If I wrote a tribute every time a wrestler died, I’d be writing one every other day it seems. The world of professional wrestling has been cruel to it’s performers and as painful as it has become, as a fan, it’s hard not to become desensitized to it all, in a sense. The passing of the Macho Man Randy Savage is different, though. While one has to wonder if steroids weren’t at least partially to blame for the tragic play out of events that led to Randy’s death, it’s hard to think or even care much about it. Truth is, Savage gave up that lifestyle years ago and seemingly was content to slink off into obscurity to enjoy out the rest of his days as a regular guy.
For a man who was so notoriously brash and flamboyant, the Macho Man had given up the wrestling lifestyle years ago. While on the surface, being age 58, that might seem like a forgone conclusion. The truth is that almost every other wrestler from Savage’s era, is still wrestling in some capacity or another. Macho Man gave it up, though. Perhaps he grew tired of the spotlight, or perhaps it was because he couldn’t perform up to the energetic level he had made famous. Whatever the case, Savage drifted off into the unknown and by all accounts, lived out the rest of his life as a happy family man.
Macho had left WCW before the fall of the company, making only one brief appearance in a battle royal towards the end. He done so completely unannounced, as a surprise, in typical Savage form. Beyond that, his only other wrestling appearances were for TNA in 2004 and those were very brief. I remember being quite excited to see him wrestle again in TNA, but sadly, the Macho Man that showed up was a shell of his former self. TNA and Savage both quickly realized that this was not going to work out and Savage left almost as soon as he had showed up. Going out though, with a shining moment and a final victory to be remembered. It was certainly a more fitting end for his career than some random WCW battle royal.
The Macho Man never got his grand return to WWE. He never got to soak in those cheers, one last time, even in a non-wrestling capacity. For reasons that have been speculated throughout the ages, WWE and Randy Savage did not get along. Only this past year did WWE even really begin to acknowledge Randy’s existence again through DVDs, action figures, video games and merchandising. I’m certain a WWE Hall of Fame nod will come in the next couple of years, but it’ll be an empty sentiment at best. Savage should have been inducted years ago. This year would have been a perfect time, but alas, now it’s too late. Lots of wrestlers are called legends these days but few fit the bill. Savage not only was a true legend, he was an original.
Randy Savage was one of my favorite wrestlers and that’s why he was truly worthy of a memorial post. As a kid, few wrestlers could incite emotion from me like Macho Man Randy Savage. He had always been my brother’s favorite wrestler, but he was also very much one of mine. Still to this day, whenever I get up on a step or a high ledge I dive off delivering flying double axehandles or flying elbow smashes to any poor sod that happens to be nearby (including my GF), because Savage engrained that into my head as the go to top rope moves.
Some of my favorite memories include the time Randy Savage was bitten by Jake Roberts King Cobra, in what remains one of the few wrestling angles that could never be repeated. Savage, always the loose cannon, was willing to get legit bitten by a cobra (devenomized mind you) just to put over the storyline. I remember being in awe of the storyline as a kid and knowing Macho was going to unleash some hell on Jake The Snake when he finally got his hands on him.
The Savage/Flair feud stands out to me as probably the best, as Ric Flair and Randy Savage had a way about them that allowed them to feud seamlessly for years. Sure it started in WWF over Miss Elizabeth, but the rivalry continued on in WCW and saw many new twists and turns. Both men were so adept at cutting promos and Savage, always so passionate in his quest for retribution. It was a classic feud that really embodied the spirit of the art form.
Of course it goes without saying that his battle with Steamboat was legendary, but his feud with Diamond Dallas Page was far superior, in my mind. DDP and Savage were kindred spirits in a lot of ways. They had a great feud, one that saw Macho Man really establish Page as a top tier player. Unlike many others, Randy was never afraid to give someone else the rub.
Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage had perhaps the best of friendships and the most bitter of rivalries. As the Mega Powers, nobody could stop them. As hated enemies, their intense rivalry seemed so very real. That’s largely because it was. Macho Man and the Hulkster didn’t always get along. Savage was at times jealous of Hogan and suspected that perhaps there was more than just storyline in his relationship with Elizabeth. Incredibly as much as the two men hated one another at times, you could tell they were like two angry brothers, always coming back together. It’s good to know Hogan and Savage had rekindled their friendship in recent years and were good again. Putting aside past differences and bad rap albums to just be, friends.
While it’s sad to say goodbye to the Macho Man, we have decades worth of great matches, promos, storylines and pop culture goodness to have him live on forever. And just as I always have, when I hear “Pomp and Circumstance”, I’ll think of the Macho Man. His many movie and TV roles showcased just a tidbit of what potential the man had, outside the ring. His guest spot on Space Ghost Coast to Coast as Grandpa Space Ghost was hilarious because it was Savage playing a crazy spoof version of himself. It still cracks me up. Macho Man took the wrestling business very serious and was known for being methodical in planning on his matches and yet, at the same time he never took himself too serious. Truly a rarity in the world of professional wrestling.
And so as another good one leaves us, so too is left a legacy that will never die… And the next time I’m up high, I’ll still twirl my finger and dive off because the Macho Man may be gone, but the Madness with never be forgotten.