Friday, October 31st, 2014

LuchaWorld Weekly Ramblings 5/25/11

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Written By Alfredo Esparza

‘MACHO MAN’ RANDY SAVAGE – 1952-2011

On Friday morning (5/20), news of the death of “Macho Man” Randy Savage in an automobile accident made its way through the internet. With twitter and other social media sites allowing for the news to arrive rather quickly and for fans to react immediately. As the days passed more people were paying tribute to the Macho Man be it on twitter, facebook, posting videos or commenting on youtube. I had a few people send me request to reopen the comment section on the one youtube video I uploaded of Macho Man Randy Savage from the video Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling created by Johnny Legend and Jerry Lawler.

Wrestling fans between the ages of 25 thru about 40 practically grew up watching the Macho Man. I remember back when I was a kid, my friends and I use to do our best Macho Man impersonations during recess. I was pretty unsuccessful at it, but it made for fun times. In recent years, whenever someone would ask me what was wrong with wrestling, I usually brought up that there weren’t a lot of larger than life characters and always used the Macho Man as the prime example. Just look at how many of WWE’s current wrestlers are bland with no personality. Savage had it all. He could work, he could cut a promo and he had charisma.

I’m sure there are other folks who will right a much better in-depth tribute to Macho Man Randy Savage, so I’m just going to go with my favorite memories….

Johnny Legend’s Rock & Roll Wrestling Video

I didn’t watch Memphis Wrestling in the ’80s. I didn’t even know about it at the time. I knew of WWF (WWE), NWA, World Class, the AWA, Mid-South Wrestling and lucha libre. Never heard of any other wrestling promotions. The only reason I knew about the AWA was that they had those REMCO action figures and I bought a bunch of them, but had never watched their shows. A lot of that would soon change in the mid-80s when a BEST store was opened and they had a wide assortment of VHS tapes. I saved up my money and bought three videos, “Sgt. Slaughter and Co.”, “Rock & Roll Wrestling” and two yellow-box Mid-Atlantic tapes. These were pretty affordable at the time each running around $20 bucks when compared to the PWI tapes that were being advertised at like $40 bucks. They were great!

I had already seen “Macho Man” Randy Savage on WWF TV several times and my reaction to him was typical of a fan who’s going to root for the babyfaces. It wasn’t until I saw the music video with the song “Rock Warriors” that I got caught up in the madness. The highlights were great (some cheesiness like the close-ups to muscles, etc., but that was common back then, plus, I had already seen the Fabulous Ones music video) from Savage showing up with his father, Angelo Poffo in Memphis, the rowdy attack on Dutch Mantel, Savage jumping over the announce table to get to the Rock & Roll Express, Savage piledriving Morton through a table, and Savage jumping off the top of the cage. Just an insanely awesome video.

I grew up liking Southern-style wrestling and always viewed WWE as way too cartoonish for my tastes, but that video changed my view on the “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

“Ricky Steamboat Can’t Breath”

I use to watch WWF wrestling with my sister. She never really got into any of the other wrestling shows that I would watch. She knew about the Von Erichs, but in Texas in the ’80s, EVERYONE knew about the Von Erich family. I wasn’t really big on telling her to watch wrestling. She just kind of started watching because we would stay up late on Saturdays to watch SNL and sometimes Saturday’s Night Main Event would be on. One of our favorite wrestlers at the time was Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Granted we liked them for different reasons. I thought he was awesome in the ring and knew his background of being in the Mid-Atlantic region, while my sister just thought he was cute. Imagine that. How dare she not appreciate workrate!!!

There are two memorable angles that my sister and I can always talk about. The first was Andre The Giant ripping Hulk Hogan’s chain off him on Piper’s Pit and the other was Randy Savage ‘nearly killing’ Ricky Steamboat! The angle occurred during a match between the two were Randy Savage placed Ricky Steamboat’s throat on a guard rail and then jumped off the top rope and hit an axhandle on him. Leaving Ricky Steamboat selling that he was ‘gasping for air’. Vince said it looked like Steamboat ‘was swallowing his tongue’. Then Savage dragged Steamboat back into the ring, grabbed the ring bell and then climbed the top rope and hit Steamboat with it. “Steamboat Can’t Breat!” said McMahon. We were HORRIFIED!!! Pretty sure my sister cried, but she won’t own up to it now!

