Random Thoughts from the Office: May 20, 2011

It is a sad day to be a wrestling fan. The news came through this morning of the death of "Macho Man" Randy Savage, a man who was almost iconic in wrestling terms as it was hard pressed to find a person who actually wasn't entertained by him; whether it was his crazy rambling promos, his great in-ring work or just his general character and demeanor. "Macho Man" never failed to entertain people in the WWE or WCW.

I personally was a massive Savage fan from the moment he debuted in WWE. From the moment he started you could tell that he was going to be something big because he made himself stand out, whether it was by his promos or bringing in the beautiful Elizabeth to be his manager or just standing up to the babyfaces of the time. Savage got over faster than he really had a right to and he was quickly moved into a showdown with the biggest superstar of the company. Hulk Hogan.

But that first series is forgotten a lot primarily because it didn't last very long, and it didn't last very long because for the first time in his brawls with superstars, Hogan wasn't a virtuous babyface. Some people actually cheered Savage instead of Hogan. It can be argued then that Savage was the first "Cool" bad guy, ten years before groups like the nWo and individuals like Stone Cold Steve Austin came along. Savage was something different, something out of the mold and that made him someone you wanted to see, even if you hated him.

The cut abrupt feud didn't faze Savage and he soon went on to win the Intercontinental title from Tito Santana, and over the course of the next year he defended it against all comers in great matches night after night. With all due respect to guys like Santana and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine who'd held the belt before Savage, Savage was the first man who made you believe the IC title meant something more than just a midcard belt just to get guys over. When Savage held the title he kept working hard and slowly the IC title became just as revered a belt as the then WWF title held by Hogan, to the point where superstars of today like Chris Jericho have openly said they didn't want to be the WWF champion, they wanted to be the Intercontinental champion.

Of course it all culminated at Wrestlemania 3 in the Pontiac Silverdome. It was a match that many still consider one of the top five matches in Wrestlemania history - some 24 years after the event -  as Randy Savage put the gold on the line against Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, the man he saw as his greatest threat, the man he tried to put out of wrestling for good by draping his throat over a barricade. The two created a masterpiece, filled with high flying moves, technical wrestling, false finish after false finish to the point when not one of the fans in attendance was sitting down. A lot of people think that was Steamboat's moment, I think it was Savage's, but in essence we're both right; the point of any good feud is to have both stars walk out more over than when they walked in. And that was definitely the case with Savage and Steamboat.

Then we came to Wrestlemania 4 and the story of Savage's run through the tournament. He had to wrestle 4 times, his last two against men coming off the bye. Yet despite overwhelming odds, Savage won the WWF title and cemented his legacy as one of the all time greats.

But perhaps my favorite Randy Savage moment was the time when the Megapowers exploded, the buildup to Wrestlemania V. The thing is though if you look back objectively at the scenario Savage was right: Hogan was making eyes at Elizabeth, he never asked for a title shot and he did kind of leave Savage hanging on more than one occasion. I would've whacked Hogan too but Savage took it to that next level by being that crazy sort of person, blinded by jealousy and rage that his friend was trying to steal his woman, that he built up the feud to the point where Wrestlemania V actually became one of the most underrated Wrestlemanias of all time.

I could go on and on but I guess I have to leave it on what was the probably most emotional moment in WWE history, Wrestlemania 7 and the career match against the Ultimate Warrior. Not only did Savage pull a great match out of Warrior, arguably the greatest of Warrior's career, but the whole storyline of Elizabeth being there and saving Savage from Sherri, Savage finally realizing he'd been wrong all these years and welcoming the one person who'd been with him no matter what back into his life and into his heart. Wrestling do great storylines folks, don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. There wasn't a dry eye in the arena that night and when Savage "married" Elizabeth at Summerslam 91 in the "Match made in Heaven" it was a feelgood moment we as wrestling fans could all share in and enjoy. Of course Jake "The Snake" Roberts fucked it all up leading to another epic feud, but that's another story.

Wrestling has had "Great Ones", "Phenoms" even people who were "Perfect" but only one could ever truly be described as "Macho". Hopefully he gets the credit due him in death that he didn't get when he was alive.

Clarence "Showstealer" Mason

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