WWE is set to add the Ultimate Warrior to its Hall of Fame, an institution that will not be complete until "Macho Man" Randy Savage is inducted.
The former WWE champ deserves a spot on the strength of his in-ring excellence, stellar mic work and for being one of the most unforgettable personalities of the industry. Issues outside of the ring continue to keep him out of the Hall, its legitimacy suffering because of it.
His credentials are obvious. Savage was a top star in the '80s and '90s as both a memorable heel and babyface and has an in-ring resume filled with some of WWE's best matches.
He and Ricky Steamboat put on a match at WrestleMania III that many consider to be the greatest of all time.
His rivalries with Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Ultimate Warrior and Ric Flair produced classic matches and treasured moments. Who could forget Savage struggling to free himself from the ropes as Roberts' cobra bit into his flesh?
Factor in that he is one of the best talkers in WWE history and the fact that the highs and lows of his relationship with Elizabeth provided some of the company's best drama ever, one doesn't even have to consider his work in Memphis, WCW and elsewhere to argue for his spot in the Hall of Fame.
A WWE-produced tribute video said of Savage, "His 30-year career left an indelible mark on WWE history."
Why isn't he in the Hall then? The issues holding back his induction appear to be plentiful.
George Steele talked about the situation in an interview on Busted Open, via PWTorch.com, saying that Savage's departure hurt Vince McMahon. Steele said, "I don't think he ever got over that. I think that's the real problem to be honest with you."
Savage left WWE in 1994, but it seems that McMahon was still no Macho Man fan in 2006.
In an interview with Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com, former WWE writer Alex Greenfield talked about the reaction to him suggesting Savage be entered into the Hall of Fame.
When we were talking about Hall of Fame for WrestleMania 22, we were all asked to write lists and I absolutely put Savage on that list. Nobody said anything about it but it was surely made plain, "No." It was just a flat no. Then, I can't remember who it was, maybe it was Hayes. He said, "Yeah. Next year, don't do that."
Beyond any grudge that McMahon may still hold, there is the issue of Savage refusing induction.
When Inside the Ropes, via WrestlingInc.com, asked Gene Okerlund why Savage was not in the Hall of Fame, he said, "They asked him many times and he declined." A part of that was because Savage had specific conditions regarding him potentially being a WWE Hall of Famer.
His brother Lanny Poffo said in an interview on a PWTorch Livecast, "Randy wouldn't go in unless I went in and my father went in. He wanted to go in as the Poffo Family."
That's simply not going to happen.
Lanny was a midcarder for WWE in the early '90s as The Genius and was barely used during his stint with WCW. His father Angelo was a successful wrestler in several territories in the '50s and '60s, but isn't someone WWE can really justify inducing into the Hall.
His brother Lanny has since begrudgingly given his blessing regarding Savage's induction.
He said the following during a Shining Wizards podcast, via WrestlingInc.com.
Go ahead and do whatever you want. I only have two requests. Leave me out of it-don't invite me-and please don't pay me, because I don't need the thirty pieces of silver. That was the amount Judas Iscariot took to betray Jesus.
There will apparently be hard feelings between the Poffos and WWE regardless of what McMahon decides.
It's a strange and tense situation. WWE would have to move forward going against Savage's wishes and with the Macho Man's brother unhappy with the situation.
As sticky and uncomfortable as the circumstances are, though, WWE must induct Savage. Chris Jericho was one of many folks who thought of him when word of Ultimate Warrior getting the nod came out.
WWE was surprisingly able to smooth things over with Bruno Sammartino and Ultimate Warrior, two wrestlers with their own set of issues with the company.
The company failed to do the same with Savage before his passing. That leaves Savage as the omission fans will most often point to when denouncing the legitimacy of the institution.
His peers Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Roddy Piper, Ted DiBiase, Tito Santana and Flair are already in. The top stars of the era after his, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, are in as well. Men like Edge, Booker T and Mick Foley of a time much closer to the present have beat Savage into the Hall.
The man who amazed between the ropes and hypnotized on the mic like no one else, the man whose name is still chanted at WWE events today can't remain on the outside of the WWE Hall of Fame.