Randy Savage (real name Randy Poffo, and incidentally the real life brother of "The Genius" Lanny Poffo; 1952-2011) was a former baseball player who decided to give professional wrestling a go after his baseball career ended. He began wrestling for smaller promotions in the 1970s and was hired by the World Wrestling Federation in the early 1980s.

He was a heel for many years after his WWF debut, mistreating his valet, Miss Elizabeth, and using cowardly tactics whenever possible to beat his opponents.

His first feud of any significance was with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, one of the more popular figures in the WWF at the time. Savage had recently won the Intercontinental Championship from Tito Santana, and Steamboat began challenging him for the belt. In one match, Savage hit Steamboat across the throat with the ring bell, causing Steamboat a serious injury (in character). Upon Steamboat's return, he would follow Savage to house shows around the country and torment him, usually interfering in his matches. This all led to a blowoff match at Wrestlemania III between the two, a match which is widely considered one of the best professional wrestling matches of all time. Steamboat won the Intercontinental belt here to one of the loudest ovations you'll ever hear.

Savage turned babyface soon after, and in under a year's time he was the second most beloved wrestler (behind only Hulk Hogan) in the WWF. At Wrestlemania IV, he was a participant in the tournament to crown a new WWF Champion (the title had been vacant), and Savage beat Ted DiBiase in the finals to win his first WWF Championship.

Hulk Hogan does not like to sit in the shadows long, however, and so Savage was turned heel a few months later so that Hogan could face the champ for the belt at Wrestlemania V. Hogan beat him there, of course, and Savage spent the next few years staying in that heel role (known as the "Macho King" Randy Savage).

He lost a "loser must retire" match to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VII, and accomplished a minor miracle by turning face after the match, as his manager at the time, Sensational Sherri, began to beat him up for losing. Who should run out of the stands but Miss Elizabeth, who ran off Sherri and, in a great moment, embraced Savage in the middle of the ring. Savage soon asked Elizabeth to marry him, and the ceremony took place at SummerSlam '91. (The two had been married since 1984 in reality, but who's counting? They later divorced.)

Since retirements in wrestling never last, he returned to the ring soon after as a babyface, winning his second WWF Championship from Ric Flair at Wrestlemania VIII (1992). He languished in the WWF for a few more years (as a wrestler and announcer) before following his good friend Hulk Hogan to World Championship Wrestling in 1994.

He wrestled in WCW for the next five years, both as a babyface and heel at various points, and winning the WCW World Title on several occasions. Part of the initial anti-nWo contingent, he later joined the nWo ranks--one of the things that killed most of his heat. His in-ring presence diminished greatly and with the fans not responding at all, he finally disappeared for good in 1999.

The node above summarizes the man's life nicely, hitting the main points. There are a few that need to be included to make this a complete reference.

For starters, Randy Savage is considered one of the greatest pro wrestlers to ever have lived. Bar none. He had a combination of natural athletic ability, strange charisma, and an aerial style that counterbalanced Hulk Hogan's meat-sack leg drop persona.

I genuinely mean the man had athletic talent. He played professional baseball, in the minor leagues, deciding on that after excelling in several sports. Like fellow Golden Age talent Curt Hennig, who also excelled at every sport he tried at, he was very much an athlete before he decided to go into the family business. His father was a pro wrestler, and his brother (billed as "The Genius") joined him in the WWF, but never ascended into legend like his brother.

He used that to great effect by being mobile, agile, and able to leap off the top ropes to deliver a convincing elbow smash. He was about 185lb to Hulk Hogan's 303 (until he joined WCW and took steroids), but because of his innate athleticism he looked very much like he could hang at all times. 

