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The ultimate tribute: Jim Hellwig remembers Randy Savage

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Purple reign: The Macho King lost the battle, but won the girl at WrestleMania VII.

Generally regarded as one of the top-20 most memorable WrestleMania matches of all time, the Ultimate Warrior (Jim Hellwig) defeated the Macho King, Randy Savage, in the seventh annual WWE extravaganza in Los Angeles. Billed as a “Retirement Match,” at a time when stipulations like that still mattered to the fans, the showdown served as the catalyst to turn the Macho Man babyface and reunite Savage and Miss Elizabeth, who was watching near ringside, with the camera cutting to her emotional face at times during bout.

In a not-so-sublte moment of foreshadowing, instead of his crown, the Macho King wore a white hat mixed with splotches of purple to the ring.

The Macho Man’s wicked new valet, Sensational Queen Sherri (Martel), was the antithesis to Miss Elizabeth, and the heel royal couple from hell delivered some fantastic prematch promos leading up to the match. The bout itself was one of Warrior’s best, in that same limited category as Hellwig’s bouts with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI and vs. Rick Rude at 1990’s SummerSlam. After shaking off five of the Macho Man’s patented elbow smashes from the top rope, the Warrior rallied for the win, seemingly ending the career of quite possibly the most macho champion in Former Federation history.

When Sherri unceremoniously denounced her king post-match, Elizabeth uncharacteristically made the save in aggressive fashion, and the couple reunited, with Savage opening the ropes for her exit from the ring…a turnabout show of chivalry after years of Liz serving his every whim. When Randy hoisted his beloved squeeze on his shoulders, similar to their post-title celebration at WrestleMania IV, Liz appeared to be legitimately crying-though that could be because she realized this meant another eventual run on the road with the notoriously jealous Macho Man. (It’s still hard to believe that Liz, Sherri and Randy are all no longer with us. Great…now I’m crying.)

WWE Wrestlemania 7 – Randy Savage vs… by Joe81425

Although already married in “real life,” (as always, I use that term with a grain of Mr. Fuji’s salt in reference to this business in any way), Savage, who transitioned to a babyface WWF announcer in “retirement, “courted Elizabeth on the air over the next few months, culminating with their “wedding” at SummerSlam 1991…and opening the dressing-room door for Randy’s in-ring return for feuds with Jake Roberts (who sent a rather thoughtless, slithering wedding gift) and Ric Flair (who claimed Liz was a fast-pass holder for Space Mountain in years past and therefore was “damaged goods).

In most likely the most coherent, candid interview ever by the Warrior, Hellwig graciously remembers his former colleague, who passed Friday at 58.

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