Friday, May 20, 2011
"Macho Man" Randy Savage, 58, Passes Away
When you talk about game changers, a select few names come to mind. Hogan, Savage, Piper, Flair...all these guys helped usher in a new kind of exciting entertainment that helped nationally brand pro wrestling. Before the mid 80's, the fervor for the sport was tamed because several owners ran different territories within the country, leading to multiple champions and a fractured fan base. However, when Vince McMahon starting unifying these properties and signing guys like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, the industry, for better or worse, was forever changed.
Macho Man wasn't quite the household name that Hogan was, nor was he as successful across the board as Ric Flair, but his charisma was unquestioned and made the wrestlers he worked with that much better.
One particular match I've never forgotten from my childhood pitted The Perfect Team, Macho Man and Mr. Perfect against Ric Flair and Razor Ramon at the 1992 Survivor Series. Back then, I loved Mr. Perfect and his cheesy promos, and Razor was one of the most breathtaking athletes I had seen up to that point. And then you throw in Savage and Flair? Are you kidding me? I just went back and watched it and it was as good as I remembered.
The back story was this: Macho Man and Ultimate Warrior had struck up a friendship and were set to face the hated Ric Flair and his new goon friend, Razor Ramon. Days before the PPV, Warrior was legitimately fired from the company and the writers had to scramble to find a replacement. Enter Ric Flair's assistant, Mr. Perfect. After Flair and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan doubted that Perfect could fill in as a competitor after being asked by Savage, Perfect set out to prove them all wrong by teaming with Flair's nemesis to bring him down.
Everything about this match was the embodiment of what superior writing can do to a performance art. Savage's early belief in his new ally to Mr. Perfect almost quitting on the match to Flair and Ramon fighting dirty to the open ended finish all made for a match that had stuck with me all this time. Also, Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan on commentary made me realize how flat certain commentators fall today.
So please join in as we celebrate the life of a man who for over two decades gave sweat, blood, and tears for the industry he loved and believed in.
Fun fact: While guys like Flair and Savage jumped soon after, all four of these superstars would sign with rival WCW in less than four years time, clearing space for guys like Stone Cold and The Rock and ushering in the "Attitude Era."