The Cageside Seats Pro Wrestling Tournament has reached its finals after a long two month road to the end that featured a lot of bumps in the road for some elite talent of the industry.
Except for Stone Cold Steve Austin and Macho Man Randy Savage, the two men who will battle it out starting tomorrow (Aug. 27, 2012) and ending Wednesday night at midnight CT.
I'm here to give you a reason to vote for the former and a reason not to vote for the latter. This is my pitch to you, Cagesiders, and I've been building it over a three part series chronicling the career of the greatest who ever lived.
In part one, we went over Austin's early career in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as "Stunning" Steve, an expert mechanic with the technical chops to hang with some of the best ever between the ropes. Even as early as just a few years into his career, Ricky Steamboat told a young Austin that he already had everything it took to be a major star in the industry.
In part two, we talked about Austin making his way to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and overcoming the early obstacles of the company not knowing the mega-star they had in their employ. He was saddled with a manager he didn't need and a gimmick he didn't want but once he ditched them both and was given some creative freedom, he took the ball and ran with it.
Finally, in part three, we went over the Stone Cold Steve Austin Era from 1998 to 2002. He became the biggest star in the history of the business, involved in all the hot angles, selling tons of merchandise, exploding buyrates on pay-per-view (PPV), driving ratings on television, and generally being the most entertaining man on TV every Monday and Thursday night.
This is why you should vote for "The Rattlesnake" and not "The Madness."
Why you should vote for Stone Cold Steve Austin
Every single set of criteria you could come up with, he's superior.
Drawing power? He drew bigger buyrates, better television ratings and sold far more merchandise throughout his career. That's in comparison to anyone, not just Savage.
Promos? Are you kidding me? We're talking about a guy who connected with the audience in a way few can match. You could argue his promo following King of the Ring in 1996 when he coined the Austin 3:16 catchphrase is the most memorable of all time. He always had the audience captivated, he kept them involved, he and got multiple catchphrases over. Hell, the word "what" is still a thorn in our sides an entire decade after he first introduced it. That's success, folks.
Workrate? Consider this: When Austin initially came to the WWF, he was given a gimmick that centered solely around the fact that he was a master of the ring. He was a master mechanic who could have a good match with anybody, and it took him just a few years to earn the blessing of such greats like the aforementioned Steamboat. Not only that, he adjusted his style after breaking his neck to a brawling, mat heavy base and STILL managed to put on incredible matches. Hurt or not, he was amazing inside the ring, no matter what style he was working or the limitations placed upon him.
Legacy? Purely within the world of professional wrestling, there was nobody better. At his peak, he could hang with even the very best workers in the industry and when it came to business, he drew better than anyone before him and, so far, anyone after. You will never hear so many crowds across the world pop for a wrestler the way they popped for Stone Cold. His catchphrases live on and it's not outside the norm to see someone walking through your local mall wearing an Austin 3:16 t-shirt, more than 16 years after he first coined the phrase.
You should vote for Austin because he's better in every way.
Why you shouldn't vote for Macho Man Randy Savage
Let's be real for a second: If Savage was alive today, would he have beaten Hulk Hogan? That's a legitimate question worth pondering and there's no easy answer.
I'm not sure he would have. Quite frankly, even with his untimely demise, I'm not sure he should have made it this far anyway.
He's a beloved character, sure. He was good in the ring, yeah. But ask yourself this -- was there ever a time, even once, that Macho Man Randy Savage was the number one guy in the professional wrestling world?
The answer is no.
We don't even need to delve into the various stories surrounding his career that damage his reputation (*cough* Stephanie McMahon *cough*).
Savage was always playing second fiddle to Hogan, whether it was as the number two guy in the Mega Powers, jobbing to him at WrestleMania, or being a lesser member of the New World Order (nWo). Even during the times Hogan wasn't around, Savage wasn't the top guy.
The bottom line (because Stone Cold said so) is that Savage was never the number one guy while he was in the pro wrestling business; so how can he be the number one guy now that he's not?
Remember, Cagesiders: Vote - Austin.