By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Here on WrestleMania Recall, I will be ranking my top 31 favorite matches in WWE WrestleMania history. A new installment will be posted every day in the month of March, culminating with my No. 1 favorite match on Thursday, March 31st, mere days before WrestleMania 32. Each article will offer an in-depth look at each match and an analysis of why it is among my favorites.
I've mentioned before here in the series that you won't find too many old WrestleMania matches on this list, and when I say "old" I'm talking about anything from the first 15 WrestleMania events. I consider myself a fan of '80s wrestling, but let's be honest: those early installments were painful to sit through. They had historical significance, sure, but when I watched all 30 WrestleManias last year, those were the most difficult to endure, especially as someone who has no emotional attachment to them.
That said, I have a soft spot in my heart for Ultimate Warrior's WrestleMania matches, or at least his encounters with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. I already discussed Warrior vs. Hogan just a few days ago, but I liked the Warrior vs. Savage match from WrestleMania 7 slightly more. For a WrestleMania I didn't care too much for, this was a mach I absolutely loved and still enjoy watching back from time to time, if only to remind me of why both men are among my favorite legends in WWE history.
Needless to say, Warrior wasn't capable of contesting a mat classic. In fact, he was actually quite awful when working longer matches, but if his iconic clash with Hogan proved anything, it's that a match doesn't need tremendous technical wrestling in order to be great. Rather, all that needs to be in place is a stellar story, and that was certainly the case with this contest. And the best part about it was how the story seemed to be told over the course of a few WrestleManias.
First, Savage realized a dream when he won his first WWE Championship at WrestleMania 4. By WrestleMania 5, he was a full-fledged heel after breaking up with Miss Elizabeth and dropped the title to the same man who helped him win it in the first place, Hulk Hogan. He wasn't involved in a marquee match at WrestleMania 6, though that was the show Warrior became WWE Champion by beating Hogan. After squaring off against The Hulkster at the previous two installments, it was time for Savage and Warrior to go one-on-one at WrestleMania 7.
At 1991's Royal Rumble event, Warrior's WWE Championship run came to an end when Savage cost him the gold against Sgt. Slaughter. Warrior previously denied Macho Man a title shot, which is what prompted Savage to target him. That set the stage for their WrestleMania match, but it was more than just an ordinary singles bout: whoever lost would be forced to retire. Thus, the stakes were high and fans were anxious to see which illustrious career would come to an end.
If Warrior and Hogan were able to make magic in Canada, it was apparent Savage would have no problem doing the same with the Warrior. They went back and forth for over 20 minutes, trading blows and exchanging finishing manuvers. Neither man was willing to give in, nor did either of them want their career to conclude prematurely. Savage dished out five flying elbows on Warrior, yet he kicked out. And all it took was one or two running splashes from Warrior to put Macho Man away.
All right, so that was a bit silly, but it went to show how much respect Savage had for Warrior to want to do the job for him and even have him pin him in the fashion he did, by placing his foot on his chest. Not only was the match a masterpiece, the most memorable moment occurred afterward when Savage was betrayed by his valet Sensational Sherri and Miss Elizabeth, who was sitting in the crowd, came to his aid. They reunited after the match as legitimate tears rolled down the cheeks of fans in attendance. Beautiful.
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall, Match #10: Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan, WrestleMania 30"