There is, of course, a ton of stuff to talk about this week, so let’s get right into it:
Well, there really isn’t a bigger piece of news in wrestling than the death of Randy Poffo, known to all of us as Randy Macho Man Savage.

I did a major run down of Savage’s career Friday after the death took place, ad I don’t think I need to go back over it all.

The latest hard news in the tragedy is that an autopsy on Savage was completed Saturday and the cause of death, at this point, remains “pending.” Now, before you freak out and start reading your own interpretation into coroner’s reports, ALL autopsy’s are considered pending until blood tests come back and interpreted by a medical examiner. However, the coroner’s report said it doesn’t appear that Savage died from any traumatic injuries caused by the car accident. This falls in line with the statements made that Savage had a heart attack just prior to the accident in Florida. However, an actual cause will not be determined for four to six weeks when toxicology reports are completed.

Those of you looking for funeral information won’t be able to find it. According to Randy’s brother Lanny, Savage’s funeral will be a private affair for family only. Then, if you believe TMZ, his ashes will be scattered on his Florida estate – allegedly in the same place his dog’s ashes were scattered. Not sure if I believe that, but Savage always was a bit eccentric, so you never know.

For those of you plugged into Twitter, holy crap, there was a ton of #ripmachoman on Friday after the news broke. And, none of them were more emotional that Hulk Hogan himself.

Hogan said in multiple Twitter’s that he and Randy had a falling out that resulted in them going a decade without speaking. But, recently, they started communicating again with hopes they could renew their friendship. Hogan said he loved him and, truly, sounded broken down by the news. Considering the past these two had together, to hear Hogan that emotional actually made me feel a little worse that Randy was gone.

Look, I really am not a fan of Hogan and his ego. He was relevant, what, 20 years ago, yet somehow manages to hang on and screw with the back stage area of companies when, in reality, he should take his millions and go retire.

But, you know, as much as I don’t like him, you have to give the big guy a hug on this one and wish him condolences. The greatest feud in the history of Hulk Hogan was courtesy of Randy Savage…and, in turn, probably the greatest feud in the history of Savage came courtesy of Hogan. And, knowing these two had a 10 year falling out is just a shame.

There are very few in wrestling that I would term as larger than life. Savage is one of those few.
Here was a guy who was a total package: his work in the ring was epic, his emotions were worn on his sleeve both in and out of the ring, and the guy was truly a legend on the stick. He had a knack of not just telling an amazing story, but do it with a flair that made you believe what he was saying. I’m positive the man was off his rocker in more ways than one, but the true credit of his character in the ring is in that I actually BELIEVE he was off his rocker. He probably wasn’t, he probably was the most sane man in the world, yet because of the “Macho Man” persona he developed, he made me believe that he was as savage as his namesake.

When I sat back and tried to think of the greatest matches I have ever seen with Savage, my mind was completely a flutter and I couldn’t narrow it down. I think the match he had with Ricky Steamboat at WM 3 is the best match ever in any wrestling ring anywhere. Little known back story about that, in a time when wrestlers worked from the cuff and developed matches in the ring, Steamboat and Savage choreographed and practiced that entire match from start to finish for hours upon hours upon hours prior to WM. They knew what each other were going to do before they did it, which allowed them to bring it is much as they did.

That, right there, is what made Savage and Steamboat who they are. Both were sticklers for details when in that ring, and made sure every move was crisp and tight. You see that in the greatest wrestlers of all time…matches told stories inside that ring, and Savage and Steamboat were two of the best at it.

But, to me, probably the pinnacle of my viewing was when he turned face, linked himself to Hogan, became the Mega Powers, and won the title at WM 4. It was an epic night for Savage, wrestling four matches before finally pinning Ted DiBiase in the ring to capture the WWE championship. Hogan was pulled into the match by Miss Elizabeth, and the three of them went on to a storyline that captured the hearts of America.

But, it was Chris Jericho that said in Twitterland, the true essence of Savage was his ability to have a good match with anyone on the roster. Evidence of that was him CARRYING the Ultimate Warrior to an incredible match at WM in 1991. IN the match, Savage dropped five elbows on Warrior, and still let the “next face of the WWF” to kick out to put him over. In today’s wrestling world, kicking out of one finisher is deemed an ego destroyer and guys resist it like you wouldn’t believe For example, you’ll never see anyone kick out of an RKO more than once because it allegedly cheapens the move. But here was a guy who let the next big thing kick out of his finisher five fucking times in order to put him over.

