One of the fun things that comes with being a fan of any genre are the undiscovered gems you stumble upon. That wow factor kicks into overdrive because it sounds too good to be true when you find something that you never knew existed.
‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger are two of my favorite professional wrestlers. Up until this past weekend, I would’ve called you a liar if you said they actually wrestled each other. Well, they did in fact tango in the squared circle.
Their one and only encounter took place on July 17, 1996 in Sapporo, Japan, during a New Japan Pro Wrestling tour. Savage was one of four wrestlers representing WCW, and hurt his leg on a dive the night before in a losing effort to Ric Flair.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, a sellout crowd 6,400 fans filled the Makomanai Ice Arena as Savage hobbled to the ring for his showdown with the esteemed junior heavyweight. Liger entered next with his usual flash and energy as an admirer handed him a bouquet of flowers.
While the match was only eight minutes and really nothing special, it was a nice novelty to see two of the all-time greats dance one time. It was odd seeing Savage being the bigger of the two wrestlers since he was often the smallest guy in the ring.
Despite winning the match with his patented flying elbow drop, Savage really worked to put Liger over as a serious threat. He played defense most of the time due to his leg injury, sold like a champ for the palm strike, and took a Liger Bomb.
Wrestlers have always been expected to wear their working shoes when traveling to Japan. However, looking at the landscape of superstar American heavyweights at the time, I don’t think that many of them would have gone out of their way to make a wrestler in a weight class below look like a serious threat.
It was fun to see Savage out of his element and with Liger. Again, the match is nothing to write home about, but this one time encounter is worth a gander if you a fan of these colorful titans of the mat. The Madness versus The Thunder, Ooh Yeah!