Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage at Wrestlemania III
Class of 2013
Inducted by Super Chrisss
That’s a word you don’t hear used much nowadays, especially in the world of wrestling; and it’s a massive fan-base. But there’s a reason for that. Most people will tell you there is no perfect match, no perfect wrestler, no perfect feud. That’s because whenever you examine something, it’s almost always possible to draw some pros and cons from the subject at hand.
Take Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from Wrestlemania 25, for example. It’s universally agreed upon that we witnessed something epic take place at that Pay-Per-View. Some call it the best Wrestlemania match they ever saw. Others called it the best wrestling match they ever saw, period. But there were also a large number of people who refrained from rating ‘Taker vs. HBK five-stars for varying reasons – The Deadman’s dive to the outside was nearly botched, the first fifteen minutes were too slow, etc. Most people consider ‘Taker vs. Michaels an amazing, historic match, but perfect? That it was not.
Unless someone is able to convince me otherwise, no other wrestling match in WWE history comes closer to perfection than Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage from Wrestlemania III. You want a match that ages well with time? This one’s for you. Since Wrestlemania III took place about two years before I was born, I obviously didn’t get to see it live, and truth be told, I only got around to watching this match on YouTube no more than five years ago. Needless to say, if you haven’t had a chance to watch this match yet, you owe it to yourself to take twenty minutes out of your day to do so. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
After all, there’s a reason the Lords Of Pain audience (a.k.a. YOU) voted Steamboat vs. Savage as one of the greatest matches in history. It’s just that damn good. The first time I watched that match, I had very little knowledge of the backstory. I knew Steamboat was the babyface since, well, he never was a heel in the WWE, a trait he would later pass on to Rey Mysterio and Kofi Kingston. I also knew about Savage and Miss Elizabeth’s storied relationship, although I didn’t understand at the time what Steamboat had done to get George Steele in his corner while Savage got the lovely Liz. Hardly seemed fair to me, but then I learned about how this feud actually began six months prior and was not a randomly booked Intercontinental title match.
The stage was set. The characters were in place. The bell rung, and right from the get go, you could feel the magic in the air. Steamboat and Savage never had a bad match, but their in-ring chemistry was off the charts that night. Everytime they locked up, sparks flew. The reversals were flawless and well-executed; the near-falls were implemented effectively and weren’t overused. What made the match even better were the gentlemen on commentary – Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura. As I rewatched this match the other night, hearing those two put over the action and add layers to the story made me realize how bad today’s commentators really are, specifically Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. It’s often said that a lively crowd can make a good match even better; well, a good commentary team can do the same, if not more. Savage and Steamboat were fortunate to have two future Hall of Famers calling their match, as well as a hyped up crowd in Pontiac, Michigan.
I hate to spoil it for those of you who are yet to view this match for the very first time, but after fifteen minutes of back-and-forth action and an unsuccessful attempt of cheating by Savage, it was Steamboat who got the roll-up victory to become the new Intercontinental Champion. For a title match at Wrestlemania to end via small package and still be considered one of the greatest matches of all-time is one hell of an accomplishment, and is a testament to how different things were twenty-six years ago. Could you imagine if either Rock vs. Cena or Punk vs. Taker at this year’s Wrestlemania ends by a roll-up? The Internet Wrestling Community would be up in arms about a huge match being “forever tainted”. Nearly three decades ago, none of that mattered. Steamboat and Savage went all-out that night and stole the show.
What is surprising about the aftermath of their amazing Wrestlemania match was how the winner (Steamboat) didn’t use the momentum to catapult himself into the main-event and finally become a world champion in the WWE. Steamboat’s Intercontinental title victory would be short-lived, as he ended up leaving the WWE shortly after Wrestlemania IV following a dispute with WWE management and frustration over his standing in the company. Savage, on the other hand, would go on to become one of the biggest wrestling stars of the twentieth century, as he won the vacant WWE Championship merely a year later at Wrestlemania IV, and would have a legendary feud with Hulk Hogan once the Mega Powers imploded.
It can be argued that Steamboat and Savage were ‘made’ at Wrestlemania III. Millions of people bought the PPV to see Hogan vs. Andre, and the “Slam Heard Around the World” remains one of wrestling’s most iconic moments. But when it comes to in-ring action, there is no topping Steamboat vs. Savage. You don’t have to like either man; you don’t have to be a fan of their wrestling styles; you don’t have to be a fan of that era’s camera styles and ring set-up (especially compared to today’s high-quality technology). But you have to respect what those two accomplished that night. They wrestled a timeless Wrestlemania match that in my opinion, might never be topped. Others have come close – Austin vs. Hart, Jericho vs. HBK, Taker vs. HBK, etc. – but when it comes to having a perfect Wrestlemania match, Steamboat vs. Savage is the one that always comes to mind.
For me, Steamboat vs. Savage is the best wrestling match of all-time. Everything else is competing for second place. Maybe I won’t be able to say that twenty-five years from now, but hey, I’d love to be proven wrong. In the meantime, it is with great pleasure that I welcome Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage into the LOP Hall of Fame.
Related Links: LOP/WH Hall of Fame Class of 2020- Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Wrestling Headlines Hall Of Fame 2021: “Macho King” Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior, Wrestlemania VII
Doctor’s Orders: The Term “Underrated” in Professional Wrestling