Is this retrospective too sweet to be sour or will it just have a cup of coffee in the big time? Matthew Roberts looks back at the Macho Man courtesy of WWE Home Video’s latest release.
If a panel consisting of host Corey Graves, former WWE announcer Sean Mooney, current WWE star Bayley and Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page seems like a strange quartet to host this look at the Unreleased / Unseen matches of The Macho Man Randy Savage it’s a team that works quite well. Although they don’t have an awful lot to say, their love and admiration for Savage shines through. And as someone who remembers Matt Striker and Maria hosting a previous set of Macho Man matches on DVD that is a blessed relief.
This “never before seen” set promises to delve into the archives to unearth matches from the breadth of Macho’s WWE and WCW career. Not all are “unseen”, especially when the WCW section is largely taken up of Nitro matches (or other WCW programming) but for all intents and purposes they are all previously unreleased.
This, of course, is both a blessing and a curse. For the most part you’re seeing matches you will have never seen before; even those that were on WWF or WCW television will not be ones your particularly remember. So this is indeed a fresh feeling collection. The flip side is that, by it’s very nature this is not a collection that highlights the absolute “best” of Randy Savage.
Half a dozen matches in and all you’ve seen are essentially early Savage squash matches. But whilst this doesn’t offer much up in the way of excitement, per se, it highlights a now lost art to WWE wrestling. From the start (where a number of heel managers watch Savage from ringside, vying for his services) Savage is portrayed as a star. The short squash matches help to flesh out his character and get fans to recognise his trademark moves. In short, they get him over. A distinct difference to today’s WWE where wrestlers are almost expected to sink or swim without any such build up.
As Savage progresses in his career we get more “name” opponents. Whilst the promise of such matches as Savage & The Honky Tonk Man against Hulk Hogan & Ricky Steamboat or Savage against Andre The Giant is often higher than the reality, it’s fun to see matches of this nature from a time when WWE television was filled with squashes. It’s great fun to see a Savage/Steamboat singles match that isn’t THAT one from WrestleMania III and a Steel cage match between Macho and Ted DiBiase is a great watch too.
A match against The Ultimate Warrior is a nice slice of nostalgia but like a lot of the feature bouts on here is quite short. Mind you, when it’s matches against the likes of Brutus Beefcake or Koko B Ware that might not be so much of a problem. A WWE Championship match with Hulk Hogan is fun, but not a patch on their excellent WrestleMania V effort, and whilst younger fans might wonder what on earth is going on when Savage teams with Sensational Sherri to take on Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire, older fans will no doubt get a great nostalgia kick from watching it.
A six man pitting Savage, Roddy Piper and Jim Duggan against Ric Flair, Jake Roberts and The Undertaker is carried by star power but is generally “phoned in”, much like later matches where Savage teams with Hogan (to take on Jake & The Bezerker) or Taker (to take on Ric Flair & The Bezerker). In isolation they’re a lot of fun (even if no-one needs to see two Bezerker matches in close proximity) but they don’t offer much variety. The second disc does end with a couple of relatively strong singles bouts against Razor Ramon and “Terrific” Terry Taylor.
The final WWE matches see him take on the likes of Yokozuna, Lex Luger and to team up with Mr Pefect to take on the calamitous duo of Mr Hughes & Giant Gonzales. They do show though that at this stage of his career, the WWE clearly saw Savage as the veteran who could be relied upon to get/put over the newer breed of “talent”.
Jumping to WCW is covered, but the action is far from the best. On paper, a Savage/Steve Austin bout sounds promising but if you went to make a brew the match would be over before you got back. Matches with the likes of Ric Flair, Curt Hennig and Lex Luger are nice slices of mid 1990’s WCW but far from essential. The closing Mixed Tag Match pitting Savage and Madusa against Ric Flair and Charles Robinson is, to be kind, a mess.
Newer fans watching this collection will get an idea of the intensity of the Macho Man that demanded you kept your eyes on him when he was on your TV screens but they may not get the fuller picture of just what a supreme worker he was. Older fans who grew up watching Savage, and lets face it they are the kind of people this set is aimed at, should lap up the nostalgia and get a kick out of most things here, even if the action in the ring rarely reaches boiling point.
Throw in an engaging panel, with some nice stories about their own personal respect and admiration for Savage, some corny music videos and some classic Savage promo’s and interviews and you have a set that Savage fans will cherish, even if ultimately they’ll go back to other releases that feature the “classic” matches to see the best of him.
8 out of 10.
Format reviewed: DVD
Pictures courtesy of WWE and Fetch.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of Randy Savage Unreleased – The Unseen Matches Of The Macho Man, which is out Monday 28 May. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here