Savio Vega is still at it at 56 years old.
A member of the MLW roster, Savio Vega has also helped produce the younger talent on the show. Once upon a time, he was one of those younger talents, and had a breakout feud against Stone Cold Steve Austin in early 1996 that is often looked at as a pivotal turning point in both careers. When speaking with Fightful, Savio recalled first meeting Austin.
"Okay, listen to this. The first match (I had with) Steve was in San Antonio, Texas. I remember I was in the catering area, lacing my boots, and here comes Pat. I saw the paper and I saw Savio Vega against Steve Austin by that time. I said, ‘Okay.’ Here comes Pat, he says, ‘Savio, this is Steve. He’s gonna do (this match) with you. Put it together. Let me know.’ I say, ‘Okay. No problem.’ Honest, I don’t know Steve from before. Maybe I seen some pictures here or there, [but had] went out of my mind. I said, ‘Brother, I don’t know you. You don’t know me. My finishing move is a spinning kick. Let’s call it in the ring.’ He says, ‘Okay. When he says okay, hey, I didn’t even realize in that moment, that okay—thinking later—he was ready for this. He knows already and through the years, I say, ‘Why him and me, we have this type of chemistry that worked perfect?’ Thinking, this is after I left WWF—WWE in that time—thinking about why, why? Of course, he was working in Atlanta. He was working Florida, Texas. All that area and many, many guys in that area work with me here in Puerto Rico. So, we got that timing already. We studied the same book," Savio said.
The match, which Savio misremembered as being Austin's tryout match, was actually a few months after Austin had been hired. Instead, it was a cold match on Raw just a few weeks before WrestleMania XII.
"Man, we had a great match," Savio said. "Even Pat Patterson—rest in peace, his soul—he came to me, ‘Savio! Tell me.’ What I said to him was, ‘You see the match?’ He says, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘You tell me.’ He says, ‘Looked great,’ and he said, ‘Tomorrow you guys going back in the ring.’ I say, ‘Okay.’ Now, next day, next tryout, that’s when—like I said, we touch other—now I know his timing. ‘Let’s do this, let’s do that.’ Then from that moment on they put us together for almost a year, I believe. Maybe less, but it looked like a year. We worked every night every where. Pay-per-views, left and right, stories with him. Like he says, ‘Savio beat the hell out of me.’ I never hurt him. He never hurt me. But, we worked solid. We worked strong. Every time he had something in mind like the first stunner, he said, ‘Savio, I have in mind that this finishing move, it’s a new one. I want to try. Can we do it today?’ I say, ‘Of course!’ I mean, we don’t have a ‘no,’ brother. We never, never, never have a ‘no’ for something. Something new, ‘What about this,’ ‘What about that?’ Yes. We have a big time routine for an hour. Easy. Non-stop. Then we chop this here and there, adding at all angles. Man, I enjoyed working with him."
The feud expanded. The two teamed together in a tag team title tournament, which shocked the audience.
"The other day I was thinking of that where when I knocked on the door and he opened the door and went, ‘What the—?’ I remember that, yes."
Another thing that shocked the audience was at In Your House: Beware of Dog, when the lights went out during their match. This caused the two to have to improvise, but Vega says that despite that nobody could really see anything, he likes how it turned out.
"If you see, the camera looks at me for one second, the lightning strikes and [boom]! Lights went out. So, we killed, I dunno, maybe ten minutes around the ring doing the gaga to see if the lights [are] coming back. One of those [strikes], Steve swings the belt and hit me right here in the back of my head. Oh, my God, and hard because he was swinging hard. So, now here comes Bruce. ‘You have to do that match. So, let’s go inside.’ You could see the people could see, but not bright. So, we did the match. Great match. It was a good match. We do whatever the routine we have in mind," said Savio.
The WWF didn't see it as appropriate for public consumption, and decided to run the match back two nights later, and added a major stipulation.
"We come back to the dressing room, that’s when Pat comes. He says, ‘Savio, Steve—on Tuesday, you guys have to do the match again because nobody see it.’ We are like, ‘Oh, man.’ ‘Cause, we’re beat up. We beat the hell out of each other that night. So, I think it was, Monday night off and we work on Tuesday. Now they add the point where Ted DiBiase’s leaving to WCW. So, they put the chauffer type of deal where if I lost I’m gonna be the chauffer and blah, blah, blah, and if he lost, he’s gone out of WWE. So, man, the match come out good. But, to be honest, Steve and me, we love more the first match than the second one. Because maybe we’re already bruised or whatever. But, we worked hard. We take a few things from that first match. But, we love it, man. We love it. We love working each other."
You can see Savio Vega in action on July 10 at MLW Battle Riot III, where he's a part of the 40-man over the top rope battle royal, Battle Riot! The winner gets am MLW Title shot whenever they choose. You can see where to watch MLW at this link.