It is with great sadness that I inform you that Randy Savage passed away today in a car accident.
Thousands of fans will write thousands of words today, and perhaps more, concerning the untimely death of Randall Mario Poffo, better known as Randy Macho Man Savage. I am but one of those fans.
Today is a sad day for fans, and for the business of professional wrestling. We have lost one of our own, and it hurts. Life happens so quickly, and ends even faster. Before there is even time to realize it, those we loved as kids are growing older and passing on. Randy is no different.
A Florida Highway Patrol crash report said the former wrestler -- whose legal name was Randy Mario Poffo -- was driving a Jeep Wrangler when he lost control in Pinellas County around 9:25 a.m. The Jeep veered over the raised concrete median divider, crossed over the eastbound lanes and crashed head-on into a tree.
Police said he may have suffered a "medical event" before the accident, but the report did not elaborate, and it said officials would need to perform an autopsy to know for sure.
Savage gave the wrestling industry over twenty years of service, where he reinvented the business with his colorful personality and in-ring abilities that raised the bar for excellence in the business of professional wrestling.
Despite any supposed controversies that he may have been involved with behind the scenes in WWE, that is of little consequence to me. I am not the man’s judge, nor will I speak ill of him on the day of his death.
To be honest, I have nothing negative to say. I loved the guy’s work and appreciated all he gave to the business and the fans who paid to see him perform.
Every professional wrestler strives to make a name for himself, and gain either support, or heat from the fans. The main objective, above all else, is to be known, to be relevant, and to be remembered.
This is Randy Savage’s legacy. He will never be forgotten.
It is hard to really measure what Savage’s greatest contribution to the wrestling industry truly was. As a midcard talent he brought credibility to the Intercontinental Championship. As a World Champion he held the WWF Championship for over a year. Savage put up the kind of fight against Hulk Hogan that was rivaled by only Andre the Giant, which given the size difference between the two is nothing to scoff at.
Randy Savage was no doubt one of the best in-ring performers of his generation. His defeat to Hulk at Wrestlemania V was a tragedy since there was little question that Savage was the better in-ring performer. Whether it was Hogan, Ric Flair, Diamond Dallas Page, Ted DiBiase Sr., Dusty Rhodes, Jake Roberts, The Ultimate Warrior, or so many more, when it came to the ring, Savage brought out the best in whoever he had to face.
There was a big name missing from the list above. That’s because Randy Savage’s match with Ricky Steamboat is in a league of its own. Over twenty years have passed and that match still stands against the test of time as one of the all-time greats. Without that match, Wrestlemania III would never be considered one of the best. Without that match, the Intercontinental Championship would never have had the prestige that it has had over the past few decades. Few wrestlers have looked so good in defeat as Savage did on that day.
The Intercontinental title would have been every bit as prestigious without that match - after all Honky Tonk Man held the thing for over a year and he was a disgrace, then it went to Ultimate Warrior who I can wrestle as good as. But when Curt Henning/Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels got that belt, it got it's prestige. The real shame was Hogan not only beating Savage for WWF title, but Savage degrading from that top performer to the Macho King and always being buried by Hogan. Hogan should have put Savage over - out of respect, but his ego was too big.
I just recently watched the movie "The Wrestler" and I began to think about the wrestlers I used to watch back in the day when I was a kid. Macho Man was one of them. I'll never forget when he was bitten by Jake "The Snake" Robert's snake and how gruesome that was. Those were the days. And who could forget his breaking of the Mega Powers and the heel turn that came with it.
Savage made his mark not one but two companies. After a fallout with Vince McMahon, Savage joined WCW where he won the top belt four times. His second world titles from both WWF and WCW came by defeating Ric Flair who Savage had a long and storied feud with. These were the days when wrestling feuds were so long and so brutal that at times they felt quite real.
His love story with Elizabeth is what I'll remember most I think. As a kid you see these big strong men beat the tar out of each other and to see this softer side to him, it made him more real. I was looking forward to his return, sadly that won't happen now.
While Savage had a phenomenal in-ring career, his lasting legacy comes from his image. From the sunglasses, the bandanas, the absurd color choices, Randy Savage brought the thing that wrestling thrives on the most. Energy. I cannot think of one wrestler who came after him that did not at least draw inspiration from the way Savage carried himself both in image and in-ring skills.
Is there a wrestling fan on this planet who does not recognize Macho Man Randy Savage?
He was at times both the most popular and most hated wrestler in entertainment. His flying elbow off the top rope was mimicked by basement and backyard wrestlers everywhere. Savage made good use of his deep, raspy voice as a corporate pitchman as well, for years ordering Slim Jim fans to "Snap into a Slim Jim!"
He's most known for his legendary rivalries with Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair. Wrestlers took to Twitter to let fans know Savage won't be forgotten.
