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20 May, 2011

The Macho Man

  Sad news today about the death of Randy "Macho Man" Savage. He was my favorite WWF superstar in the 80's and 90's. He was athletic, charismatic and funny. He's one of the few guys who didn't try out a bunch gimmicks when he broke in to the WWF. He entered and remained The Macho Man. He also had the lovely Elizabeth by his side, who was America's sweetheart.
America's Royal Family
  His signature leap from the top rope was his indelible maneuver. But he also had his trademark song, Pomp and Circumstance, which always seemed a slightly absurd choice for Macho Man, but it worked. He had his "OOOOOOHHHHH-YEAHAH!" catchphrase that was, like his voice, often imitated but never duplicated. He was also one of the first wrestlers I remember as being very entertaining on the mic. His promos were must see. Lex Luger may have been called The Total Package, but Savage was the total package.
   He was a showman in the ring who could carry matches with the less gifted athletes. Consider, that at his peak, the WWF was more about size and steroids than athletic ability and acrobatics.  Look at the list of guys Macho usually was pitted against: Hulk, Andre, Warrior, Honkey Tonk Man, Big Boss Man, George The Animal Steele, Ted DiBiase, Greg Valentine, Jake the Snake Roberts. Compare that group to the athletes of today who climb ropes, jump off ladders and tables and turnbuckels as easily as they walk. In a world of bulls in the china shop, Macho Man was a gazelle.
the match many call the greatest ever 
  That, in part, is why the Macho vs. Steamboat match at Wrestlemania 3 was such a classic and remains one of the greatest matches ever. Macho Man was in the ring with an athlete of equal ability. Someone who could sell the moves that much better, help Macho leap a little further, land a little harder and didn't need 5 minutes of holding moves to catch his breath. Hulk vs Andre was the headliner at Wrestlemania 3, but Mach and Ricky stole the show.

Here's part of that match.

Here's a very interesting interview with Steamboat talking about working with Macho Man

  A few quick personal stories on Macho Man.
  When the Royal Rumble came to Orlando in 1990 I had a chance to interview Macho the day before the event. I asked him "Randy, how excited are you for the Rumble?" and he took about 5 minutes to answer the question. It was enthralling to see him "work" up close like that and it remains my favorite interview I ever did.
  In the late '90s Bill Simmons and I teamed up to do a USA Today fantasy football league team. Our team name was The Mega Powers. We won our 25 man league and our 250 team division. Never underestimate the power of the Mega Powers.
  At my wedding reception, in 1992, it was time for the exchanging of the pieces of cake. My wife went first and did the typical "kind of shove it in your face" routine. When it was my turn I acted like I was going to return the favor but at the last second I brought the cake back in and took a bite out of it for myself. Immediately, after taking the bite, I put one hand on my hip and raised the cake high above my head with the other hand, striking the traditional Macho Man pose. Then I gave it the Macho Man turn about, to boot. There were only a few people there who recognized what I was doing, but I'll always remember it.
  Just like I'll always remember Randy "Macho Man" Savage as a great wrestler and a great entertainer. OHHHHHH-YEEEEAHAH.

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