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Grimmas

Randy Savage

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Savage is a favourite of many and has always been popular despite the relative lack of discourse surrounding his matches. He's never really been picked apart the way a Rude or Dibiase has, I assume because he's generally well-liked. I don't know where I would rank him personally but he was the first wrestler I was drawn to and if I went on a binge watch I might be high on him.

 

I don't know why I always feel the need to defend the original poll, but there is nothing about those placings that didn't make sense at the time. Yeah, it would have been nice if there had been higher votes for luchadores, but it's not like we've made great strides in that area over the past ten years. And it's actually unfortunate that a great worker like Ozaki won't rate as highly this time. No list is perfect.

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Good points. It's kind of like with all wrestling. Anyone can be picked apart, raised or lowered depending on your own taste or intentions. To me personal preference does play into it. A theoretically great worker, that bores me to tears, will have no chance of making my list. Savage never bored me. ... Rude and DiBiase have truly been picked apart. But both are making my list as well :-) ... And I've got to watch more Lucha. Right now I'd probably only have 7-8 Luchas in consideration, and no one at the very top. Have a feeling that will take up a lot of my watching the next year :-)

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I've been watching a bunch of Memphis lately and I LOVE Savage there as a babyface or heel. One thing I missed when I was younger watching selected WWE Savage is the singular energy he brings to the table. Nobody else quite has the same feel as Randy Savage does. It's one of the things I love about Hansen as well. To bring things back to Savage, I probably noticed it before because I always liked watching him regardless of what he was doing. I just couldn't put it into words in a coherent fashion. He also seems to have a great sense of when to bring the insane, high-energy stuff into a match and when to be more low key.

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My first favorite wrestler and I can still watch and love his matches. Sort of makes him impossible to rate, but its gonna be high. 

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I love Macho so much I can completely ignore the horrific 1999 run, which is about as bad of a run as any star has ever had. From Memphis to WWF to SWS to WCW, dude was just the most watchable guy in every situation (except 1999) and really the embodiment of pro wrestling in my mind even today. He's maybe the definitive "jack of all trades, master of none" type in American wrestling. You can put him in any situation and he excelled.

You want insane Hogan/Warrior style coked up nonsense promos? Check. You need super intense, nasty heel promos? Check. You need serious and somber promos? Check. You need corny babyface stuff? Check. You need cool heel stuff? Check. You need a wild, bloody brawl? Check. You need a high speed spotfest? Check. You need pinballing for a super face? Check. You need sympathetic babyface fighting from underneath? Check. You need hateful bloodfeud? Check. You need melodramatic SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT excellence? Check. You need wrasslin? Check. You can even plug this guy into a hard hitting puro setting and he'd produce good stuff. 

 

He's certainly not the perfect wrestler mechanically. He had some weird quirks and his squash match was often literally just a body slam and the elbow which is lol. One of the most underrated aspects to Macho is I can think of few top guys who would let guys hit him with anything. He had Norton looking like an absolute monster in one of the early Nitros, and I can't recall Norton even getting a chance to work any of the other top guys unless it was Goldberg/Giant squashing him. Meanwhile, Macho is out there taking ultra stiff powerbombs and rope hanging DDT/brainbusters for this dude basically completely unknown in the US. I recognize there are people better than Randy Savage, but there are fewer people in the history of pro wrestling I enjoy more than Randy Savage and could easily put him at 1. 

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Savage is an interesting one for me. He has obvious positives in his ability to be convincing as both a heel and face (the European tour matches with Shawn are great) and for his ability to get excellent matches out of the Ultimate Warrior of all people. But there's so much of his 80's work I've seen where he's stalling and doing hide the weapon for 2/3 of the match. No matter how charismatic he is, those types of things are my least favorite tropes in wrestling. I'm not saying wrestling has to just be action, action, action all the time (although admittedly I love action-heavy matches), but after 10 minutes of jawing at the ref and refusing to do anything I'm asking myself how much longer is this match?

That being said, I think he was just too versatile and too intelligent to not make my ballot. But not sure he'll crack the top 50 just yet.