That angle led to their classic Wrestlemania III match-up, which of course not having cable meant I’d have to wait to hear the results on the show the week after Wrestlemania! I watched the Wrestlemania match like 1-2 years later when a local videostore had it.

Here’s a poor quality video of the angle…

The MegaPowers break up!

“Macho Man” Randy Savage’s babyface run from 1987 to the early part of 1989 was pretty great. He formed a tag team with Hulk Hogan known as the MegaPowers and more importantly their big weapon was Miss Elizabeth wearing bikinis! However like most great pairings like Shaq and Kobe, Simon and Garfunkel, Cain and Abel, Ren and Stimpy, Peaches and Herb, Beavis and Butthead, egos got in the way and the MegaPowers would eventually break-up.

It initially started when the Hulkster ‘accidentally’ eliminated The Macho Man from the Royal Rumble in January 1989. Savage continued to grow jealous of Hulk Hogan and Miss Elizabeth’s friendship and eventually on the February 3rd Saturday Night’s Main Event Savage left Hogan to battle the Twin Towers, of Akeem The Dream and the Big Bossman. Savage turned on Hogan after blaming him for everything. The two would meet in a match at Wrestlemania V were Hogan won the WWF World title. Savage continued to feud with Hogan.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior

This feud was overshadowed by the WWE trying to generate interest with the Gulf War going on and getting the WWE World Title on Sgt. Slaughter, who had turned his back on the U.S. Savage was able to get a lot out of Warrior, who was pretty limited in the ring and a bad promo. However, Warrior had tons of charisma and came across as a superstar, so this feud was fun. Started off with Savage wanting a shot at the WWE World Title, which Sgt. Slaughter had already said that if he won, he’d give Savage a shot. Meanwhile, Warrior refused. Savage attacked Warrior before and during Warrior’s match against Slaughter, which resulted in Warrior losing the title. This led the two to a retirement match at Wrestlemania VII that Savage lost.

Here’s a highlight video of Wrestlemania VII…

Savage vs. Flair, the Feud that doesn’t get enough credit for hot period in WCW

When most people remember the turning point for WCW’s hot run, they usually think it started off when the New World Order was formed, but it actually started a few months before with Randy Savage and Ric Flair as the main event feud. Of course it being WCW, they had Hogan feuding with the odd ball crew of Kevin Sullivan’s Dungeon of Doom and a few guys who made one-time appearances like Zeus and The Ultimate Solution as the other main event feud that was pretty stale and boring. Of course, Hogan vs. Savage, which was done over the years while in WCW still generated ratings whenever they went that route, which they would with the nWo angle.

However, Savage and Flair were still very capable of having good matches. Their feud in WCW starting in mid-1995 lasted all the way through June 1996, when Savage would eventually be a part of the opposing team feuding with the nWo. During the Savage-Flair feud the WCW World title went back and forth between the two. WCW even brought back Miss Elizabeth who turned on Savage and sided with Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen.

I had a relative who had one of those black boxes that could get PPVs for free! The days of scramblevision had died several years earlier when my cable company figured out they could just block those channels, so knowing someone who had one of those things, I was pretty happy about watching PPVs. Sadly they were WCW Uncensored and Superbrawl VI. Both PPVs sucked in general, but they did have some memorable moments. Uncensored had a great brawl between Lord Steven Regal (William Regal) and David “Fit” Finaly and Superbrawl VI is probably more remembered for Brian Pillman’s “I respect you, Bookerman” comment directed to Kevin Sullivan than anything else. Superbrawl VI also had Savage vs. Flair in a cage. I’m not a big fan of cage matches, but that’s all I could find for this feud…

There’s a few other things that Savage did during his run in WCW including joining the nWo, matches with Luger, Sting, etc. and his memorable feud with Diamond Dallas Page, which put DDP on the map as a main eventer. The DDP feud included one of the great WCW Nitro surprises when DDP dressed as La Parka pinned the Macho Man. I believe the following week the real La Parka was attacked by the Macho Man who thought he was still DDP under the hood.

THE ROAD TO TRIPLEMANIA XIX – TNA TAKEOVER? OH DIOS MIO!!!

AAA’s big annual event is less than one month away. AAA released the lineup for Triplemania XIX which will be held on June 18th at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City. I think they’ll add at least one more match involving the Psycho Circus and Perros Del Mal. There will be TNA talent on the show along with AAA having a main event that features their hottest singles feud and the traditional stipulation of mask vs. hair between L.A. Park and El Mesias.

