With the “Macho Man” Randy Savage finally inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in March, I was reminded of why he was and still is my favorite wrestler of all time. From Slim Jims to Skyrim mods, he is truly one of a kind.
I remember receiving WWF Raw for my Sega 32X because my parents did not read my Christmas list properly and thus screwed me out of playing as Macho Man (he was only available in the Game Gear version). Suffice it to say, we immediately took a trip to my local KB Toys and rectified this most heinous transgression.
As gamer in his 30’s, I can honestly say my favorite gaming memories have mostly involved wrestling games, from the Nintendo LJN era up to the Playstation 3, from the first wrestling game I ever played, WWF Wrestlefest at my local Aladdin’s Castle arcade, to my most recent, WWE 13. Let’s take a look back on the good (and darkest) years of Macho Man in video game form. You truly can’t appreciate the good without the bad, but I promise there will be a light at the end of this “madness” tunnel.
My earliest Macho Man memory comes from 1993, playing WWF King of the Ring for the NES. This was 8-bit wrestling at its finest, and while I’m sure it is borderline unplayable now, it was mind-blowing playing at the time, letting me take my favorite WWF superstars through an 8-man single elimination tournament. It was a real “barn burner!” Thanks, Jim Ross.
That same year I received WWF Royal Rumble for the SNES, and the jump from 8- to 16-bit almost put me into a Terry Gilliam dreamlike state. This game was pioneering current video game mainstays like grapple meters and steel chairs. Concussions were not a known danger at this time, so I used chairs at will on my brothers favorite wrestler The Undertaker, so much that Chris Benoit would be proud. Still too soon? As far as I can remember, this also was the first time wrestlers featured their actual in-ring finishers.
In 1993, I owned two games for my Sega CD: one involving a dog who had superpowers, and WWF Rage in the Cage. This had so much 32-bit Macho Man goodness that I just have to take a second to yell “OHHH YEAAAH!” Sure, all my friends thought I was nuts… until they came over and witnessed the leap that the Sega CD offered. Anyone who played this back in the day knows exactly what I’m talking about: actual footage of the wrestlers in FMV form. Yeah!
I had to wait another year for WWF Raw to once again play as Macho Man. I’m not sure why he was relegated to handheld ports, but as a devout fan, I took whatever Macho crumbs were offered. Sure, the console versions had more movesets than the Game Gear port, but they lacked Macho. So to this very day, the version I play is the handheld one. Why they thought it was better to include the 1-2-3 Kid over Macho Man is beyond me.
And then, the Dark Ages!
Macho jumped ship and embraced his “madness” persona, and in my opinion became “Emo Madness Savage,” due to the amount of black he would wear and how he would cut such dark promos. I’m not saying it wasn’t good, but his WCW years were just not as fun as his WWF years. But being a fan, I still wanted to play as the Macho
King Madness, so I begrudgingly purchased his Playstation Nitro games. I know his Nintendo 64 games were good, but they weren’t “snap into a Slim Jim” good.
Fast forward to 2004. After a 10 year absence, Macho Man returned… sort of. Showdown: Legends of Wrestling was released by Acclaim Studios, not officially licensed by the WWF in any way. And guess what? It sucked! This is by far the buggiest, most repetitive, and flat-out worst wrestling game I have ever played. Its roster of classic wrestlers was insane, but what’s the point if actually maneuvering them through the ring is like playing Karate Champ or Pit Fighter in 480p.
I had to wait another seven years, until a chance meeting with a YouTube clip changed everything for me. A recently laid-off Moan4stallone was on the internet searching random gaming sites when he stumbled upon a video featuring a yoked-out Santa Clause (or perhaps Kenny Rogers on the juice), who oddly familiar. I pressed play and immediately heard the two greatest words in the English language: “OH YEAH!” I realized it wasn’t Santa or a commercial for Kenny Rogers’ Roasters.
This was Randy the Macho Man Savage, and he was announcing his return to the WWE video game arena! This moment is by far the single greatest announcement of all time for me, and I must have re-watched that trailer about a hundred times. After almost 15 years, the icon had returned home.
I’m actually tearing up a little, so I’ll end this article with a quote from Macho Man himself, in what would sadly be his last official wrestling promo: “I am the world’s greatest wrestling superstar legend of all time, of all time, of all time, oh yeah!”
Article by contributor Moan4Stallone.