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Recquisat in pace, noble warrior.
May 20, 2011 10:26 AM   Subscribe

"Macho Man" Randy Savage passed away today at the age of 58, when he was struck with a heart attack while driving.

While he did have occasional rap-battles with Hulk Hogan, I'm sure all will be mended in heaven.
posted by FatherDagon (172 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, the world really is ending tomorrow.
posted by nzero at 10:27 AM on May 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


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posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:28 AM on May 20, 2011


AWWW NOOOOOOO

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posted by Sticherbeast at 10:28 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


/ * \

^a slim jim snapping
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:30 AM on May 20, 2011 [67 favorites]


.

The world is a little less awesome.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:32 AM on May 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


From Patton Oswalt's Twitter: Macho Man Randy Savage was the only one who could have fought the Rapture demons. And God took him. IT'S HAPPENING, PEOPLE!

Randy Savage was really, really good at what he did. I loved him when I was a little kid. So:

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posted by Bookhouse at 10:32 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]




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posted by Zophi at 10:33 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by jsavimbi at 10:33 AM on May 20, 2011


Another nail in the coffin of my childhood.

/ * \
posted by rollbiz at 10:33 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by theartandsound at 10:33 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by roll truck roll at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2011


I'm really, really bummed about this. I'd love to post a link to his match against Ricky Steamboat from Wrestlemania 3 (generally considered to be his best, and possibly one of the greatest of all time) but nobody on YouTube has the full thing.

Also, his turn as Bonesaw McGraw better earn him a spot on the next Oscar In Memoriam reel.

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posted by HostBryan at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is turnout out to be one shitty day.
posted by Jim Slade at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2011


A friend of mine does a dead-on Macho Man impression, and I've picked it up from him. Now we can't do it without that tinge of regret, alas.

Here's a particularly awesome cartoon starring him, from "Dial M for Monkey," itself from Dexter's Laboratory.
posted by JHarris at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


*turning
posted by Jim Slade at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2011


He's elbow-dropping God from the top rope in Heaven.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Boo.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2011


/ * \
posted by incomple at 10:36 AM on May 20, 2011


Macho Man, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, Iron Sheik, Honky Tonk Man, Nicholai Volkov, Big John Stud, King Kong Bundy -- these were the Pantheon of my youth.
posted by empath at 10:36 AM on May 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


Tonight I will eat a Slim Jim of Mourning.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:36 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was a kid when he made his debut. The guy was totally awesome, had me and friends glued to the set and cheering.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:36 AM on May 20, 2011


/ * \
posted by codacorolla at 10:36 AM on May 20, 2011


A . for Randy Savage, a great character from the good old days of wrestling. But the reason I nearly had a heart attack when I read the news is because I momentarily confused him with Rowdy Roddy Piper.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:36 AM on May 20, 2011


This one hurts.

I don't follow wrestling as closely as I did - what happened with Chris Benoit made it impossible for me to remain a "wrestling fan" when these guys were clearly killing themselves for my entertainment - but I still love it. I grew up with it, and when I was a kid and all the other kids were cheering for Hulk Hogan, the Macho Man was my hero, because of the fact that even then I knew the Macho Man was essentially a fuckup who would, in the end, try to make things right, and I could sympathize with that.

People who only know wrestling casually - who only know "OOOOOH YEEEAHHHH" and Slim Jim jokes - won't know how good the Macho Man was - he was honestly excellent at pacing a match and using it to tell a story in a way that many of the 1980s WWF superstars simply could not match (Hogan especially). He spent the 80s killing himself, wrecking his body with steroids because that was expected and ruining his hip to deliver what was unquestionably the best flying elbow drop of all time; raising his fingers to the sky every single time, straightening himself like an arrow, then leaping twelve or fifteen feet off the top turnbuckle in a perfect arc to drop that elbow.

Then in the 90s he slimmed down, got off the steroids, started wearing those unspeakably awesome cowboy hat-and-fringe-in-dayglo-colors outfits, and went about ruining himself for the fans all over again.

So many classic feuds: Ricky Steamboat, Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect, even a late-period classic with Diamond Dallas Page when he was barely a shell of his former self. So many great promos - nobody did "focused crazy" quite like Randy Savage did.

He was great in a way that many wrestlers simply never will be.
posted by mightygodking at 10:37 AM on May 20, 2011 [90 favorites]


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:37 AM on May 20, 2011


Here's a particularly awesome cartoon starring him , from "Dial M for Monkey," itself from Dexter's Laboratory.

Yessss, Rasslor! Man, that guy had an awesome voice.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:37 AM on May 20, 2011


.

Mayest thou never be bored in heaven.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:38 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


mightygodking, that comment was eponyawesome.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:38 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was that brief shining moment in the 80s' where professional wrestling was cool and fun, and Cyndi Lauper was having fun with Captain Lou Albano. Randy Savage was part of that scene, and as a tween, I loved it.

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posted by kimdog at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Savage was a somewhat controversial figure in wrestling, but weirdly so. Apparently he had some type of falling-out with Vince McMahon, chairman of wrestling's biggest company, WWE. Its exact nature has never been revealed (some ugly theories circulated, but they were completely unsubstantiated); but in a business where mortal enemies have been known to set aside their differences to make a buck, Savage's estrangement from WWE was conspicuous.