TNA’s involvement on the show has already begun to be built up on TV and online as Jeff Jarrett has been cutting promos about going to Mexico to not only wrestle, but to take over Mexico with TNA. Excuse me for a second…

HA…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! (takes a breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Jeff Jarrett will be performing later this week at Caroline’s Comedy Store. All jokes aside and this storyline as well, this show is stacked! If AAA offered this as a PPV in the US, I would actually order it. Even if they charged whatever WWE does. Let’s take a look at some of these matches.

1. Fabi y Mari Apache/Lolita/Cinthia Moreno vs. Angelina Love/Mickie James/Sexy Star/Velvet Sky

– This should be okay mostly due to the AAA tecnica side, but I don’t expect much. The rudas don’t really impress me at all. Love, James and Sky are all hot, so they’ll definitely get a crowd reaction, but once the bell rings, I don’t expect much from them aside from the Apache sisters stiffing one of them if they screw up. Lolita’s been great since her first AAA appearance. No love from AAA for Jennifer Blake. She should be in, but I assume she’ll be involved in some fashion on this show and probablly this match.

2. Tables/Ladders/Chairs Match: Heavy Metal/La Hermandad 187 (Joe Lider y Nicho el Millionario) vs. La Maniarquia (Chessman/Silver Kain/Ultimo Gladiador)

– This should be one of those matches that fans who are into gimmicky matches will like. Expect Chessman to take some crazy bump. Probably going to get Joe Lider trying something nuts too. I would expect Heavy Metal to steer clear from climbing stuff and just brawling or selling in this match.

3. AAA Tag Titles: Jack Evans & Extreme Tiger © vs. Abyss & Mr. Anderson

– You know when I saw this match listed and saw both Extreme Tiger and Mr. Anderson, the first thought that came to my mind was “COULD YOU IMAGINE IF THEY HAD DONE THIS MATCH 3 YEARS AGO! WE COULD PLACE BETS ON WHO’D SCREW UP MORE BETWEEN MR. ANDERSON AND EXTREME TIGER.” Rob Bihari could have made a classic WTH youtube video with all the botched spots! Now, Extreme Tiger’s not as bad with the botch spots and really he and Evans are a pretty fun tag team. Mr. Anderson wasn’t very impressive the last time he was in AAA and since I don’t watch TNA, I can’t really say if he’s still as awful as he was the last time I saw him wrestle. Also this tag team match along with Mr. Anderson will feel like TNA deprived us of seeing “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner in AAA again.

Don’t really expect much from this match. Maybe some good stuff out of Evans and Extreme Tiger.

4. El Inframundo (Cuervo/Drago/Espiritu/Ozz/La Parka) vs. Los Bizarros (Billy el Malo/Charly Manson/Cibernetico/Escoria/Tabu)

– Continuing the Cibernetico vs. La Parka feud. Should be good. Good to see Charly Manson back in the fold and no longer in prison. Its interesting to see how much better Los Bizarros look now with the 2nd group of guys they’ve added. That initial group looked minor league. This group now with Billy and Manson has better name value. I wouldn’t be shocked if this match comes off like one of those old Vatos Locos vs. Vipers clusterfucks from the late ’90s that were so crazy that they were entertaining.

5. Decision Match por el AAA Latin American Title: Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Rob Van Dam

OH NO! Not another title. They could have done this match without the silly title that people other than Dr. Wagner Jr. will forget about the following day. This should be in that Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Sabu mold of match. Something fans would be interested in watching and then when the bell rings, they soon realize it was fun, but not what they were expecting. I like this match, but I think I would have really been into this match if it would have happened 8-10 years ago. Now, I’m just curious to see how this turns out.

If TNA and AAA really wanted the Mexican wrestling fans to orgasm all at once, they’d have brought in Kurt Angle to wrestle Dr. Wagner Jr.

6. AAA Mega Heavyweight Title: Zorro © vs. Jeff Jarrett

How good this match turns out will really be determined by El Zorro because he’s really not been that impressive as champion. All these years fans wanting him to finally get that big push and he’s really not done much. Jarrett’s always been a good worker and I do agree with “Dr. Lucha” Steve Sims when he said Jarrett’s been the best foreign heel that’s been in Mexico in the past 15 years. El Zorro will have the fans backing him as its going to be a very patriotic fan reaction to him battling against the evil foreigner. I’d expect this match to be good, to possibly very good if Zorro shows up. There’s probably going to be some interference that’s going to be overbooked and ruin the finish.

