Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WWE legend Randy Savage tribute video

Randy Poffo, better known as "Macho Man" Randy Savage, passed away Friday, May 20, after sustaining injuries in an automobile accident. He was 58 years old.

Tributes poured in from around the professional wrestling world, as well as from the mainstream media. There are a select few professional wrestlers who are also cultural icons, and Randy Savage was one of them.

The video embedded above aired on the WWE's flagship show, Monday Night Raw, three days after Savage's death. A lot of eyes were on WWE for how they would handle Savage's death, due to how they regarded him when he was alive.

One of the biggest wrestling mysteries - which has spawned some of the biggest wrestling urban legends - is why WWE Chairman Vince McMahon dislikes Randy Savage.

In the mid-1990's, there was a giant wrestling war between World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as WWE). The war really started when WCW paid a lot of money to entice several of the WWF's biggest stars to "jump ship" from the New-York-based WWF to the Atlanta-based WCW.

Hulk Hogan was the first, and biggest star to make the jump. Several others followed suit, with Randy Savage making his WCW debut in late 1994.

WCW was sold to WWE in 2001. They own all of the WCW tape library. Gradually, little by little, the vast majority of former WWE stars who left for WCW made their way back to WWE. If they were healthy enough, they came back to wrestle. If they were older, they were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Vince McMahon has said in multiple interviews over the years that he has no personal grudges when there is an opportunity to make money. Basically, he doesn't have to like you to work with you. If something happened years ago, it's water under the bridge if it makes sense to work together now.

Just about everybody came back, with the exception of one person. "Macho Man" Randy Savage has not appeared in any way, shape, or form for WWE since leaving in 1994. A 3-disk DVD retrospective of his career was produced in 2009, but Savage himself had no involvement, and it was not promoted heavily on WWE television.

It's not as if Randy Savage was too busy to return to WWE. His last appearance with WCW was in 2000. He did not wrestle anywhere again until showing up in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2004. His stint there lasted barely two months.

It came out a few years back that Randy Savage's name was not even allowed to be brought up to Vince McMahon. A former WWE writer did an interview where he mentioned that he suggested bringing Savage in for a guest spot and was yelled at and told to never suggest using Randy Savage again.

So, why was Randy Savage effectively banned from WWE for so long?

There are two popular theories, one of which seems very logical and one that seems ripped straight from the tabloid headlines.

The more logical theory is that Vince McMahon took Savage's departure to WCW much more personally than he did anybody else. Perhaps Savage told Vince that he would not leave and then did.

The tabloid-theory centers on Savage having some sort of inappropriate conduct with Vince's daughter, Stephanie McMahon. I've heard everything from them having a consensual relationship when she was underage, to him sexually harassing/assualting her, to him raping her.

Whatever happened, nobody has had anything to say except conjecture. But, I guess all that is moot now. After Savage's last match in TNA, he stopped keeping up his "Macho Man" image as much, allowing his beard to go gray and not being as "ripped" as he used to be. Without announcing it, he had effectively retired from professional wrestling. Fans online have rallied for years for Savage to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It looked like it would never happen, although that could change for the 2012 class. We'll see what happens with that early next year.

Savage made a minor buzz last year when he taped his first "wrestling promo" since 2004, to promote his new Mattel WWE action figure. Click here to see that.

I may check back later with some more thoughts about Randy Savage.

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