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WrestleMania 31

WWMT: “Macho Man” HOF thoughts, Roman Empire continues to collapse, Daniel Bryan and more




On the whole Raw was another largely painful experience this week starting with an overly long Authority segment. Later this year it will be a full 18 years since Stone Cold Steve Austin stunned Vince McMahon in Madison Square Garden to sow the seeds for their company changing angle and all that time on the heel general manager or owner is by far and away the most played out scenario in all of wrestling. As I’ve written to the point of my own boredom in past columns, it is just another area of the product that WWE needs to look at and completely re-think.

Roman Reigns was once again brutalised with a promo laden with content that went beyond the realms of terrible. This is a guy who for a long period was being positioned as being the next face of the company and the one to come out of WrestleMania 31 with the World Championship, and may very well still. It is quite incredible how far his stock has fallen in recent weeks. To give him his due his delivery was actually much improved this week but should any tough, supposedly cool good guy be talking about Jack and the Beanstalk? Of course not, and it is further indication that these times may be looked back on as when Vince McMahon finally lost that edge of genius he’d held for so long and creatively the product was never poorer.

The Royal Rumble is a little over a week away now and apart from Daniel Bryan talking of his desire to win the match and advance to WrestleMania there hasn’t been a single other promo cut by anyone about the importance of the event or their will to win. The Rumble should be one of the easiest shows to promote, it is a fun spectacle for the casual fan, the stakes are high and along with a reasonably strong Championship match it’s an easy sell. The title match is intriguing but more so because of the external situation with Lesnar’s contract expiring and fantasy bookers wondering which road the company will take to WrestleMania rather than anything on the whole presented on television.

One person that did come out of this week’s Raw in a stronger position was the ever improving Seth Rollins. He really has grown into the role of the number one regular heel in the company and is set for another superb year this year. He, I’m sure, will get a run with the title at some point and possibly as early as at the Rumble itself.

The Macho Man Randy Savage Hall of fame induction is one that is tinged with a real sadness. Growing up, Savage was my first real hero in wrestling and though I started with the product a little later than his first World title run and match with Hogan it was those wrestling events I first owned and watched relentlessly. SummerSlam ’88 with the Mega Powers vs the Mega Bucks was the first WWF VHS I ever saw late in 1990 and I loved the Savage babyface character of the time, full of intensity and agility and with the beautiful Miss Elizabeth on his arm it was hard to argue that he wasn’t one of the coolest men on the planet.

My 11-year-old mind desperately hoped that he would turn back to a good guy and it wasn’t long before the career vs career match against the Ultimate Warrior happened and I got my wish. That moment of Randy Savage and Elizabeth re-uniting at WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles is still my favourite moment in WWF/E history and was one of true, real emotion with characters that the audience truly cared about and was truly invested in – it was the company at it’s absolute brilliant best.


I continued to follow Savage closely and was lucky enough to be in attendance at SummerSlam ’92 at Wembley Stadium for his last major pay per view as WWF Champion and then was frustrated afterwards as he moved predominantly to the commentary position rather than in ring action in the months that followed.

Watching WCW in the UK prior to Nitro starting on our version of TNT in 1996 was tricky but I caught of Savage what I could through his WCW tenure right up to the end.

I remember the day vividly when he passed, a tweet from CM Punk broke the news to me and I felt the pain many of us have felt in the last decade or so when another one of our larger than life heroes were taken from us far too soon.

There are few, if any, who deserve a place in WWE’s Hall of Fame more than Macho Man Randy Savage, a worldwide star and the number 2 face in the WWF boom of the 1980’s – I like many others just wish he was still around to enjoy the moment and bask in his accomplishments and adulation one more time.

Follow Stephen Gutteridge on Twitter for more of his thoughts

Near 30 year fan of Professional wrestling, I grew up watching World of Sport in the UK before getting into the WWF in 1990. Favourite performers of all time are Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage & Steve Austin. Highlights as a fan were being there live for Rock vs Austin at WrestleMania X-Seven, Hogan vs Rock at WrestleMania X8 & CM Punk vs the Rock at Royal Rumble '13.

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