If you said “Oooh Yeah!!” in a raspy voice a few thousand times, then you were a pro wrestling fan of the ’80s. If you climbed up to the top of a fence, or a bed, then jumped and dropped “The Big Elbow” on your friends or siblings, then you were a wrestling fan of the ’80s. If you know what I mean by dropping the “Big Elbow”, then you were a wrestling fan of the ’80s. If you hear “Pomp and Circumstance”, and the first thing that comes to your mind is – not walking down an aisle, after years of hard work, earning your high school or college diploma – but instead it is The Macho Man in a crazy robe, big sunglasses, and a bandana or cowboy hat, with Miss Elizabeth at his side, then you were a wrestling fan of the ’80s.
On Friday morning, “Macho Man” Randy Savage joined the long list of our favorite wrestlers to tragically die before their time. As most of you have heard by now, Savage died after having a heart attack while driving his Jeep Wrangler. Savage, whose real name is Randy Poffo, had just celebrated his first wedding anniversary with his wife Lynn. It was his second marriage.
Randy’s father Angelo Poffo was a well-known wrestler in the 1950s and 1960s, who was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for his ability to do sit-ups for hours on end. Randy’s brother, Lanny, was also a pretty well known wrestler – although not as successful. He was best known as “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, and then as “The Genius”.
Randy Savage first broke into wrestling in 1973. He was known as “The Spider Friend”, which was similar to Spider-Man. Maybe that was fate, since he went on to fight Spiderman in the 2002 movie as he wrestler Bonesaw McGraw.
But, Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) booker Ole Anderson suggested that he changed his name. He said that the name Poffo didn’t fit someone who “wrestled like a savage”. And history was made.
After wrestling in the AWA, Savage moved to the WWF in 1985. He was a bad guy upon his arrival. He was crazy, and he treated his manager, Miss Elizabeth, badly. And he would threaten anyone who even looked at her.
On February 8, 1986, Savage won his first title – The Intercontinental Title – in the Boston Garden against Tito Santana.
He cheated to win, but he defended his title quite often. He lost his title at Wrestlemania III to Ricky Steamboat. However, the match is considered to be one of the greatest matches of all time. Apparently, Savage was a stickler for detail, and he and Steamboat laid out and rehearsed every spot in the match prior to WrestleMania, at his home in Florida.
Savage was slowly becoming more likable. Then The Honky Tonk Man, who won the title from Steamboat, declared himself to be “the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time”. So, Randy Savage got into a feud with the Honky Tonk Man, and became one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWF. He was never able to get that title back, but he went on to win the World Title at Wrestlemania IV.
At Wrestlemania IV, there was a tournament to determine who the new champion would be. Savage went on to beat Butch Reed, Greg Valentine and One Man Gang. And in the finals, he defeated “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.
Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan became friends, and were known as the Mega Powers. Then Savage became jealous when Hogan took Elizabeth on as his manager as well. Savage turned on Hogan, and lost his title to Hogan at Wrestlemania V, which was dubbed – “The Mega Powers Explode!”
Savage replaced Elizabeth with Sensational Sherri. He went on to win The King of the Ring against Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and dubbed himself the “Macho King”.
At Wrestlemania VII, Savage lost a retirement match to The Ultimate Warrior. It was a valiant effort. After the match, Sensational Sherri attacked Macho Man, and then Elizabeth rushed to Savage’s aid, fighting off Sherri and reuniting with her one-time love. Some fans were spotted crying in the audience.
Savage stayed in wrestling as a broadcaster. Meanwhile the angle with Miss Elizabeth continued, culminating with Savage proposing to her in the ring leading to an on-air wedding at SummerSlam 1991 dubbed The Match Made in Heaven. In reality, the two had been married since 1984.
Then Jake “the Snake” Roberts turned bad and started targeting Savage and Elizabeth. Eventually, after campaigning to have himself reinstated, Macho Man was able to come out of retirement, and feud with Roberts.
The former couple were divorced on September 18, 1992. Afterward, Savage issued a statement that was printed in WWE Magazine, revealing the status of their relationship and thanking the fans for their support through the years. Savage’s statement marked, at the time, a rare acknowledgement of the wrestlers’ private lives for both the WWF and its flagship publication. Savage continued with the WWF for two more years, and except for the statement in WWF Magazine, his divorce from Elizabeth was neither referred to nor figured into any of Savage’s future feuds.
At the end of October 1994, Savage’s WWF contract expired and he abruptly left to sign with the competing WCW. His contract expired at the end of the summer of 1999, and he would not be seen by wrestling fans for five years.
In 2004, he returned to wrestling in Total Nonstop Action (TNA). But he left wrestling for good after he had a disagreement with TNA about the finish of the next scheduled Pay-Per-View event.
Sadly, Miss Elizabeth (Elizabeth Hulette), was found dead in the home of professional wrestler Lex Luger on May 1, 2003, from a drug overdose. According to a 2003 shoot interview with Savage’s brother, Lanny Poffo, Savage had no animosity towards Luger, and felt that Elizabeth brought about her own death due to her drug use.
According to TMZ, Savage’s brother, Lanny Poffo, said that Randy will be cremated and his ashes co-mingled with the ashes of his loyal pooch, Hercules.
Lanny told TMZ, Randy would always say, “If it’s good enough for Herc, it’s good enough for me!”
And … although the Macho Man was one of the most beloved wrestlers of all time, there won’t be a public memorial, because he didn’t want one. The service will be small — for family only.