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Savage as a draw

Scott -

Something I've always wondered: what kind of a draw was Randy Savage during his first year-long reign as WWF World champion? When Savage won the title at WMIV, was the plan always to have a year-long burn to losing the belt back to Hogan at WMV, or was that a decision made later?  Even if Hogan regaining the title was always the plan, what kind of numbers was Savage drawing as champion?

​I kind of thought we had covered this already, but I always enjoy talking about Savage and this is a quick and easy one.

Yes, they had the Hogan win planned from the moment Savage got the title.  He was always going to be getting it for the year and then dropping it back to Hogan.  And although he wasn't Hogan as a draw, he was still a giant star who sold out arenas against Ted Dibiase for months, and in particular caught fire at the tail end of his title reign after the heel turn.  He wasn't a flop like Warrior by any means, and I'd say he would be analogous to someone like John Cena, where business went down when he wasn't around but never really took the company to the next level or anything.  That being said, Summerslam 88 did 500K buys, which would be Wrestlemania-level today, and doing a scan of house shows from 88 shows that Savage-headlined B shows were doing between 7000-12000 people depending on the market whereas the C-shows were doing 2000-3000 (usually with some combo of Jake Roberts or Rick Rude or Jim Duggan on top).  So that's pretty definitive evidence that he was a big draw.  

Comments

  1. I thought I read in an observer way back win that the house shows after Wtestlemania 4 actually did better that the shows after Wrestlemania 3?

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  2. Yeah, the thing with WM3 was that the show was pretty much the peak of Hulkamania and once fans saw Hogan slamming the Giant and all that, it was logically only downhill from there, so I can understand business going into a slump for a while following it.

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  3. Thanks for posting this, I was probably going to email you something similar at some point.


    I really wish Savage would have gotten a longer run. I think if he had been able to beat Hogan, it would have actually kept Hogan fresher because at least there could be the possibility that he wouldn't win every match and that although he was top notch, he wasn't a machine.

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  4. Makes sense. Considering he never cleanly lost until Warrior three years later, I could see how Hogan would start to get a bit stale, especially when they started to run with the Hogan vs. Fat Guy formula. No fat guy was ever going to have the credibility Andre had back in the 80's.

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  5. Mania V did about 767,000 buys. SummerSlam '89 did about 625,000 buys, so yeah, Hogan vs. Savage worked

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  6. I know his first title run always get discussed, but wanted to mention his far less memorable second title run as business started to go in the tank thanks to Hogan leaving and the great steroid disaster which led to the roster becoming paper thin.


    Thought he deserved a better run, but I believe his divorce had led him to scaling back a bit, understandably.


    Just thought they could have done a bit more. Pretty lackluster run which is only remembered for his awesome WM8 win and then that really weird Warrior/Savage match at Summerslam.

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  7. In Savage's defense whether he was a good draw or not in 92 (he wasn't), the entire company, and you could even say the state of North American wrestling, was crumbling fast and would continue to worsen until Nitro picked up steam with the n.w.o.

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  8. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 28, 2015 at 7:24 PM

    Liz reluctantly helps Savage and Macho gets the pin. Hulk is still the sympathetic heel, Macho retains, feud continues, Hogan looks vulnerable, Savages stay together. Liz does a slow burn toward standing up for herself, then eventuslly leaves Savage. Macho goes off the deep end and Hogan takes advantage at Summerslam, winning the title back. Keep the crazy going with Macho leading a team against Hogan's team

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  9. Check out how much WCW & the WWF's PPV buys decline from the beginning of 1992 until December.

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  10. Nobody, not even Hogan, could have turned the tide of business going south

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  11. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 28, 2015 at 7:28 PM

    I will forever feel shorted, because we did not get a Macho vs Rude world title feud with Rick stalking and eventually hurting Liz to get to the champ

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  12. Every PPV was a "new low for WWF" reading through old WON issues. I can see why Vince got desperate and put the title back on Hogan to try and salvage things.

