, but out of service to a man that gave so much to me even though we never once met.

I hope to post a couple match reviews a day to give insight on what made the Macho Man such a special character in the fantastical world of professional wrestling. In addition, I think with advent of youtube the traditional wrestling review model of doing whole shows is archaic. Instead, it makes sense for review to follow an angle to its completion and focus on only its participants.  

It is my intention to make this readable for non-wrestling fans. However, I will slip into wrestling carny because it has become a habit over my 15 years of fandom. Here’s a quick glossary:

Babyface – good guy
Heel – Bad guy

Angle – A storyline

Job – To lose (not exactly, but I don’t want to get into the intricate details)

Sell – To dramatically, deliberately convey your injuries to the fans.

To get over – to make something popular/reviled with fans
I will define other terms as need by.



Now most wrestling fans would start with obvious classic matches like against Steamboat, Hogan, WOYAH~! Or the Nature Boy. I am not most wrestling fans and we starting with some hidden gems from late WCW 1995 that display the incredible intensity (alliteration roolz) Savage brought for each and every outing.  I have chosen matches against the “Total Package” Lex Luger, who is unfairly cast as a shitty, unmotivated worker by most wrestling fans. Yes, I am pretty sure I am the only Luger mark in this entire world, but fuck the world. Luger rocked hard from 1988-1991 and had a good spell from late 1995 to mid-1996. Otherwise, yes I agree, he sucked the meat missile, but goddamnit for all the shit he gets, he is definitely an underrated worker. This all being said he was dogshit on the mic and thus would never be the super-duper star that his body said he should be. But everyone has to admit the Torture Rack was a badass finisher.

But I digress, the point of these next two matches is to illustrate how at 43 years young (1995) Savage wrestles more energetic matches than the kids nowadays who hit the chinlock 2 minutes into a match (thanks Orton for inspiring a generation of mediocre, vanilla talent).  Then again, I hear cocaine is a hell of a drug.
No wrestling match is complete without that sexy backstory, so here it is for the October match:

Luger re-joined the company about a month ago (September 1995) in a shocking turn of events at the very first Nitro as his contract quietly ran out with the WWF. Luger immediately requested a title match with Hogan, but in the spirit of competition not as a heel. However, Savage, ever the skeptic is suspicious of Luger’s motives and accuses him of nefarious dealings with the Dungeon of Doom (a collection of shitty heels headed up by Kevin Sullivan, a devil-worshipping midget from Boston). No one really pays Savage any mind because he always sounds like a paranoid lunatic with conspiracy theories that implicate Sting and Jimmy Hart. Turns out he was right about Hart, Sting not so much. Sting, Luger’s best friend and all-around nice, gullible guy vouches for Luger. Hogan doesn’t really give a fuck and doesn’t seem to comprehend the storyline and just likes to talk about himself, but that is Hogan for you. So they jobbed Luger out immediately to Hogan, but Luger redeems himself by subbing in on Hogan’s team in Wargames against the Dungeon. Luger did accuse Savage of being jealous of Hogan and being his second banana. Oh no he didn’t, o shit he did, seriously not the wisest thing to mention to a mentally unstable Macho Man. Savage is still not convinced and pretty pissed thus leads to the following match on Nitro, where if Savage wins Luger must leave WCW, which is a stipulation Luger made to convey his confidence (arrogance?) in his abilities.



“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs “Total Package” Lex Luger October 2, 1995 Monday Nitro

Eric Bischoff, before he was Sleazy E, welcomes us to the Mile High City will assuredly take a couple potshots at the then-WWF. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, very witty and funny, joins him on commentary with an old-school sense of humor. Also along for the ride is the dreadful musings of Steve “Mongo “ McMichael, ex-Chicago Bear. I have been watching old Nitro’s from this time period and I cant figure out who the fuck thought that tough, gridiron warrior Mongo McMichael should carry around an effete teacup dog. This is 1995 so it pre-dates Paris Hilton by what a decade so this isn’t exactly riveting social commentary from WCW. I love WCW to death, but it was a weird-ass company.

