The Macho Man has been involved in many memorable feuds throughout his illustrious career. Opponents with names like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat and Diamond Dallas Page are just a few that lit the wrestling world on fire. A combination of Savage’s intensity on promos and the fast paced wrestling style he could deliver, helped make many of his matches sensational. With all the wrestlers Savage had competed against, there was one that Savage fought hard not to get in the ring with.
In 1986, the Macho Man was considered the future of the WWF, while George ‘the Animal’ Steele who was in his fifties and had been wrestling for over 30 years…was in the company’s rearview mirror. Despite the glaring differences in each wrestler’s career trajectories…Vince McMahon decided to pair the two up in a brief feud. According to Steele, the feud was only intended to be for a short term and had no real direction to it. It was intended to be a little stop gap between bigger programs for Randy Savage.
The thing was, the feud attracted fans to their TV sets and to seats at the arenas. Fans fell in love with the aspect that Steele was infatuated with Savage’s valet…Miss Elizabeth. It became a modern take on the tale of Beauty and the Beast with Steele playing the sympathetic Beast to Miss Elizabeth’s flattered but wary Beauty and Randy Savage playing the classic villain that wants to come between the two characters. The feud unexpectedly became a nationwide love affair, as many fans wanted to see Steele “get the girl” in the end.
While the feud became more popular than anyone expected it would, things backstage were very chaotic at best. Savage’s brother Lanny Poffo claimed that Savage wanted no part of a feud with George the Animal Steele. Savage felt that Steele was not only way past his prime, but also felt that he should be wrestling all of the top stars in the WWF and not wasting time with such a cartoonish storyline. As Lanny Poffo put it, George Steele was satisfied in putting together a good match, while Savage wanted to put together great matches.
Their differences in wrestling philosophies clashed a number of times behind the scenes. In one instance, Savage wrote up an entire layout of how their match should go…move for move. Steele, who was very old school and did not believe in choreographing matches, said he pretended to read the first page of what Savage had written down in detail and then purposely crumpled the rest of the papers up and threw it to the ground. With Savage livid, Steele told the Macho Man…the best and only way to work a match is to just go out there and wing it.
Steele claims that all of their matches were called while in the ring. He said that they did use a few of the same spots in different matches, but continued by saying some of the spots that worked in one city, might not get over in others, so their matches were constantly evolving. That was something that drove Savage angry, but wasn’t the only thing brought up his ire.
As we all know, Randy was an extremely jealous person when it came to his valet and real life wife Elizabeth. So much so, Steele said Savage would intentionally lock his wife up in their dressing room until their match was up. One night in Detroit, Steele said that Vince McMahon wanted him to grab Elizabeth’s ankle…which he did.. and that caused Savage to freak out in the locker room. Steele had to constantly remind Savage that he was really happily married and had a daughter Elizabeth’s age to calm Savage down.
Another incident happened at an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event where Savage put up his Intercontinental title and the services of Miss Elizabeth on the line against Steele. During the match, Miss Elizabeth sat on a tall Lifeguard chair watching the match unfold. After it was over, the Junkyard Dog began ribbing Savage that George Steele was looking up Elizabeth’s dress during the match. That led Savage into another jealous frenzy against Steele, while everybody else in the locker room were cracking up laughing.
According to Lanny Poffo, while Randy absolutely hated his program with Steele and was mostly miserable the entire time, Poffo credited Steele for maintaining his cool and poise the entire time. Otherwise, things could have gotten violent real quick. George Steele said that in the end, nobody got hurt physically and both made good money out of the feud, which is what it was meant to do the entire time.
6 thoughts on “I’m Nacho Man! The Feud Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage Wanted No Part Of”
Lol at what JYD said. Yeah, I’ve read a lot of stories about how paranoid Savage was about Elizabeth.
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Can’t say Steele was wrong. Sometimes the same match won’t work in the next city like it did in the previous one. But how sad is it that George the Animal Steel, who was considered old and past his prime in this angle, would be the last one alive between the 3 of them?
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Wow! Didn’t think of that. So true and sad
Great story and behind the scenes commentary.
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Was never a huge Savage fan but I recognize he is an all time great. I also don’t feel that he gets the credit (or blame) for todays product. Too many scripted matches and not enough spontaneity. This wasn’t the only feud that Savage tried to completely write out instead of calling it in the ring.
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Point is Savage worked his matches with Steele on the fly. Same with DiBiase, Andre, Bruno etc. And the matches were fantastic all the same because Randy was fantastic. Imagine if a Hollywood movie was called out on the fly. It would suck. It’s a great thing Savage planned out his big ppv matches. They were the best matches in that company for a full decade.