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  13. Also, Andre wasn't doing the house shows, and Hogan didn't have another hot feud going with anyone, so it was going to take them a few months to build up a good feud for the house show circuit.

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  14. It's amazing how SummerSlam went from 507,000 buys in 1990 to 405,000 in 1991 to 280,000 in 1992.

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  15. Threadjackery: Hey any of you guys ever run a keeper league on Yahoo? I'm kinda worried I'm going to screw up when I restart my league for the year and lose all the rosters. Wondering if it's pretty easy to get things going, anything I need to know.

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  16. Did they ever even have a match in WWF?

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  17. Imagine how big of a draw Mega Powers would have been on the house show circuit. Mega Powers vs. Twin Towers or Mega Powers vs. Demolition seems like it would be a huge draw.

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  18. "Savage didn't draw in 1988, it was the WWF brand, pal!" - Vince

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  19. I think they hit the finishers too much. It should be a reversal of finishers to see who can hit it first vs the drama of if they can kick out or not. It should be if he hits his move, Its OVER.

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  20. Was merchandise a big thing back then? Because that purple Macho Man shirt is pretty popular these days. Was it back then?

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  21. ...Or you could do what Vince did and have A shows headlined by Hogan and B shows headlined by Savage, making even more money than one show with just Hogan and Savage together.

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  22. As a kid, Savage felt like he was crippled during his 2nd run. It felt like he was always getting the shit kicked out of him and selling. I figured Warrior would have slaughtered him at Summerslam.

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  23. Mega Powers could have sold out 20,000 seat arenas.

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  24. Not particularly. RSPW was very aware of the downward business trends at that point.

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  25. I don't think wrestling shirts were a big thing until the nWo shirt.

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  26. I thought that leg was going to fall off.

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  27. I like the Liz stuff, although I feel like he was already off the deep end as soon as they did the SNME angle and I'm not sure how much further he could have gone once Liz left.


    I also wonder if a SummerSlam rematch would have been too early in those days. I could see them going a similar route to what they actually did with Hogan+Brutus and Savage+someone who wasn't Zeus. Maybe Ted DiBiase after Ted 'bought' Savage's friendship or something?


    Hogan and Savage could each lead teams at Survivor Series 89 with both guys getting double counted out or DQ'd, leading to the rematch at WrestleMania VI with Hogan getting his win back. It kinda screws over Warrior but it's not like he was some magical draw.

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  28. I'm sure they were saying, "see, we TOLD YOU Flair equals buys!"

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  29. I doubt it, but there's no real way to prove it either way.

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  30. Savage was certainly capable of capturing my attention in '88 when I first started to follow wrestling. Maybe he wasn't on Hogans level as a draw, but if they were going to try someone new he was the standout choice by a long shot.

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  31. Commiting 2 years to a storyline, in advance, would be hard to pull off in any era. Not saying it wouldn't work, but you can lose and gain a completely different audience in that span.

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  32. Yeah you had to order those things back then. It's the argument that always comes up about Hogans merchandise sales vs Austin's. Savage would've sold tons of shirts in Walmarts or wherever back then.

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  33. Bret Hart has said there really wasn't that much of a drop off in payoffs when Savage became champ.

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  34. Yes. He barely mounted any offense and got beat up all over the ring. It got really ridiculous.

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  35. I actually bought one back in the day. Threw it out when he turned heel.

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  36. Hogan and his war bonnet vs. Bad News Brown

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  37. Sounds like his WCW run as a face. He would win matches but get destroyed until there was a mistake then elbow for the win.

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  38. No, but I'm sure Ronnie Garvin and Savage fought in the ICW though.

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  39. Sadly, Hogan in 1993 wasn't the guy you needed to be putting titles on - unless you do the heel turn. Hindsight proves it would have worked. And seriously, Hogan cut a bunch of heel promos in 1993. His Yokozuno promo on the set of Blunder in Pardise was one.

