While "Macho Man" Randy Savage is now rightfully on WWE's pantheon of all-time greats, fans have to understand that this was a fairly recent development. Savage was infamously blacklisted in WWE for over 20 years from 1994 when he bucked Vince McMahon's offer at just being a commentator and headed down to Atlanta to continue being a wrestler for rival promotion WCW. WWE finally made amends with Savage, but we only saw evidence of this after the legend passed away suddenly in 2011.
Now, the rumors about Randy Savage's blacklisting have ranged from a rift over his jumping to rival WCW to… more salacious accusations. Whatever the truth actually is may never be known, but according to a former WWE Magazine writer, the hatred of Savage extended across the entire McMahon family and resulted in an incident where Shane McMahon attacked a hanging poster of the Macho Man.
Brian Solomon was a writer and editor for WWE Magazine, Raw Magazine, and SmackDown Magazine from 2000 to 2007 and was recently a guest on the 6:05 Podcast with Brian Last, where he spoke about projects he did with the late great Randy Savage and the pushback he received from the higher-ups at WWE. (h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription)
"I remember doing some legends stories. People would be like, 'Oh my God, they're not going to let you do that. You better check with somebody before you do that.' I would just go ahead and do it. I got away with it and I think I got away with it because nobody was noticing. When Randy Savage did his rap CD, 'Be a Man', I had the idea of doing a review for it in the magazine and doing an interview with him. Everybody was like, 'You can't talk to Randy Savage. Persona non grata' Part of it was that I was very naive. I was in my 20's. I got his number, called him up, did the interview, and published it. I remember even in the middle of the interview, he said, 'Does Vince know you're talking to me?' I'm like, 'No, he has no idea.' He started laughing his a** off because even he couldn't believe that I was doing that.
I did the same thing with Bruno (Sammartino) when Arnold Skaaland died. Arnold Skaaland was revered by the McMahon family and the organization so they wanted to have this obituary. I said I can't do this without interviewing Bruno. This was before he reconciled with them. This was like 2006 or something. I said, how can I write this without getting a comment from Bruno. I reached out to Bruno and he was incredulous too. He couldn't believe it and said 'Are you supposed to be talking to me?' He was worried I was going to get fired for talking to him. But I went ahead, I did it, and I printed it.
In both of those cases, I think for Savage, it was the last time that he ever spoke to anybody in the WWE organization, and for Bruno, it was the first time I believe he had talked to any public facing part of the company in many, many years. I just went ahead and did it."
Solomon continued about how Randy Savage was a no-go in WWE at the time and how "Shane-O-Mac" reacted to a poster of the Macho Man in one particular incident.
"Nobody ever said why. I have to be honest without getting into all that. I never knew any of that while I was working there. I found out years later at least whatever rumors there were. I can tell you it was definitely a name that you can't bring up. Among the jobber crew of us working there, you can say whatever you want. Among certain people, you definitely didn't want to bring that name up.
We were such marks in that magazine. That division of the company was definitely composed of people who loved wrestling so we would do markish things. We would have wrestling posters on the wall. We had a Randy Savage one up. I remember at one time I was working for Shane McMahon. He was the head of our department for a little while. I remember he came out of his office. He saw the Randy Savage poster tacked to the wall. He walked over to it. He literally poked it as hard as he could with his fingers repeatedly until it fell off the wall, then he stepped on it, and walked back into his office."
Yeesh! That Randy Savage poster should consider itself lucky that this was 2006 Shane McMahon and not his more recent version where he's the indisputable "best wrestler in the world". One can only imagine what kind of damage the Muay Thai proficient Shane-O would unleash on that inanimate sheet of paper now.