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It was saddening to learn that former wrestling legend “Macho Man” Randy Savage tragically passed away last week. He and Hulk Hogan were the two primary reasons why the then-WWF exploded into the mainstream in the 80s and early 90s. Growing up with wrestling I always remembered him as the crazy guy with the colorful outfits who always yelled nonsense in his promos. “Freak out, freak out!” “Oh yeahhhh!” “Dig it!”
“The Mach” was one of a kind outside of the ring with his in-your-face style of interviews and extraordinary outfits that only he could make look badass because there is not another man who could pull off wearing that outrageous, over-sized cowboy hat and shades in tandem with hundreds upon hundreds of tassels and still come off as a tough son of a gun in the ring. And let us not forget about the lovely Elizabeth that always accompanied Randy. Inside the ring, Savage was one of the pioneering high flyers of wrestling, where all it took back then was a flying elbow drop off the top turnbuckle to dazzle crowds instead of the countless backwards flips in midair that we see today.
Randy was not all flash, either. He backed up his gimmick as one of the top in ring technicians in his day. Back when the World Wrestling Federation was primarily known as the Hulk Hogan Company, where the Hulkster would be squaring off against stereotypical wrestling villains and resting on his laurels, Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat stole the show at Wrestlemania III in a match that is still regarded as a classic today.
When Hulk decided to take time off wrestling to attempt a movie career, Savage was finally given the ball to run with the company and became the WWF’s heavyweight champion. When Hulk Hogan came back from filming his latest disasterpiece, he teamed up with Macho Man to form the quintessential tag team, The Mega Powers. This new partnership was not meant to be, because Randy was led to believe Hulkamania was running wild on Elizabeth, and thus the Mega Powers exploded into another classic Wrestlemania match with Savage between him and Hogan at Wrestlemania V.
After Savage turned villain, he transformed his persona into the Macho King, and dumped lovely Elizabeth for the not-so-lovely Sensational Sherri. I prefer not to remember the next two years of Macho’s career because I always will remember him as being one of the memorable heroes of wrestling. I will remember, though, him carrying the Ultimate Warrior to the best match of his career at Wrestlemania VII, where Warrior kicked out of three straight flying elbow drops to my dismay, and according to the stipulation, sent Macho Man into early retirement. Retirements are meant to be broken in wrestling and Savage was brought back to the forefront in half a year after suffering enough torment from Jake “The Snake” Roberts. I still remember being terrified as a kid when Jake made his pet snake Damien take a chunk of flesh off of Savage’s arm, and was ecstatic when Savage got revenge on Roberts.
It was around this time in the early 90s when Randy Savage became synonymous for being the on-air mascot for Slim Jim. The outlandish Savage was the perfect match for maniacal Slim Jim commercials. Too young to remember them? Then check out this link, filled with plenty of early 90s “extreme” advertising showcasing the Top 10 Randy Savage Slim Jim Commercials.
Randy Savage stuck around the WWF for a few more years, capturing the WWF title one more time time in another Wrestlemania classic against Ric Flair before being transitioned into an announcer, as the WWF tried to focus on promoting newer stars. Savage was not content on being an announcer however and quickly followed Hulk Hogan into WCW in 1994 and spent the remainder of the 90s feuding and aligning with the likes of Hogan, Ric Flair, Diamond Dallas Page and the nWo. Other than a couple brief cameos in TNA Wrestling in 2004, Randy Savage has remained out of the spotlight from the wrestling scene this past decade. His most memorable pieces of work in the 21st century was his appearance as the wrestler Bone Saw McGraw in the first Spider-Man film, and landing a minor voice role in the CG movie, Bolt. The less said about his rap album, Be a Man, the better.
Considering how many times WWE nowadays brings back legends like Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and Rowdy Piper to make special appearances on television, it was surprising the WWE never brought back Macho Man for an official television appearance since he left the company that made him famous in 1994. According to the rumor mill, he did some dastardly deed that made him persona non grata for many years. As a matter of fact, this past year WWE and Macho Man started to patch some of those old wounds and were working together again, with Randy doing some brief promotional appearances to promote a new action figure of him, and Savage filming a commercial for the WWE All-Stars videogame released just a couple months ago.
While Macho Man may have been second banana to Hulk Hogan throughout a majority of his time in the ring, that will still not deny the impact he left on pro wrestling as one of the top draws and one of the most fascinating personas of all time. Have a favorite memory or moment of Macho Man? Please share and post in the comments below so we can all relive the Macho Madness! Now if you excuse me, I am going to watch my best of Macho Man DVD set and go on a Slim Jim binge.