He’s one of the most influential wrestlers in the history of the genre, and yet “Macho Man” Randy Savage, somehow, until now, was blackballed from one of the industry’s greatest honors. That will change this March, when Savage is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The company announced his induction on Monday night during Monday Night Raw; Savage is the first inductee into this year’s Hall of Fame class, which will be enshrined during a ceremony at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., one night before Wrestlemania 31 in San Francisco.
When it comes to the McMahon-Savage saga, there is plenty to re-hash. WWE chairman Vince McMahon reportedly has had issues with Savage since the early ’90s, when he transitioned his former champion into the role of color commentator on television. There are also the longstanding, unsubstantiated rumors, circulating online, that Savage may have had a not-so-legal romantic relationship with a member of the McMahon family. Regardless of the reasons for his exclusion, it’s in the past. Savage’s induction is just another sign that perhaps McMahon himself knows he’s well into his twilight years. Let’s face it, the czar of professional wrestling is nearing his 70th birthday, which comes this August 24.
The induction of the Ultimate Warrior last year, Bruno Sammartino the year before that, and now Savage’s induction into the Hall of Fame seems like a pattern of McMahon righting past wrongs before it’s too late, even if some of those wrongs were coming more from the other side, as was the case oftentimes with Warrior. I believe it’s fair to say that the induction of Warrior last year had a profound effect on McMahon, especially considering his untimely death just three days later. It’s impossible for that story not to shake someone to their core.
McMahon isn’t one to show weakness publicly, but he hasn’t been shy about showing vulnerabilities in recent years, including sitting down with Steve Austin for his podcast just last month. We’re witnessing the transformation of a man who was so guarded about his image, former employees have said he hated sneezing, because it’s an involuntary action.
The father – or grandfather, depending on your generation – of pro wrestling is starting to realize his own mortality. He’s humanized himself to a good portion of his audience. We’re starting to get a real glimpse of who Vince McMahon is. In some ways, when it comes to business, he’s an overpowering dictator, much like the character he portrays on television. But, and he’ll never admit this, in his old age, he’s becoming a soft and somewhat sentimental.
1) I like the use of job talent against the Ascension as they debut. It’s similar to what they did with Ryback a few years ago, and I believe Rusev at this this year, and it’s been greatly effective. It’s getting the new team over as monsters, and they are establishing their moveset and finishers without having to jeopardize the value of another established team. The tag division is limited, so right now if the job talent wasn’t being utilized, it would likely be a team like New Day taking the falls for the Ascension. That doesn’t help their debut.
Also, with only so many teams, there would be a lot of rehashing old matches. This way, the new team gets to beat up on a different team each week, establishing themselves before a big push against another roster-level team like the Usos. They should utilize this formula more. It helps the audience get to know the personalities and invest in them.
2) WWE is going out of its way to make sure Seth Rollins is portrayed as a star heading into the Royal Rumble main event against Brock Lesnar and John Cena for the WWE Championship. Rollins still has some work to do on the microphone – his speech seems forced and read, which has more to do with WWE over-scripting promos than it does Rollins’ ability – but is matches have been amazing since he began this run as a singles wrestler.
3) Something is in the works with Dean Ambrose. He lost clean to Bray Wyatt in a gimmicked ambulance match last week, and this week he lost via a referee stoppage to Rusev. If it weren’t for the comical backstage vignettes with the therapist, I’d guess that Ambrose is on his way to a heel turn in the near future.
1) Seth Rollins def. John Cena in a Lumberjack Match
2) A New Day def. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd
3) Roman Reigns def. Luke Harper
4) Alicia Fox def. Naomi
5) Miz & Sandow def. The Usos
6) Brie Bella def. Paige
7) The Ascension def. Local Jobbers
8) Rusev def. Dean Ambrose
There wasn’t much substance to this show, outside of the developments in the main-event title picture, but it began to set more of the table for the Royal Rumble. That said, they have some significant work to do on the re-debut of Smackdown this week on Thursday night, as well as next Monday’s Raw in order to really get people excited.