Remembering the Madness
By RGM81 aka Richard McAdam
The news hit me very hard. I just stared at the monitor for a couple of minutes trying to digest the words that were flashed on the screen. Usually when I have something newsworthy in front of me I pass it along to the closest person available for a quick discussion. For some reason, with this one, the words could not come to my mouth for several minutes. All I could do was stare at the screen with my mouth slightly agape.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage Killed in Car Accident
Hearing of a professional wrestler passing away before his time is, sadly, not an infrequent occurrence. Many of the great stars that have entertained us in the past twenty years have gone to that great ring in the sky at a far too young age. While a bit of a sensationalist statistic, more than 25% of the performers at WrestleMania VII are no longer with us. Those modern-day gladiators gave their bodies and their lives to entertain us, and while they receive great adulation for it, it takes an incredible toll. The life of a professional wrestler has a tendency to be like the state of nature: nasty, brutish, and short. It is an ongoing tale of sadness to think of those who have passed away while still in the prime of their youth.
Randy Savage was one of my favourite wrestlers when I was navigating through childhood. While some people were thoroughly wrapped up in Hulkamania or The Ultimate Warrior, two men that had a truckload of charisma but a thimbleful of wrestling talent, Savage was an incredible storyteller.
He had ample flash, no doubt about that, but he was one of the more athletic wrestlers in an era of big men. He wrestled four matches at WrestleMania IV en route to capturing his first WWF Title, each against a distinct opponent. He could cut a quick pace in his matches, and the story arc of those matches had tremendous psychology. You need to look no deeper than his legendary WrestleMania III encounter with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat to see what an amazing storyteller Savage was in the ring. It is a testament to both men that nearly 25 years after the encounter, many wrestling aficionados still hail that match as the greatest of all time.
When one thinks of Randy Savage, one often thinks also of Miss Elizabeth. Their on-screen story remains professional wrestling’s only true fairy tale. They had their ups and downs over the years, largely fuelled by the Macho King’s jealousy of other men staring at his valet. When Savage turned on Hulk Hogan and went heel, they would be kayfabe estranged for several years. Savage would then take on Sensational Sherri as his new Queen, further fuelling the fans against the once-popular Macho Man. Like any good fairy tale, this one would have to have a happy end based on redemption and true love.
At WrestleMania VII, Savage would face The Ultimate Warrior in a retirement match. It would turn out that the aftermath dwarfed even the fantastic match itself in terms of creating a long-lasting memory. Savage used every tool in his arsenal but could not hold down the Warrior. He delivered five consecutive top-rope elbow drops, which would have been enough to vanquish any man. Still, the Warrior kicked out, channelled the energies of the little warriors, and ultimately pinned Savage. Furious at being newly out of a job, Sherri turned on Savage, attacking him in the ring until the normally demure Elizabeth jumped the rail and rescued her man.
The reunion years in the making came to fruition, and Savage, who had entered the ring the villain exited it a triumphant hero. Many in the arena had tears in their eyes, underscoring once again the incredible level of psychological attachment that Savage could inspire from the crowds.
Even though he was forced into retirement, Savage was not immune from the taunting of Ric Flair, who produced “doctored” photos of him with Miss Elizabeth and claimed that she had been his before she was Savage’s and was thus “damaged goods.” I remember being a youngster and actually owning the copy of WWF Magazine in which the photos were published – it was a month later that the “real” photos of Randy & Liz in the exact same poses were revealed. Savage would have to beg President Jack Tunney for reinstatement to defend the honour of his bride (the two were married on-screen in the “Match Made in Heaven” at SummerSlam 1991), which was ultimately granted, setting the stage for a WWF Championship Match at WrestleMania VIII and the Macho Man’s second title reign.
Those are my great memories of Macho Man Randy Savage. I didn’t really follow his career in WCW, as I was never really much of a fan of that promotion. I know that he had four World Title reigns there but I don’t know much beyond that. He will forever be remembered for his athleticism, amazing ring psychology, fantastic matches, and Miss Elizabeth. He was truly one of the greatest wrestlers of his era, and while it was an ongoing shame that he was never inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame because of his issues with Vince McMahon, he absolutely deserves the award posthumously. Ohhhhhh yyyyyeeeaahhhhh!
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