The prospect of a Randy “Macho Man” Savage documentary has been on the wish list of WWE fans for so many, many years and for the most part it felt like “The Randy Savage Story” would never be told by WWE. However, earlier this year we had the official confirmation that the Randy Savage Story would finally be told this November – and here we are!
An interesting point to note is “Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story” is the very first WWE (non-PPV) DVD project to exclusively carry the new WWE logo – from the box art, to the signature open, right through to the on-screen titles and copyright notice. Also interestingly there is no WWE logo “bug” present on-screen throughout the documentary and bonus matches. It’s very possible this is the new norm, as we have seen the bug disappear from a few releases recently; additionally the documentaries/features on the WWE Network also don’t have any on-screen bugs displayed.
Now let’s take a look through the documentary and what is and isn’t covered…
The opening scene of the documentary is a lingering shot of a Jeep wheel with audio snippets of the Macho Man’s promos and a voice over discussing the Macho Man. The Jeep’s wheel continues to go faster and faster until it stops suddenly before cutting into news clips from various TV networks discussing Randy Savage’s death on May 20, 2011. This then cuts to newly filmed footage of Lanny Poffo (Randy’s brother) paying his respects at the spot where Randy’s accident happened. The Lanny Poffo part was very emotional and set the tone for the next 90+ minutes ahead.
The documentary itself begins by visiting Randy Savage’s birth town – Downers Grove, IL and moves onto discussing Randy Savage’s parents – Judy and Angelo Poffo, including his father’s inclusion in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” for the most sit-ups in a single session. Here we were also given our very first surprise of the set – an archive interview with Angelo Poffo, which looks to date from the late 70’s or early 80’s.
In addition to the archive footage of Randy Savage, as we have detailed previously here on the site, the documentary also featured interviews with a number of other subjects including: Judy Poffo (Randy’s mother), Larry Herdon (MLB star and Randy’s former team-mate), a number of high school friends, Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Hart, Bret Hart, Gene Okerlund, Ricky Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Hulk Hogan, Pat Patterson, Kevin Nash, Dallas Page, Dolph Ziggler and various other friends/colleagues of Randy Savage from outside the business.
The Randy Savage sit-down interview was apparently conducted in 1993. This was as Randy was coming off his divorce from Miss Elizabeth and beginning his time as a color commentator and goodwill ambassador for WWE. Randy’s comments are really open as he discusses his life and career in a way in which was very unique for 1993. I’m not sure about why the footage was shot or where it was to have ended up, however the footage here does add to the documentary as it means that Randy can be involved in his story.
The next major topic for discussion is Randy’s baseball career. This is given a fair amount of discussion, from his high school days through to his time as a pro. The underlying theme in this segment (and throughout the entire documentary, for that matter) is Randy’s passion, drive, determination and strive for perfection. We are also given an interesting story of how Randy chose to put the exclamation point on the end of his baseball career.
Following his baseball career, Randy Savage set his sights on the “family business” of pro-wrestling. We hear about his training, changing his physique and even coming up with his ring name: Randy “Macho Man” Savage. This segment of the documentary also looks briefly at his father’s ICW promotion’s invasion of Lawler and Jarrett’s Memphis Wrestling, something which would eventually lead to Randy’s big break with WWE.
While looking at his move to WWE, a number of aspects of Savage’s career and persona are looked at including: the addition of Miss. Elizabeth, his ring style, entrance theme, his promos and even his ring gear. While discussing his famous ring gear we hear from Michael Braun (of Michael & Toni Designs) who created many of the Macho Man’s iconic robes and jackets. While discussing his promo style and intensity, Randy’s desire for perfection is illustrated by some outtake footage from a promo which Randy did in the run up to WrestleMania V with Hogan.
The next major milestone in Randy’s career up for discussion was the Intercontinental Championship and of course his famed WrestleMania III contest with Ricky Steamboat. You may have seen our exclusive clip discussing “that match”, but if not check it out here. Steamboat provides excellent comments for this portion of the documentary and goes into how the match was put together and even practiced – something we have never had on a WWE DVD. As you have seen in the clip, “The Dragon” gets emotional while discussing the match.
WrestleMania IV, Randy’s run as WWE Champion and carrying the company in the absence of Hulk Hogan was next up (Hogan was absent from WWE during the spring/summer of 1988 as he was filming the movie classic – “No Holds Barred”). As you would expect, this segment leads into discussing WrestleMania V, the tension (both on and off screen between Hulk and Randy) and the ultimate breakup of the Mega-Powers.
The natural segue from the Mega Powers breakup is to Randy and Elizabeth’s real life relationship. Here we are given stories from a number of the interview subjects, including Jimmy Hart and Bret Hart about how Randy treated Elizabeth and his jealousy. This is something which Lanny denies, but none of the other interview subjects really backed up Lanny’s POV on this particular topic. From here we move onto how invested the fans were in the Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth relationship, so much so that their “wedding” headlined one of the biggest WWE PPVs of all time! During the time of their SummerSlam 1991 wedding ironically their real life relationship was crumbling, ultimately leading to their divorce. Randy Savage himself admits that the divorce really affected him and this was the main reason why he moved from in-ring competition and into the roles as announcer and goodwill ambassador for the company.