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  40. The Steiner Screwdriver is an example of a doom move.

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  41. Even if they didn't set the world on fire, I loved the Hogan/Race matches.

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  42. Knuckleberry PinnJune 28, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    The main event of Summerslam 88 has a really important and cool vibe to it. It's also a really fun match.

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  43. The Apter mags reported they did, but that was house show stuff when Savage was champ and Rude wasn't much more than the arrogant comedy heel.

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  44. Knuckleberry PinnJune 28, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    That Summerslam 1990 buyrate is absolutely nuts.

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  45. Compared to the NWO and Attitude days, no. But compared to merchandise levels in early to mid 80s, they were getting pretty big. They made the WWF some decent cash, the merchandise business just hadn't progressed in comparison to a decade later.

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  46. Theberzerker, #1 HUSS CHOMPIONJune 28, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    I agree on both counts, though I don't think it can be used to talk about how champ Savage drew...the title had nothing to do with the match at all.

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  47. I can't think of a time when Savage has been a draw. Even double countouts are extremely rare for him.

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  48. Which is to say that even Bret Hart had to grudgingly admit that there was a drop off in payouts.

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  49. Hulk shirts and foam fingers (along with toys) were huge in the 80s

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  50. Vince not using Savage as a wrestler on TV but still having him wrestle on house shows in 93-94 ranks up there with Vince's dumber decisions.

    Guy has the best match on the card at Mania 8 and Vince has him doing commentary at Mania 9

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  51. How pitiful is it that the schoolboy roll-up is a deadlier move than every finisher in WWE?
    And is the schoolboy and small package the only freaking pinning combinations they know?
    Use a sunset flip now and then. How about a victory roll or a La Magistral or a crucifix or a high cross body press. Even an O'Connor roll would be an upgrade over the exact same two moves.

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  52. Yeah, he did a lot of the lazy "Get beaten up for the entire match, then hit two moves for the pin" type back then. I remember being excited for a WCW Savage/Lyger match, and of course he did the same thing. Really annoying, considering how good Savage COULD be.

    Savage also felt like he was selling leg injuries all the time, even when not immediately feuding with Ric Flair.

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  53. IMO it's just plain greed having two parallel house shows in a wrestling company.

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  54. I always said it should've been Savage vs Bret, face vs face headliner at WM9 with Savage passing the torch.
    Or they could've even turned Savage heel again and worked some kind of Liz wife beating angle in there, with Bret having to defend her honour.
    I feel like almost anything would've been better than the Bret vs Yokozuna main event we got, with Bret still really just establishing himself as champ and Yoko being a virtual unknown. As a Wrestlemania headliner that match just had no allure at all at that particular time.

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  55. Battle Kat LitterJune 29, 2015 at 2:58 AM

    Daniel Bryan lost in 17 seconds and the internet went into meltdown. I personally loved that it was something different. Unexpected. I was a lone voice though.

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  56. I don't think Vince saw Bret as a legit headliner at the line (and maybe ever), he was just the guy holding the belt warm for Yoko (and later for Shawn, Diesel and Austin), the big-time foreign heel, that would be later fed to the All-American Hero that was Hulk Hogan (probably not at WM, which may have ended with a heel going over, but Hogan would have gotten the strap at KOTR).

    I truly believe that Vince thought that Hogan would have been his saviour in 93, and the Luger push after Hogan left is evidence of that.

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  57. Yoko was getting a dominant Kevin Owens/Lesnar style push from late 1992. So it's not like he was really an unknown at that point.

    But regardless, I also would've preferred a match between Bret and Savage at WM 9. Supposedly Savage wanted to work a feud with HBK at that time.

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    5

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  59. < ▬▬▬▬★★★★.+rspwfaq+ *********Reset your job with modvive < I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do, > < Find More='' ........''

    8

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  60. They sold WWF shirts at Wal-Mart in the early 90's. As a kid, I had Savage, Warrior, and Undertaker shirts that my mom bought there. They also sold WCW shirts, because I remember getting an El Gigante shirt there. Mostly because it had kind of a cool comic cover-style design.

