Something to Wrestle With – Episode 2: The Mega Powers
Release Date: August 12, 2016 (recap published September 9, 2017)
Recap By: Andrew Soucek, PWPodcasts.com Editor
-Butch Reed was once set to defeat Ricky Steamboat for the Intercontinental Championship.
-The difference between The Main Event and Saturday Night’s main event is finally revealed!
-Randy Savage had a serious staph infection going into WrestleMania V.
-Bruce doesn’t believe there’s any truth to the Stephanie McMahon/Savage rumors.
-According to Bruce, Vince McMahon told him Randy Savage had to get drunk to tell him he was quitting.
Conrad welcomes us to episode two of the show. They put over already being in the top 10 on iTunes.
This week’s theme runs from WrestleMania IV to WrestleMania V: The Mega Powers Collide!
Commercial: Bruce talks about wearing Mack Welden undies.
3:35 – So what exactly did happen when The Mega Powers exploded?
The scene is set up: Randy Savage beat Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania IV to become Heavyweight Champion. Hulk was off doing movies and it was time for a change. Randy was that guy in 1988. It was the dawn of a new era. Conrad puts it over as one of the best angles that went down under Bruce’s tenure in the company.
Was there a deal with Donald Trump (not president at the time of recording) to do back-to-back shows in Atlantic City? Bruce doesn’t recall.
Randy and Miss Elizabeth were a hot act at the time. He was a babyface for a year before going back to the heel side. Conrad brings up a wrestling urban legend that Honky Tonk Man refused to drop the Intercontinental Title. Any truth to this? Bruce said Butch Reed was going to be the Intercontinental Champion and would have defeated Ricky Steamboat for it. Butch didn’t show up to TV. It was then given to The Honky Tonk Man.
Why was Ricky going to drop the belt to Reed? Why did he leave the promotion?
Steamboat asked for his notice. There were issues with his wife and he was unhappy. Vince McMahon doesn’t want unhappy people around him and granted him his release. Conrad brings up Steamboat as being one of the only wrestlers to leave the WWF to “go South” in that era. It usually worked the other way around.
12:00 – Did Steamboat’s wife damage his career? Bruce wasn’t privy to information like that at the time. He felt it just boiled down to Ricky being unhappy and wanting to move on.
Why was The Honky Tonk Man chosen as the successor to Steamboat? It was the “worker’s” belt, so why go in that direction? Bruce didn’t believe it really was the worker’s belt. The top worker is the guy who makes the most money and that was Hogan and Savage.
Bruce believes that Honky Tonk Man was a good worker. He had a ton of heat and everyone in the building knew they could beat him up. That’s a valuable champion to have. Bruce compares him to Ric Flair, which gets Conrad a bit hot.
16:00 – Once and for all, what’s the difference between The Main Event and Saturday Night’s Main Event? Bruce explains that The Main Event was a 60 minute Friday evening special on NBC. SNME was a 90 minute show that aired in place of Saturday Night Live. Was there any booking difference between the two? On the one hour show you build to the end of the show. On SNME all your marquee stuff happens earlier because you’re fighting sleep.
So did Honky Tonk Man refuse to drop the belt? Bruce has heard that but doesn’t think so. The decision is Vince McMahon’s. If someone had refused to job, that would be reason to take the title off them.
19:04 – Is DiBiase the best wrestler to never hold a World Championship? Bruce thinks one of the best, without a doubt. At one point, there were discussions of DiBiase walking out of ‘Mania IV with the World Title.
21:50 – Babyfaces make more money due to merchandise. Did Savage want to be a face to get that money? Bruce said that Randy loved the money of being a face. However, heels had money-making opportunities at the time as well. Randy was a businessman and liked being a heel more.
23:45 – SummerSlam ‘88. Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant vs. The Mega Powers. Creative is booking towards WrestleMania. Bruce notes that Andre couldn’t work much at the time, so you had to pick his matches carefully. In order to build Hogan/Savage for ‘Mania, they had to plant some seeds along the way.
Bruce talks about the angle being like having a girlfriend/wife and your best friend looks at her or hugs her too long, it can make you believe something might be going on. Your mind plays with you. At SummerSlam, it all came down to a look between Hogan and Liz.