Hulk Hogan had the feather boas, the tan, the handlebar moustache, the bandana and the bright yellow and red clothes. Ric Flair had sequined capes and bling for days. But Macho Man brought it to an entirely new level, showing up in ridiculous sunglasses, a Van Halen inspired riot of bright neon colors, wearing outrageous cowboy hats in those hues and bodysuits that looked like someone had forced a truck full of highlighters to vomit all over him. He had wispy, dry hair that stuck out of his head at all angles in a bob-like halo out from underneath an everpresent bandanna (which concealed his male pattern baldness beautifully), a strangled deep raspy voice, and came in arms outstretched and regal to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance. In a world that celebrated character, Randy had that in spades.

When giving promos, his voice sounded like it wasn't spoken but instead was barely escaping the tensed, radiating pure ball of energy that was the Macho Man. The same strangled rasp would be used to sell Slim Jim meat sticks, with Randy screaming "Slip into a Slim Jim!" with a manic war cry. He could wax poetic about the cream rising to the top, or pour candy over his head to illustrate some point or another. At one point they had him win the "King" title off Harley Race or whoever had it and as Macho King Randy Savage brought swagger to an entirely new level, with capes, crown and a scepter.

Make no mistake, the man could wrestle. One of his matches with Ricky Steamboat is considered bar none literally one of the best of all time. His natural athletic talent had him bouncing off ropes, taking to the top rope and leaping through the air, and otherwise outmanoevering men much larger than him. He emoted beautifully, and his larger than life responses could be seen even in the nosebleediest of nosebleed seats.

Paired with Hulk Hogan, they were the Mega Powers, one of the winningest tag teams of the 80s. Hulk had the brawn and ruled the mat, Macho ruled the skies. Behind the scenes, however, Hulk Hogan was always looking out for Hulk Hogan. Eventually the two had a bitter real life feud, with Randy Savage out of character volunteering to really fight the guy for real, with all proceeds going to charity. It was rumored that just before Savage died the two reconciled, but Savage didn't live long enough for it to go anywhere, if it actually happened.

Randy was accompanied to the ring by his real-life wife Elizabeth "Miss Elizabeth" Huguette, one of the best valets of 80s era wrestling. Beautiful and a character in her own right, she would be worked into storylines where either some wrestler wanted to win her from Savage, or attacked her to get Savage to come after him.

In real life, Randy was fond of locking her in a room from the outside when he went to wrestle or was otherwise apart from her, insanely jealous and very very much guarding her at all times. It was rumored that this was the source of the "Macho Man" moniker. Others said he had a bit of a dark side, stealing food here and there when he could afford to pay for it, for example. They had a scripted wedding in-ring even though they'd been married for years, but the toll of his jealousy and constant monitoring of her took its toll. She went off to live with Lex Luger, and died of an overdose in his home. This led to serious charges for Luger as there were a LOT of drugs and steroids in his house, which the cops found when they answered the 911 call. It also certainly affected Savage, as they had had some degree of reconciliation later on, nowhere near a rekindling of a relationship however. He took up with a new valet, Gorgeous George, rumored to be a bit of a gold digger but she was still with him when he died.

He moved from the WWF, seeing the Attitude era favoring newer and younger talent, and jumped ship to WCW, something which WWF boss Vince McMahon took really hard. But Randy Savage never got the same stroke there given Hogan's control of the back office. He eventually disappeared completely after being brought back a few times in the mid 2000s.

He appeared in other media however. Advertising most certainly - but he also lent his unmistakable voice to cartoons, and was Bonesaw McGraw in the Spider-Man movie, playing the pro wrestler that Peter Parker initially uses his powers to defeat thinking he could turn his mutant powers into a profitable enterprise.

On May 20, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida - he was out driving his Jeep when it lost control and smashed into a tree after he became unresponsive. It wasn't the impact with the tree that killed him, as was initially reported - the cause of the loss of control was a massive heart attack, which meant no living soul was at the wheel when the Wrangler hit the trees. Some of his arteries were 90% closed, it was just a matter of time. Cause of death was ruled as heart disease.

He was, of course, inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 2015. No question there. The man was practically the second face of the company for more than a decade, his inimitable voice and persona leaving a huge stamp on the business that nobody else has remotely managed to copy.

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