Wrestling legend Macho Man Randy Savage was killed in a car accident in Florida this morning. He was 58.
Of course, I remember the classic Wrestlemania III showdown with Ricky Steamboat. Despite Savage taking the loss and dropping the WWE Intercontinental title, it was arguably one of the greatest wrestling matches of all-time. (I watched the VHS tape of this Wrestlemania too many times as a kid.)
He also captured his first WWE Championship belt by winning the tournament for the then-vacant title at Wrestlemania IV. He bested Ted Dibase to win his biggest prize of his career after hitting his signature finisher, the flying elbow drop from the top rope. He got the assist from good friend Hulk Hogan, who smashed DiBase with a chair to set up the finish.
We all remember the Summerslam 1991 wedding, where he married his manager and WWE "first lady," Miss Elizabeth. (She died in 2003 due to a mix of drugs and alcohol.)
And who could forget when Jake Roberts' snake bit Macho Man in the ring in what was probably one of the most heated feuds in wrestling history.
He also had one of the most memorable wrestling theme songs in history. He walked out to the ring to the classic "Pomp and Cirumstance." A song that is also typically played at commencement ceremonies.
I have a few memorable Randy Savage memories that I was fortunate to witness as a kid:
My uncle took me, my brother and my cousin to the Intrepid in New York City to witness the "Bodyslam Challenge" on July 4, 1993. It was a scorching hot day, and I could barely see the wrestling ring. (Little kids usually don't have the best view in large crowds.)
In any event, wrestling superstars and professional athletes came out to try to slam the monstrous Yokozuna, who weighed 550 pounds. It was a huge event, and Savage was among the hosts, wearing a flamboyant red, white and blue outfit.
After all the contestants had unsuccessfully tried, Savage stepped up the plate. He was the last hope as "America's pride was on the line."
Savage went for the scoop - but there was no slam. Savage did not save the day, as that honor was left for Lex Luger, who was successful in the slamming Yokozuna. But in typical Savage fashion, his presence on that day certainly stood out.
I was also fortunate to be in attendance for Savage's last WWE pay-per-view appearance at Madison Square Garden on March 20, 1994.
He took on rival Crush in a wild falls count anywhere match. Most of the out-of-control match took place outside the ring or backstage. But Savage used his brains by tying up the evil Crush to emerge victorious in what would be one of his final moments in WWE before fleeing for the now-defunct WCW.
Savage leaves behind a legacy like few other professional wrestlers. There was only one who was bigger: Hulk Hogan.
Hogan took to Twitter share to express his feelings in the wake of the loss:
"I'm completely devastated, after over 10 years of not talking with Randy, we've finally started to talk and communicate," he wrote. "He had so much life in his eyes & in his spirit, I just pray that he's happy and in a better place and we miss him."
The Hulkster continued, "We miss him a lot. I feel horrible about the ten years of having no communication. This was a tough one."
Here is the official comment from the WWE:
"WWE® is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, aka Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Poffo was under contract with WWE from 1985 to 1993 and held both the WWE and Intercontinental Championships. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife Lynn. Poffo will be greatly missed by WWE and his fans."
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