103. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (c) vs The Ultimate Warrior (WWF Championship Match, WWE Summerslam 1992)

Finally, WWE PPVs (sorry, PLEs) are coming back to Britain! It’s been a long time coming, and tomorrow’s ‘Clash at the Castle’ is being treated as a big event by the WWE. Drew McIntyre was on ITV News, for the love of God! We all talk about Summerslam 1992, and The British Bulldog’s victory over Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship in the main event. However, the WWF Championship was also fought over earlier on the show. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage defended his World Title against The Ultimate Warrior. They had one of the best WrestleMania matches of all time the previous year. Could this match equal (or even better) that masterpiece?

If you’ve watched that WrestleMania VII match, you’ll be surprised to see Randy Savage in WWE over a year later. That match was a Retirement match, with The Ultimate Warrior securing a victory (and his career) in his greatest match ever. Yes, he wasn’t great in the ring, but Macho Man could drag a decent match out if anyone. And these two had cracking chemistry (well, in the one match I watched between them)!

In that match, Randy Savage played the heel (accompanied by the equally evil Sensational Sherri) against the babyface Warrior. But Savage turned babyface after losing, during an emotional reunijn with Miss Elizabeth. Of course, he returned to in-rimg action later in 1991, and defeated Ric Flair for the WWF title at WrestleMania VIII (in a cracking match that should have been in the main event. Instead, we had the dire Hulk Hogan vs Sid Vicious main event). Savage had defeated every challenger…but could he beat the man who retired him?

So, a rare babyface vs babyface clash for the WWF title, and the crowd is torn between the two larger than life characters (although slightly in favour of Warrior). And for half an hour, they put on a wrestling clinic. The babyface vs babyface dynamic works very well, with neither really leaning towards heel tactics (as happens in a lot of face vs face clashes). Warrior manhandles Savage throughout. But Savage manages to strategise, use his wrestling ability to overcome Warrior pure strength.

One major criticism of prime Warrior was that he lacked stamina; he expended all his energy during his entrance, and struggled to keep a fast oace in the ring. Savage had incredible stamina, so their ‘Mania match revolved around Savage bounding around the ring while Warrior overpowered him. Here, Savage shows relentless stamina, but Warrior keeps up with him. Yes, he had slimmed down by that point, so perhaps that one cause of his increased stamina. He’s just as energetic as Savage here.

So, it’s a shame that the interference of Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect bring things to a shiddering halt in the last few minutes of the match. They appear twenty minutes in, but actually add to the drama of the bout (the storyline hinted that Flair was going to side with either Savage or Warrior), but it does get messy towards the end.

But still a fantastic match that’s a notch below their ‘Mania VII one. That had the drama of the retirement stipulation and the post-match reunion between Savage and Miss Elizabeth that always brings a tear to my eye. Here, interference leads to a disapponting countout victory.  That’s the only criticism of this otherwise cracking match (but, of course, like everything else on the card, it is overshadowed by Bulldog vs Hart in the main event). Easily the second best Warrior match I’ve seen (the first obviously being his Mania VII bout against Savage!).

Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)

(Click here for more of ‘A Wrestling Match A Day‘)

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