This was not the column I had planned to write today, nor a column that had ever entered my mind that I’d have to be writing. It is with great sadness and a broken heart that I am forced to discuss the passing of one of the all time legends, one of the giants of the industry without whom wrestling would never have been the same. Unfortunately this is not the first, but rather one of the bigger marquee names added to a long list of wrestlers who have left us long before their time but whose legacy will always live on and whose life not only touched so many in the business but can never and will never be forgotten. Today it is the sad duty of the entire wrestling community to bid farewell to one of the most talented, charismatic, artful and skilled performers to ever step inside the squared circle. Today we as a whole say goodbye to the Macho Man, Randy Savage.
Growing up in the 80s there are few names I knew coming into wrestling as a fan. Among the names that I had heard and knew before I ever turned on the television was Macho Man Randy Savage. This was a man whose in ring persona was larger than life, whose personality and skill transcended the business and touched the hearts and lives of all his fans. Randy Savage was born Randy Poffo, son of the great Angelo Poffo who we lost just over a year ago and brother to Lanny Poffo. One could not easily write an article involving the greatest moments of Randy’s career as there are far too many and a book, let alone a meager article, would struggle to scratch the surface of this man’s legacy. However, all someone needs to do is turn to twitter today to see just how many people Macho reached in his life and to scout the breadth of the gaping hole now left in the heart of not only all wrestling fans but the wrestling business itself.
How does one even attempt to encapsulate the legacy and the life of such a loud, vibrant and incredible man into something so muted as text? The impossibility is inevitable and we are left as speechless as we were after some of his greatest matches. Truly a man so amazingly talented would be the only one who could possess the language to accurately articulate his true standing among the giants of the wrestling world. In recent years we have lost many in the wrestling family, and it is extremely difficult to say goodbye to someone you grew up idolizing. However, though no passing is ever easy, it is increasingly difficult to say goodbye to someone whose life came to a close not due to demons or a troubled life, but to believe a fighting giant of the squared circle succumbed without provocation, and that his end would come like a whisper in the night that stirred a hurricane in the south. It can be argued back and forth, but at the end of the day one can come to only one conclusion: Somewhere out there in the universe some greater force needed a true Champion to fill his main event and the Macho Man fit the bill.
The Macho Man had an in ring career which can never be rivaled and has carved into history a legacy that will cast it’s mighty shadow down for ages to come. It truly becomes an almost impossible task to put into words how amazing he truly was. Whether he walked out down that aisle as a heel or a face, whether he was coming to feud with the likes of Hulk Hogan or Crush, we were all invested and we all sat back waiting with baited breath to see the outcome. It was hard not to cheer for Randy, and even when he was a heel and was supposed to be the bane of our face’s existence, there was always something about him that would captivate the audience. You couldn’t look away, you couldn’t turn the channel and you had to see what happened. Randy was a beautiful whirling storm of color, power, style and poise. This man truly personified what a wrestler not only could be, but should be.
Twenty years ago at Summerslam 1991, WWF (WWE) gave us what was entitled the “Match Made in Heaven.” Though Randy and Elizabeth had been married outside the ring for many years it was the culmination of their storyline in an on-screen wedding that would lock the two of them together eternally in the annals of wrestling history. This moment lives on in my memory as one of the greatest angles I’d witnessed. It wasn’t a matter of in ring work, and it wasn’t a matter of putting on a fantastic match. It is only with hindsight that one could look back and realize that moment doesn’t stand out because it was a great wrestling moment, it stands out because through thick and thin, through good or bad, you loved these people and you wanted to share in their happiness. To know that a wrestling fan, especially a 9 year old boy, could be that enthralled and drawn to a Wedding as opposed to a match speaks volumes about the capacity for Randy to reach fans not only on the level of an action hero, but as a man.
Randy’s passing is a truly dark day in wrestling history and the only thing bright enough to blot out the pain of this loss is the glorious memory of his life. From his work in the ring, to his world famous Slim Jim commercial to his cameo in Spiderman, Randy penetrated the pop culture psyche and became a permanent fixture. To this day videos of Randy receive thousands upon thousands of views on Youtube showing that no matter how much time or silence had come since we’d last seen Randy we were always clamoring for more and awaiting his return. This day forward, as for everyday since, when Pomp and Circumstance resounds you cannot resist the tingling within you and the excitement which instinctively builds up because no matter where you are or why it is playing there is a part of you that is wishing the Macho Man was about to come spinning down the aisle. Alas now we will never get to see this Legend step back inside the ring on our screen’s but he will always be main eventing the one inside our hearts. When we speak of the WWE Hall of Fame, we speak of the honor of being taken into this group but for some men this is simply an acknowledgement t of what is already know: You are one of the greatest. Randy doesn’t need a Hall of Fame to tell us that he is one of the greatest, is there anyone out there who doesn’t already know this and needs to see him receive a Hall of Fame ring? Randy’s Hall of Fame ring is the one every single wrestler in the world steps into everyday. You will be missed.