Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hall of Fame Oddsmakers 2012: "Macho Man" Randy Savage

Dig it, brother!
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Oddsmakers is a segment on the popular sports opinion show Pardon the Interruption. The co-hosts discuss a particular event and the probability of it happening. It sounded like a good enough topic to transplant onto TWB, so I got my good friend and With Leather managing editor Brandon Stroud to play along with me re: WWE Hall of Fame inductees. With the nominations coming out now, we'll take a look at several candidates over the coming weeks and let you know what we think of them getting in. This week's subject: "Macho Man" Randy Savage

B: Macho Man Randy Savage is the greatest pro wrestler of all time.

Okay, he isn't. If you're talking popularity and impact, Hulk Hogan is the best. If you're talking to someone in the know -- and by all means, you should -- Ric Flair is the best. But if you talk to the people inbetween, the people who grew up watching wrestling, gave it up, came back to it, find themselves drawn to the Attitude Eras and CM Punk confessional sitdowns, hell, people like me who have been watching from birth and will watch until death, Savage is the best. He's the one we can all agree on. Hogan couldn't work, they'll say. Flair had the same match with everyone and his last 15 years have been garbage. But Savage ... Savage is something else.

So of COURSE Savage will go into the WWE Hall Of Fame. He'll go into every Hall Of Fame. They'll probably put him in the football one.

One thing you learn about The Internet as it pertains to pro wrestling information and opinion exchange is that every single one of us is full of shit. Fans don't know what they're talking about, people who consider themselves critics have never watched what they don't already like, wrestlers get old and crazy and deluded. Nobody makes a goddamn bit of sense and everything is wrong. So when you hear that Savage is like Sammartino and will never get in, or that Vince could never forgive him for bailing in the 90s, or that he hooked an 8-year old Stephanie McMahon with candy or however that story goes, it's probably wrong.

Vince McMahon's brain works for only Vince McMahon, and in a world where he can forgive Sable and Bret and Hulk and everyone else it's crazy to think he'll NEVER wake up one morning and say "okay, Savage is in". If there's money to be made and no living Randy Savage to end a phonecall with, "no, brother", what's there to stop him? Grudges? Rumors?

Savage is 80s wrestling. Him, Hogan, Piper. He's 90s wrestling, too. He's pillow buddies and Botchamania clips set to the Moonwalker soundtrack and gallery paintings and CM Punk's shitty elbow drop. He's just... the guy. He's the Macho Man.

Odds: This year - 100-1. Eventually - 1-1.

TH: I want Randy Savage to be in the Hall of Fame. I really do. There wasn't anyone more integral to the WWF back in the day than Savage other than Hulk Hogan. The fact that he's not there now would grate on me if I got irritated by the tyrannical whims of Vince McMahon any more. I don't.

And that's why I'm oddly calm about the fact that I'm not sure Savage would get into the Hall.

The signs were there that Savage and McMahon were in the process of burying the hatchet on their decade-plus long feud that stemmed from Macho leaving the WWF despite being considered more a son to Vince than Shane was (or for banging Stephanie, if one believes the bullshit Internet rumors). They released a DVD set, and it wasn't a complete hit piece like the Warrior's was. He did advertising for WWE All-Stars. The acrimony was coming to an end.

Then he died. He was a shoo-in to make it to the Hall this year, right? That's what I thought, even if The Rock was rumored to go in in his hometown. Rock's a deferential guy, and a two-headliner class wasn't out of the realm of possibility. I still think he's going in, and this looks like a dual headliner... but that second marquee guy was already announced in Edge. And with the specter of Ric Flair coming back to claim his second ring as a part of the collective of the Four Horsemen, well, they wouldn't shoehorn Savage into that class.

So when would they? Excuse me for being paranoid, but the things I've heard about Vince McMahon kinda make me nervous as to how deep this grudge runs exactly. And then that paranoia actually steeps into my mind. Like, what if the Stephanie stuff was real? What if Savage did something none of us really ever knew about? What if McMahon actually holds Savage's death AGAINST him, like he thought Savage died on purpose to weasel out of opening his dialogue? Well, people might think I'm being silly, and I know full well that I am. But I'm also operating on the assumption that Vince McMahon is shoot crazy.

That being said, every logical bone in my body makes me want to agree with B and say that yes, Savage is a slam dunk. However, I can't really bring myself to think logically right now. This is wrestling, and if we're making a list of businesses that follow logic, wrestling is near the bottom with meteorology and American Idol judging. So excuse me for being a bit pessimistic here.

Odds: 25-1