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I ranked Randy Savage 41st in 2016 and I fucking blew it with that one. Savage is practically everything I could want out of a pro-wrestler. The list of people better than Savage is small. The Flying Elbow is one of the 3 best finishes in history (the others being Hansen's lariat & Bull Nakano's top rope legdrop). I dunno where he'll land but it'll be better than 41st. 

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Savage represents the greatest conflict between head and heart for me. He was my favorite wrestler when I was 10 years old. I will never forget that the middle-aged woman sitting next to me at my first WWF show legitimately hated him. I will never forget how awesome I thought that was.  He holds up in all the ways that won me over then. I also don't think he was a great wrestler for all that many years. Maybe 1984-87 with flashes after that? It's a thin resume for a guy many people see as a top 20 contender. 

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I think Savage meshed character and in ring performance as well as other top tier candidates like Flair, Hansen, BOckwinkel etc. Savage wrestled as you would expect Savage to wrestle. I know you can lay that claim at a lot of people's feet and that's true and I probably like them too :)  

Some other stuff I really like about Savage...he was a small dude. Not amongst normal people but certainly in the world of Pro-Wrestling. But he still carried himself and felt like the most intense and terrifying person in the world. To accomplish that in a land of giants is more than impressive, its special. Allen Iverson-esque.

Beyond that innate special charisma that he was able to translate into the ring, we can point to all sorts of things that bolster his candidacy. You may want to argue that he was formulaic and wrestled the limiting WWF style and his peak wasn't that long. But we can point to work rate classics, we can point to brawls, we can point to sports entertainment spectacle, we can point to classic TV matches. We can point to world class babyface work or heel work. We can point to carrying a slug to an all time classic. We can point to him working with the biggest name in history and feeling like every bit the star. We can point to him crafting a brilliant match with a midcard tag team specialist. We can point to great feuds and great one off performances. We can point to some of the all time great selling performances. We can point to incredible bumping and athleticism. We can point all time punches and a killer moveset. Sure he never updated the moveset, but to this day nothing has ever topped that Savage Flying Elbow. 

Go with your heart, Childs! Savage for the top 20! 

 

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Savage for the top 3! He had everything, Macho Man is pro wrestling. Others more eloquent than I am have articulated what made him so great but the coke, the color, the intensity, the promos, the voice, the feuds...and I consider all of that when it comes to ranking a wrestler.

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2 hours ago, elliott said:

We can point to him crafting a brilliant match with a midcard tag team specialist. We can point to great feuds

Who was this?

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Nah go back and watch Savage matches before you commit to childhood memories. If you still feel that way, you feel that way. But so much of of Savage's WWF run is rote as hell. Outside of the 3-4 famous matches what else is there? I've seen the same tired ass routine matches with the same tired ass finishes too many times. What is Savage's prime? I feel like Savage, probably more than any candidate not named Bret Hart, gets the benefit of the doubt without the the backing. I say this as someone more inclined to rate Savage than Bret, despite having seen more good to great matches from Bret.

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I'm sure if I look at my match spreadsheets, I'll find a few really good (sometimes great) Randy Savage matches against Ric Flair, Jerry Lawler, Ricky Steamboat, Warrior, etc but when I think of Randy Savage, I don't have much emotion towards him. I don't hate him or love him. He's just there for me - a permanent fixture of that era of wrestling. Obviously he's insanely talented but he's never someone I've connected with outside of his promos which aren't really a factor here, and that's only because his voice is funny to imitate. Compared to Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Rick Rude and other wrestlers of his time period, I have concrete thoughts and love/dislike for them. With Savage, there is nothing. So I'm not entirely sure where I stand with Savage. 

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I know I've used it before and I actually stopped myself from doing it just the other day, but I hereby pledge to not use the "Outside of x number matches what else is there?" argument because that argument is lame. Why should we set aside the Steamboat match, widely considered by many to be the greatest match up to that point in the history of WWF? Why should we set aside the Ultimate Warrior match when its a legendary all time great match against a consensus terrible worker and is widely considered one of the best matches & moments in the history of the company? Why would we do that? And we can play that game with everyone else. 