But even people who hated modern-day Savage had difficulty maligning his younger self. Wrestling is fixed but it isn't "fake," which is to say it's physically brutal work. How good you are, in large part, is related to how safe you can keep yourself and your partner-opponent during the match. Savage reportedly was meticulous about planning exactly what would happen and how, before each match. He demanded a lot of preparation from himself and the people he worked with, but everyone seemed to be left impressed with his work ethic. The guy knew what he was doing.
posted by cribcage at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...wait, or should I say "OH YEAH" as a more proper show of my condolences? SO CONFUSED. I'm going to salute him all weekend by annoying my friends with my terrible Macho Man Randy Savage impression.
posted by kkokkodalk at 10:40 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by purge at 10:41 AM on May 20, 2011


Hogan himself praised Savage's meticulousness in working out a match.

Equally persuasive as a face or a heel.

One of the greats, beyond question.

Fuck.

.
posted by Trurl at 10:41 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


his match against Ricky Steamboat from Wrestlemania 3

That match started my brief fling with pro wrestling. Some friends made me watch, and I was just in awe of the athleticism, ability and showmanship on display in that match.

The madness is running just a little bit less wild today.


.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:42 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

wait, I mean


OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

(dammit, JHarris, I've been sitting on that link, waiting for this FPP!)
posted by Eideteker at 10:42 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Space Ghost's grandpa can't be dead, this is simply not acceptable.

There are not enough . for this.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:42 AM on May 20, 2011 [15 favorites]


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posted by jquinby at 10:43 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by askmehow at 10:44 AM on May 20, 2011


From Macho Man's rap album- "My Perfect Friend", which is terrible, yet oddly touching.
posted by rollbiz at 10:44 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by furtive at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2011


> The world is a little less awesome.

Apparently, so is Metafilter.
posted by spock at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2011


St. Peter better have "Pomp and Circumstance" ready to play as Mr. Savage approaches the Pearly Gates.

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posted by lord_wolf at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


First Chris Farley and now Randy Savage?
... sigh...

The 'Oh Yeah!' will be survived by the Kool-Aid Man.

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posted by Nanukthedog at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm very upset and shocked and upset again.

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posted by goneill at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:46 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by Silvertree at 10:47 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by Iridic at 10:47 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by fizzix at 10:48 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by trueluk at 10:48 AM on May 20, 2011


Shit, my uncle doesn't need this news right before be gets out of rehab.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:48 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


/ * \
posted by josher71 at 10:49 AM on May 20, 2011


I loved Macho Man too.

But probably not as much as my younger cousin, who had the pillow-doll. Remember those? Stuffed dolls with the printed likenesses of WWF wrestlers?

That kid wrassled and cuddled and flung and bodyslammed the bejesus out of Macho Man till he was flat and floppy and all his joints, or what would have been joints if he weren't just a shaped bundle of batting, were distended and twisted into wrung-cotton. It was true love, too precious and homosocial to really talk about in the family home, but a lovely thing. The kid was always a sweetheart, and I always thought "love makes you real, Macho Man."
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2011 [26 favorites]


*shutters blinds on sunglasses*

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posted by benzenedream at 10:52 AM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


In a former life, when I wanted to be a pro wrestler when I grew up (heh) I wanted to climb to the top rope and drop the Savage Elbow. I actually tried it once, in an APW ring back in California -- from the second rope. (And my shoulder says "ow" in response to that memory.)

I never met him, but I saw several of his matches live at the old Boston Garden.

There will never, ever be another pro wrestler even remotely like Macho Man Randy Savage.
posted by andreaazure at 10:54 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, man. 80's memories!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:55 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn.


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posted by Sailormom at 10:56 AM on May 20, 2011


Nice tribute video
vs. George "The Animal" Steele, Wrestlemania II, 1986
vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts, 11/29/86
vs. Ricky Steamboat, Wrestlemania III, 1987
vs. Ted DiBiase, Wrestlemania IV, 1988
vs. Hulk Hogan, Wrestlemania V, 1989
vs. Dusty Rhodes, Summerslam 1990
vs. Ric Flair, Wrestlamania VIII, 1992
vs. "Diamond" Dallas Page, Great American Bash, 1997
Slim Jim "Romeo and Juliet" commercial
Dial M for Monkey
Space Ghost Coast to Coast
posted by roll truck roll at 10:56 AM on May 20, 2011 [27 favorites]


NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I WILL EAT THREE CANS OF SLIM JIMS IN HIS HONOR.
posted by Malice at 11:00 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by bayani at 11:03 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by Lutoslawski at 11:04 AM on May 20, 2011


He also was a minor league baseball player originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals.
posted by fireoyster at 11:04 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I always loved the way, when he was giving an interview, MACHO MAN!!! RANDY SAVAGE!!! would talk very quietly, very steadily, like he was trying to control himself control his budding rage... and then to emphasise a certain point, he would YELL HIS WORDS!!! AND FLAIL HIS FINGERS!!!and then just as quickly switch back to the controlled mutter of his monologue.

/ * \

posted by spoobnooble at 11:04 AM on May 20, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'd love to post a link to his match against Ricky Steamboat from Wrestlemania 3 (generally considered to be his best, and possibly one of the greatest of all time) but nobody on YouTube has the full thing.

Dailymotion is your friend for wrestling matches.
posted by jmd82 at 11:05 AM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was surprised to learn that he played a few years of minor league baseball in the early 70s. It's actually kind of a crazy story - he injured his throwing shoulder pretty badly, and actually taught himself to throw with his other arm.

That's bad-ass.

.
posted by ORthey at 11:06 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I need to schedule a Wrestlemania III viewing. He may have been a maniac, but Savage put on some of the most thrilling matches of my childhood. We've lost so many of these great entertainers and athletes lately, so young.