Now onto the match, which I saw a couple of months back and like I said I was pleasantly surprised how entertaining it was and hopefully I can convey that.  Seems like a packed house, I wonder if they were all paying customers. Luger and his dancing pecs hit the ring first.  Macho Man is rocking an outfit that makes Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat envious, that shit is eye-popping and if it was the 80s potentially TV breaking. The commentators put over Savage’s intensity and they still manage to understate it. They jockey for position in an extended collar-elbow tie-up. They spill out of the ring illustrates the equal level of intensities, which I understand because this is a face-face matchup thus you want to establish them as equals. However, this totally kills the natural story of Savage’s intensity versus Luger’s strength as now it has been set that their strengths and intensity levels are equal.

Back from the commercial break, Luger imposes his will, but Savage ever the tenacious lunatic slaps him in retaliation. Luger tries to powder out, but Savage gives chase quickly, but Luger is able to get a neckbreaker on the floor. Savage with a small package in the ring, but Luger regains controls with a gorilla press slam. LUGER IS ALL FUCKIN MAN!!! Small package makes sense because Savage just wants to get Luger out of WCW anyway possible he doesn’t care about beating the shit out of him. Excellent psychology by the Macho Man.

Savage is one of the best sellers in the business and so amazing at building sympathy as a babyface. They battle over a backslide always the hallmark of an epic match, but not wisest move for the smaller Savage to initiate. Mongo apparently feels that this is like two mountain goats battling over control of the herd. Go Home Mongo! Luger wins, but Savage kicks out. They collide in the middle of the ring, in the first rest spot, but dam n they are cutting a tremendous pace. Savage gets caught off the ropes, but a nice leverage move (TM Gorilla Monsoon) sets up his patented double axe-handle off the top onto the floor (a 10 foot jump) onto Luger. Savage, not one for sympathy, picks up Luger and drops him neck first on the guard rail. A desperation move sends Savage into the steel ringpost, but the Savage is MACHO~! And summarily nails Luger in the back with a high-knee. O no, Luger has collided with ref in the corner what could possibly go wrong now as Savage scoops up Luger for a bodyslam. Savage up top now for his best flying elbow in the business (sorry Shawn). Ruhr oh, here comes The Giant for a stroll and he chokeslams Savage. It is academic as Luger lifts Savage for the Rack and it is at this point I realize I am reviewing the wrong match.
Weird match, short and no real heat segment. However, it was enjoyable because it was even and cut a  brisk pace. Since wrestling matches are done out of 5 stars because Lord Meltzer decreed (sarcasm intended). I will go with **1/2.




Oh well here is the match I meant to do:
So all of Savage’s conspiracy theories proved to be true as Luger joined the Dungeon of Doom, in a rare moment of solidarity, Sting does not turn his back on Luger, but rather claims that Luger has been pushed in this direction by Hogan and Savage’s constant allegations. This leaves Sting clearly a babyface on Hogan’s side, hanging out with Lex Luger, a heel in the Dungeon of Doom, where Sting tries to get Luger to see the light and Luger saying he has not changed. This is some pretty fuckin heady booking for a wrestling company. Savage won the World Championship in 60-Man battle royale (it is a whole another thing) and now he defends against Luger tonight.

WCW World Heavyweight Champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs “Total Package” Lex Luger
December 4, 1995 Monday Nitro

I would be remiss to mention that Mongo still has that stupid dog and it is dressed as a guardian angel. What the fuck? Hogan is on probation for being an edgy, bad boy. Yeah the fans aren’t buying that, brutha.  Sir Charles Barkley comes out and puts over the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair as the greatest wrestler ever. His hometown Suns fans boo him over those comments. Barkley would have been such a great heel in wrestling, too bad they never got him to do any work instead of Rodman and Malone.

