It's Still Real To Me: Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story

It’s Still Real To Me: Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story

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Paying tribute to someone you care about is not an easy thing. At least not in my eyes. Nobody, no matter how great, how much of a positive impact they had on your life, is perfect. It’s our flaws and our fuck-ups that, in their own way, truly make us and our relationships with those around us. No great romance is without it’s share of fall-outs. No true friendship without it’s tests of faith. If I were to describe to you the most important people in my life, I wouldn’t just tell you all the ways in which they make me happy. I’d tell you some of why they might drive me up the wall too. Because no person worth knowing only has one side. We are all, in our own way, utter pricks. But we can also floor each other with kindness and generosity. We are complicated creatures.

All of which brings me to Lanny Poffo, brother of the late wrestling legend Randy Savage and his role in the WWE’s recent documentary about the Macho Man. While it is perfectly understandable that he would want the world to only remember the wonderful things about Savage, his blind praise of his brother actually comes close to ruining what is otherwise an absolutely beautiful tribute to one of the greatest in ring performers of all time.

Lanny shoots down every single rumour about Randy that paints him in any less than an angelic light and does all he can to make every step of Randy’s life into an excruciating sixth form poem that made me want to elbow drop my own face.

There have been plenty of rumours that followed Savage throughout the later years of his life about his behaviour, his drug use, the way that he treated Elizabeth (more on that later) and the story behind his falling out with Vince McMahon. Perhaps they are all untrue but the way that he dismisses each subject with total disdain makes something of a mockery of the point of interviewing him at all. It doesn’t help that he has one of the most unbearable speaking voices to have to be subjected to for long periods. It sounds like someone trying to do an impression of Howard Finkel with a mouth full of treacle.

But as I mentioned before, Lanny aside, this documentary pays tribute to Randy in a wonderful way. His family history is discussed, as was his short-lived baseball career. Even as a lifelong fan of Savage’s I came away with knowledge about the man I didn’t have previously.

When other’s talk about him you can see the impact he had on their lives – Ricky Steamboat wells up when talking about working with him at Wrestlemania III, laying bare just how much pride and joy great wrestlers get from having created something that truly connected with generations of fans. You get to see the impact that Savage continues to have on modern day wrestlers – Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and CM Punk all talk rabidly of their love for his work and the lessons they learned by watching him (after Savage’s passing Punk took to wearing similar ring gear to Savage in tribute and even began using his famous flying elbow).

As I mentioned earlier, Savage’s relationship with Miss Elizabeth comes under real scrutiny. Both narrator and the interviewees – Lanny aside, of course – paint a picture of an obsessively jealous and possessive man that wouldn’t let Elizabeth out of his sight. It’s even suggested that Savage pushed for Elizabeth to be his manager so that even for the few minutes a night that he was in the ring he could still see her.

But despite Savage’s alleged flaws and weaknesses, nothing ever really takes away from the fact that here was one of the greatest performers that we will probably ever see in professional wrestling. In a lot of ways this is exactly the documentary and tribute that Savage fans have been crying out for long before he passed away.

Unfortunately, the other 2 DVDs in this set fall way, way short of this standard. WWE had a huge opportunity, in finally paying tribute to Savage’s career, to package the documentary together with his absolute greatest matches ever. What better tribute, right? Well, I’m afraid that’s not the case. WWE are seemingly assuming that you already either own Macho Madness (the 2009 DVD set of his matches that is actually no longer available) or a whole bunch of the old pay-per-views because these remaining two discs contain exactly none of his greatest matches.

The documentary hammers home how Savage/Steamboat from Wrestlemania III is possibly the greatest match of all time. So what do they do? Give us their match from Superstars a few months before that set up the feud. A good match and all but it’s a bit like a car salesman talking up the new Mercedes and then trying to send you home in a Ford Focus.

Savage won his first WWE Title at Wrestlemania IV against Ted DiBiase. So of course that is also not here. Instead we get a house show match from a few weeks later. Savage and Hulk Hogan fought for the title in the main event of Wrestlemania V. Again, here we get a house show. Savage vs Flair from Wrestlemania VIII? Nope, a TV taping. Seriously? After a documentary that good you pay ‘tribute’ to the man’s in-ring ability with a bunch of house shows and TV tapings? What a joke.

It’s a shame to get to the end of the collection on something of a downer because I really cannot stress just how good the documentary is. It’s just a shame that two thirds of this collection is no tribute at all.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.