Forget DARE; show kids these guys. If that doesn't sour you on steroids, prescription pain killers, and cocaine, nothing will.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:09 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by ph00dz at 11:11 AM on May 20, 2011


God damn it.
posted by chunking express at 11:12 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by steambadger at 11:15 AM on May 20, 2011


i loved watching these strong men wrestle years ago, i want to go to heavan and watch the wrestling matches up there, MACHO MAN vs. ANDRE THE GIANT, and counting. sigh.
posted by taxpayer at 11:17 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:19 AM on May 20, 2011


Damn. I loved watching him, Miss Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan when I was a kid.

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posted by nooneyouknow at 11:20 AM on May 20, 2011


RIP

Art thou bored?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:20 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am glad to find out that I was not the only one who considered Randy Savage v. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat to be the most awesome wrestling match of all time. I remember renting WrestleMania III several times when I first got into wrestling around age 9-10. The Hogan v. Andre fight was pretty good because of the cheesey drama, but the athleticism of Randy Savage was amazing, and he always had a much more believable pathos in the ring than Hogan. You really believed he was suffering and drawing from deep within himself in that match. Also, there was a simply incredible pull up he did to bring himself from outside of the ring and flip over the ropes to "surprise" Steamboat that I'm still in awe of.
posted by skewed at 11:21 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


:(

Macho Man's match against Ricky Steamboat in WM3 is easily one of, if not the very best wrestling match ever taped.

I'd certainly put it above Razor vs. Michaels in WM10 or Mankind vs. Undertaker's Hell in a Cell match.

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posted by ruthsarian at 11:23 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by tommccabe at 11:27 AM on May 20, 2011


.

His brother, Leapin' Lanny Poffo was also a wrestler.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:28 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was such a mark for Macho Man. Thanks for everything.
posted by frenetic at 11:31 AM on May 20, 2011


did THE ROCK ever wrestle MACHO SAVAGE? We should hear a comment pretty soon from The Rock.
posted by taxpayer at 11:32 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by TrinsicWS at 11:32 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by Schlimmbesserung at 11:34 AM on May 20, 2011


His dad Angelo Poffo was also a wrestler. Randy met Miss Elizabeth when he was working the Louisville/Memphis wrestling circuit when Liz was a student at Univ of Kentucky.
posted by Billiken at 11:36 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by facetious at 11:37 AM on May 20, 2011


/ * \
posted by kinnakeet at 11:40 AM on May 20, 2011


Wrestlers are particularly active on Twitter:

I have no words to say. This one hits me hard. We lost one of the best. - Bret Hart

Got up last night and Tweeted about a dream with Mr. Perfect and Kerry Von Erick. I know why now. Not the first time this has happened to me - Roddy Piper

I lost a close friend today. If anybody in heaven is wondering who the cat in the ugly cowboy hat is it's Randy. Love you Bro. Never another - Kevin Nash

We miss him a lot. I feel horrible about the ten years of having no communication. This was a tough one. HH

He had so much life in his eyes & in his spirit, I just pray that he's happy and in a better place and we miss him. HH

I'm completely devastated, after over 10 years of not talking with Randy, we've finally started to talk and communicate. HH
- Hulk Hogan
posted by mightygodking at 11:40 AM on May 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


This has been my ringtone for some time now. I think I'll keep it for a while. :(
posted by xedrik at 11:41 AM on May 20, 2011


I loved him as a kid for probably a full year, just prior to the cartoon I think.

That said, out of curiosity, I had a couple of questions.

1. When someone earlier said his wrestlemania 3 match was considered his best, in what sense was it his best? Is there a good analogy someone could give me for understanding professional wrestlers talent and athleticism? I know they are entertainers, but that could be said about Tom Cruise and Michael Jordan. I have trouble understanding what the wrestle is doing precisely because my understanding is he is not facing any uncertainty in the court with his opponent (unlike MJ, who may get outplayed or simply have bad luck and therefore lose). Is it "best" like someone in an improv comedy troupe might say their performance was the best of their career? What's the art/athleticism exactly and what's the standard by which one judges a match?

2. Was the time that he was fighting a time to make a fortune in wrestling and did the Macho Man make a fortune from wrestling? What kind of money was he making, and was it steady? And how is he paid usually - were there endorsements? Was he being paid per fight? Was there a purse and how big did it get?

3. What was Randy Savage like? Anyone know much about his personal life?
posted by scunning at 11:43 AM on May 20, 2011



/ * \
posted by dismas at 11:45 AM on May 20, 2011


I was a monstrously huge wrestling fan in my youth (and, admittedly, for much of my adulthood as well up until around 7 years ago when I l gradually lost interest), in much the same way other kids were obsessed with all things D&D or Star Wars.

When I say I was a huge fan, I don't mean in the "Regularly watched the WWF on Saturday mornings" sense, but in the "had a vast tape trading network so that I could regularly gain access via videotape to smaller, regional wrestling promotions throughout the country, as well as from Canada, Japan and Mexico, subscribed to numerous 'insider' wrestling newsletters, traveled out of the country (well, Mexico) for the sole purpose of attending a wrestling event" sense.

Amongst "serious" wrestling fans, the WWF was not highly regarded - the thought being that the WWF portrayed wrestling as too much of a cartoon sideshow and that too many of their most "pushed" superstars had a tendency to be wrestlers who were better known for having great, steroid-assisted physiques vs. actually being talented in-ring performers. Randy Savage, on the other hand, was one of those rare performers who gained immense commercial success and popularity, while at the same time being well though of as an overall talent by the more serious wrestling "snobs".

