Randy Savage: Why the Macho Man Was One of the Best Wrestlers of All Time
When news came down today about the death of Randy Mario Poffo, otherwise known to wrestling fans and fans of meet in stick form as “Macho Man” Randy Savage, I was truly saddened.
TMZ reported Friday, May 20 that Savage was driving with his wife Lynn Payne when he reportedly had a heart attack. He then lost control of his jeep and veered across the concrete median into oncoming traffic and straight into a tree.
With Savage’s death, it is essential that we look back on his life and make sure the fans of wrestling who weren’t fortunate enough to see the Macho Man wrestle realize his greatness.
Randy Poffo started out with his father and brother, who were also wrestlers, and worked his way through the southern states hoping from one wrestling federation to the next. It wasn’t until Randy joined Georgia Championship Wrestling that wrestling great Ole Anderson dubbed him Randy Savage.
In the early 1980s, Savage joined the Continental Wrestling Association and was involved in some great battles against the likes of The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and Jerry Lawler.
After leaving the CWA in 1985, he quickly joined the World Wrestling Federation and became an instant star. With his manager Miss Elizabeth, Savage began his rise to stardom in the WWF.
Savage beat Tito Santana for the Intercontinental belt in February 1986 and began a championship reign that lasted over a year. He defended the title against the likes of Bruno Sammartino, George "The Animal" Steele and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
While these bouts were great for Savage’s development, it was the match that cost him the belt that catapulted him into the limelight. Savage faced Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III in what has become one of the top matches in wrestling history and my personal favorite match ever.
The match was the first that was intricately planned out between two “high-flyers” of this caliber and was named 1987's Match of the Year by both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Wrestling Observer.
I believe that this match was the reason Savage became the star he did and the respect that he gained from his fellow wrestlers was the reason Hulk Hogan felt like he wouldn’t mind letting Savage hold the World Championship belt.
After winning the 1987 King of the Ring match, Savage turned face and joined Hulk Hogan to form the ‘Mega Powers.’ While Hogan reluctantly gave up the belt, it was the best thing for the WWF.
At WrestleMania IV, Savage won the belt through a tournament that saw him beat Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, One Man Gang and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. Of course, Hogan had to help Savage win because he couldn’t stand to see a title change hands without his fingerprints all over it.
Savage would retain the WWF title for 371 days, the sixth longest reign in history and the longest up until John Cena held it for longer almost 20 years later, and defended it against the likes of One Man Gang and Andre the Giant.
Was Randy Savage a Top-5 Wrestler of All-Time?
At WrestleMania V, Savage lost the WWF title to Hogan and I still firmly believe that Hogan asked for the belt back because Savage was becoming more popular that Hulk Hogan was.
After some more solid storylines that included feuds against Dusty Rhodes and The Ultimate Warrior, Savage retired after losing at WrestleMania VII to the Ultimate Warrior. As with most WWE stars, the end of the road was hazed by the greed of Vince McMahon and Savage left for the WCW.
In WCW, Savage won the world title four times and was involved in great feuds and matches against all-time great wrestlers like ”Stunning” Steve Austin, Sting and Ric Flair. The highlight of Savage’s time in the WCW was his long-standing feud with the Nature Boy.
After losing the title for the last time, Savage spent stints in the NWO and even feuded with Dennis Rodman.
While there were wrestling stints with other federations, these are the times I choose to remember most about Savage.
From 1985 until 1996, there was no better wrestler in the business than Savage and no better person on the microphone. Macho man knew how to keep a room entranced and his ability to keep his followers whether he was a heel or face was the beginning of the new age of wrestling.
Savage was one of the greatest pure wrestlers to ever grace the mat and ropes and his ability to work the room kept him in the limelight long after his pinnacle of success.
Remember his Slim Jim commercials? Of course you do, they were everywhere.
With his passing, we have to look at Savage’s career and judge him as one of the top five wrestlers of all time, not just because of his numerous titles, amazing matches and fantastic feuds, but because of his willingness to give it all every time he entered that ring.
Wrestling fans are usually blue collar people and Savage was their every man.
Randy Savage will be dearly missed and as a friend said, there will never be another like him.
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