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  61. Battle Kat LitterJune 29, 2015 at 5:51 AM

    I never cared for Savage back in the early 90's, when I was first watching wrestling. I thought he was an idiot. That said, I liked people like The Warlord so I don't think my taste was representative of the masses

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  62. Why? It creates more jobs for people on the roster and allows smaller markets to get wrestling shows. A circus often has numerous troupes performing at once too.

    Should WWE not run two house show tours and NXT tours now? What possible benefit is there to having only one house show tour instead of three?

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  63. Hogan/Quake was the real main event

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  64. The wrestler have less to work and they could have more time to heal injuries and you can give them more time off.

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  65. The only wrestlers who would get "time off" would be the C-listers like Ryder, Adam Rose, and the Prime Time Players. All of the big names would still be working every house show, so all of the guys who actually matter aren't getting time off.

    You cut out one of the house show tours, you're looking at the smaller paycheck guys getting even smaller paychecks. It also hurts the company as a whole financially.

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  66. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 29, 2015 at 9:38 AM

    Yeah. They could have spent 90-91 with Warrior getting built up further too. Run Hogan vs Warrior at WM 7, for the first time, with both guys looking unbeatable

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  67. That's where Garvin slammed Andre, right?

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  68. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 29, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    Not that I've ever seen. That could have been a red-hot house show feud and made for a great catalyst to the Megapowers split as well. I would get there like this:

    'SURVIVOR SERIES' 1988

    - Hogan, Savage, Beefcake, Hercules, & Hillbilly Jim vs.

    Dibiase, Andre, Rude, Boss Man, & Akeem (w/Heenan & Slick)

    - During the run-up and during the match, Rude makes overtures at Liz, driving Savage crazy and getting him off his game. Rude kisses Liz and/or gives her an apron bump, sending Macho over the edge and drawing a DQ. Refs separate Savage & Rude, Hogan tends to Elizabeth at ringside.

    Run Savage vs. Rude as a wild WWF Title house show program, with Macho getting more violent and more territorial about Elizabeth. Do the "lust in your eyes" thing and Macho turns on Hogan just the same.

    Savage vs. Hogan at Wrestlemania V, but Rude is elevated further through the World title feud. He gets the IC title from Warrior at Mania and can continue stirring the pot between the Megapowers after the PPV. Sets him up as a viable challenger to Hogan on the house show circuit.

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  69. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 29, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Yep. I feel like Bret vs. Macho for the title gives Hart the credibility he needs. You can easily run Hogan vs. Yoko as a special attraction.


    Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage, WWF Title
    Yokozuna vs. Hogan
    Money Inc. vs. Steiners, Tag Titles
    Luger vs. Tatanka, 'Undefeated vs. Undefeated'
    Perfect vs. Razor
    Michaels vs. Jannetty, IC Title (Who cares if Marty is drugged up? Job him, pay him, fire him)
    Backlund vs. Doink
    Crush vs. Bigelow
    Undertaker vs. Gonzalez

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  70. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 29, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    I wonder if it would have been worth the risk having Macho retain at Wrestlemania V. We've discussed it often on here, in the context of extending Savage's heel run and selling the re-match at SummerSlam '89. Thinking of it as a six-year old mark at the time though, I wonder if a lot of the target audience would have been alienated by doing a very un-WWF thing at that point. As a storyline decision, I love it. I just wonder if it would have been worth the risk, business-wise. Thoughts?

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  71. All i know is Hogan had a decisive victory and even kicked out of the elbow. Randy dominated the middle portion but once Hogan no sold and killed him, Macho didn't seem like a threat to him anymore. At Summerslam it was made to look like Zeus was the main adversary for Hogan and Savage was an adversary for Beefcake.

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  72. How is an on the road turnstile increase by anywhere from a factor of two to a factor of four "not next level"?

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