RIP, Macho Man. Gone way too soon.
posted by The Gooch at 11:49 AM on May 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Wow, looking at this slideshow really underscores the dangers in the industry. Some died due to natural causes and such, but so so SO many drug overdoses, complications and heart problems...
posted by Theta States at 11:49 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by New England Cultist at 11:49 AM on May 20, 2011


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posted by martin10bones at 11:50 AM on May 20, 2011


When someone earlier said his wrestlemania 3 match was considered his best, in what sense was it his best?

Wrestling is performance. When someone says his Wrestlemania match with Ricky Steamboat was his best (and I personally go back and forth between that one and his match with Ric Flair at Wrestlemania 8, but whatever), it's like saying "The King's Speech is Colin Firth's best performance ever." It's strictly a matter of opinion; maybe you think Colin Firth was better in A Single Man.

What's the art/athleticism exactly and what's the standard by which one judges a match?

Storytelling - does the match lag at points, or does it steadily build in intensity to a nailbiting climax? Selling - are the moves executed well and believably, and how skillfully do the wrestlers convey the fatigue and battle-damage they're supposed to (and to an extent really are) be suffering? Style - do the wrestlers, in addition to all of that, interject their own personalities into the match (both in obvious and subtle ways) so that it's not just "any two men fighting" but instead "the Dragon and the Macho Man fighting the very final match of an eight-month feud?"
posted by mightygodking at 11:50 AM on May 20, 2011 [15 favorites]


As an 11 year old I was the only guy in my class who thought Savage was the best. Other dudes preferred Brutus Beefcake or The Ultimate Warrior or Hogan - man I hated those brawlers. RIP, Macho Man.
posted by Foaf at 11:51 AM on May 20, 2011


Was the time that he was fighting a time to make a fortune in wrestling and did the Macho Man make a fortune from wrestling? What kind of money was he making, and was it steady? And how is he paid usually - were there endorsements? Was he being paid per fight? Was there a purse and how big did it get?

During his heyday, the Macho Man, as one of the company's top stars, probably did quite well. Wrestlers at the big companies generally work on a salary basis, with additional bonuses per matches wrestled (the Wrestlemania show appearance bonus is traditionally the biggest of the year, which is why the company often includes a battle royal on the undercard to spread it around).

But wrestlers aren't unionized. And that means a lot too.

In terms of endorsements: hey, he did hawk Slim Jims for a decade. The Macho Man probably did about as well as most high-end wrestlers do, which is "quite all right, after all the money spent on medical problems developed from wrestling, but not crazy rich or anything."

What was Randy Savage like? Anyone know much about his personal life?

Troubled. Multiple marriages, most of which ended poorly. He had emotional issues his whole life: as said above, he spent the last ten years of his life not even talking to Hulk Hogan, and his feud with Vince McMahon was never explained to anybody.
posted by mightygodking at 11:59 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


the Rock's comment (on Twitter) was:

"RIP Randy "Macho Man" Savage - you were one of my childhood inspirations and heros. Strength, love and prayers to the Savage/Poffo family."

I thought he was kind of corny until I realized how much skill and showmanship it took to be on the line of corny without going over it as so many did. he brought a sense of joy to the things he did that showed in the character he played.

.
posted by mephron at 12:00 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Was the time that he was fighting a time to make a fortune in wrestling

I can't speak to Savage's personal finances. I don't know. But as a general proposition, no, the wrestling superstars of the 1980s did not walk away with large fortunes. Part of this was cultural: Today there is more awareness among wrestlers about financial longevity, mostly because they see what has happened to their predecessors, and in some cases because they are being given more advice and direction by promoters. Back then, they lived closer to the stereotypical model of young celebrity athletes: Earn big, spend bigger.

Wrestling contracts have also changed somewhat. In the 1990s, guaranteed pay became the norm as a basis for pay rather than per-appearance. Savage was part of this shift, actually: Two competing companies, WWF (now called WWE) and WCW were vying for talent, and WCW began offering more guarantees in order to lure away big names. Savage was one of those names.
posted by cribcage at 12:03 PM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


My absolute favorite promo ever from Macho Man.
posted by deezil at 12:07 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


spock: " Apparently, so is Metafilter."

Postroad: "I now go to Metafilter to find out each day who died that had some sort of celebrity.Thanks. You never let me down."

Click here to read posts about other things. Sorry for the inconvenience.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:08 PM on May 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


WWF
posted by jeffburdges at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2011


He's going to put the Devil in a Bulgarian headlock, and whip that sucker right through that great soda pop machine in the sky.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2011


/ * \
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:10 PM on May 20, 2011


What makes a great pro wrestler varies from territory to territory, and based on the size of your audience. Consider the difference between Kabuki Theater and a Hollywood Blockbuster movie. Both are things that are watched, but different audiences, cultures, etc.

That said, to be a great American Pro Wrestler, and to have that be true in the 80s and 90s and still be seen that way today, you basically needed two key ingredients:

1. Charisma. The audience needs to CARE. There were times when Savage was an epic heel (scepter to the back or Ultimate Warrior's head in 1991 comes to mind) and the biggest fan favorite ("Match Made in Heaven" with Miss Elizabeth). Either works. Charisma is an absolute value of how much people react to what you do.

2. Workrate. You need to be able to do or be something in the ring that few other wrestlers do. For Ric Flair, it was his stamina -- 60 minute matches and every minute compelling. For Shawn Michaels, it was his show-stealing moments -- taking the biggest falls and delivering out-of-nowhere Superkicks. For Hulk Hogan, it was his Superhuman Strength and larger-than-life persona in the ring.