Two other quick memories I keep shoved in the macho man locker in my head – the disgust I still get from seeing Dameon (the snake owned by Jake Roberts) latched on to Savage’s bicep during a match in the early 90s, and Savage turning face during a match with the Honky Tonk Man in the late 80s, where he saved Elizabeth from a massive guitar shot. Both of those memories will be cherished in my brain for a lifetime. (And, before you say anything, I refuse to mention the Slim Jim spots because he was playing a caricature of himself…that wasn’t the wrestler I remember.)

Savage was a legend, a legend that will never, ever be forgotten. With his wild eyes and disheveled hair, he truly looked like a savage when entering that ring. But, inside that squared circle, he played his character possibly better than anyone else in the world. He could do it all – he was a ring general, could tell an amazing story, and just will wrestlers in the ring to perform at higher levels than they ever have. He was a creator of matches that will never be duplicated – a true legend and pioneer in sports entertainment. And, he was just fucking incredible.

RIP Randy Poffo. Thanks for doing what you did, and doing it so damn well.
— As we all know by now, Over the Limit went off Sunday night, and it pretty much lived up to the expectations. Cena beat Miz, Orton beat Christian and Lawler beat Cole. All of it was expected walking in, and there really isn’t anything spectacular about it. In fact, in reviewing it all, it didn’t sound any better than any Raw at any time. No titles changed hands, and the only title holder that lost was Wade Garrett, but he retained due to a technicality. From the sound of things, there were only two things that really stood out to me. 1) Bret Hart walked out during the Lawler match to ensure Cole would kiss Lawler’s foot. Then, 2) CM Punk did an awesome tribute to Randy Savage by dropping the big elbow of doom. With that being said, it makes sense that Punk is a huge Savage mark…if there is anyone in wrestling that mirrors Savage’s work rate, it would be Punk in my own opinion.

I suppose I could mention that Cena/Miz tried to do the same thing Rock/Foley did many years earlier. During the I quit match, Cena screaming “I quit” played through the arena. The ref called for the bell for a second, before something happened and it was determined Cena saying I quit was a recording from Raw earlier that week. What made that whole thing important was that on Twitter three days before the match took place, Mick Foley announced WWE Creative was going to do the same thing that Rock and Foley did 13 or 14 years earlier. However, while Mick was technically right, the referee seemed to grow a brain this time around and forced the match to continue.

But, other than that stuff, it really wasn’t worth the money spent so I hope you saved your coins for something else.
—I was going to talk about SD, but it really wasn’t worth it either. First, because it was a set up for the PPV, and, at the same time, if you saw SD from two weeks ago, you already saw last week’s SD. While there may not be any intentional reruns in wrestling, it was apparent from the very beginning that this was as close to a rerun as you can possibly get.

For example, Randy Orton saved Christian from a 2-on-1 beat down at the hands of Shaemus and Mark Henry. In turn, Christian did the same thing at the end of the show. The Corre furthered their feud with Ezekiel Jackson and the Big Show/Kane, while Brie Bella picked up a win over – um – Natalya, I think. Whatever – it was definitely pretty boring. The only bright spot for me was Chavo announced he would pin Daniel Bryant in 5 minutes, because Sin Cara took 10 minutes to do the same the week before. In the end, though, Chavo didn’t beat the time and lost the match. Then, as Chavo tried to beat down Bryan after the bell, Sin Cara came out to make the save, setting up their match at the PPV. That was good stuff, mainly because Chavo really is one of the most underutilized people on the roster.

But, in the end, it was pretty unspectacular in its own right.
— To be blunt, Raw ALSO sucked this week. At least, on my scale, it sucked. Maybe someone somewhere decided it was a decent show…but I think that person would need their head examined.

Why, you may ask? Because the damn thing just didn’t FEEL right. The whole thing started with Bret Hart being called to the ring by Lawler, who said thanks for the assist at Over the Limit, but that brought out R-Truth, who made fun of Bret, which brought out John Cena, which brought out the anonymous Raw General Manager via computer. They clearly are pushing R-Truth vs. Cena at the next PPV, and I’m all for it, but less mic time for Truth is definitely in order. My God, he really seems lost up there, except when he tells the crowd to shut up. That confrontation led to a main event match between Cena and Rey Mysterio vs. Truth and Punk, with Bret Hart as the guest referee…where Punk ALMOST caused the show to become brilliant. First, in honor of the death of Macho Man, he dressed up like him. Secondly, Punk harassed the shit out of the Excellence of Execution from the second he got in the ring. The match broke down at the end where Punk, to clearly piss off Bret, started to use Hart’s patented “five moves of doom.” This prompted Hart to slap a sharpshooter on Punk while Mysterio landed on Punks head with a flying, top rope leg drop for the pin.

