Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports has an article chronicling Randy Savage’s extraordinary wrestling career and it features behind-the-scenes details on how it came to an end.
Savage briefly appeared for TNA Wrestling in late 2004 to feud with Jeff Jarrett. At the December pay-per-view, Turning Point, he was scheduled to partner with Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles in a tag team match against The Kings of Wrestling—Jarrett, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Savage, who hadn’t wrestled in over four years, flaked out of the match mere minutes before the pay-per-view was to go live.
WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, who was TNA’s head booker at the time, recalled the tumultuous ordeal backstage in a quote for the article.
“The last words he said to me, five minutes before the PPV, was, ‘I can’t do this. I don’t want people to see me looking like this,'” Rhodes remembered. “Jerry [Jarrett, a TNA company co-owner] called [event producer] Keith Mitchell in, and I said, ‘Change the main event. I said to him, ‘Randy, just go home. It’s okay with me.’ That’s the last words he said to me.”
To explain the wrestling legend’s absence from the match, an angle was hastily scripted for The Kings of Wrestling to attack Savage and stuff him into the trunk of a limo, which spend off out of the arena’s parking lot. Without Savage, Styles and Hardy had to work the match by themselves. Savage ultimately appeared, albeit briefly.
After several minutes of Hardy and Styles fighting off The Kings of Wrestling, Savage, wearing a long black shirt to hide his shrunken physique, returned to the Impact! Zone and walked down to the ring. He was tagged in by Hardy moments later and pinned Jarrett after a punch to the jaw.
Savage bolted from the promotion days later at an iMPACT! taping due to a disagreement over the finish of his match at the next scheduled pay-per-view, Final Resolution. He had requested that he win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Jeff Jarrett at the event, but was denied. He never wrestled again.
Rhodes, who lived a 20-minute drive from Savage, never saw him again following Turning Point. He compared Savage of the last five years of his life to the reclusive lifestyle of Howard Hughes.
“I could see it in his eyes … he just didn’t want to do it,” said Rhodes. “Obviously, he was financially set. Out of all of us from that era, [Ric] Flair, Hogan, Andre, myself, how many of us walked away. One.”