Thursday Morning Backlash on Macho Man Randy Savage

It may be a bit late, but Brad and I both wanted to share our thoughts about one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the business.

JZ Says: Randy Savage was always one of my favorite wrestlers to watch as a kid. While I’ve been watching wrestling since before I can even remember, the years I start having clear memories are the years that Macho Man was blowing up. I thought the Mega-Powers were unbeatable best friends forever. WrestleMania V was the first ‘Mania that I remember the buildup to and getting so excited about. I remember cutting the advertisement out of the newspaper and hanging it on my wall. Savage was a big part of my excitement, because he was so good at being a bad guy, I just wanted to see Hogan give him the Big Boot and the Leg Drop so bad. I mean he deserved it for being do disrespectful to Ms. Elizabeth, who I don’t think I’m alone in saying was my first-ever celebrity crush.

Looking back, what made Macho a successful heel to a child my age was that I was disappointed in him; I knew he was a good guy just being led astray by Sensational Sherri. I wanted to cheer him but I couldn’t. And then came WrestleMania VII.

Savage was involved in a bitter feud with the Ultimate Warrior after costing him the WWF Championship. The culmination was a Career Versus Career match, the first of its kind in WWF history up to that point. He entered the building as the Macho King Randy Savage, with his Queen, Sensational Sherri, to deafening boos. Just before the match began, color commentator Bobby “the Brain” Heenan spotted Ms. Elizabeth sitting in the crowd with a concerned look on her face.

The match was a titanic struggle, one befitting both wrestlers’ larger-than-life characters. In the end, Warrior was able to get the pin and “end” Savage’s career. The crowd was happy that Warrior would not have to go. But their happiness quickly turned to shock, as a beaten and battered Macho King was attacked by his own manager!

As Sherri put the boots to her former charge, Ms. Elizabeth couldn’t take it anymore, and the demure and classy First Lady of Wrestling grabbed Sherri by the hair and hurled her to the floor. Sherri was shocked and the crowd had come unglued. Savage, still unsure what happened, woke to find his former manager and love of his life staring back at him with tears in her eyes. Then in arguably the greatest moment in WrestleMania history, Savage embraced Elizabeth in the middle of the ring to a thunderous ovation. Then it got better, as Savage refused to let Elizabeth hold the ropes open for him, instead holding the ropes open for her for the first time ever. Many in the crowd were openly weeping, and if you don’t at least get a little emotional, go find your soul.

Nary 30 minutes prior, the crowd booed his every move, but with one hug he became the biggest babyface in the building, and would never again be booed in the WWE. Steve Austin would later pull the same “heel to babyface within the same match” feat at WrestleMania 13, but the original is always hard to top.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage was a wrestler in every sense of the word. From the colorful costumes to the sometimes confusing but always entertaining promos, to the great performances in the ring, Savage was everything a wrestler should be. He was a great heel and a great babyface, and had scores of great matches with Tito Santana, Hulk Hogan, Ted DiBiase, Warrior, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, and others. I think he’s just a shade below Shawn Michaels, Flair, Rock and Austin in terms of being the best of all-time. In an age when most wrestling deaths are somehow drug related, knowing this one was a freak accident made it all the harder to accept. RIP, Mach.

BG Says: “I thought about when I heard the news. Sorry buddy.”
“You were the first person I thought of when I heard Macho Man died. Condolences.”
“Sorry, can we just snap into a slim jim, one last time?”
“Are you related to the Macho Man? Take it like a man Hogan.”
“Macho Man???!!!???”
“RIP Macho Man Randy Savage… congrats on graduating too.”

This is what my Facebook page looked like the morning the news of Macho Man’s death hit the Internet. These messages came from friends of mine from different parts of my life, most of whom don’t know each other, alongside links to articles about the Macho Man and later, illustrations of how Randy Savage stopped the Rapture the next day. Also some people congratulated me on finishing graduate school.

So why do I share these messages with you? Well, I did so to illustrate how people from different periods of my life know of my love for wrestling and how all associate wrestling with Randy Savage. Sure almost none of them have seen the matches that you and I have come to love over the years (Savage vs. Flair from WrestleMania VIII being my personal favorite), but they, the normal non-wrestling fan all had some place in their hearts and memories for the Macho Man. They all needed an outlet for the passing of this childhood memory of theirs, and they came to their resident wrestling fan to do it. I felt honored.

I also felt saddened at losing a childhood hero. Just last month I was visiting a friend’s childhood home and saw the Macho Man Tonka Wrestling Buddy her brother had when he was a kid. It was one of the few toys left in his bedroom. I think that speaks volumes of just how deep in our memories the Macho Man will remain. I know I’ll miss him, and I feel a little better knowing how many of my friends will miss him too.

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