Elbow Drop From Heaven: A Macho Man Randy Savage Tribute
By Mother Brain
In my earliest memories of being a wrestling fan, I must have been the biggest anti-Macho Man Randy Savage fan. It must have been at age 7 when I actually became aware of pro wrestling, specifically the WWF where Hulk Hogan was the larger than life, blond haired superhero that many of us looked up to while Randy Savage was the polar opposite bad guy. This was at the time when he adopted the â€œMacho Kingâ€ gimmick in which he complimented his colorful attire with a crown and a gold scepter used to cheat in his matches. When I played with the action figures, Savage would lose to Hogan. When I played the video games, I made sure that Savage was my opponent. Being an anti-Savage fan became a habit even when he became a babyface sometime later.
So when did I learn to love the Macho Man? Believe it or not, it was not his matches or his unforgettable promos. It was the way he promoted the WWF with the infamous Slim Jim commercials where he always signed off with â€œSnap into a Slim Jim! Oooh yeah!â€ Those commercials left a lasting impression on my young mind and I actually ate Slim Jimâ€™s for quite a while as a result. I also believe I learned to love Savage around 1994 when I really started to pay attention to the product. By then, Savage became a living legend and poster boy for the WWF. I could never forget that summer when the baseball strike took place and the WWF featured Savage in a promo called â€œOur Season Never Endsâ€ where he goes to play ball with a young boy disappointed in the strike. It was one of those rare moments that showed Savage in a light that made him appear more subdued and real than his on-screen persona.
When it came to his work in the ring, Savage would do more than deliver the match of the night in his prime. He could tell a better story in the ring than Hulk Hogan. The heated rivalry with Ricky Steamboat over the Intercontinental Title led to arguably the greatest wrestling match in history at Wrestlemania III, outshining Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. There was the dramatic night at Wrestlemania IV where he defeated 4 completely different opponents in one night at Trump Plaza to win the undisputed World Title. No one could ever forget the one year partnership with Hogan and Savage as the Mega Powers tag team, then splitting up to have a heated main event at Wrestlemania V. No matter who he worked with, Savage displayed enormous athleticism, playing both face and heel with careful attention to detail while making his opponents look better than they ever imagined.
At the heart of any memorable Savage moment was Miss Elizabeth being at his side. When Savage was hated by the fans, Elizabeth was adored and idolized. She brought a special dynamic in their relationship that is missing in todayâ€™s wrestling. I could never forget the night that I was at my neighborâ€™s house for Wrestlemania VII when Savage was defeated by the Ultimate Warrior in a career ending match. After he lost, Savage got turned on by his at the time valet, the late Sheri Martel, only to be saved by a sympathetic Elizabeth who had turned away from him two years earlier. The moment when they embraced in tears with Pomp and Circumstance blasting through the speakers at the L.A. Sports Arena was one of the rare few times that any wrestling fan, including yours truly, wanted to cry for such a happy moment when most of the time we cry when we lose a superstar to a career ending injury or worse. Elizabeth was the complete package for Savage. When she was not around, even during most of his WCW run from 1994-1999, Macho Man as a character would always feel incomplete.
In the more recent years since WCW went under, Savage lived in an exile away from the wrestling world. It was no secret that the years became harder for him as he witnessed the tragic drug-related death of Elizabeth along with other wrestling superstars who succumbed to drugs and alcohol. Just as worse was Vince McMahonâ€™s mysterious grudge with Savage which forced him to erase his legacy from the companyâ€™s history, refusing to release any Savage-related merchandise. Many fans hoped and prayed that the rift would heal someday so that Savage could return for a Hall of Fame induction. In the last two years, it seemed to be close to reality when WWE allowed the release of his special DVD, his first new action figure since the WCW days, and his presence in the latest WWE video games. Some say that his new marriage to Barbara Lynn Poffo helped him to battle his personal demons in order to make peace with the past and his enemies. But sadly on May 22, 2011, the new chapter of Randy Savageâ€™s life was cut short.
I could go on and on about every Randy Savage moment that stands out to me: The Ric Flair match at Wrestlemania VIII, the Summerslam â€™91 â€œMatch Made in Heavenâ€ wedding with Elizabeth, the bloody feud with Jake Roberts, the early years of his WCW run, etc. When you sum it all up, Randy Savage was an icon for professional wrestling. Like Hogan, his image transcended into the mainstream, best exemplified by the Slim Jim commercials as well as Sam Raimi casting him as Bonesaw in the original Spider-Man movie. He left this world with a long lasting impression on the current crop of wrestling superstars and a treasureâ€™s worth of five star matches and amazing promos. This man defined the â€œWrestlemania Momentâ€. This man defined the â€œtotal packageâ€. This man opened the doors for mid-sized performers like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and several others who did not have the Hogan or Andre physique. He was arguably the most underrated performer and storyteller to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots.
Randall Mario Poffo answered the final bell on May 20, 2011. He is now reunited with Elizabeth Ann Hulette up in the heavenly clouds above. We thank them for all the memories they gave to fans all over the world.