29:55 – Commercial. Prowrestlingtees.com
31:10 – How was working with Jesse Ventura? Bruce thought he was great to work with as a talent and fun to produce. However, he did not like dealing with his agent. Jesse was the first guy in the business to have an agent.
Why did Ventura sue for royalties? Talent was paid if they were on the Coliseum videos. Jesse’s voice was on there as a commentator and was not paid for his work on them. Jesse won the case.
What did Hillbilly Jim do with Coliseum Videos? He was just a spokesman. Bruce also reveals that Coliseum produced adult videos through another company.
Conrad asks if Bruce got royalties from WrestleMania V. He said he never got them. He was a salaried employee, and said he was paid well.
In an interesting note, Bruce said that back in the day some wrestlers could earn $75,000 per quarter on action figure sales. Jesse ended up getting $800,000 from his lawsuit.
38:35 – Survivor Series. The seeds continue to be planted. The end of the match had Hulk touch Elizabeth in a “lustful” way in the eyes of Savage. Hogan had his hand on her butt while she was up on Savage’s shoulder. This crossed the line!
The main event of the pay-per-view went 29 minutes. Ventura brings up the tension between Hogan and Savage on commentary. Jesse was not smartened up beforehand as to what would happen.
Was this Koko B. Ware’s only main event in the WWF? Yes. He was a hell of a talent in Mid-South. But he was small in the WWF. Conrad ribs Bruce that Koko is in the Hall of Fame but not Brother Love.
The Red Rooster. Did Terry Taylor draw the short straw and get the Red Rooster gimmick instead of the Mr. Perfect? Bruce said that at the WWF they had a “Box of Gimmicks.” Wrestlers came in blindfolded and picked them out of a box. This becomes a recurring joke on the show. Bruce basically said Terry is full of it. Also, The Red Rooster was not a rib.
Bruce goes on a mini-rant about people thinking various gimmicks are ribs. Would a regular business owner do this? Conrad then challenges him to defend Akeem The African Dream. Bruce also said that wasn’t a rib, it’s “a business decision.” Conrad is not going for this explanation.
Bruce goes on to explain how the Mr. Perfect gimmick came from Pat Patterson saying how good Curt Hennig was at everything. As Pat runs down everything Hennig is good at, they realize he’s “perfect.” Red Rooster was simply a play off being “cocky.” Terry didn’t embrace it and thought it was a rib.
50:00 – The Royal Rumble. Savage, Ultimate Warrior, and Hogan are all in the Royal Rumble match. Hogan dumps Savage and things get tense. They briefly make up but things are uneasy.
At The Main Event, The Twin Towers are taking on The Mega Powers. Elizabeth gets knocked out accidentally by Savage. Hogan picks her up, leaves the match, and takes her to the back.
This was actually shot live. They point out a goof of an NBC executive giving a countdown before they shot a backstage segment. Hogan was asking how much time they had until they were live.
Savage attacked Hogan and The Hulkster later claimed he suffered a concussion from it. Bruce isn’t sure and would “highly doubt it.”
How involved was NBC? Pretty heavily. It was a co-promotion. So what did Bruce do then since he was in production? At that point he was running from Gorilla position to the backstage in his full Brother Love gear.
Conrad rundowns the angle thus far, Bruce keeps jumping in with random Macho Man impressions. “Lust in his eyes!”
What was it like dealing with Donald Trump? Bruce said he was a joy to work with. He was a great partner to promote with. He over-delivered and was excellent.
Where would Bruce rate ‘Mania V at the time compared to the other shows? It was the second best, next to ‘Mania 3.
Why did Savage have a wrapped up elbow? He developed a staph infection in the days leading up to the show. He probably shouldn’t have been in the match. No one could have stopped him from competing, though. Conrad asks if current WWE would let someone wrestle in that condition. Nope.
59:14 – Hogan vs. Savage. The hosts think it’s one of Hogan’s best matches ever. More Savage impressions break out. Bruce tries to tell the story from Hogan’s eyes. He briefly busts out a Hogan impression…not one of his better efforts!