Needless to say, the more I follow Punk more closely, the more I think he is pure gold.
But, the rest of the show was a display of crap. Someone, somewhere decided it’d be wise to put the tag belts on the two weakest members of Nexus for no apparent reason, then Alberto Del Rio’s assistant/ring announcer allegedly ran over Big Show with a car…ugh, in the big book of what wrestling writers should never be allowed to do, it should clearly state on multiple pages “Number One, Don’t ever run a guy over with a car. It lacks all forms of creativity.”

Then, on top of that stupidity, one of the things I have been semi-excited about took a big, squishy fart in the middle of the ring. Less than 30 seconds into an 8-women tag team match, Kharma came out and acted like she was going to take on eight Diva’s at once. I was like “If they do this – AWESOME.” However, after taking off her shoulder pads of evil, the behemoth who REALLY could beat the crap out of eight Divas climbs into the ring, is surrounded, then sits the fuck down and cries. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!!! SHE SAT THE FUCK DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING AND FUCKING CRIED!!!

What in the blue fucking hell was the FUCKING point of that?
Someone said to me that it was their way of creating depth for her character. And, in response, I can clearly state that this creates absolutely no depth. Having her cry while surrounded by eight divas who are all looking on with expressions of “What the fuck…” is soo damned ridiculous and, truly, does more harm to her character than good.

Now, if they wanted to create depth for Kong, it would have gone farther if she wasted every Diva in the ring – or even lays out everyone except for Kelly Kelly – then she sits down in the corner and cries. That’s depth. That would be a woman who is conflicted between causing pain to others, then regretting the pain she gives. But her walking out and crying without even trying to beat anyone? Yea…no depth at all.

What’s worse? My bottom line fear is that somewhere someone said “Holy shit, the crowds are chanting her name” and, by having her come out and cry in the ring, she shows she is sorry for what she has done over the past several months and, in turn, becomes a face. Ugh…if they do that, it will win the WrestleCrap award of the year and will solidify my belief that WWE Creative could fuck up a one car funeral.

But, the other thing I did like Monday was the Miz/Alex Riley segment. It was a slow build of about two months that saw Riley tear the Miz’s head off, and that’s what forced me to like it. For months there have been teases that eventually Miz would go too far with his punch monkey, and seeing the frustration from Riley taken out on the Miz was epic. However, there is ONE “tiiiinnnneeeeee – tiiiiinnnnneeeeeyyyy” little issue in ALL of this that seems to have been lost. Does anyone remember when Riley was drafted to Smackdown? Because, I sure as hell do. Hopefully, the writers wont remember it (or will work around it) for another month or two so Riley/Miz can take place at Capital Punishment.

—Well, I fulfilled my promise and watched iMPACT on Thursday, and honestly, I have a mixed feeling on it. Some of the stuff I saw on television could be absolutely outstanding – Tommy Dreamer vs. AJ Styles has that potential – but there are just some stuff that is absolutely horrendous.

And, I think it all comes down to two simple solutions that always – ALWAYS – gets forgotten when slapping together a sloppy wrestling show: know your target audience and, in turn, keep it simple.

Right now, IMPACT seems (SEEMS) to be focused on appealing to the 18 to 35 year old smark fans, the fans often forgotten by the WWE. First, it’s on Spike, the wrestlers swear in the ring, and blood letting is allowed. The chicks are hot, and I even saw a lesbian kiss. These are all things that you will not find on WWE anymore as the days of Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie macking are over.

However, with that being said, it seems the writers of iMPACT don’t truly understand what 18 to 35 years olds like and don’t like. Examples of this are pockmarked throughout the show, but three prime examples are:

1) Convoluted storytelling: You can’t have bunch of different factions (stables) of six, seven or 15 people on one team and expect any of it to make sense. Worse, two of the people directly involved in the angle of the Immortals – Hogan and Bischoff – were part of the demise of WCW while the NWO became all convoluted and large. Yet, here they are, doing the same damn thing.

Look, the rule to a stable is that it can never be more than 5 people, and if it is five people, then one has to be a chick/manager. There’s a real simple reason why…because all of them have to follow the same path, have the same goal. The goal is always the “ultimate destruction” of all factions of the wrestling world – the four are to try and achieve all the top titles (world, secondary, tag) and remain larger than life. But, when you create a stable of about 15 wrestlers, there are too many subplots in there for people to pay attention too. It becomes too convoluted, and it starts to spawn off more confusion. In that regard, the NWO vs. the Four Horsemen is a perfect example.

