We are 9 days away from WrestleMania 33 and I am fully smark-ing out about attending this year. This will be my second WrestleMania (my 1st being WrestleMania 29 at MetLife) and the thought of traveling to Orlando has my excitement level sky high.
With that in mind, it's always fun to reflect on past Mania's and remember those who blazed the trail for today's superstars, so they can have their own "WrestleMania" moment.
Today marks the anniversary of one of those moments.
WrestleMania VII, March 24th, 1991. Warrior. Savage.
CAREER V. CAREER.
The Ultimate Face versus the Savage Heel. The buildup to this match was incredible.
The Ultimate Warrior was the current WWF Champion. The "Macho King" Randy Savage laid down the gauntlet to the champ, demanding a title match at the Royal Rumble 1990. Savage went so far as to send out his main squeeze, Queen (Sensational) Sherri to beg and plead with the Warrior, and grant her man the shot he deserved. His face trembled as Sherri was on her knees, desperately seeking the answer they wanted. Warrior looked down at her and unleashed a thunderous "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" to the dismay of Queen Sherri.This was all just a ploy, so the Macho King could attack Warrior. The mind games culminated at the Rumble, with Savage eventually costing the Warrior his most prized possession. The title was lost to Sgt. Slaughter that night.
The stage was set. The first ever Career v. Career match would take place at WrestleMania VII.
Who would walk away with their legacy in tact ?
This match was intriguing and in my opinion, legendary, for many reasons.
The Ultimate Warrior has always been known for his intensity, both inside and outside the squared circle. The Macho King made his entrance into the arena in grand fashion as always. Carried to the ring, sitting on his throne, with the Queen by his side.
What followed was a sight rarely seen by wrestling fans. The Ultimate Warrior...WALKING TO THE RING.
NOT RUNNING, BUT WALKING.
I always remember Bobby "The Brain" Heenan on commentary, almost in disbelief in what he was witnessing. "Why isn't he running ?????". It was extremely unnerving to see the Warrior move with such a steady pace. All those fears were alleviated the second he stepped foot on that apron. With the ring ropes being awoken by the hands of the Ultimate Warrior, he was ready to go to battle.
With the event taking place in Los Angeles, the star power was out that night in full force. Regis Philbin & Alex Trebek were given the task as backstage announcers. In attendance, we saw the likes of Macaulay Culkin, THE Chuck Norris, Lou Ferrigno & even Mr. Donald Trump, sitting comfortably front and center. But one face that caught the attention of everyone in attendance was the one and only, Miss Elizabeth. The former valet of the Macho King was the last person you would have imagined looking on to witness this, especially with Sherri by his side. Throughout the night, the cameras panned to her constantly, showing looks of concern for her former partner. This played up well and culminated at the end of the match, as the two reconciled (not a dry eye in the house) in an amazing moment.
Back to the action in the ring.
One of the turning points in the match is what also makes it so memorable.
A finishing move, in wrestling jargon, is a hold or maneuver used by an athlete to "finish" off his opponent and solidify the victory. The Macho King's signature finisher was the patented elbow drop from the top rope. This move helped him win numerous championships and claim victory over many adversaries. When you think of Randy Savage, you picture him with his hands held high above his head, ready to deliver the final blow.
One would be enough to secure a victory over any competitor. But this wasn't just any competitor.
In what will live in wrestling lore forever, The Ultimate Warrior took 5 MACHO MAN ELBOW DROPS...
Not 1, or 2, or 3 or even FOUR....5 ! The sheer impact of that could ruin a man for YEARS.
The Ultimate Warrior withstood the painstaking blows. If that couldn't beat him, nothing would. He fought back against Savage, hitting him with his finisher, the Gorilla Press Slam. He hit the ropes, dropped a big body splash on Savage. The referee hits the mat and raises his hand to count- One, Two, Th.....
SAVAGE KICKED OUT.
For both competitors to kick out of each other's finishing moves was unheard of back then. What happened next was truly poetic. With his hands in front of his face, the Warrior looked up to the heavens. He couldn't grasp what had just occurred. While on commentary, Gorilla Monsoon helped describe the thought process the Warrior was having. Asking the Gods up above.."Is this my destiny ??". He walked out of the ring, as if he had nothing left to offer to that match. Both Savage and Sherri attacked Warrior outside. He fought back. Landing three crushing shoulder block clotheslines that saw the Macho King hit the outside floor. Victory was in sight.
The Ultimate Warrior rolled Savage back into the center of the ring. He placed his boot on Savage's chest.
Your winner.......THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR.
I've always wanted to write about this match. It holds a certain significance to me as a wrestling fan. Nowadays, we get so lost in what is essentially "scripted". While professional wrestling is still as passionate as ever, you believed in it more back in those days. The thought of one of these men having to retire. You actually felt compassion for the Macho King. What is he going to do next ? Where will he go from here ?
Both of these men continued to entertain crowds throughout their careers.
It's sad that we lost both of these competitors. But it's nice to imagine both of them up in heaven, reminiscing about their glory days.
Thank you for giving us this WrestleMania moment.