Like most people who started watching wrestling in the 80s, the person that drew me in was Hulk Hogan. Hogan was a big guy with a lot of charisma who would take on these seemingly unbeatable monsters and win. The thing was, Hogan was entertaining, but he was very one-dimensional. And even at a young age, I felt like his act got old.
Then, a year or so after I started watching, a new bad guy debuted- The Macho Man Randy Savage. Here was a challenger to Hogan who wasn’t some huge freak. Rather, he was a guy who could wrestle and cut a great (if somewhat incomprehensible) promo. At WrestleMania III, the big match was Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, but the best match was clearly Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat. Sure, Savage was a bad guy, but he was cool. And he lost the match, but he had it coming, after terrorizing Steamboat and Bruno Sammartino for months leading up to the big event. Another thing that I think may have lead to me being a fan of the Macho Man was the rumor that he lived on Staten Island, and I thought it was really cool that a great wrestler lived in what was then my hometown.
A year later, Savage (who had turned face) won the big title at WrestleMania IV, and he held it for a year before dropping it to Hogan (and I must have been the only one of my friends who wanted Savage to win). Up until The Rock debuted in 1996, no one could cut a promo like Savage. I stopped paying attention to the Macho Man after he left for WCW in 1994 (ish), but I’ve always enjoyed watching his old matches and promos.
This afternoon, I found out (via Twitter) that Randy Savage died. It surprised me. But even more surprising was the outpouring on Twitter and FaceBook. Not just from friends and others in my generation, but even from other entertainers, such as tweets from Andy Richter and Weird Al Yankovic mentioning the Macho Man.
This afternoon, I caught some YouTube clips of Savage. He’s still entertaining, whether he’s comparing Ricky Steamboat to a CUP OF COFFEE (YEAH!):
or jobbing to a hamster: