A legend was lost in 2011, and the world still doesn’t feel the same. Here’s to you, Macho Man…
Tracing my trajectory of emotions toward Randy Savage is an odd personal journey. From genuine affection as a WWF watching youth in the late 1980s, to the smug ass mockery of my late teens/early twenties. From the “Why is this guy still doing Slim Jim commercials?” attitude, to (formerly) ironic re-adoption of my childhood icon. But once YouTube rolled around, that insincere admiration turned to a very real obsession.
Randy Savage is so easy to caricaturize because his public persona remains an instantly recognizable cultural touchstone, whether you give a shit about wrestling or not. Yes, Hulk Hogan may have been the character to launch wrestling onto a mainstream stage, but it’s the Macho Man who personified what being a professional wrestler looked, sounded and acted like. Even setting aside the latter WWE superstar’s over-the-top racist fuck tape tirades, I’m sure history would’ve proved me right anyway.
Mark my words: When your children see a fake wrestler (shut up) in a cartoon for the next twenty years, they will be doing a Savage impression. He’s every bit as fun to imitate as he is absolutely inimitable. Doing a Macho Man impression endeared me to hundreds, if not thousands of strangers in my early days of podcasting, and for many folks who are no longer listening to us at our Laser-based destination, I’m sure it’s what many will remember me for until my dying days. And I don’t really deserve any credit for it. It wasn’t even very good; it’s just that fun to do, and an easy way to instantly convey fun to those who don’t already know you. Shy of Robin Williams, I can’t think of another entertainer as gifted with improvisational skill and the boundless amount of energy it took to be Randy Savage, and I’m not sure if we’ll see another character like him. At least not until our cocaine laws become less stringent. (Tweet your congressman, people!)
It’s beyond tragic that five years ago today, right when I’d come back to embrace him for the unforgettable character he was, right when he reestablished his relationship with the WWE for the first time since 1994, the real-life Randy Poffo’s life was ended abruptly due to a heart attack brought upon by a car accident. That’s unlucky, even for a professional wrestler, and it’s also one of the more tragic deaths I’ve ever experienced from someone I never actually knew.
Furthermore, being in the midst of wrasslin’ renaissance, it’s icing on the fucking cake to learn that Randy was also a gifted athlete, a hard worker, and (eventually) a level-headed person in a profession teeming with certifiable carny shitheels. But I would’ve loved him forever just for his Macho Man character. Thankfully, Savage left us with a lot of stuff to watch. So if you’ve avoided the video I made above, at least check out the single greatest wrestling promo ever cut preceding this paragraph. The cream always rises, pukesters!