Luger is out with the “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, who had recently stabbed Hogan in the back. Luger wins me over with his constant feigning slapping hands with the fans. Savage is in a more coordinated neon green with neon pink trim, yeah now you see where my fashion originates from. Savage is hot under collar per usual. This sends Luger to the proverbial hills for some refuge.  Savage has injured his arm, which would be taped for the next year serving as a “Hit Me” sign for his opponents. Savage chases Luger back into the ring and has that wild-eyed look that only he could possess.  Luger tries offering his hand facetiously and Savage offers his foot right to Luger’s gut. GO GET HIM, MACHO MAN!  Luger’s over-selling works well to put his new cowardly attitude.  All Savage to start and because he is MACHO~! Luger catches him with a lariat, but Savage returns the favor with a fist to the gut as Luger comes off the apron.  Savage follows that up with a double axel-handle off the top.  Savage nails Luger with a reverse elbow and that gets two for his second attempted fall. Very good psychology as Savage is very clearly injured thus will want to get this title defense done quickly. After all, it is not like he gets paid by the hour. (TM Gorilla Monsoon)

Luger gains control with a vertical suplex.  Heenan wisely points out that Savage’s arm is not getting any better wrestling might as well go after it. Almost if Savage hears the Brain’s commentary, he immediately begins to work over Luger’s arm to give him a taste of what he is feeling. This is punctuated with a hammerlock throw into the ring post. Now we hit the armbar, but he just let Luger lie there and rest. Nope he is raking Luger’s face and constantly re-positioning to enhance his leverage. That is how you take pedestrian resthold make it lively and fit in the match. It is the little things that make the Macho Man among one of the best pro wrestlers of all time. Brain commends Savage’s unusually focused approach on Luger’s arm and not trying to match strength with Luger. Harkening back to the natural story of Savage combating Luger’s strength with a mixture of tenacity, intelligence and being looney tunes that I was speaking about in the earlier review. Mongo’s expert analysis is to agree with the Brain. I think that was the smartest thing Mongo ever said. Luger makes it to the ropes, but that just gives Savage the opportunity to wrap around the steel ringpost. NO REMORSE~!  Now to a hammerlock  and Savage continues to wrestle a brilliant match singularly focused on the arm.

OH NO!!! Our fearless hero was “baited” into flying off the apron with his patented double axel-handle, but ate nothing but steel and Luger takes over. Luger is still selling his arm, fuck all you haters. They both compete for eye-rakes and Luger comes out the better. Savage sells it by swinging blindly at the ref, love the Macho Man. Luger is selling like a champ, suck it haters. Knee-lift by Luger and Bischoff puts over the physicality of WCW over the WWF. Mongo puts wrestlers over the NFL players in a surreal moment. Bischoff accurately describes this as a fight because they are getting brutal with each other.
Jimmy Hart removed the turnbuckle padding, but in a shocker Savage is the one that sends Luger into the exposed turnbuckle. In the real world, all these managers would be fired for such incompetence. Savage hits the big elbow, but Luger wiped out the ref. O THE HUMANITY! There is no one to count the fall. So Savage feels like this appriproate time to vent his frustrations on Jimmy Hart, but this gives time for the Nature Boy to strut out and nail Savage with the knucks, but here comes the Hulkster to steal the glory from Savage. Hogan gets Savage DQ’d because he is the WORST FRIEND EVAH and then proceeds to nail Sting, who is on his team. What a fuckin prick.

Killer match until the finish. Most Savage matches from this time period follow the formula of Savage starting in a frenzy taking heat and then making a 2-move comeback. This match was well-structured allowed Savage to display his offense and Luger was on point with the selling. Give it a finish and I would go ***1/2, but the finish leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I am going with ***.

Next time, we will venture into one of all-time favorite feuds: the Nature Boy vs Macho Man OOOOOOOHHHHHHH YEEEEEAAAHHHHH!!! DIG IT!   
 


  

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