The four horsemen was widely considered the greatest stable of all time BECAUSE they were THE FOUR HORSEMEN. Four of… only four. Sure, they had a couple of managers running around, but they never spoke…were just eye candy, and therefore, barely ever had a storyline to interfere with the wrestlers.

The NWO was incredible when it first started. Hogan, Hall, and Nash ran roughshod, did what they wanted, and made good TV. It took over the wrestling world…an invasion angle that did it right. BUT, it got ridiculous when they added more and more and more wrestlers as days went on. Pretty soon, there are SO MANY GOD DAMNED storylines going on that you have a real hard time keeping up with it.

At TNA, with Bischoff in the ring and surrounded by – what – 8 or 10 people, it became way too convoluted. Flair’s storyline, Hardy’s storyline, Bischoff’s storyline, Bubba’s storyline…everyone has a storyline. Hell, Hogan wasn’t even there, and Bischoff talked about HIS storyline. Jesus…it was 15 minutes of nonsensical stuff. And, SO reminded me of the bad days of the NWO. But, worse, there were two OTHER factions involved in concurrent storylines that resulted in too much TV time being dedicated to talking for a company that is pushing “wrestling matters” as it’s slogan.

2) Timing: This makes me crazy, mainly because it’s so damn avoidable that there’s is no reason why it should ever happen.

Angle and Jarrett do their thing in the ring. Karen Angle gets pushed down the ramp. Jarrett protects her. The show where “Wrestling Matters” cuts to commercial. They come back, and a super secret camera shows Jarrett on the cell phone, talking, he hangs up, then tell Karen Angle that he talked with Bischoff and got Velvet Sky a handicapped match. (Karen Angle over acted her way through the whole thing too, which is also annoying. Primary rule of improv, learn to work with the people around you. Don’t talk over them or push them aside…work as a team for a better performance from everyone.)

But, after Jarrett hangs up the phone and they cut away to ringside….Bischoff is walking to the ring in his stupid karate outfit.

Now, am I supposed to believe that Jarrett was talking with Bischoff while Bischoff was waiting in the gorilla position to come out, or did Eric stick his $200 cell phone in his pocket-less karate ghee? Simple answer of course – from the writers of the show – is that he handed the phone off to someone backstage? Okay, I can deal with that, a little, but, what I cant get behind is they expect me to accept the conversation would have taken place in the first place. I mean, here’s Eric Bischoff, all pumped to wrestle, he’s wearing his little outfit and he’s ready to fulfill his dream of wiping out the X Division. When, suddenly, the phone rings. He looks at the caller id, and sees Jarrett’s name…it doesn’t take a damn genius to figure out that Jarrett is bitching about what happened…now, I ask you, would you answer the fucking phone?

I wouldn’t. Hell, I would leave my phone in the office where I got changed.
Shit like this happened throughout the episode. For example, a pair of legs wearing Sting’s old wrestling tights were shown walking through the arena…for two fucking hours. Jesus Christ…all I kept thinking throughout was A) That’s not Sting, and B) how big is the fucking arena that this not-Sting has to walk two hours to get to the fucking ring? Can’t someone get the fucking guy a golf cart? It SERIOUSLY reminded me of the time in the movie Spinal Tap where the band got lost in the arena. I mean, I understand the point of what they are trying to do and the payoff that goes along with it, but my God, man, two hours of not-Sting walking? Jesus.

3) Disbelief: While I am not in the demographic that iMPACT has targeted, I like to think I still have my hand on the pulse of that generation. And, I like to believe that generation is not as stupid as the wrestling writers like to think they are…but, with that being said, when you create a storyline about a chick being hypnotized, it is not going to suspend my disbelief long enough to make me think its real. Look, Velvet Sky and Angelina Love are gorgeous, Winter may not be as gorgeous as those two, but she is pretty attractive in her own right. There are a thousand other ways to run this storyline WITHOUT making me believe that Winter hypnotized Love. It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t suspend my belief in what wrestling is, and I don’t know who created this idea, but they need to just stop it. Seriously, it does NOTHING to make me want to watch iMPACT, it flies in the face of your new “slogan” and it’s just plain stupid. The only thing it is – to me – is a way to make two hot chicks kiss on television. And, honestly, if I really want to see that – and so much more – I can check out Red Tube on the internet. (Of course, I expect Rob to refute my opinion on this because, the bastard has this need to like check out Maxim models instead of porn. Right Rob?)

