Sadly on this day two years ago, the professional wrestling world lost a true wrestling legend and icon in the Macho Man Randy Savage who lost his life in an automobile accident. Today I’d like to pay tribute by sharing some of my favourite memories and matches of one of my favourite wrestlers of all time.
Born Randy Poffo, he was a second-generation wrestler, son of Angelo Poffo and also the older brother of Lanny Poffo who would portray the Genius in the World Wrestling Federation. Randy was a talented baseball player, even being signed to the minor league affiliate teams of the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox, thus showing the versatility of the man’s athletic prowess. I’ve always had an admiration for dual athletes.
My earliest memory of the Macho Man was his match with Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat. I must have seen it on video because the match took place two years before I was born but for whatever reason I feel as though I watched it live. What can I say about this match that hasn’t already been said? It was paced at such a high tempo and allowed fans to go on a ride where they didn’t know what to expect. I think it responded to any criticism of the past or forthcoming as to whether professional wrestlers are genuine athletes. This match essentially established Randy Savage as a reliable worker who you knew would give you quality matches, and to his testament, Macho Man continued to prove that he could have quality matches with just about anyone.
At Wrestlemania IV, where Macho Man was the winner of the WWE Championship Tournament, we saw the Macho Man compete in four different matches with four different competitors (Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, the One Man Gang and Ted DiBiase) with no BYEs. The next year at Wrestlemania V, Randy Savage defended his championship against Hulk Hogan, in which he enabled Hogan to have, in my opinion, one of his best wrestling matches of his career which I can attribute to the ability of Savage. Hogan has stated that Randy would take his opponents aside and map out how the match would go. Some may call this a detail freak but I call this passion for wanting to deliver for the fans. At Wrestlemania VI, Randy Savage was relegated to a mixed-tag team match with Sensational Sherri versus Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire. This match wasn’t a classic by any means, but Savage, Sherri and Rhodes were all talented enough to pull off an entertaining bout. I remember as a kid being so disappointed that Savage lost having absolutely no idea he was the heel in this match. At Wrestlemania VII, Randy Savage stole the show and this was in a losing effort. Savage once again enabled the Ultimate Warrior to have, in my opinion, the best match of his career (Warrior’s) in the Retirement Match, however, for as great as this match was, it was what happened after that allowed Savage to steal the show. At the end of the match Miss Elizabeth made the save for the Savage who was being assaulted by Sensational Queen Sherri. The two had not been together in over a year and it was their heart-warming embrace that literally brought fans to tears. It was truly awesome to how Savage and Elizabeth could evoke such real emotion, again a testament to Savage. At Wrestlemania VIII, Savage would win the WWE Championship once again against Ric Flair in a classic bout. If you look back at many of Savage’s Wrestlemania opponents, they truly are a whose who of the wrestling business.
Macho Man would also have great matches with other opponents that weren’t on the Grandest stage of them all. He had some great matches with Tito Santana (as could be expected), he was able to put forward good matches with the Honky Tonk Man. I wish his feud with Jake Roberts could have lasted longer because you knew both men could deliver. I remember one match, I believe in 1992 in England with the Macho Man squaring off against a young Shawn Michaels and it was an excellent and entertaining match that I suggest anyone make time to watch.
I’ve exhausted my point that Randy Savage had a great matches but beyond that, he just looked and acted the part. His wrestling attire from the glamorous robes, large sunglasses, stars on the tights in the 80s to his colorful wrestling attire and hats with ribbons in 90s, he just exuded superstardome. Macho Man was also captivating on the mic. He had so much intensity and would say things that made sense at times and other times had you scratching your head but you wanted to see where this was going. It was this intensity, that I’m sure attracted Slim Jim to Macho Man as he became they’re most famous spokesman, with the signature catchphrase, “Snap into a Slim Jim, oooh yeah!”
I didn’t follow WCW too much so I can’t speak to the work Savage did in that company. I know he was champion on a few occasions and had a notable feud with DDP. I know Savage also competed in TNA in 2004-05. I remember being super excited when I saw Savage in the Spider-man movie and also hearing he was voicing a character in the animated movie, Bolt. I remember often trying to google a recent photo of Savage just to see what he’s been up to, but from what I understand Randy Savage often tried to keep his personal affairs private.
It’s again disappointing to know that Randy Savage isn’t with us anymore. As fans, we all wanted to see him come back for a Hall of Fame induction just to witness the moment where he came out to the “Pomp and Circumstance” one last time and hear his speech. Does Savage need to be inducted? He deserves to be, undoubtedly, but it doesn’t make his contributions to wrestling any less if he isn’t. I’m not sure what happened that ruined the relationship between Savage and McMahon. There’s rumours out there that seek to answer this question but I don’t care to entertain them. In a video, from I believe 1994, Vince McMahon addresses the departure of Savage and in my opinion, it looked like McMahon lost one of his favourite superstars–perhaps the wrestling fan in him just never got over the disappointment . Randy Savage was just that great!
We miss you Macho Man, your legacy and memory forever live on!