Friday, May 20, 2011

RIP Randy Savage

My Macho Man action figure from 1986
By Kevin Hunsperger

May 20, 2011 is truly a sad day in wrestling.  One of the all time greats has died.  "Macho Man" Randy Savage apparently suffered a heart attack and crashed his SUV into a tree.  He was only 58 years old.

Media outlets (including TMZ, Fox Sports, and MTV) are reporting the crash happened in Largo, Florida.  Savage's wife was in the SUV and suffered minor injuries.  His brother, "Leaping" Lanny Poffo says Savage had a heart attack behind the wheel.

Twitter and Facebook are already buzzing with tributes to the former world heavyweight champion.  My heart is very heavy as I write this.  As some of you know, I work at a TV station, and just this morning, we were talking about Macho Man.  In fact, my producer, who is a wrestling fan too had played Savage's famous "Pomp and Circumstance" theme during a commercial break and ran video of Macho Man on the green screen behind me.  I mimicked Savage's movements during the break and belted out a loud "Oooohhhhh yeaaaahhhh!  Dig it!"  This was just hours before the accident.

I have a lot of great memories of Macho Man.  But with as many live shows I've seen, I only got to see him in person one time.  He wrestled Razor Ramon in the fall of 1992 in Cape Girardeau.  It was the main event of the house show.  Ramon won the match  I believe via countout.  This was obviously towards the end of Savage's WWF career.  His early days with the company were outstanding.

Courtesy WWE
Several moments really standout to me.  His Intercontinental title match against Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3 has withstood the test of time nearly 25 years later.  His face turn with Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation attacking he and Elizabeth only to be saved by Hulk Hogan was another favorite moment of mine as a kid.  Of course, probably his biggest moment was winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania 4.  Savage beat Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, the One Man Gang, and Ted DiBiase all in the same night to claim the company's top prize.

Then there was the Main Event when Savage turned on Hogan and the MegaPowers exploded.  This led to Savage dropping the title back to Hogan.  His heel run and time as Macho King were memorable due to the coronation ceremony and the flashy "royal" garb he wore from then on.  Savage would retire, reconcile with Elizabeth, and get bitten by a cobra all in the same year.  He went on to win the WWF title a second time, beating Ric Flair in a classic match at Wrestlemania 8.  Savage lost the belt back to Flair, feuded with a handful of others before leaving for WCW, where he also won the world title.
Photo from WWE
Savage made a brief appearance in TNA back in the mid 2000's and retired from the ring before doing some acting.  He was also known by the main stream media as the spokesman for Slim Jim's.  I believe he has a place in history as one of the top stars of all time.  He was a favorite of many and loved by fans worldwide.

I hope with the passing of the Macho Man, Vince McMahon puts whatever existed between the two of them to rest and does the right thing by inducting Savage into the Hall of Fame next year.  It's something the fans wanted while Savage was still alive, now it's too late.

2 comments:

  1. In honor of Savage, I watched Wrestlemania IV over the weekend while snacking on Slim Jims.

    R.I.P., Macho Man. You will be missed.

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