Thirty years ago today, on February 3, 1989, one of the WWF’s most captivating storylines took a huge turn, as the Mega Powers, the main event tandem of “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan, exploded and the two former best friends became bitter enemies, all over the love of one woman, Miss Elizabeth.
The Mega Powers: Formation
The unit that came to become known as The Mega Powers formed in 1987, while Randy Savage was looking to regain the WWF Intercontinental Championship he’d lost earlier that year to Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III. Since then, Steamboat had lost the belt to the Honky Tonk Man, who had begun to question the manhood of Savage. It all came to a boil on October 3, 1987 on Saturday Night’s Main Event, when Savage lost in an attempt to regain the Intercontinental title. Following the loss, Honky Tonk Man’s partners under the guidance of Jimmy Hart, the Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) came down and the trio began to assault Savage in the ring. A frightened Miss Elizabeth quickly ran to the back to find help for her man in the ring.
The WWF Universe was shocked when she returned with WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan, who came in and helped Savage clear the ring. The alliance seemed uneasy at first – after all, from 1985 to earlier that year, Savage was still a frequent challenger for Hogan’s WWF World title. But Savage reluctantly agreed. The two would begin to work WWF House Shows as a tag team unit, taking on all kinds of villainous duos, as the “the combination of ‘Hulkamania’ and ‘Macho Madness’ may become the most powerful force in WWF history.”
The Mega Powers: New World Champion
Following Hulk Hogan’s controversial loss of the WWF World title in February of 1988, that saw his victor, Andre the Giant immediately sell the championship to his benefactor, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, the WWF World Heavyweight Championship was declared vacant by WWF President Jack Tunney, and a tournament would be held at that year’s WrestleMania IV. When Hogan and Andre fought to a double disqualification, it suddenly became any man’s tournament, as the top two threats had eliminated each other.
As luck would have it, Savage would face DiBiase in the finals, but it didn’t take long for The Million Dollar Man’s giant enforcer Andre to make his presence known. Once again, Miss Elizabeth headed to the backstage, and once again, Hulk Hogan came down to Macho Man’s aid. With the Hulkster evening the odds, Savage landed his patented flying elbow and became WWF World Heavyweight Champion for the first time.
The Mega Powers: United
Hogan’s interference at WrestleMania IV lead to the Mega Powers official partnership and their first televised match, in a tag team grudge match that pitted Savage and Hogan against DiBiase and Andre – dubbed The Mega Bucks – at SummerSlam ’88. With longtime Hogan adversary Jesse “The Body” Ventura as guest referee, it didn’t look good for the Mega Powers. But following a risque move of exposing her undergarments, Miss Elizabeth turned the tide, and even though Ventura tried his hardest to avoid counting the 3 count, a subtle nudge from Savage gave the Mega Powers the win.
The Mega Powers: Explode!
But by Survivor Series ’88, the cracks in the team were starting to show. Hogan’s continued attention to Miss Elizabeth unlocked Macho Man’s jealousy and he was beginning to suspect Hogan having more than a mutual admiration for Savage’s longtime manager. It didn’t help months later at Royal Rumble ’89 when Hogan accidentally eliminated Savage from the match either. But it was on February 3, 1989, on Saturday Night’s Main Event that Savage’s jealousy finally hit its boiling point.
In a routine tag team match against The Twin Towers (Big Boss Man & Akeem The African Dream), Savage inadvertently hit Miss Elizabeth, knocking her out. Hogan, seeing a wounded Elizabeth, immediately brought her back to the medics for examination. Instead of returning to the ring, where Savage was being unmercifully double-teamed by the two larger men, Hogan remained at Elizabeth’s side. Once she was revived, she implored Hogan to return to the ring and help Randy. Hogan tried to tag in, but Savage instead slapped his partner in the face. Hogan entered the ring, but a furious Savage grabbed his WWF World title belt and abandoned the Hulkster in the ring, to finish the match by himself. Following the match, Hogan came back to an infuriated Savage, he accused Hogan of sinister intentions with Elizabeth. Neither Hogan nor Elizabeth could talk the Macho Man down, who instead blindsided Hogan with a belt shot to the head, ending their relationship together until much later in WCW in the nWo. It would ultimately lead to an epic showdown at WrestleMania V as the Mega Powers would face off for Savage’s World title, but it was 30 years ago today that a friendship was forever splintered, over the original First Lady of Wrestling, Miss Elizabeth.