7. Caballera contra Mascara: El Mesias vs. L.A. Park

These two have had their Match of the Year level moments at previous Triplemanias (El Mesias vs. Dr. Wagner Jr. in 2008 and L.A. Park vs. La Parka in 2009) and they also had a really good match at last year’s Guerra de Titanes. With the added mask vs. hair stip this match should be great. This is probably the biggest match-up that either AAA or CMLL could come up with. There’s really nothing close right now in Mexico unless some other big name were to drop his mask. Should be a fun brawl.

FORJANDO UN IDOLO – GREAT CONCEPT WITH A LIKELY REPETITIVE END To It!

CMLL on the heels of their annual Gran Alternativa put together Forjando Un Idolo thus really confusing everyone as to why even bother having the Gran Alternativa in the first place. The winner from this year’s Gran Alternativa, Rey Escorpion, rather than being moved up the card from that tournament, ended up in this tournament-style concept as well. Of course Forjando Un Idolo now leads to two questions…Why do the Gran Alternativa? What’s next for the winner of Forjando Un Idolo?

Gran Alternativa use to be the tournament were a young wrestler would get the rub from teaming with a veteran. The winning team would then result in the young wrestler moving up the card. That’s how that tournament seemed to work up until 2008. Then in 2009 they went with Okumura for storyline purposes as they were running a Mexico vs. Japan feud. In 2010, Polvora won. He’s in the finals of Forjando Un Idolo set for this upcoming Friday’s show (5/27) against Angel de Oro, the guy who most people felt got screwed in 2009 due to the Mexico vs. Japan storyline.

If it were up to me, I’d dump the Gran Alternativa tournament and just do this Forjando Un Idolo concept annually. I think its great. Of course there’s the problem of what happens at the end of the tournament. Something has to come of it, otherwise, it just joins a long list of stuff that CMLL come ups with that doesn’t have a conclusion to it. The winner needs to move up the card. Sink or swim either, Angel de Oro or Polvora must move up. I think I’m far more sold on Angel de Oro than Polvora. Angel de Oro while he’s pretty much the same as about 15 other tecnicos in CMLL is better than Polvora right now. Polvora’s similar to Dragon Rojo and I don’t think CMLL needs another guy like that in main events right now given Dragon Rojo still isn’t that much better than Polvora. With Angel de Oro at least, they get another tecnico with Mascara Dorada and La Sombra usually being the two guys being sent to Japan and Hijo del Fantasma losing his spot due to the whole WWE mess.

A lot of good stuff has come out of this tournament. For one thing young guys having veteran coaches has been great. It also gave an injured wrestler like Shocker something to do within the promotion. Shocker’s been great as a coach, busting out a Telly Savalas with a lollipop impersonation dosing out some knowledge to his 4 students. Also doing this while holding a playbook during matches. Negro Casas and Blue Panther have been at each other’s throats and that led to them feuding. Ultimo Guerrero and Rey Escorpion have had a fun teacher-student dynamic that would be fun if it led to something, but with CMLL you just don’t know. They gave a bunch of young guys some TV time and most of them didn’t feel over-exposed. I really liked what I saw out of Guerrero Maya. Some of the other young guys looked promising as well. Magnus and Dragon Lee are still not ready.

Should be a fun annual concept, but I want there to be a definitive positive result out of this. I want to see the winner move up the card and if he can’t hang, well then I can complain about it, but at least give the fans something fresh and add someone new near the top.

FINALLY….

I was initially going to include TV show recaps in this that were shorter than usual, but I had a paragraph in on just one match from AAA TV and realized, well its probably easier just to add those as separate posts.

Also, the Savage pic I used for this post, I found on Monday and wouldn’t you know it Bill Simmons used it in his Macho Man Randy Savage article over at ESPN.com. Anyway, no biggie. Its a great pic and had I known someone in ESPN was going to use it and resize it to similar dimensions that work well for this blog, I’d probably have just gotten it from there. :) For those of you who are baseball fans or curious about Randy Savage’s baseball career that’s been brought up since his passing, Sports Illustrated wrote a really good article on his playing days. Hope everyone enjoys my ramblings. Going to try to do these on a weekly basis, but keep in mind I have a wacky work schedule and a crazy hobby as well.

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