This week on RAW we were treated to the igniting of what is sure to be a classic feud between The Shield and the three prominent members of the famed Evolution stable. I marked out just as hard as the live audience during this last segment that promised us what is to come, whenever The Shield has had an epic stare down with another stable the fans have eaten it up. All that said, this particular ending had me thinking of my favorite saves throughout the years. Saves have been one of my favorite aspects of wrestling all these years, they do the best job in bringing out the emotion that the business thrives on evoking. These lists will be a weekly thing, and I’ve decided to make the first edition my personal favorite saves. Hope you all enjoy my selections, and hope they bring back as many memories for you as they brought back for me as I was digging these up.
5. Sting Saves DDP on WCW Monday Nitro
Sting’s entertaining little habit of thwarting the mayhem that the NWO inflicting upon WCW Superstars become a staple of WCW weekly programing, and let me tell you it NEVER got old. Seeing him lower his way down from those rafters, black bat in his hand, epic stare downs silently daring the NWO to make a move…it was magic. This save started with the multi-man brawl that was the norm back then, DDP made his way down to the ring to a very warm reception and got some impressive offense in before being attacked by Hogan. DDP found his way out of the ring as the crowd chanted “we want Sting” in unison, and it didn’t take him long to show up. Very few NWO members made an attempt to come after Sting, those that did met the bat. And then something that blew my mind happened, Sting tied DDP to his harness and lifted him up with him back into the rafters to complete safety. That I had never seen before, and it’s a wrestling memory that stayed with me.
4. Hulk Hogan saves ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage from Hart Foundation & Honky Tonk Man on SNME
It was Saturday Night Main Event on October 3, 1987. Randy Savage is attacked by the Hart Foundation and the Honky Tonk Man, Honky Tonk grabs his guitar as the the Hart Foundation hold Macho Man’s lifeless body in place. The lovely Elizabeth attempts to come to the aid of Randy herself, and gets shoved down and taunted for her troubles. Seemingly defeated, she makes her way up the ramp as Honky Tonk measures ‘Macho Man’ and blasts him with his guitar. Right after, in a shot to remember a none the wiser Hulk Hogan is being ushered down to the ring by Elizabeth, when he spots what’s happening his eyes go wide as he rushes down to the ring. The numbers game comes into play but it doesn’t take long for Hogan and Savage to overpower the bad guys. Hogan and Macho Man stare each other down, then shake hands. Thus beginning a beautiful alliance that ultimately results in one of the greatest feuds of all time.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin saves Stephanie McMahon From Undertaker’s Dark Wedding
For many, Undertaker’s Dark Ministry days stands as their favorite version of The Undertaker. I definitely loved it myself, the daring crap they pulled, Taker’s devilish ring attire, his crazy beard, and most of all his kick ass theme. It was all something to be remembered indeed. This next save is definitely one of the most talked about segments of this particular era. Stephanie was abducted by Taker early on which led us to this, Stephanie’s pleas for mercy throughout, Taker running his hand across Stephanie’s face, and the late great Paul Bearer’s disturbing reading of the classic marriage rituals. Before Austin made his way down to the ring, the Big Show attempted his heroics and failed. Before the dreaded kiss, the glass shatters and Steve Austin clears the ring like only he knows how. The aftermath of the save was great television, with the awkward hug Steph gave Stone Cold, to the stare down between Vince and Austin as Vince comes to hug his daughter. Such compelling times. And we all know where it led.
2. Shawn Michaels saves Triple H from Spirit Squad and Reforms DX
On WrestleMania 22, a subtle event started taking place. At the event, Shawn Michaels did battle with Mr. McMahon while Triple H fought John Cena for the WWE Championship. At the PPV, both HBK and HHH decided at some point in the match to taunt their opponents with the famed DX crotch chops, this got people talking. In the weeks that followed, tensions grew between Triple H and Mr. McMahon and HHH began leaning towards a more tweener role. Triple H and HBK had several confrontations through this time period and ultimately HBK got brutally attacked and injured by Vince’s new cronies the Spirit Squad. Triple H eventually angered McMahon bad enough to be put into the same handicap match situation, and it looked like he would suffer the same fate as Shawn. But then HBK made the epic return in this save to assist Triple H in fending off the Spirit Squad. High fives, crotch chops directed at Mr. McMahon, and the reformation of one of the greatest pairings of all time ensue.
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin returns to save Team WWF from team WCW/ECW
The invasion was in full swing, people are torn on the quality of that whole storyline, I think this entire Raw ending with this save is the best done bit about the whole thing. Steve Austin was at his prime as a hated heel with his worship of Vince McMahon, his hugs, his song singing, his comedic skits with Kurt Angle (which I loved). The week prior on Smackdown, Vince begged Stone Cold to return to his old bad ass ways in the name of saving the WWE, Steve refused and walked out. Throughout this Raw, Steve was spending the festivities at a bar watching the show. After a classic pep talk Taker gave the rest of the locker room which Steve witnessed, it was clear it struck a chord and Steve broke a pool stick and made his way to the arena. The rest is history, JR’s classic commentary, Austin’s disturbed theme, and stunners to half the roster. For a time, the Stone Cold Steve Austin we all loved was back in all his trash talking ass kicking glory. One of the best crowd reactions I’ve ever heard too.