28th Oct2014

‘WWE: Macho Man – The Randy Savage Story’ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings

MM-R-SAVAGE-BD-2D

When I first began watching professional wrestling, some 22 years ago in 1992, the one wrestler who made me sit up and take notice was “Macho Man” Randy Savage. My first wrestling event I ever saw features Savage and Ric Flair wrestling for the WWF Championship in Indiana at WrestleMania 8. Randy Savage has been a favourite of mine ever since, a remarkable performer, he truly had the “it” that promoters in wrestling look for year after year. A top-class wrestler who, in many ways, was ahead of his time, Savage was also truly original on the microphone with his trademark growl-voice and catch-phrases like “Ooh Yeah”, “Dig it!” and “Snap into a Slim Jim!” The latter of which, as silly as it sounds, helped solidify Savage as a household name, someone that even non-fans of wrestling had heard of.

I was excited when I heard that WWE were releasing this set. The previous Randy Savage release from WWE was merely a selection of matches. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, because I could watch Savage wrestle for hours, but I wanted a documentary that looked at the life and career of the “Macho Man”, and here it is, with this title. Like similar bio releases from WWE, this one comes with a disc containing the documentary, and further discs containing a selection of matches and clips.

The documentary is, in many ways, a mixed bag. I’m conflicted, after watching it, about how I feel about the whole thing. Savage’s story is an interesting one, and one that hasn’t been told much, so it felt fresh and new, learning new things about Randy’s life and career, but there was way too much negativity on here, way too many “rumours” being spread by people, too many talking heads throwing insults around, and too much conjecture. I also thought that the way the set opened, with a graphic of a screeching tire, before we see the place in which Randy Poffo died, was in really, really bad taste. I don’t know who came up with that, but they should be fired. Ridiculous.

The documentary begins at the beginning as we learn about Randy Poffo’s childhood and his passion for baseball, and how a shoulder injury caused him to quit baseball and focus on professional wrestling, following in the footsteps of his father. Randy’s brother, Lanny “The Genius” Poffo, offers the most insight on the set, and is the easiest to listen to. Other talking heads include Jake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, Hulk Hogan, Diamond Dallas Page, Lex Luger and other workers who had known Randy, as well as his elderly mother. The content about Randy’s childhood and him breaking into the business was interesting, and it was great to see clips of him in the early days. Ricky Steamboat spoke fondly of Savage, and became tearful when talking about “that match” at WrestleMania 3 that the two had together, a match that remains one of the best of all time.

The positive aspects are enjoyable. The moments where people discuss how great a wrestler Randy was, how he worked like hell to become a big star, and how his character was one of a kind. Sadly, WWE allows the documentary to fall into way too much darkness, with people talking about Savage’s strained relationship with fellow workers like Hogan, and his apparent jealous and borderline abusive relationship with (Miss) Elizabeth. With Randy, nor Elizabeth, there to retort or explain anything, the comments made by people like DiBiase, Hogan, Jimmy Hart, Pat Patterson and others was despicable and distasteful. They spoke at length about how Savage would “lock Elizabeth in the locker room” and how he was “paranoid”. Regardless of how much of this was truth, and how much of it was exaggerated opinion, doesn’t matter, this should not have been a part of the story of Randy Savage, and if it was, it should have been skimmed over. They spent way too much time with this stuff.

Another enjoyable aspect of the release was clips from a 1993 interview with Randy himself that never saw air, and it was brilliant to hear Randy himself speak about his career and his past. The ending portion of the documentary is hard to watch, with Randy’s mother and Lanny, as well as friends of his, speaking about his death. We see the place that he died, and it is heart-breaking to hear about how he was in such a good place when it happened. Hogan’s revealing comment about how “if Randy had his heart checked when he ran into him in the doctor’s office, he would still be alive” felt forced and crude, but then again… it’s Hulk Hogan, someone who loves to be the centre of attention in every situation.

It’s a tough watch, and while there is plenty to enjoy about the documentary, with guys like DDP, Lanny Poffo and others offering insightful observations and memories of Randy as a person, and his excellent work in the world of pro-wrestling, there is still too much septic and tasteless rambling on here. I found myself cringing and shaking my head at some of the things being said, and no one being able to dispute them. Still, it’s nice to see Randy Poffo being given a documentary about his career, finally, and a selection of some remarkable clips and matches to boot. Maybe, just maybe, he will finally be given his due respect and inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame soon.

The matches on the set include Randy Savage wrestling the likes of Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, DDP and The Ultimate Warrior, among others, and the Blu-ray release features a few more matches, and some deleted scenes from the documentary itself.

So, overall I would recommend this to fans of wrestling, and Savage fans, but be prepared to question why WWE insisted on being so negative so often during the course of the documentary portion. There are always bad things to say about people, especially people in wrestling, but there needs to be a time and place for it, and this wasn’t it. This should have been a respectful look at his life, and it felt exploitative and distasteful at times. Still, the good does outweigh the bad, and the matches on the other disc(s) are top quality too. Should you buy it? I guess I’ll answer it in the most fitting way I can think of… OOOH YEAH!!

WWE: Macho Man – The Randy Savage Story is released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 17th, courtesy of Fremantle Media.

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