Conrad says Savage is a perfect example of a good bad guy, because he believes what he’s doing isn’t wrong. Was Hogan’s popularity starting to wane in 1989? Bruce says not yet. Revenue went up from ‘87 to ‘88 to ‘89. Things went south when Ultimate Warrior was the man. They’ll talk about that another time. Conrad does talk about the ending of WrestleMania VI, though, and seemed suspicious of Hogan’s motives about not getting out of the ring. Bruce questions if everything has to be a conspiracy.
1:06:00 – Savage’s Mania opponents. Conrad puts over Savage’s work at WrestleMania. He lists off Ted DiBiase, Ricky Steamboat, Hogan, Dusty Rhodes, Ultimate Warrior, and Ric Flair. Bruce said each guy was better for having worked with Randy.
What was the mood when Randy left? It came out of the blue. They met at Titan Towers and they were going to drive to a taping. Bruce was going to travel with Vince, Shane McMahon, and Pat Patterson that day. They all kept waiting and waiting. Vince finally pulls up and goes right into the office. Before they left, he told them that Randy Savage “was now the proud property of WCW.”
Savage called the night before and had to get drunk to tell Vince.
Conrad points out that the week before Savage left, on TV he said he was in an “uncomfortable seat.” Vince replies that it’s a “nice seat.” Was this some sort of tell of backstage problems between the two? Bruce finds that to be another conspiracy.
Did Savage express that he wanted to keep wrestling? Bruce thinks he left because he wanted more money. He said Savage told them he wanted to learn to write TV and work in the office. Conrad then asks about the rumors of him wanting to work a long program with Shawn Michaels. Bruce repeats what he just said. He said Savage told him personally that he wanted to get out of the ring.
How much was Savage making before he left? Probably close to $500,000.
Was the Stephanie McMahon/Savage rumor ever brought up behind the scenes. And was it true? Bruce said he never heard the rumor until 2006/7. He had heard it from a writer who wasn’t in the company at the time. Who did he hear it from? “A little Jewish kid.” Conrad then busts out the show’s first “Roll tide” in response.
Conrad spells it out. Did Savage have sex with Stephanie McMahon? Bruce doesn’t believe it. He thinks he would have heard about it. Conrad presses him about why everyone who had problems with the company (Bret Hart, Hogan, Roddy Piper, etc.) came back except Savage. What was it that kept Randy away? Bruce doesn’t know.
1:15:55: Was Savage ribbed over his obsession with scripting out everything in a match? Bruce doesn’t think so. Only the ‘Mania 3 match was really scripted out obsessively. Randy liked to know what he was doing and work on things ahead of time. He says he wasn’t as OCD as people seem to think he was. Both hosts agree he’s an all-time great worker.
Bruce thought the entire Mega Powers story is one of the best they’ve ever told. Before they leave, The Brother Love show is brought up at ‘Mania 5. Bruce said it was the first time he’d worked with Roddy Piper. He admits to stealing a lot of stuff from Piper. Working with him at WrestleMania was a dream come true. He had to fly out to Denver to explain the concept to him. The segment ended up going long. Bruce still owns his kilt from the segment.
This episode is 17 minutes longer than the first one, but they’re still a long ways from the marathon editions that are yet to come. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there were certainly more things to say about both competitors (who have now both received lengthy follow-ups) and the angle itself.
One thing to note is that Bruce gets fired up when talking about Terry Taylor, more so than he was at any point in the the prior week. The Red Rooster just brings it out of him! Overall, Bruce seems more comfortable and has a bit more energy in his impressions than in the debut.
On the downside, the show kind of hits a standstill when Bruce recaps the Mega Powers story basically twice in a row near the one hour mark. Also, the culmination of the feud, the match at Mania V, is really glossed over and the episode kind of meanders for the last 25 minutes or so.
One of the more interesting moments is the Steph/Savage rumor. Since it’s basically the biggest wrestling rumor out there, it would have been interesting to have Bruce been challenged on this more. After all, in a Torch interview with Wade Keller, even Lanny Poffo didn’t shoot it down so quickly. Later on in the show’s history, Conrad really challenges Bruce over his claim that Hulk Hogan was on a European tour (WrestleMania IX episode) when he actually wasn’t. Had he brought that kind of fire here it would have been fascinating. Oh well!
While not a bad episode by any means, the two are still working on their chemistry and basically developing characters and callbacks at this point.
For more, check out our collection of classic and current episodes of Something to Wrestle With.