For Randy Savage, it was his crazy. Savage did a flying elbow drop from the top rope in an era when nearly no one went to the top ropes in American wrestling. To do such a thing was insane. As were his interviews.
posted by andreaazure at 12:11 PM on May 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


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posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 12:12 PM on May 20, 2011


My absolute favorite promo ever from Macho Man.

YOUR MUSTACHE IS CROOKED!
posted by uncleozzy at 12:12 PM on May 20, 2011


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posted by Flood at 12:17 PM on May 20, 2011


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posted by jitter at 12:19 PM on May 20, 2011


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posted by Tknophobia at 12:21 PM on May 20, 2011


An addition to what mightgodking said, also consider the ability of a wrestler to make various moves. Consider today's most popular face in WWE: John Cena. He's rather unpopular with the older crowd, especially males, because he is considered by some to be a subpar wrestler due to his lack of moves. His wrestling matches are scripted and basically consists of 1) Throw a few punches
2) Dominate a little, only to run full steam into his oponent
3) spend the next 75-90% of the match getting dominated, with a little comeback teaser every once in a while
4) At some point, he'll do a side-slam of some sort. Same one every match. Immeaditely followeed by
5) The five-knuckle-shuffle. Quite possibly the stupidest move in wrestling.
6) A couple of near-falls (pins) for each wrestler until somebody hits their finishing move in wins.
That is literally a very large portion of his matches. There is very little nuance to his wrestling moves or variation in his offense. This makes for rather predictable and boring, typically slow paced matches.

Now, consider a wrestler like Macho Man or Shawn Michaels (considered one of the best wrestlers of all time with one of the best matches ever versus the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26). These wrestler are considered great because a) their story lines are believale. The thing with John Cena is we know he's going to go Super Cena, and no matter he's been hit by a steal pipe, come back and beat the Heel most the time. b) Their variety of moves. Shawn Michaels and Macho Man both have a variety of entertaining moves. Not only that, but they make their opponent look good in the ring by being able to take falls and make it look believable.
posted by jmd82 at 12:21 PM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


uncleozzy

WELL YOUR BEARD IS A LITTLE SIDEWAYS TOO BUT YOU DON'T HEAR ME TAKING PERSONAL POTSHOTS AT YOU OR ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER. IT'S NOT IN MY NATURE. I'M THE BIGGER MAN!
posted by deezil at 12:21 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Randy Savage was one of my favorites growing up. If you were a wrestling fan in the 80s, was there ever a bigger pop than when Hogan and Savage shook hands in Hershey, PA?

The man with Ricky Steamboat pretty much stole the show from Andre/Hogan at WM 3. He will be missed.
posted by inturnaround at 12:22 PM on May 20, 2011


/ * \

Ah, damn ... when I was a kid, it was always a running battle between Savage and Hogan for who my favorite wrestler would be from week to week. When he and Hogan became a tag team under that Mouth from the South guy (Jimmy something? I can't remember), my brothers and I about lost our minds.

Man, this is bumming me out. I was so thrilled when he turned up as Bonesaw McGraw in the Spider-Man movie. I would have happily gone to see a Bonesaw spinoff.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:23 PM on May 20, 2011


I do believe that jmd82 has described what some of us marks call the 5 moves of doom.
posted by deezil at 12:23 PM on May 20, 2011


I do believe that jmd82 has described what some of us marks call the 5 moves of doom.

Except that the Five Moves of Doom belonged to Bret Hart (Russian leg sweep, backbreaker, inverted atomic drop, second-rope elbowdrop, sharpshooter), and Bret was by no means a boring wrestler because he understood pace and storytelling far better than Cena does.
posted by mightygodking at 12:27 PM on May 20, 2011


I'll just never like Cena because he took a cheap shot at my alma mater (Virginia Tech) in one of his inane rap attempt promos.

I hold a grudge.
posted by Tknophobia at 12:29 PM on May 20, 2011


mightygodking true, even though any more, it's more of an eye-roll term than it it something to strike fear in hearts. Hitman's 5 moves of doom actually spelled doom. Cena's 5 moves mean he's going over again for no reason.
posted by deezil at 12:31 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


deezil, you are not a 10 year old girl. (One assumes.) There are many in the WWE Universe that cheer their little hearts out when Cena does his schtick.

Besides, Cena vs. RVD at One Night Stand puts Cena into my personal "he can do no wrong" book.
posted by andreaazure at 12:34 PM on May 20, 2011


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posted by oneironaut at 12:35 PM on May 20, 2011


Where's Randy Savage?

This is quite possibly the first time ever I've wished the img tag worked on MetaFilter.
posted by Kattullus at 12:40 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cena is an interesting case in the context of a thread about Randy Savage, because Savage's shine was eclipsed somewhat by his contemporary Hulk Hogan. Like Hogan, Cena isn't the best "wrestler" (in terms of the particular athleticism that professional wrestling involves). Like Hogan, Cena has massive charisma. And like Hogan, Cena has become one of the biggest-ever superstars, over more talented "wrestlers" who are closer to Savage's legacy.

