As winter changes into spring people can anticipate a few changes one being the weather, two March Madness with college basketball, and three it is Wrestlemania season. Since 1985 the biggest event in Pro Wrestling, Wrestlemania, occurs and since its inception, it has grown in leaps and bounds to where it now has become on par with the Super Bowl in a media spectacle. While there have been many great matches in the over 3-decade history of this event Shawn Michaels has earned the moniker Mr. Wrestlemania. While Michaels has had great moments and is a phenomenal performer the title of Mr. Wrestlemania should go to “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Savage arrived on the Mania stage at Wrestlemania Two and was able to retain the Intercontinental Title against George “the Animal” Steele. While this match was not a five-star classic the next Wrestlemania Savage was apart of was the first match to steal the show. Over 93,000 jammed the Pontiac Silverdome to see Hulk Hogan v Andre the Giant yet people left the arena talking about the match Savage had with Ricky Steamboat as it will go down in the annals of wrestling history as one of the greatest matches of all time. Savage and Steamboat had a match that was ahead of its time as both men demonstrated speed, agility, and athleticism while throwing in drama by having several near falls. Even though Savage was not the victor he will be connected with Steamboat as the first match to steal the show at Wrestlemania.
The following year at Wrestlemania IV the best word to describe Savage’s performance was heroic as Savage competed in 4 matches and closed the night by achieving the highlight of his career by defeating “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase to become the World Wrestling Federation champion. Michaels has won the title at Mania yet Michaels was not the one who replaced Hogan in his prime as champion and with the strap, the business did not go down at the box office.
Showing another element of his character at Wrestlemania V Savage was deemed the enemy as Savage turned on Hulk Hogan and Hogan challenged Savage for the title. From a business standpoint, Hogan challenging Savage for the crown Wrestlemania V held a box office record in PPVs sold until the Attitude Era.
In three consecutive Wrestlemania’s Savage had one of the greatest matches ever, was crowned champion, and set box office records. Savage was not done providing Wrestlemania memories as in Wrestlemania VII the clash between the Ultimate Warrior vs Savage career match was a highlight in both men’s career. While the Ultimate Warrior is not known for having stellar matches Savage was able to provide a highlight in the Warriors career. In this match, Savage was once again ahead of his time as the Warrior received Savage’s finisher, the elbow drop from the top rope, multiple times yet that could not vanquish the Warrior. Savage finally was defeated after multiple running shoulder blocks. This match was the first time in Mania history both men used their finishers multiple times, an act that is commonplace now.
In the summer of 1991 Ric Flair finally arrived in WWF and while many believed that a dream match would occur between Flair and Hogan at Wrestlemania VIII it was Savage who tangled with Flair. Putting it in perspective instead of giving fans a dream match WWF went to Savage who once again put on a solid performance with Flair and reclaimed the WWF title.
While Michaels has had memorable matches with Bret Hart, Undertaker and Ric Flair at Wrestlemania, Savage set the standard on how to raise your game at Mania. Savage stole the show at Wrestlemania III and was given the chance to replace and then share the stage with the cash cow Hogan at Wrestlemania and even replaced Hogan at Wrestlemania VIII. The Ultimate Warrior even had a memorable match which of a feat very few could do. Since Savage was able to steal the show at Mania before it was fashionable Savage should be considered Mr. Wrestlemania.