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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.”

  • Gary

    marktheshark and cm mark, totally agree, except the under 30 remark, im 24 and have alot of respect for the older wrestlers…You gta see it as wrestling would never be the way it is today without the likes of them. “elder” Vets..

  • CM Mark

    There was a time when Dusty put more buts in seats than anyone. Just because he wasn’t a BIG plasticVince creation doesn’t mean he wasn’t the calibur of Flair. Go back and read your history books.

  • marktheshark

    Toby:

    Your an idiot! Obviously you must be under 30 years old. Dusty Rhodes is at least the among the second best tier wrestlers ever! You ever heard of the old Florida Championship Wrestling? Some of the sports biggest starts preformed there including Dusty, the Road Warriors, Ric Flair and more. Dusty’s battles with Flair are among the best ever.

    Know your history – it will serve you well.

  • Gary

    Never said he was above them, i just say his is one of “those” guys..not one person can honsetly say without no faults who the best 5,10,20 wrestlers are. hell myself, terry funk is above most the guys meantioned (including rhodes)

  • CC

    @ Gary. So what about Harley Race, Superstar Billy Graham, Terry Funk etc etc etc
    Rhodes seems to paint himself as being above guys like those and many others, and many of them walked away.

  • Gary

    @Toby, i understand your point but i you look at the history books, Dusty wrestled damn near 10 years before Hogan, Has won more titles then hogan and (IMO) has had a better Influnce on wrestling…Only reason I say he is “One of those top guys from the past” his era was before the hulkamania wave hit….NWA FTW!

  • peep it

    Ah…..One problem Ric Flair is bbbbbbbbaaaaa….. Broke… Lol That why his scooter store ass is still wrestling.

  • Eric Nixon

    I think the possibly bigger tragedy from this is that of all the high profile deaths in wrestling business in the last ten years, Savage is the only name that comes to mind that doesn’t make you think about steroid or drugs/alcohol. What happened to him could have happened to anyone his age.

  • Gary

    venom in his days he was one of those top guys….

  • venom

    Savage was smart. Walk away on top. I like how Dusty puts himself on the same page as Andre, Hogan, and Flair.

  • Gary

    “Out of all of us from that era, [Ric] Flair, Hogan, Andre, myself, how many of us walked away. One.”

    truest shit ive heard in awhile…

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