Savage had charisma in spades. And I absolutely agree with AndreaAzure that wrestling requires both elements, charisma and athleticism (aka workrate). But between the two? Charisma is more important. It's an entertainment business. The guy who can make the match look real will never sell as many tickets as the guy who can make the fans care.
posted by cribcage at 12:41 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brief and interesting backgrounder on Randy Savage from writer and wrestling fan Nick Mamatas.
posted by artlung at 12:46 PM on May 20, 2011


Dave Lagana, former WWE Creative Team Member, speaks on some of his favorite Macho Man memories
posted by deezil at 12:47 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by safetyfork at 12:48 PM on May 20, 2011


Not to derail this further, but all the talk about fans hating Cena reminds me of when I went to WM23 in Detroit (best way to cap off my undergrad ever!) and as my friend and I were walking out some guy was SHAKING WITH RAGE AND SWEARING over the fact that Cena beat Shawn Michaels. I don't remember the specifics, but it was sort of terrifying and hilarious.

cribcage's analogy of Cena to Hogan is incredibly apt. I imagine if the Internet had been around back in the 80s there would have been a lot of wrestling fans who didn't like him either.

To bring it back around to Macho Man, though - does anyone remember when he feuded with Dennis Rodman? Not a high point in his career but testament to his skill and charisma that the feud worked to any degree.
posted by HostBryan at 12:49 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope Miss Elizabeth is holding open the ropes for you in the squared circle of the great beyond. - AngryMarks.com
posted by Trurl at 12:50 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I rewatched the WM3 match a little while ago, and it looks like I've got a false memory--there was no reverse pull-up from outside the ring to the inside to surprise his opponent who thought he had thrown him out of the ring. Anyone remember this move and when it might have occured?
posted by skewed at 12:52 PM on May 20, 2011


/ * \
posted by CancerStick at 12:53 PM on May 20, 2011


I was a Von Erich fan as a kid (my photos). I liked Randy Savage, but couldn't stand "Macho Man," if that makes any sense.

.
posted by mattbucher at 12:55 PM on May 20, 2011


Skewed: It sounds like you're describing "skinning the cat." Shawn Michaels most famously performed this maneuver, and it was one of his signatures. I don't remember offhand whether Savage did it.
posted by cribcage at 12:56 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's exactly it, cribcage, thank you. I did some quick googling and it seems Ricky Steamboat was also known for this move, so maybe that's what I'm remembering. Who knows.
posted by skewed at 1:02 PM on May 20, 2011


.

Another childhood hero falls...

Man, being a kid in the eighties totally rocked. My brother, Aaron, and I would always hang out with the two boys that lived next door, Jim and Nick. We were a rag tag group, always on our bikes, or playing our Atari's, Coleco's, or Commodore's. Watching cartoons, or running wild through the woods... exploring all that Summerfield and Pickerington had to offer to a band of curious boys getting high off of every adventure around our sleepy little town.

Ya know, being free range kids.

WrestleMania was were it was AT. WWF matches made our weekends golden. Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Captain Lou...

I have so many good memories... Macho Man, in all that he ever did, is part of them. While my interest in wrestling faded, my appreciation of Randy Savage never wavered. His work through the 90's, his voice acting as Rasslor, the cameo as Bonesaw McGraw...

He will be remembered.

/*\
posted by PROD_TPSL at 1:02 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this one of those things I'd need to be in the danger zone east of the Pacific, west of London England, south of Mars and north of Hell to understand?
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 1:35 PM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Randy and Lanny's dad, Angelo Poffo, was the Naval situp champ, and would wear shirts proclaiming him to be "MR. 6033." The Poffos ran "outlaw" shows, outside the structure of the then-reigning National Wrestling Alliance. Outlaw shows were generally dealt with by stars from around the NWA's territories flying in to pack the "legit" shows, and, generally, through less savory methods as well. The Poffos' promotion held on through strength of will, Randy's willingness to show up at NWA shows acting crazier than any of their stars (sometimes armed), and of course their stunning in-ring abilities. What a lot of people don't realize about Randy Savage was that he was a smaller, slender guy by wrestling standards, before he got all gassed up, at least. He projected himself so well, though, that the 80s generation never questioned his belonging on top of the card with the immobile stiffs preferred by Vince McMahon. He and Steamboat and Piper are the best reasons to watch a lot of those old tapes, along with the British Bulldogs, two more small dudes who screwed up their lives something fierce chasing McMahon's weird body image ideals (now, it would be a longshot for any of those guys to get hired in the WWE, let alone carry the loads they did).

Mr. 6033 crunched his way to immortality and kept his livelihood going despite the wrestling trust through an iron will he passed on to his son, an iron will that gave Randy Poffo the strength to teach himself to throw with his off arm when his good one blew out, the intestinal fortitude to keep his family business alive by being crazier, in-ring and out, than the stars of the NWA, and the balls to stand among the muscled hulks of the WWF and make himself as great as any of them, to claim equal standing with Hulk Hogan, to plan his famous match with Steamboat months in advance so they'd steal the show at Wrestlemania.

The man was no saint. Most saints aren't even saints. But for a little while let's put aside the Cookie Monster voices and the tragedy of Elizabeth and the rap album and the painful attempts to work a real life feud with Hogan and remember Randy Savage, Randy Poffo, as an inspiration to those never expected to succeed, and one of the greatest masters of the sport of kings.

On a more personal note, I was lucky to have a man named Ed Chuman in my life, first as a boss, and as a friend and mentor, too. Ed had worked for the Poffos back in the day as a wrestler and manager, and these outlaw lessons helped keep him working every day to keep the 2000s' rump NWA alive, to build connections among independent promoters, to mentor talent like the woman who now wrestles for the WWE as Kharma, and to take chances on people like the flaky disabled punk rocker he entrusted his video production to (at the time I'd completed exactly one multicamera production) even when nobody cared about indie wrestling, when the future Kharma was having various difficulties, when I was so depressed I could barely get out of bed or dress myself. He had the willpower to make it happen, and a bit of the madness as well.

