For as long as I can remember, WWE has proclaimed Shawn Michaels with the nickname “Mr. WrestleMania”. While Michaels has earned the nickname, somebody else also deserves it. That person? “Macho Man” Randy Savage!
While Michaels has had memorable matches and moments at WrestleMania, Savage has had just as many. Specifically, these are five reasons why Randy Savage is “Mr. WrestleMania” instead of Shawn Michaels.
Number one: Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III
By the time WrestleMania III came around in 1987, you can make the argument that Savage was the biggest, if not the second biggest, heel in the WWF. Savage tried to end the career of Ricky Steamboat a few months before ‘Mania. However, Steamboat made a comeback and challenged Savage for the Intercontinental Championship.
While 93,173 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome paid to see Hulk Hogan face Andre the Giant, the match that everybody talked about when the show ended (and is still talking about over 35 years later) was Savage against Steamboat. It is considered one of the greatest matches not only in WrestleMania history but in pro wrestling history.
A fantastic back-and-forth match, this near-fifteen-minute classic had everybody on the edge of their seats. Steamboat won, but in defeat, Savage had earned the respect of the fans and the greatness of Randy Savage had just begun.
Number two: The WWF Championship Tournament at Wrestlemania IV
One year later, 14 wrestlers would compete in a tournament to crown a brand new WWF Champion. Savage was no stranger to tournaments, as he competed in the Wrestling Classic tournament in 1985, getting to the finals before losing to the Junkyard Dog.
In round one, he competed against Butch Reed. It was an even match before Savage threw Reed off the top rope and hit the elbow drop to advance to the second round.
Then, Savage faced Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. In a stiff back-and-forth battle, both men wanted to advance to the semifinals. The match ends when Valentine goes for the figure four leg lock and Savage reverses the attempt into a small package pin and advances.
Next, he faced the One Man Gang, who received a bye to the semifinals. In the battle of big man against little man, Savage’s speed helped him against his opponent before One Man Gang grabbed a cane and hit Savage and got disqualified.
In the finals, Savage faced the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase who received a bye to the finals. The three previous battles took their toll on Savage, but he would not give up. Towards the end, some outside interference played a role as Hulk Hogan hit DiBiase with a chair. Savage recovers and hits an elbow drop to win the match and become the WWF Champion.
Number three: Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania V
The Mega Powers Explode!!! The main event of this show saw Randy Savage defend the WWF Championship against Hulk Hogan with their manager, Miss Elizabeth, in a neutral corner.
Thank’s to his big turn on his former partner, Savage was the most hated man in the WWF and entered a hostile environment against Hogan. A great competitive match between the two biggest stars of the WWF at the time.
Near the end of the match, Savage hit his elbow drop onto Hogan. However, Hogan kicked out of Savage’s best move. After a series of punches, a big boot, and a leg drop, Savage lost the WWF Title.
Number four: Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VII
The stakes are as high as they can ever be in this match. Savage and Ultimate Warrior, two men who hate each other, putting their careers on the line.
There were so many incredible moments in the match, but there are three that stand out the most. First, Savage hits five consecutive elbow drops on the Warrior; how could anybody survive this? Savage could only get a two-count.
A few minutes later, Warrior would hit the gorilla press slam then the big splash but could only get a two count. A series of running shoulder bumps followed, with the last one knocking Savage out to the floor. Warrior grabs Savage, rolls him back into the ring, and puts one foot on top of his chest to get the three count and the victory.
But the story continues after the match. Savage’s manager, Sensational Queen Sherri, upset with the result, attacks a beaten-up Savage. Elizabeth, who was in the crowd, jumps out to ringside and throws Sherri out of the ring. Savage realizes Elizabeth saved him and the two embrace with a hug in the middle of the ring as fans are crying in the arena.
Number five: Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII
A year later, Savage came back to compete and got a shot at the WWF Championship, held by Ric Flair. In the weeks leading up to the match, Flair claimed that Elizabeth was with him before she was with Savage.
The challenger went into this match the most aggressive he had ever been in order to not only win the title back but to win the honor of his wife, Elizabeth. The first half of WrestleMania VIII’s double main event gave us one of the greatest championship matches of all time.
A match with a great story being told featured plenty of fighting inside and outside of the ring, all to be the best. After Flair bleeds, Elizabeth coming out in support of Savage leads to a great ending. Flair grabs the leg of Savage but gets hit with a punch as Savage does a schoolboy pin to win the WWF Championship back; an incredible conclusion.
In the end, Randy Savage had some of the best matches in the early years of WrestleMania that are still talked about to this day. These matches are the reason why Savage, not Shawn Michaels, is “Mr. WrestleMania”.