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Smark Henry's Favorite WrestleMania Moments: Savage and Steamboat's Perfect Classic


As we count the days down to WrestleMania 34 on April 9, we here at Smark Henry want to do something different than our usual trivia promotion. Over the next two weeks, we'll be sharing and talking about our favorite WrestleMania moments in the hopes of getting some more this year.

The early days of WrestleMania guaranteed that the event was going to be an annual success for the World Wrestling Federation, but it wasn't until WrestleMania III that the franchise would be put on the map.

The classic at the Pontiac Silverdome would be marked with two big happenings inside the ring, and we'll talk about the more famous one somewhere down the line. Today, we'll talk about what many consider the greatest pro wrestling match in history: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat for the WWF Intercontinental Championship.


It's a thing of beauty to watch them wrestle and trade pin attempts with intensity and urgency, and you kind of miss the quick, meaty cracking of the old-school ring that you only hear nowadays in NJPW. Steamboat, ever the heroic martial arts babyface, dominates the first half of the match with his striking and technical prowess. Savage gains control in the middle before letting the pendulum swing both ways quickly. The match looks like anyone's game with both wrestlers evenly-matched, up until Savage tries to cheat with the ring bell (the very thing he did to start this feud) and George "The Animal" Steele, who's with Steamboat, foils his plans. The Dragon reverses into a quick roll-up from there to win the title—the first time the Intercontinental Championship changes hands at WrestleMania.

By now, if you know your wrestling history, you already know that this match was scripted right down to the very end. It's done so for good reason as well: Savage and Steamboat maximize the use of back-and-forth momentum and pinfall attempts to rile the crowd up just before Savage meets poetic justice at the very end. Listen to how electric they are—there's a poignant moment in which the crowd is already roaring loud while Savage has Steamboat under his control, and they get even more unglued when the Dragon starts to fight back. If you look up "having the crowd right at the palm of their hands" on Wikipedia, you'll probably get a video of this match.

Before this, pro wrestling was largely traditional in how wrestlers often made the action inside the ring on the fly. (Steele says as much in the oral history linked above.) Randy Savage's penchant for heavily scripting a match—this match in particular, at this WrestleMania—while not unheard of, unlocked a whole new space of what can be done inside the ring, influencing future generations of wrestlers who came, went, and will surely follow.

It's safe to say that modern wrestling wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for Savage vs. Steamboat. Older wrestling fans know, and this arguably stands as the first real WrestleMania moment just because it went on before Hogan/Andre. If you've got the WWE Network, go catch it, because it doesn't even clock at 15 minutes. You've got time to spare.

Want to catch WrestleMania 34 live? Join us at the official Smark Henry WrestleMania Viewing Party on Monday, April 9 at Skinny Mike's Sports Bar in Bonifacio Global City! P300 gets you entrance and a free drink, as well as the closest thing to watching the Grandaddy of Them All live in the arena. It's a holiday, too, so no reason for you to miss out! For more details, check out the Facebook event page here.

Read our previous entries:

1. Daniel Bryan Wins The Big One At WrestleMania 30
2. Seth Rollins Cashes In At WrestleMania 31

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