Macho Man Randy Savage
15/11/1952 – 20/05/2011
Wrestling’s old-school king of over-the-top, explosively ridiculous cartoon pageantry is dead; long live the king Ooh yeah! Killed in a car crash probably caused by the thing that kills most wrestlers, the ubiquitous heart attack. Another great piece of my childhood (and quite possibly yours too) has gone, and will be missed by many.
I suppose this is supposed to be an arts blog of sorts, and the sport of American-style Pro-Wrestling can, in the right hands, be one of the most exciting, intuitive, visceral and expressive art-forms; a raw art brut scream of humanity at its basest. This is not the post for explaining the virtues of wrestling; Roland Barthes already wrote that in 1957, The World of Wrestling. This is the post for remembering the real-life weirdo-super hero Macho Man Randy Savage.
Let’s start with a video...
...of Savage doing what he did best. At Wrestlemania III way back in 1987 he defended his year-long reign as Intercontinental Champion against Ricky the Dragon Steamboat. The pair performed magnificently, and the largest audience ever at a North American indoor sport event (93,173 wrestling fans) were eating out of their hands; hear them roar and cheer. The fact that Savage loses his belt is of course immaterial; a year-long story arch reached a major peak. He played a major role in the development of wrestling story-telling and the art of the high flier.
As well as his incredible matches he will also be remembered for his incredible interviews:
“Unbelievable. Time distortion; space is the place, Mean Gene Okerlund. Going down that lonesome highway, yeah. But don’t be hypnotised, no. Reincarnation doesn’t have to be. You can concentrate and you can
telepathy <...> I’m the greatest professional wrestler that ever lived and I’m living now, yeah. I can’t sing and I can’t dance but I can make romance, yeah. Right there the fork in the road. I said go right, Elizabeth said go left. I went right, and then, and then I understand what the situation was. I went over the bridge, and then, yeah, when I crossed that bridge I found out that I was on the right side, and I said Elizabeth follow me. Yeah, because I’m going straight to the top. The stars, yeah, the stars....”
Savage there putting it better than I ever could. Not only was he a wonderful orator, he also dressed better than I could ever have a need to. While Hulk Hogan was always a ripped t-shirt/yellow panties man, and most other wrestlers just toed the functional leotard line, Macho Man Randy Savage was this guy:
Then for no reason whatsoever he became this guy – rapper trying to start a beef with Hulk Hogan; Be A Man, Hulk. Not to mention the fact that he actually fought Spiderman for real.
And there you have the strange life of Randy Mario Poffo aka Randy Savage, played out on the strange stage of professional wrestling. He will be missed by anyone with a sense of what is worth missing. Rest in peace you crazy, crazy man.