The day the Madness died

May 20th, 2011

Yeah, Braun got hurt last night and that'd be real bad, the Brewers are "not clutch", can't hit on the road and they are left out of interleague play like the wheelchair kid in kickball. I don't care. This is what I want to write about because it's the saddest news of the day.

When people discuss the difference between professional wrestlers, the opening match comedy acts or the middle of the card technical wrestlers or the main eventers, the difference between them is always referred to as the "it" factor. That something about someone that makes you want to watch them. The ability of the performer to keep your eyes on them and draw your attention to whatever it is they are doing at the moment. It's something that is extremely hard to define, but when someone has it you just know. Hulk Hogan, despite being one of the worst in-ring performers of all time, had it. Steve Austin had it. The Rock had it. Even John Cena, despite the chorus of boos he receives from the diehard fans, has it. That special "IT" is what sets apart the wrestlers from the stars and the stars from the legends.

If I were asked to give an example of everything that ever epitomized what "IT" was I wouldn't be able to tell you what qualities that person might have, how they might sound or what they might look like. I would only give you one specific example that would sum up all you needed to know about the "IT" factor and that example would be the Macho Man Randy Savage. He had IT more than any wrestler of his or any generation. When he wrestled, you watched. When he talked on the microphone, you listened. It did not matter where his place on the card was or whether he was currently aligning himself with the babyfaces or the heels, whatever Randy Savage was doing was important. In a way Randy Savage just didn't have "it", he was "IT".

The fact that his death is such big news just shows big of a deal Randy Savage was to people. His last appearance in WCW came in 2000 when WCW was on it's deathbed and nobody was watching or cared. A brief appearance in TNA in 2005 would be notable if only TNA itself were notable. Outside of an ill-advised rap album mostly dedicated to ripping on Hulk Hogan and a 2008 WWE DVD of his career, Savage has found himself completely out of the spotlight unlike the other stars of his era. The fact that Savage hasn't appeared in a WWE ring since 1994 and is yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame while all of his contemporaries have only adds fuel to a rumor that simply won't die. Despite his ten plus year absence from the ring Savage has remained a constant presence in the hearts and minds of both wrestlers and wrestling fans. Whether it's through the amazing Where's Randy Savage tumblr, Jay Lethal's Black Machismo or the late Larry Sweeney's Macho-inspired persona; the Madness was never far from us.

It's not hard to figure out why. While the 80's Rock N Wrestling era of the WWF was filled with cartoon characters, Savage somehow always seemed more real. Unlike Hogan's Atomic Legdrop his finisher, the Flying Elbow Drop, looked dangerous. When Randy Savage crushed Ricky Steamboat's larynx you believed it because what he did looked like it would crush someone's larynx. He played his character so well that you always believed that whatever he was doing was real. While many gimmicks from this era are jokes today (the Red Rooster and the Repo Man to name two) and could only be used today in a comedy situation, the Macho Man gimmick would work in any generation because of the strength of the man who embodied it. Randy Savage was the Macho Man as much as the Macho Man was Randy Savage.

Looking back on his career you forget how good he actually was. If Shawn Michaels' is Mr. Wrestlemania then he received that title from Savage. The best match in Wrestlemania history is Savage vs Steamboat from Wrestlemania III. His match against the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VII is by far the best match of the Warrior's career and the post-match reconciliation with Elizabeth still gives me goosebumps (if it doesn't make me cry) til this day. His title win at Wrestlemania IV, his falls count anywhere match with Crush at Wrestlemania X and his classic with Ric Flair at Wrestlemania XIII are all what the WWE refers to as Wrestlemania moments.

Despite those five bona fide Wrestlemania moments Savage's career will always be defined by Wrestlemania V and the angle that led up to it. After Hulk Hogan lost the title to Andre the Giant under extremely sketchy circumstances, Andre was stripped of the title and a tournament was decided to crown the new champion. At the time everyone expected Hogan to regain what was rightfully his, but as it turned out Hogan didn't make the finals and instead Randy Savage began his first reign as World Champion. Hogan was the first one in the ring to congratulate Savage and instead of challenging him the two spent the next year teaming up as the Mega Powers with Miss Elizabeth (Savage's wife who famously debuted in this video) by their side. The team main evented WWE's first SummerSlam in 1988 and spent most of the year fighting off the forces of evil. When the evil doers tried to double team one, the other was always there and vice versa. Unfortunately this friendship, like so many friendships in wrestling, was to be shortlived and everything came to a head on a classic episode of Saturday Night's Main Event from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Hogan and Savage were teaming up against the Twin Towers of Akeem and the Big Bossman when during the match Randy Savage was thrown from the ring and landed directly on Miss Elizabeth. Elizabeth was hurt and Hogan, in a showcase of his acting "skills", was really worried. He picked her up and carried her to the back for medical attention leaving Savage to fend for himself against the Twin Towers. After assuring her safety Hogan made his way back to the ring to finish the match and Savage was livid. He grabbed his title and left Hogan to fend for himself. Hogan finished the match and went to the back to confront Savage. Despite Elizabeth's pleas Savage proceeded to brutally attack him because of Hogan's "jealous eyes" and the match of the decade was made.

I've gotten drunk with my friends and watched that video on youtube roughly two thousand times. It never gets old. The storyline is great, but it's Randy Savage that makes it last. His character has motivation and he executes it with an intensity that is second to none. It's everything that makes wrestling great and it's all because of Randy Savage.

Now there's a good chance that Randy Savage was crazy and there is certainly a lot of evidence to back this theory up. He probably wasn't the best guy in the world either with the aforementioned rumors and a constant stream of stories about his relationship with Miss Elizabeth. Like all of us he made mistakes and I'm sure he had regrets about things. He's a person and people are imperfect (especially those who choose to fake fight for money), but as a performer Randy Savage is someone I'll never forget and I will truly miss him. He did things in the ring that made me a fan for life and for that I can't thank him enough. He had "IT" more than any wrestler I've ever seen and in a perfect world it wouldn't even call it that, it'd simply be known as the "Macho" factor because nobody has ever had it more than him.

RIP Macho Man

Vince Morales is the guy who runs this site. He likes the Milwaukee Brewers, pro wrestling and beer. If he offended you he is very, very sorry.

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2 comments on “The day the Madness died

  1. Anonymous on said:

    I remember being mad as a kid when Savage delivered his Flying Elbow Drop on Warrior 6 times and the Warrior still gets up and pins him standing on him with one foot. But it quickly became happiness as the “retired” Macho Man reunites with Elizabeth in a moment that was one of the all time classics in wrestling.

  2. Anonymous on said:

    Great article VIN

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