Savage had all the necessary tools to be a superstar when he entered WWE in 1984--he had a good look, he could work, he could talk, and he was charismatic. But what really shot him to the top was the decision to make the lovely Elizabeth his manager in 1985.
Elizabeth, a.k.a. the late Liz Hulette, Savage's real-life wife at the time (but not acknowledged as such in story lines), was the first female manager in WWE history. Elegant, petite, and somewhat mysterious, Elizabeth's presence at Savage's side made the "Macho Man" stand out in a company loaded with talented wrestlers.
The couple made for an interesting dichotomy, as people hated him but loved her. Savage drew the fans'ire by verbally abusing Elizabeth, who, despite Savage's abhorrent behavior, remained loyal.
Savage later turned babyface after saving Elizabeth, who perfectly played the damsel in distress, from an attack by the Hart Foundation and the Honky Tonk Man. That led to Savage and Hulk Hogan forming the Megapowers. Hogan's interference helped Savage defeat Ted DiBiase, "the Million Dollar Man," in the finals of the WWE world title tournament at WrestleMania IV.
For one year, Savage and Elizabeth were on top of the wrestling world. Then, in one of WWE's most memorable story lines, an insanely jealous Savage accused Hogan of "lusting after Elizabeth." An enraged Savage turned on Hogan and shoved Elizabeth to the ground in an era when such violence toward women in wrestling was considered shocking. Eventually, Savage and Elizabeth reconciled and were "married" at SummerSlam in 1991. Seven months later at WrestleMauia VIII, Savage regained the WWE title by defeating Ric Flair, who had lied about having an affair with Elizabeth.
In 1992, Savage and Hulette divorced, and she left the business. Elizabeth resurfaced in WCW in 1996 and resumed an on-air partnership with Savage. This time, she turned on him and sided with Flair before later going back to Savage again. By that point the story lines had been played out, and she went on to become the valet and real-life girlfriend of Lex Luger. Elizabeth died of an apparent drug overdose at Luger's home this past spring.