Date: July 17, 1996 and November 6, 1999
Location: Nakajima Sports Center in Sapporo, Japan and Sun Dome Arena in Tampa, FL
Source: RF Video, Powerslam Magazine, Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Randy Savage and Road Warrior Hawk got into two scuffles, and while the first one is pretty straight, there are other versions of the second one.
According to Hawk’s friend and tag team partner Animal, the heat began in 1994 when Hawk, Savage, and Hawk’s fiancé Dale were having dinner at a Japanese hibachi place in Tampa. After Hawk got up to use the restroom, Animal alleges that Savage leaned over to Dale and said, “Hey, how’d you like for me to take you under the table and show you what a real man is like?” Dale ignored him and didn’t tell Hawk about it… until two years later in Japan.
The night in Japan was July 17 at a New Japan show in 1996. When Hawk heard what Dale told him, he reacted with, “What? He said what?? I’ll kill that mother*cker next time I see him!” That “next time” was that night in Japan, and the whole time the Road Warriors were getting ready, Hawk kept saying, “I can’t stand it, I’m going to confront that mother*cker when we’re done.”
Savage was in his ring gear and about to head through the curtain for his match. Hawk confronted him and said, “Heard about what you said to my old lady at the restaurant, mother*cker!” Savage denied it. “So you’re calling her a liar?” asked Hawk. Animal claims it was the word “liar” that set Hawk off, and Hawk said Savage called him worse things than that as well.
Hawk leaned over the railing and hit Savage with a powerful open hand “bitch slap.” His hat and glasses went flying. Tatsumi Fujinami held up a groggy Savage as Animal prevented Hawk from going after him to inflict more damage. Sting and Keiji Muto were also there to witness this. Hawk was still angry, shouting “That’s what you get for messing with my girl, asshole. If you want more, I’ll be in the parking lot after the show!” Savage was reportedly dying to get his hands on Hawk, but he had to get to the ring. During the match, all he could think about was getting back at Hawk.
As for the match, they had to hold up the show as they took time to find Savage (who was still on the ground). Animal said Ric Flair was waiting for him, and Savage did have a match with Flair on the July 16 show. However, it’s believed this incident took place on July 17, when Savage had a match with Jushin Liger. The Wrestling Observer reported that Liger was waiting in the ring, and with no Savage, they called for a short intermission. This story appears accurate, because reports are that when this aired on television, Savage “hobbled” to the ring for the match. That would make sense if he had just been knocked silly moments before. In the Flair match, Savage is not hobbling and has no visible marks on his face. As far as Flair waiting for Savage, perhaps Animal remembered the incident incorrectly since the night before the two really did have a match.
Animal claimed Savage was one of those guys who takes too much testosterone and acts much bigger than he really is. Hawk claimed he was on Interferon medication for his liver and was the weakest he had ever been in his career and hadn’t been lifting weights, yet he still knocked Savage down with one open-hand slap.
Lanny Poffo later stated that he doesn’t believe Savage hit on Dale because Savage was a shallow man who appreciated beauty and that Hawk’s wife was “well below his standards.” Dale knew Hulk Hogan and his wife Linda, and they set her up with Hawk.
Poffo also claimed it was more of an “ambush” on Savage. He also claims Savage went after Hawk after the match was over, but that it was broken up. He claimed Savage got nothing more than a little mouse under his eye. When Dave Meltzer reported the story, he said it wasn’t “exactly the first time Hawk has popped someone in Japan, or the United States for that matter.”
The second incident happened three years later, backstage at a Kid Rock concert in Tampa, FL. Hawk said he was talking to one of the band members and saw Savage coming over. Hawk had warned security that there was heat between the two, but didn’t think Savage would try anything after Hawk hit him so hard the first time.
Hawk extended his hand to Savage, and he responded with right hook that took Hawk down. One report said he batted his hand away first, and another report said he leapt over a couple people while striking him. Hawk claims it was a sucker punch he never saw coming. In his shoot interview, Hawk said the punch “didn’t faze” him, but Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Live that Hawk did admit to being knocked down, but not out. Savage’s version is that Hawk was down for quite awhile.
What happened next is unclear. Most versions of the story are that Hawk got up, and somehow the two were in the bathroom at this point. Hawk grabbed Savage by the collar and threw him up against the wall and held him there. Hawk claims he wanted to kill him, but cops and security all came over to break it up.
Stephanie Bellars, a.k.a. Gorgeous George, tells a different story. Bellars was Savage’s girlfriend at the time, who also worked as his valet in WCW. She claims that she, her younger sister, and Savage all went to the bathroom. She didn’t even recognize Hawk without his face paint. She said the two immediately got into it, and when she walked into the bathroom, it was a crazy scene with urinals ripped off the walls and two monsters fighting. That isn’t consistent with Hawk’s version, in which he simply held him against the wall before security came. Bellars claims there were about 15 security guys outside and not one of them was stopping it.
To get them to stop, Bellars threw full soda cans at Hawk’s head. Dale, who by this point was Hawk’s wife, got into Bellars’ sister’s face and pushed her. The two sisters than attacked Dale and beat her badly, ripping out her hair in the process. She said there were now two groups of people fighting (the men and the women), and that everyone was afraid to stop it.
Hawk claims the women attacked Dale for no reason at all. As a result of the physical damage, Dale has tinnitus in her ear and hears bells all the time. He sued Savage over the incident, not because of what he did to him, but because of what he did to his wife. He also called Savage “The most miserable mother*cker I ever met in my life.” The suit went nowhere after Hawk passed away in 2003, but Randy did pay a lot of money fighting the case until then.
Two years later, Bellars was part of the short-lived XWF promotion with Hawk. She claimed to have been on elevator with Hawk for 15 floors, but didn’t realize it until after she had stepped in. She was nervous the whole time, and after a period of awkward silence, she apologized to Hawk. She said she never meant to hurt his wife but that nobody was stopping it and she didn’t know what to do. Hawk said it was cool of her to say that, and later the two went down to the bar, made up, and got “shit faced.”
In his shoot interview, Hawk called Bellars “Gorgeous Cunt” (since her ring name was Gorgeous George). However, that interview was conducted in 2000, a full year and a half before Bellars had the elevator run-in with him.
The whole saga is unfortunate, especially in light of the early deaths of both men.
The Road Warriors give their side of the story:
More from the Road Warriors, Lanny Poffo, and Gorgeous George: