Florida Highway Patrol states that Randy Savage (Poffo) was driving his 2009 Jeep Wrangler when suffered a heart attack and veered across a concrete median – through oncoming traffic – and collided head-on with a tree. Savage was transported to Largo Medical center, where he died from his injuries. Earlier this month, Savage celebrated his 1-year anniversary with his new wife Lynn. Savage was 58.
Randy Poffo was more than a man. As an pop culture icon, he had transcended to the level of legend as “Macho Man” Randy Savage. For those of us who grew up with him on our television screens, watching superstars like “Macho Man” and Hulk Hogan wrestle was the equivalent of watching Gods and Titans battle on the top of Mt. Olympus.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage was one of my all-time favorite personalities in professional wrestling – a fantastic storyteller who could play both sides of the coin perfectly. He gave me countless hours of enjoyment as a child, and I think young boys learn a lot about the world through the lens of professional wrestling. It’s a morality play with good guys and bad guys – all those Shakespearean elements of betrayal, morality and conflict are boiled down to two men in a wrestling ring, telling the story not with soliloquies but with body slams and suplexes.
I just wanted to take a moment and thank Randy Savage for a piece of my childhood – for all the nights that he went out there and took a beating and pushed his body to the limit to tell a story – to give us a reason to cheer or boo.
Coming to terms with the death of your childhood heroes is strange. I’ve seen “Macho Man” Randy Savage several times at live wrestling events at civic centers and auditoriums – but I’ve never spoken a word to the man – and yet, I do consider this a personal loss. If anything, it is a loss of innocence, a piece of my childhood that is gone – proof of my own maturation as the people we idolized as children slowly fade away.
Randy Savage is evidence of the power of storytelling. As a fictional character, we welcomed Savage into our homes every week and watched him with awe and excitement. The yellow boots, the orange knee pads, the purple trunks with those three white stars on them – iconography that is forever burned into my mind.
The grace in which he climbed to the top turnbuckle and soared through the air – the millions of camera flashes lighting up the auditorium as he crashed elbow-first into his opponent. The roar of the crowd, the smack of the referee’s hand against the canvas. That’s what professional wrestling was all about.
Randy Savage didn’t go quietly in the night. It took two things to kill him – a heart attack and a car accident – and when you think about it, no one thing could ever kill Randy Savage – the man was too bad-ass for that. It took a tag-team of tragedies to bring him down for the three count.
My condolences to Savage’s family and friends. Where there was once madness, there is now sadness. Rest in peace, Macho Man. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!
Final Thought: I have this one Randy Savage interview memorized by heart. I remember watching it on television when it happened, on Saturday Night’s Main Event, as a build-up to his match with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat at WrestleMania III.
My mom had taped this particular episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event on a VHS tape and when wrestling wasn’t on during the week and I wanted to watch it on tape, I’d simply re-watch this. Here it is, in all of its glory… HISTORY BECKONS THE MACHO MAN!
Filmwise, Randy Savage contributed to such films as “Bolt”, providing the voice of ‘Thug’, TV’s “King of the Hill”, as ‘Gorilla’, and of course Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man”, playing Bone Saw McGraw.