Like I said above, there were some good points to the show. The wrestling is off the hook in TNA, Tommy Dreamer vs AJ is hot (it’ll be hotter if you just keep Bubba away from it) and Sting/Mr. Anderson has real potential. But, for everything that’s good, there is bad – and mostly its in the writing department.

— There were very few newsbites in the world of wrestling in the wake of Savage’s death:
One of the funniest – or saddest depending on your point of view – is that Taryn Terrell – who played Tiffany for the WWE – announced she has separated from husband Drew McIntyre of the WWE. She announced it via Twitter, of course, because if she didn’t announce it there, no one would know. This ends a weirdly tumultuous relationship between the two, that at one time, resulted in Terrell‘s 2010 arrested in Los Angeles for domestic assault after she beat the crap out of McIntyre. Despite the chares being dropped, Terrell was suspended by WWE due to the altercation and eventually released.

— Last week, I openly prayed for the return of Y2J to save us from crap on Smackdown. I was later informed by a reader that it won’t be happening any time soon. Fozzy fronted by twinkletoes Jericho himself, will be touring Europe from mid-June through mid-July. That puts Summerslam out of the equation…BOO!!!

— At the same time, it sounds like the pursuit of the Animal has heated up again. Sounds like the two sides have been sitting down and trying to work out some sort of deal. Not sure if the rumor is true or not, though, as I stated last week, it would be REALLY helpful to have another big named star on SD to counteract all the suck that is taking lace there. Lets be honest – right now, there isn’t a single legitimate contender to Orton on the whole damn show. Raw, is loaded with legitimate candidates for Cena to scuffle with for a year until he and Rock meet for that title…but Orton has absolutely no one to play with. (But, I feel, that’s more of a fuck up by WWE Creative because they didn’t put anyone over enough on that show to contend for the title. Stupid ass bags.)

—Not sure if anyone cares – or if there is even a belief this could be true RIGHT NOW – but it sounds like the WWE and TNA MIGHT have some competition coming. Ring of Honor Wrestling owner, Cary Silkin, announced he has sold his promotion to Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., one of the largest television broadcasters in the country. While Sinclair is not on the scale of a TBS or even a WGN superstation, it does have a presence in 35 large markets and a 22 percent share of US households.ROH is currently the third largest wrestling promotion in the country, and they are looking to become more of a national presence through TV contracts.

The new ROH is slated to debut in September,

—Foley was the latest to do a 15 minute interview on the radio regarding Impact Wrestling. He said he is “hopeful” there will be actual wrestling on Impact in light of the recent name change, and not only hopeful the number of matches will increase, but quality matches will start appearing on free TV rather than PPV’s as a way to get ratings up. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that – yes – it would be nice.

He also said he has been helping out in “certain aspects” of the show. He didn’t flat out label himself as a member of the creative team, but he did say “in my 26th year, I have some pretty good ideas and should be a valuable source in any conversation.” He added, his recent work is the most involved he’s been from a creative standpoint in TNA.

He added, he’d like to show off the X-Division more in the coming months to showcase some wrestling on the wrestling show, He also didn’t rule out a return match or two in the future, but said he has “no intention of getting back into the ring anytime soon.” And, he wouldn’t rule out Hulk Hogan having another match in the future.

—And, finally, Brock Lesnar’s new book, Death Clutch, was released on Amazon yesterday. The novel depicts his rise through college, to his “meteoric rise” through the WWE, into his time in UFC. Normally, I’d give this a shoulder shrug, except for one thing: the book was penned by Paul Heyman. Heyman, in my own opinion, is a f’n genius who has the ability to turn anything to gold. I truly, TRULY, long for the days that he was a member of creative in WWE, was in charge of developmental talent in OPW, or somewhere near wrestling.

I’ve managed to read a couple of snippets of the book and, from what I’ve seen, it’s a pretty good read. Now, of course, I haven’t read the whole book, so it might just be a collective suck and you’ll bitch at me for telling you to buy it…so I won’t. Instead, I’ll say, it has the potential to be good and pick one up if you have the extra funds around to waste on something that could possibly be shitty.

If you’re so inclined, you can snag the book from Amazon here:

That’s it for me today, kiddies. I’ll be back next week with, hopefully, a column that doesn’t start off on a huge somber note. Anyone with feedback, send it to me…or if you have a news tip you’d like to share, feel free to send it my way.

The SCJ.
scj at guysnation dot com