One of the last times I hung out with Ed, we watched the WWE's Randy Savage DVD set and he spun stories of his days with the Poffos. When I got married last Friday I walked with Ed's favorite cane and wore the NWA belt buckle he'd given me. Kharma is steamrolling all the "divas" on Vince McMahon's shows, despite not being anything like what they usually look for in talent. And tomorrow the wife and I are finally going to the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, and we're going to look at the Mr. 6033 shirts they have on display, but it'll be an exercise of willpower not to break down a little when I see the Macho Man's robes.
posted by jtron at 1:53 PM on May 20, 2011 [45 favorites]


.
I'm going to be spending all day with a wrestler and a huge wrestling fan. It's going to be sad.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:07 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was no single thing that Randy Savage did better than anyone else. But no one else (with the possible exception of Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels) did everything better than he did. Promos, in-ring work, top-rope, brawling, technical wrestling... And he never had a "gimmick." He was just a wrestler who was really, really good at it, and he was clearly only crazy enough to make his opponents think he was crazy.

When I heard it was a car accident, I admit, I thought, Whew. But no, he had a heart attack, at 58 (and his dad lived to 85), making him yet another victim of the "eternal season" of professional wrestling that's killed so many others. Goddammit.

.
posted by Etrigan at 2:10 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by LobsterMitten at 2:27 PM on May 20, 2011


Often imitated, never duplicated. Thanks for all the awesome wrestling entertainment, Macho.

.
posted by narwhal bacon at 2:37 PM on May 20, 2011


Malice: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I WILL EAT THREE CANS OF SLIM JIMS IN HIS HONOR.
"

Oh fuck man, buy some slim jim stock ASAP, then dump the shit before it tanks in a day. We'll get rich I tell ya. RICH!
posted by symbioid at 2:37 PM on May 20, 2011


Loved him, even if he was really Rick Flair on 11.
posted by justgary at 2:43 PM on May 20, 2011


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posted by JakeEXTREME at 2:54 PM on May 20, 2011


Damn. The world just isn't as good for me today as it was yesterday, waking up to find Macho Man is gone. As mentioned upthread, his outright manic intensity, his willingness to just outcrazy al others, and still give fantastic performances. And Bonesaw is possibly the best random cameo I've ever seen in a film. Keep a look out for the (likely) article on him in the Dead Wrestler of the Week column on Deadspin.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:29 PM on May 20, 2011


"Mean" Gene Oakland: "Aren't you a little jitery right now?"

Macho Man: "I'm always jittery. It's part of my charm."

.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:30 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ooooooooh YEAH, brother.

Ooooh, yeah.

RIP.

(also...150+ comments on an obituary thread for a wrestler...its a testament to his effect on the general populace.)

I'll be throwing flying elbows all day today.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:54 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The interviews between Mean Gene and the Macho Man are great - the overly composed man with the microphone, and the insane guy in the leather and fringe. When interviews are supposed to be conducted with both men facing the camera, Randy Savage spends a lot of his time with his back to the lens, talking directly to Gene as if he's forgotten everyone else is there. It adds to his weirdness, and it's awesome.

.
posted by Golfhaus at 4:54 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by saslett at 4:56 PM on May 20, 2011


Randy was a charming-ass motherfucker. And he did a lot for Slim Jims. RIP, Macho Man.
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on May 20, 2011


Went back and watched some of his interviews and damn I'd forgot how much they've changed over the years. His sheer intensity and random stream of WTF consciousness rants. Love it. I particularly enjoyed this one (with the help of some friends).
posted by jmd82 at 5:16 PM on May 20, 2011


I texted my sister with this news, and she replied "I know, I'm so sad". We loved the Macho Man back in the day. At least he made it out of his 40's, so few of them do.

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posted by biscotti at 5:45 PM on May 20, 2011


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posted by Vindaloo at 6:02 PM on May 20, 2011


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posted by Smart Dalek at 6:07 PM on May 20, 2011


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posted by humanfont at 6:57 PM on May 20, 2011


This dude made 2 guys fighting for one woman...kinda romantic to me when i was 13. Fuck richard gere and kevin costner during this time. They were hitting softballs.

This motherfucker sold 13 year old boys on Romanticism.
! APPLAUSE !
posted by hal_c_on at 7:23 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, so had to sneak it at friends' houses. I always loved Savage (and the Iron Sheik, for some reason). Even when I had to review his terrible rap album.

(As an aside — what other wrestlers have released full albums? I had a George Steel album for a while, then lost it in a move…)
posted by klangklangston at 7:25 PM on May 20, 2011


I was Randy "Macho Man" Savage's next-door neighbor for a year in 2000 while living and surfing on Sunset Beach in Treasure Island, Florida.

It was kind of cool. I'd see him all the time. His beard was colored black and he was actually kind of short but really stocky. He was actually a pretty big guy for a sort of small guy. (I'm 6'5" so I noticed.) On Sunset Beach, with his beard and bandanna and trademark sunglasses, he looked like a pirate. He totally fit in, this being both Florida and the extra to-the-left-of-off-the-beaten-path Sunset Beach. Think Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon in Key West. That's Sunset Beach. It is metaphysically odder than Florida.

Anyhow, I was living the life of a surf rat, Sunset Beach being the place that Treasure Island surf guru Joe Nuzzo taught us all how to surf growing up anytime 1970 to 2000+ (minus the two years he served for minor possession '72-'74). And in the morning everyone hit the 7-11 for breakfast Krispy Kreme donuts, coffee and Slurpees.

So one fine morning with my breakfast donuts, coffee and slurpee, I walk up to the counter at the same time Macho Man is there at the 7-11. And of course being a 7-11, at the counter there were the Slim Jims.

