WWE News WWE News: Why isn't Savage in the Hall of Fame?, Steele offers answer; Torch Cover Story on end of McMahon-Savage relationship
May 24, 2011 - 2:32:54 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
Former 1980s wrestling star George "The Animal" Steele says he believes Randy Savage is not in the WWE Hall of Fame because Vince McMahon has not gotten over Savage jumping to WCW in the 1990s.
Steele said in an interview on the Busted Open radio show (BustedOpen.net) that Savage and McMahon were "really tight," then Savage surprised McMahon by opting not to re-sign with WWF, but head to WCW in 1994.
"I think that what happened with Randy, when his career was winding down with the WWF, Vince McMahon just loved Randy. After all everything Randy had done and he took him under his wing, and he wanted Randy after the ring was over with for him, he wanted him to be our spokesperson. He was traveling with Vince all the time. Randy was almost like a son, they were really tight," Steele said.
"And then one day, we were at a TV meeting, and we got word that Randy, without calling Vince, had left and jumped to the WCW. I had never seen Vince McMahon broken before, he was crushed. It hurt him big time and I don’t think he ever got over that. I think that’s the real problem to be honest with you. I heard all this other stuff that I think is garbage when it comes to Randy and relationships with daughters and all that stuff...I don’t think that’s anywhere’s close to the truth."
The following is an excerpt from Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter #308 cover-dated November 19, 1994 with the headline story on Savage jumping to WCW and how it stunned McMahon at the time.
Headline: Randy Savage shocks WWF, joins WCW
The cliche "never say never" was proven true once again last week when Vince McMahon announced live on Monday Night Raw that Randy Savage had left the WWF. What McMahon didn't mention is that Savage was on his way to the rival WCW.
Savage, who had ripped Hulk Hogan publicly on Radio WWF just one year ago, had recently been wooed by Hogan, Hogan's manager Jimmy Hart, and WCW vice president Eric Bischoff to join WCW. Big money is believed to be Savage's primary motivation (his negotiations have been for one year in the $400,00 range), although Savage was said to have settled his differences with Hogan months earlier so his previous disputes with Hogan were not a deterring factor.
Savage had been one of McMahon's closer allies in the WWF, which is why so many people expressed shock and disbelief that Savage would jump to WCW now at the peak of the WWF's battle over image with WCW, especially without being up front with McMahon about his negotiations. McMahon found out by accident on Sunday that Savage was privately negotiating with WCW. As a result, they apparently agreed to end their relationship at that point. Less than 24 hours later McMahon made a legitimately heartfelt announcement on Raw perhaps taking some of the thunder out of Savage's eventual WCW debut.
Savage will not be rushed into WCW storylines. He will make a guest appearance at Starrcade according to current plans and debut in the ring at the Clash on Jan. 25 in Hampton, Ga. Savage will be brought in as a friend of Hogan's, but WCW's primary motivation for signing Savage was to rekindle one of the top drawing feuds of the '80s - Hogan vs. Savage. Savage's ex-wife, Elizabeth Heulette, whose no-compete clause with the WWF expires early in 1995, is negotiating to also enter the picture as part of a "love triangle," history-oriented angle.
When Savage, now 42, joined the WWF in 1985 he was one of the top regional wrestlers in the country having just concluded a hot feud with Jerry Lawler in Memphis. He was an immediate star in the WWF and moved on to big things.
After a classic Wrestlemania III match against Rick Steamboat one year earlier, Savage captured the WWF Title for the first of two times at Wrestlemania IV when he defeated Ted DiBiase in the tournament finals. (The WWF belt was held up when Andre the Giant pinned Hogan and sold the belt to DiBiase, who was then stripped of title status, months earlier.) Savage eventually went on to headline a successful series of house shows and fought Hulk Hogan in the main event of Wrestlemania V. He also defeated Ric Flair in a co-main event match at Wrestlemania VIII to capture the WWF Title in his final big pay-per-view match to date. After losing the title back to Flair later that year, he moved into semi-retirement, concentrating on announcing.
Savage's loss is not considered a heavy blow to the WWF in and of itself because Savage wasn't necessarily drawing much revenue on his own for Titan Sports. Symbolically, though, it's a severe blow since he was the last "superstar" representative of the WWF's glory days on NBC in the '80s. His eventual appearance in WCW will further move WCW toward being perceived as the top wrestling promotion in the country, despite revenue numbers not consistently backing that image...
- Torch VIP members can read the full cover story in the Torch back-issues section covering over 20 years of insider news coverage.
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