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RANDY SAVAGE A&E BIOGRAPHY NEWS AND NOTES

By Mike Johnson on 2021-05-03 10:50:00

We have received a lot of reader questions stemming from last night's A&E Biography on WWE Hall of Famer Randy Savage, specifically a story told by Jerry Lawler.

The story Jerry Lawler told about Randy Savage jumping to WCW and how Vince McMahon learned is completely incorrect and it appears to be Lawler misremembering Lex Luger's jump to WCW on the first episode of Nitro.  Lawler's version is that McMahon was looking for Savage to go over the Raw format but he was not there and was told to watch TV.  Lawler then described Vince's non-reaction to seeing Savage on TV on WCW that night.   The only problem with that is that Nitro didn't exist when Savage left the WWF in November 1994, which was when McMahon, live on Raw, bid farewell to Savage and thanked him for his contributions to the WWF.  Savage didn't debut for WCW until a December 1994 episode of WCW Saturday Night, which was taped, and certainly did not run opposite a WWF broadcast the same evening.    While one can't fault Jerry Lawler for misremembering something from decades ago given how much he's seen and done in the business, it's surprising that made air without being double checked by A&E as a quick google would have show that tale didn't hold up to even the lightest of scrutiny.

There were some other factual and/or graphical errors made during the broadcast.  Lex Luger was listed as Lex Lugar.  The Mid-South Coliseum footage was listed as being from Lexington, when obviously it's always been in Memphis, TN.  There appeared to be Memphis footage billed as content from the ICW promotion owned by the Poffos as well.  Hulk Hogan even took credit for wrestlers living in Tampa when there was an entire territory in Florida based out of Tampa well before he broke into the business run by Eddie Graham. 

There was also comment from Peter Rosenberg about how Savage and Ricky Steamboat never one touched during their build to Wrestlemania III, which implied they did not wrestle before, but obviously they had and did the angle with the timekeeper's bell to injure Steamboat.  My belief is Rosenberg was speaking specifically about after the angle as they did not wrestle until Mania III and that the editing on the piece made it appear he was saying they never, ever wrestled, which certainly Rosenberg knew better.

As far as why the doc completely ignored Savage's WWE title win at Wrestlemania IV or even the Hulk Hogan feud in 1989, that would have been a decision made by the producers in order to examine other aspects of Savage's life and career.  They did have Hogan note that they sold out everywhere he and Savage wrestled, which would be pretty much historically accurate as they always did well on house shows and then later on PPV.

In regard to questions about who produced the Biography episode, A&E had different production companies and teams working on the different episodes.  WWE did not spearhead the production of any of the episodes but provided footage and talent for interviews.  There were different teams working on the different films, which is why there was a starkly different tone and presentation to the Savage doc vs. the previous Roddy Piper and Steve Austin films.  If anyone believes WWE would have wanted to include the Gorgeous George comments or Lex Luger stating that he didn't "murder" Elizabeth on something that could one day land on the WWE Network, I'd advise them to think again. 

This wasn't a case, as some readers have asked, of WWE deciding to attack Savage.  It was the film the producers hired by A&E decided to tell.  

As far as why Bubba the Love Sponge and comedian Dan Soder being included, again, that would have been a choice made by the producers, Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman, not WWE.    

If you haven't seen the film, the first hour is very good especially the look at Savage's early life and his time wrestling for his family's promotion and Memphis wrestling.  Ricky Steamboat and Peter Rosenberg do an excellent job discussing the Wrestlemania III match, including a tremendously funny moment where Hulk Hogan claims that they didn't go out there to upstage himself vs. Andre the Giant, followed by Steamboat making it clear they absolutely went out there with that intention. 

The second hour gets remarkably dark, including allegations of Savage all but stalking Gorgeous George, coupled with a deep dive into the death of Elizabeth, which certainly had no connection to Savage.  If you go into this expecting a celebration of Randy Savage, you will not enjoy the second hour.  

It should be noted that Kevin Nash (who is not in the film enough) and Peter Rosenberg are exceptionally excellent in the doc with Rosenberg's closing comments about Savage's life and the importance culturally of professional wrestlers vs. athletes in other sports perhaps being his best work in anything WWE-related to date.

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