Wrestling fans are sadly rather familiar with the feeling of losing a star. In the past 10 or so years, the list of those lost to drugs, alcohol abuse or horrific accidents is utterly horrendous. However, the loss of one superstar today has transcended them all.
I was on break from work when I checked my Twitter feed to see the WWE’s tweet that the Macho Man Randy Savage, had passed away. The pain of losing someone who I grew up watching is something I have become sadly very used to. To a generation of wrestling fans, Savage is one of its icons. He was a man beloved not only by fans, but by a majority of his peers. Savage represented the rock and wrestling era so brilliantly. When you first tune in and see this man enter to Pomp and Circumstance, the crowd rising to cheer as one before turning to the entranceway, you get the feeling “this guy is something special”. Always led by the beautiful First Lady of Professional Wrestling, the quiet Miss Elizabeth, Savage was flamboyant. His interviews and “Ohhhh yeah!” are much imitated (I have lost count of the several times, when after a few beers, I resort to a Macho Man impression. It is terribly sad) but it is a sign of appreciation to one of the greatest stars who competed in the squared circle. His association with Slim Jims and the commercials that aired mean his popularity and persona extended beyond the usual wrestling fandom. Wrestling fans are unique, but one thing that I think rings true, especially on days like today, is that more emotion that is honest comes from a fake sport than real ones. Savage’s passing to me and a certain generation, is no different to losing a leading star on the sports team of your youth, or an actor whose films you grew up enjoying. For so much of people’s lives, Savage’s antics were beamed across living rooms worldwide and despite having never met so many of his fans; he reached out to them in so many ways.
The breakdown in his relationship with Vince McMahon drove him from the WWF in 1993 (where he made his name) and he headed to WCW and no matter where or what he did, Savage was always a draw. In my opinion, it is terrible that Savage will not have lived to be inducted into the WWF/WWE’s Hall of Fame because of this, when some of the names inducted are in nowhere near Savage’s bracket in terms of fame and great wrestling ability. To name one particular moment as Savage’s greatest would be stretching as he had so many fantastic moments that have stayed with fans for years.
His long association with his one-time wife Elizabeth stands out to me personally. From her introduction as his manager, “outbidding” many of the top managers at the time for his service to their wedding at Madison Square Garden, the two were intertwined. Savage’s incredible match with Ricky the Dragon Steamboat at WrestleMania III is still considered among the very greatest of all-time. His ascent to winning the WWF Championship by defeating the diabolical Million Dollar Man at WrestleMania IV…The Mega Powers explode at WrestleMania V and his match with Hulk Hogan, a man with whom he had a long and storied rivalry. His fantastic feud with Ric Flair and eventual victory at WrestleMania VIII…my personal favourite moment is that of his reunion with Elizabeth at WrestleMania VII after losing his retirement match to the Ultimate Warrior (for non-fans, there’s a reason wrestling retirements are an in-joke). Even in WCW, he had tremendous moments. His victory at Spring Stampede 1998 to become WCW Champion. His feud with Diamond Dallas Page in WCW was terrific and took in so many great matches as well.
I have said nothing in the piece that has not already been said. However, to me, it just needed reinforcing. Hope Macho is snapping into a Slim Jim and dropping an elbow on some poor dummy wherever he is. My thoughts are with his close family and friends, especially his wife Lynn who survived the car crash, and his brother The Genius Larry Poffo.
R.I.P. Randy Savage