"Macho Man" Randy Savage is one of the most celebrated wrestling legends of all time, and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat is not far behind. Capping a three-month feud at Wrestlemania III in 1987, these two went to war over the Intercontinental Championship. This war would be commended by fans, peers, and critics as the greatest wrestling match of all time.
Before Okada/Omega, Austin/Rock, and Styles/Nakamura, there was Savage/Steamboat.
The biggest secret revealed from this match was that the ENTIRE contest was scripted on paper. "Most matches were called in the ring," Steamboat said in a documentary about Savage. However, this match had numerous pages of notes about the certain move that was to be performed and how the entire match would go. Veterans of the business, including a ring-savvy Steamboat, believed that matches had to be improvised in order to feel the crowd's reaction. Savage was not going to do that in this match: he designed a pinnacle pro wrestling match like it was the Super Bowl.
But that's what Wrestlemania was, is, and always will be.
It's the Super Bowl of pro wrestling, yet Savage and Steamboat weren't the main event. Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant was the match that sold out Detroit that night in 1987. Savage and Steamboat would steal the show entirely, though. The fact that fans talk about Savage/Steamboat more than Andre/Hogan (except the historic sight of Hogan slamming Andre) is because both Savage and Steamboat showcased a compelling, gripping, and absorbing match of the ages.
"They were sold out for the rest of the locker room that night," Bret Hart once said, "everyone was watching that match."
For everyone who has not seen this match, keep this in mind: Savage was the heel, Steamboat was the face. After that night, both were faces in the eyes of the fans. "Macho Man" managed to convince the world that he was a once in a lifetime wrestler, while "The Dragon" capitalized on his NWA/WCW legacy to become a WWE legend. Even George "The Animal" Steele is remembered for pushing Savage off the top rope to save Steamboat from losing.
In the end, "Macho Man" dropped the IC Title to Steamboat, yet both men put on the greatest wrestling match of all time. It can be said that matches post-Savage/Steamboat have been compared, and some can say better matches have happened since.
However, Savage/Steamboat at Wrestlemania III is THE greatest match of all time thirty-one years later.
RIP "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth, and George "The Animal" Steele.