Outside of his top 2 feuds, Flair's 1989 really lacks MOTYC. 

Outside of Steve Austin and Owen Hart, Bret doens't really have a killer feud. 

Outside of the Godfather & Godfather II, Francis Ford Coppola only made like 2 good movies. 

But anyway, outside of his 3 or 4 most famous WWF matches there's the entire feud with Tito. The entire run in Memphis (which is fucking incredible and we definitely shouldn't pretend like it never happened). There's less famous Steamboat matches. There's the Bret match. Some people will say while they didn't have a MOTYC the endless Savage vs Dibiase feud pumped out a ton of 3 1/2* matches. The house show run with HOgan matches were fun. There's a good Jake Roberts match. The GAB 95 match against Flair is one of the great forgotten US PPV matches of the 90s. I'm forgetting something that I just had in my mind...OH the Ronnie Garvin cage match. There's a stupid fun match against Tenryu. 

Savage worked in a time and place for a company not interested in putting on "great" or even "good" matches. A place where a ton of talented wrestlers went and saw their in-ring production fall off a cliff. Savage is one of the rare guys who not only maintained but enhanced his reputation. 

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That's true about Coppola though :)

But that's my point when comparing the Greatest Wrestlers Ever. I have to look at both the positive and negative  to separate number 1 from 100 and Savage is a guy that I see much closer to the latter and I feel like he gets by too much on nostalgia.

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It is true about Coppola hahahah :)

I think its fair. I view Savage's peak (84-89 probably) as an all time run where we get a taste of everything you could ever want from a wrestler with quality stuff going as far forward as probably 1996. I tend not to focus as much on post-prime so those last few WCW years don''t bother me. I also tend to focus on what the case actually is. Arn's case might be built on those 8-15minute TV matches. Savage's strengths are in the big huge spectacles. Not the random WCW saturday night match. 

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There's quality Savage work all the way up to mid 1998 when he finally took time off to get knee surgery from that insane and utterly stupid ax handle from the super cage at Halloween Havoc 1997. 

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Savage was my number 32 in 2016, which feels simultaneously too high and about 30 spots too low. Re-reading this thread I'm clearly not the only one facing this dilemma with Savage, but basically he's one of a handful of wrestler where I can't separate "best" from "favourite" (though I think a large part of that is a fool's errand anyway, but I'll save that for the Eddie Guerrero thread). I don't think you can completely separate emotional investment or whatever you want to call it, no matter objective you're trying to be, and Savage draws me in emotionally in a way that very few have ever done. Interestingly enough I never really had that sort of emotional connection with Savage until about 15 years ago, by which point I was already a fully-grown manchild. I liked him growing up because he was a fucking screwball and now that I think about it most of the my childhood idols were fucking screwballs, so obviously I was going to like him. But not to the point where he was one of my five favourite wrestlers ever, so this isn't nostalgia doing all the talking. Nowadays, despite my wrestling horizons having been broadened substantially, he probably IS one of my five favourite wrestlers ever. One of the big positives for me is that, for a guy who was well documented for planning out matches to the minute detail, there were almost no Savage matches that actually felt rehearsed. I think a big part of that is because his character as a nutjob always translated, so it always FELT like he was going on instinct even if we basically know he wasn't. He's also damn near god tier when it comes to communicating hatred in a feud, whether it's against Flair in high-profile world title main events, or Crush in 1994 midcard programs. I guess he has a short peak, but I loved pretty much everything about that peak and there's enough stuff from points after it to keep me happy. I think his ceiling is probably just outside the top 25, depending on how I'm feeling on a given day, but there's almost zero chance he doesn't land in my top 50 again in 2026.

 

RANDY SAVAGE YOU SHOULD WATCH:

v Jerry Lawler (Memphis, 6/3/85)

v Tito Santana (WWF, 4/21/86)

v Ricky Steamboat (WWF Wrestlemania 3, 3/29/87)

v Ultimate Warrior (WWF Wrestlemania 7, 3/24/91)

v DDP (WCW Great American Bash, 6/15/97)

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