The next surprising topic looked at was Randy Savage’s work with Slim Jim (as this wasn’t outlined in the documentary chapter points). Here we have comments from a former Slim Jim executive about the positive impact which Randy had on their brand with his iconic catchphrase – which made Randy a pop culture icon – even to non-wrestling fans. As he approached the end of his WWE career, Randy embraced his “ambassador” role and took part in a number of charity programs and events. According to Lanny, Randy loved this and continued this work in his local area, even after his pro-wrestling career concluded.
The end of his and WWE’s relationship is up next, which is possibly the most intriguing topic for many fans. Lanny shares a story about how Randy wished his in ring career to end with a two year long program versus Shawn Michaels (who Randy apparently stated was the best in ring performer since Ricky Steamboat). The idea however for this program was shot down by WWE management – who was in the midst of the “New Generation” and a “youth movement”. Lanny comments that it was this discontent which caused the hurt feelings on Randy’s side, ultimately leading to his departure for WCW. Bret Hart comments that not only were Randy’s feelings hurt by the jump, but also those on Vince McMahon’s side (as we hear through the documentary that the two were very close). Vince McMahon does not appear in the documentary to make any comments at all.
Randy’s move to WCW was looked at and it was agreed by almost everyone that it was a step down from his WWE tenure. However, the jump did afford him (and us) the opportunity to see The Macho Man work in the ring and develop his character a little – especially with his nWo and Team Madness runs. Not too much is looked at from WCW, with the exception being his awesome series with Diamond Dallas Page in 1997. Savage was a huge part of the rise of Diamond Dallas Page, and Page obviously holds Savage very close to his heart, as evident from his comments – the feud no doubt cemented Page as a top star in WCW.
A little exposition is given to his exile from WWE following the WCW closure in 2001. We are also given clips of a video recorded by Savage in response to comments by Triple H. In the video Savage proclaims he is going to “bitch slap Hulk and take Triple H’s woman [Stephanie McMahon]” – this video was more than likely the source of the torrid rumors which have circulated for years regarding Savage/Stephanie. The documentary then moves on to discussing Elizabeth’s death and we are given footage used in the 2003 episode of WWE Confidential discussing Elizabeth’s death. Speculation is also given to Randy’s thoughts on Elizabeth’s passing from Lanny and Gene Okerlund, as we are told Randy never wanted to discuss her passing.
The final portion of the documentary looks at Randy’s life after wrestling and how he moved away from the spotlight, his reunion with his high school sweetheart (Lynn) and discussion of their wedding. This portion of the documentary is accompanied with some really nice B-roll footage of the beach on which they wed. Closing out the documentary is discussion of the events of May 20, 2011. We hear the events of the day from Randy’s mother Judy and Lanny. In addition we also hear the raw and guttural reactions of a number of other interview subjects to the news of the Macho Man’s passing. This segment of the documentary is tough, so if you’re the guy or girl who gets a tear in their eye; here’s where it will get you!
The close comes with a fantastic video package looking at Randy Savage’s career with some really nice comments from his friends, family and colleagues, wrapped with classic clips of the Macho Man. A short part of this closing package can be watched here.
And folks, that is “Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story”.
I didn’t cover everything included in the documentary; I did leave a few surprises in there for you. I would recommend that you pick up the Blu-ray version if you can, as the documentary is put together very nicely and features some beautiful cinematography – it could be the most aesthetically pleasing documentary that WWE has put together. The documentary doesn’t look at every aspect of Randy Savage’s career, in fact I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of attention which was given to his feud with The Ultimate Warrior and even Jake Roberts. It does hurt the documentary that Savage himself couldn’t be involved in the same way as Paul Heyman with his, for example. However, WWE did a good job of finding plenty of others to assist with the telling of the story and even reaching outside of their “Universe” with some of the personalities featured. The only thing which I personally didn’t like about the documentary was the “Jeep wheel” open; to me it felt somewhat distasteful and it didn’t add anything to the documentary which wouldn’t have been achieved in an alternate way. However, all in all this was a great 90 minute look at one of the greatest pro-wrestlers in history. If you’re a huge Randy “Macho Man” Savage fan (like me) then I’m sure you will love every minute, and even if you’re not so much of a Randy Savage mark, I suspect you’ll still be highly entertained throughout. Without a doubt this is one that you should definitely be checking out when it’s released in a couple of weeks. Ooohhhh Yeahhhhh!
Check back soon as our own Joe Israel will be giving you a full review of “The Randy Savage Story” documentary, as well as the bonus matches included on the set.
Pre-order your copy of The Randy Savage Story on DVD/Blu-Ray now…