In the ’80s, I’d seen wrestling a lot. Whenever in the company of my brother Kawann, my cousin Andre, or my friend Tony on a Saturday afternoon, it was a safe bet that WWF Superstars or NWA World Wide Wrestling were gonna end up on the TV. But it wasn’t until late-1987, after seeing WrestleMania III at Tony’s house, that I myself became a fan. While Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant was a pretty big deal, there was another character I’d seen on that tape and instantly took to- “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
As a matter of fact, back when Hogan was THE top good guy, I was a bigger fan of Savage (and his manager/real life wife, the late Miss Elizabeth). When I found out that he won the WWF title at WrestleMania IV in ’88, I was so happy, I stopped being mad that my father didn’t let me get it on what I called “paper view”. Throughout that year, I was tuned in every week watching that shit faithfully, as Macho often teamed with Hulk against all the top villians. Even when Macho himself became a villain by turning on Hulk in ’89, I cheered for the bad guy. Hulkamania was all well and good, but it was all about Macho Madness for me.
I remained a Macho fan all the way up until ’93 or so, as I entered high school and became more interested in hip-hop and coochie than watching wrestling. By the time I got back into it in late-’97, Savage was still a top name (after moving to WCW in ’94), and I found myself watching him every week yet again. When he retired in 2000, it wasn’t much fanfare, and I didn’t even think much of it. Still, being the nostalgic that I am, I’ve spent a fair share of time over the last few years catching old wrestling interviews and matches on YouTube– including those of Savage. Two years ago, I even first-day-copped WWE’s Macho Madness: The Ultimate Collection DVD set, glad that despite the fact that Vince McMahon has constantly downplayed how relevant Savage was to the company’s product, he’d at least given him props with that release.
A lot of wrestlers I grew up watching have died, so it’s rarely ever a shock for me to see the news of yet another passing. But getting on FaceBook on Friday afternoon and seeing “RIP Macho Man Randy Savage” status updates, my first reaction was “NAH!” Surely enough, it was true that my favorite wrestler from my early days as a fan was gone. Ironically, this comes just months after seeing him for the first time in years, doing a promo for the WWE All-Stars video game. It appears that he was just beginning to get back on decent terms with McMahon, as evidenced by both his inclusion in the video game (his first on a WWF/E game since ’94), and finally getting his own WWE “Legends” action figure (an idea that’d been shot down by McMahon in previous years).
Whether it was as a good guy feuding with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, a bad guy that thought he was a king, or even the pitchman for snappin’ into a Slim Jim, Randy Savage entertained me weekly from the late-’80s into the ’90s. R.I.P. Macho Man.