Remembering George The Animal Steele 1937-2017
by Frank Kermit
I first saw George The Animal Steele on WWF's Saturday Night's Main Event. It was a segment where he and Gene Okerlund were visiting a zoo.
I did not know what to make of it. I was new to wrestling (and have since been a long time fan). I loved the character and at times felt that he might not be acting. George Steele played his character of "The Animal" so well, that at times, he could make fans forget that he was actually a very educated and intelligent human being.
He was a sight to see. He did not care about winning the matches. He was there to entertain the fans, with his green tongue and his desire to eat and destroy the turnbuckles. He was a prime example that you do not have to win championships to make a living in professional wrestling.
Then came a wonderful story line that George Steele tends to be remembered for. George was set to wrestling Randy Macho Man Savage, and during that match, George first saw Miss Elisabeth (the manager and wife of Randy Savage) and The Animal fell in love with her. It was playing on the theme of the elusive beauty who was with a controlling partner and the endearing beast that everyone wanted to see end up with her.
This feud would go on to be one of the most memorial and emotionally tapping wrestling feuds of its time. In real life, they were all friends, and Miss Elisabeth was in no real danger, nor was there any chance she would leave her husband for Steele. With that said, Randy Savage was in fact very jealous and the friends (Savage and Steele) would get into real life arguments because of Savage's jealousy. But nonetheless, it was a great show.
The story line came to an end at Wrestlemania 3, where Steele helped Ricky The Dragon Steamboat beat Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship. George never got the girl, but he did give the "bad guy" Savage some come up-pens.
I will always remember you George The Animal Steele (aka Jim Myers). Thank you for the memories. I know that I only watched you during the later years of your career and missed so many of your great moments prior to your feud with Savage, but nonetheless, you made on impact on me, and countless others that grew up watching wrestling at the same time I did.
Good bye George, and Thank You.
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