Video: Macho Man Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Buster Douglas in 1990

The late "Macho Man" Randy Savage saw his pro wrestling career impacted by the 1990 upset of Mike Tyson by James "Buster" Douglas. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

I've expressed this before, but like many I grew up a major pro wrestling fan. I was of the perfect age back when the then-WWF was hitting what was at that point an all-time high behind Hulk Hogan in the mid-to-late 1980s, and I won't bore you with how by the time I was 8 or 9 years old in the early 90s, I'd found out that I far preferred the more awesome NWA/WCW to the stupid WWF (because I'm such a genius), so let's move on to the point here.

Today, all-time great pro wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage died in Florida at the age of 58. He was a chief rival and ally of Hogan during those golden years, and like in boxing or any other form of entertainment or sport, a great hero does best when encountered with a great villain. Savage was a great villain in the cartoon world of pro wrestling. There was nobody quite like him, ever. Everything you need to have to be a superstar in the wrestling business, Savage had.

On February 11, 1990, a fairly lightly-regarded James "Buster" Douglas stopped Mike Tyson in Tokyo in one of the great upsets in boxing history. That part is all very well-known to boxing fans, of course, but for those who didn't follow pro wrestling at the time, or never have, it wound up sending shockwaves through that industry as well. The WWF had signed Tyson to a big contract to serve as a guest referee for an upcoming network television match between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in Detroit, to be aired on February 23.

Once Tyson lost, his value dropped dramatically, and suddenly Buster Douglas was the star in demand. Everyone wanted a piece of the man who stopped the unstoppable Tyson. So the WWF scrambled and signed Douglas to replace Tyson for the event, the first big event of Douglas' short-lived but eventful post-Tyson superstardom.

Boxing and pro wrestling, of course, have a long history of crossovers. Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Scott LeDoux, and a great many others have been involved with wrestling at one point or another, and the great Gorgeous George was a chief influence of Ali's promotional personality.

Here's a look back at that night for those with any interest, with an awkward Douglas side-by-side with the over-the-top theatricality of the brilliant Randy Savage and that goof Hulk Hogan, in four parts.



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