Being young and empty-headed with pretty much nothing on my mind except surfing, smoking pot and snacking and surfing, suddenly I was faced with the the untamed genius of the Universe, the naturally-occurring expression of All that Is. I know it sounds idiotic and for sure it was but at that moment right there it was the Singularity occurring. It was, like, you know, epiphinal.

Macho Man turned casually as I stopped there frozen and glanced up and must have seen it all right there on my face. He looked at me. He looked at the Slim Jims. He looked back at me.

And in one of the Ultimate Big Money Scratch Off Cash Payouts life has ever awarded any of us, as if on command, in a quiet and self-respecting—but distinctly gruff—trademark growl, Randy Macho Man Savage said,...

"Sssnap into a SLIM JIM!"

Then he took his purchase and his change, and walked out to his Hummer.

I was experiencing the awe of a simple open-mouthed moron. But what really made it for me was the expression of the middle-aged cashier male, who stood there in his 7-11 smock looking almost stunned as Macho Man exited and climbed into his giant car. The cashier then turned my way, awed, and said, "He never did that before."

It was in that moment I became zen.
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:28 PM on May 20, 2011 [488 favorites]


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posted by Mike Mongo at 7:28 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yup, he was a big part of my 12 year old TV-watching existence. Of course, I can't say looking back that I was all that interested in the wrestling. It was the sideshow, and the bigger the stage, the better the show, so I generally got bored with the Saturday afternoon shows and looked forward to the Saturday Night Main Event once a month in SNL's time slot. For pure entertainment, you couldn't do better.

That's why a small part of me is glad today that George the Animal Steele is still chewing on turnbuckles.

.
posted by evilcolonel at 7:55 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by dig_duggler at 8:36 PM on May 20, 2011


/*\
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 8:46 PM on May 20, 2011


Macho King Randy Savage on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. The Macho King battles Robin Leach at croquet in the Kingdom of Madness.

RIP Macho King
posted by Hoopo at 11:27 PM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


/*\
posted by lapolla at 11:48 PM on May 20, 2011


Weirdly enough, this also happened today.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:56 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I said basically everything I wanted to on my site.

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posted by Dark Messiah at 7:18 AM on May 21, 2011


Wrestlemania 3 was simulcast at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto - I remember my mom's boyfriend bringing me to see it, and being completely traumatized by his match with Ricky Steamboat, who was far and away my favourite wrestler. I couldn't believe how dirty a wrestler he was. Of course, I was only 9 at the time, so I don't think I really FULLY understood how fake wrestling was at that point. :)
posted by antifuse at 9:18 AM on May 21, 2011


Although... Looking up Ricky Steamboat on Wikipedia, it would appear that the match that actually traumatized me (where Savage went after Steamboat with the bell) was prior to Wrestlemania 3. Oh, childhood memories.
posted by antifuse at 11:29 AM on May 21, 2011


Also important to note -- his elbow drop finisher that he performed thousands of times, hurt Macho himself more than his prone opponent. His entire goal in that move is to not land full force on the other guy. Randy would take the impact on his body first as it hits the canvas from 12 to 15 feet and, more often than not, the elbow just grazing the victim with whatever velocity or weight transference was left.

And I had a run-in with him and my friends during the Las Vegas run of WCW Halloween Havoc Pay-Per-Views in the mid-nineties (for a while it was a yearly event in Vegas for WCW). The wrestlers used to hang out at the MGM Grand casino circle bar after the show (even Arn Anderson was seen one year drinking a bucket of beer a mere two hours after he was 'stretchered out' of the arena by 'medical staff'. Forget that fact that fans leaving the arena have to walk past this bar). Anyway, we asked Savage for a photo while he was running away from fans and avoiding all publicity. He looked around and gauged whether any other fans were around and said, in that rusty, glass-infused voice, "Ok...let's do it." The camera didn't work -- he jokingly busted balls by saying, "Oh...great...the camera doesn't work, brother" and couldn't have been nicer. Legitimately one of my fondest memories ever.

.
posted by cbates76 at 11:41 PM on May 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mike Mongo...I know exactly where you lived as my friend's parents live in the same condo complex as Macho Man. They used to see him at the pool all the time. Every time I would visit I would pray for a Macho Man moment but I never saw him.
posted by spicynuts at 5:33 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Randy Met Sally
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:41 AM on May 22, 2011


There's a guy at my church who I just found out lives around the corner from me...and reading this thread, it clicked: he looks just ilke "Mean" Gene Oakland with thick-framed glasses.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:14 AM on May 23, 2011


Here's a link to Randy Savage's "Dead Wrestler of the Week" profile on Deadspin.

If you appreciate good profile writing (regardless of the subject), you can do a lot worse than DWOTW.
posted by apranica at 12:09 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bill Simmons has a pretty good writeup, too: At its apex, Macho Man was wrestling.
posted by narwhal bacon at 6:22 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Happened to be in Vegas on Saturday when the Preakness was run. Turned out there was a horse in the field named Mucho Macho Man.

It seemed like a sign.

I stood in line at the sportsbook with some friends, and every guy around us was talking about putting some money on Macho Man. Talking about how great he'd been. Doing terrible impressions. Trying to figure out where you could get Slim Jims in Vegas.

It wasn't a sign.

/ * \
posted by jermsplan at 1:51 PM on May 25, 2011


/ * \
posted by Chichibio at 4:00 PM on June 1, 2011


Apparently he is the one that managed to stop the rapture. So, at least we have that.
posted by antifuse at 9:02 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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