This will probably be intensely personal and it may never see the light of day, but on May 20, 2011, I learned that Randy “Macho Man” Savage had passed away. There are fewer more flamboyant, outspoken, mysterious enigmas. How could you not love him? He had the beard, the sunglasses, the cowboy hat, a colorful outfit that made no sense whatsoever.
First was the entrance. Nobody had a bigger entrance than the Macho Man. It’s funny how two of the best entrances of all time didn’t involve anything special. It was just a great (familiar) song and their ring presence did the rest. Ric Flair had “Also sprach Zarathustra.” Macho Man had “Pomp and Circumstance.” All they needed was a song and their natural charisma did the rest. Nobody got the crowd on their feet quite like the Macho Man’s entrance. Were there better entrances? Maybe Hulk Hogan’s “Real American,” Undertaker, Stone Cold, Rowdy Roddy Piper, New Age Outlaws, Christian, HBK, Sandman, those were all great. But you have to put Savage’s “Pomp and Circumstance” somewhere near the top of that list. My mom and I used to joke about how I was going to graduate to the Macho Man’s music.
Next came his mic skills. When you first heard of Savage’s death, you probably thought, “Oooooooooohhhhhhhhh, yyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.” Or you might have said, “Dig it!” Or you probably bought a Slim Jim and said “Snap into it.” And you probably ended it with “What it is is what it is.” In an era dominated by great talkers (Hogan, Jake The Snake, Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura, Jimmy Hart, Piper, Slick, Iron Sheik, Flair, Dusty, Road Warrior Hawk, Jim Cornette, Sting), Savage stood out and was hands-down, one of the best. His voice was unmistakable. My daughter, when she was about 18 months, started getting this deep, gruff voice that she would explore (as deep as an 18-month-old could get). And she would get this really intense face. We called it her Macho Man face. We got a picture once and posted it where everybody can see. I think it’s one of my most-viewed pics of all time. One of my favorite Savage promos of all time was when Savage went to the psychiatrist in WCW, and the psychiatrist said he was OCD. Savage took that as “one cool dude.” My dad and I would say that to each other all the time. Nowadays, whenever he does something OCD, he looks at me and says, “I know. One cool dude.”
And then there was in-ring ability. When I did a list of my all-time favorite matches, Savage-Steamboat was on the list. I also almost put a Flair-Savage match there too from early Nitro days. Wrestlemania XIII was another legendary match where he pinned Flair with a broken leg. What Savage did best was “the little guy against the monster.” He would take 20 minutes of punishment and then have a minute and a half of offense and then Savage would do the elbow drop off the top rope and score the pin.
He was a one-in-a-lifetime legend. Tonight, I will raise my glass and drink one for the great Macho Man.