"There's probably five or six of us, with Andre (the Giant) and Hogan and thankfully myself and Flair, that, when their names pop up, even if you're not a fan, you know who in the hell these people are," said former wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes. "You say, 'I know this guy. I know Macho Man Randy Savage.' He was part of that breed. We lost a good one."
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hailed Savage as one of his childhood inspirations and heroes, while Mick "Cactus Jack" Foley called Savage "one of my favorite performers."
Hogan said he and Savage had just started talking again after 10 years.
"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," Hogan wrote.
While so many personalities who left the WWF for WCW like Hogan, Roddy Piper and Mean Gene Okerlund were welcomed back to the company and even inducted into the Hall of Fame, Savage never returned.
Rhodes said Savage had prudently saved his money and was content to remain out of the spotlight.
"He was a recluse, almost," Rhodes said by phone. "Whatever he was doing, he wanted that privacy. Yeah, he was out of the picture for 10 years, but he didn't want to be in the picture."
The fact that Randy Savage is not in the WWE Hall of Fame practically destroys the Hall’s credibility all on its own. Without Randy Savage it is hard to tell what the WWF would have become. There would be a lot less color and a lot less charisma.
It was hard to include everything while this is still so new. Quite frankly it was one of the hardest articles I've ever written. Today, we ring the bell 10 times for one of our favorites, our childhood hero, and our friend. I can almost hear “Pomp and Circumstance” being played on a church organ as I write this. I find myself smiling while I am saddened by his loss.
Macho Man, you will be missed. Ooh yeah!
Along with thousands of members of the WWE Universe worldwide, the WWE Superstars, Divas, WWE Hall of Famers, NXT Rookies, Alumni and celebrities have flooded Twitter, remembering “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Share your thoughts on Twitter @WWE and @WWEUniverse.
John Cena: “CeNation. The untimely passing of Randy Savage is indeed tragic. All true fans of wrestling will mourn this loss. One of the all time greats.”
Christian:“Sad 2 hear about "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Only met him once briefly. No doubt 1 of the best & influenced so many performers you see today RIP”
WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels: “@IAmJericho jus txt me the news. We've lost one of the greats!! Our prayers go out to the family & friends of Randy Savage.”
WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin: "Just heard about Macho Man Randy Savage... Unmatched intensity in the ring. A hellacious performer and terrific promo. A real bad ass. RIP."
The Rock: “Today Team Bring It will celebrate a life – we will kick ass and chase greatness #OOHHYEEEAAAHHH style!”
WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Pipper: "Too SAD TO TWEET."
Chris Jericho: "Randy Savage was a true influence and inspiration to me and taught me some very important lessons, in and out of the ring. Rest in peace, Mach."
WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel: “I am profoundly saddened by the passing of one of the all-time greats, “Macho Man” Randy Savage. My condolences go out to the Poffo family."
WWE Hall of Famer Bret "Hitman" Hart: “I have no words to say. This one hits me hard. We lost one of the best.” This sums it up.”
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross: Just heard Macho Man died this morning of a heart attack while driving his vehicle in Tampa. Condolences to all Randy Savage fans/family.
Rey Mysterio: “RIP Macho Man Randy Savage! Doing promotion in Seattle for Over the Limit PPV, was asked earlier today at a radio station. Who would I of loved to wrestle from back in da day? I said would of loved to hit it off in a 3ple threat, Macho Man, Ricky the Dragon, and myself! RIP RMS!”
Joey Styles: "There's no other way for me to celebrate the life & career of The Macho Man than to let him keep entertaining me.VIDEO: http://bit.ly/lZLBj8"
Wade Barrett: “Bow to the kingdom of the madness. RIP Macho Man, amazing performer.”
Justin Roberts: “Macho Man... Simply awesome. Incredible and entertaining in everything he did. One of the best ever. RIP.”
Zack Ryder: “RIP MACHO MAN. One of my favorites and one of the best of all time. DIG IT!”
Curt Hawkins: “I carry this picture in my gear bag ... 7-year-old Hawkins & my 1st tag team partner. RIP Macho Man.”
Goldust: “Prayers go out to Randy Savage’s family … God be with them in this tough time.”
William Regal: “Just heard of the passing of Randy Savage. A one-of-a-kind great performer. RIP.”
Vickie Guerrero: “RIP Randy Macho Man Savage. My prayers are to your family.”
Ezekiel Jackson: “Whoa... Just heard about macho man Randy Savage... God bless the family, the wrestling world just lost one of the greatest ever... R.I.P”
Natalya: “My prayers are with Randy Savage and his family right now.”
JTG: “To one of my favorite Hall of Famers, inducted or not. Macho Man Randy Savage. R.I.P OOOOOOOOOH YEEEEEEEAH !”
Beth Phoenix: "No words for this very sad day. Condolences to Randy Savage's family, friends and millions of fans." #MachoMan
Darren Young: “JUST like that! Life can end. Tell those close to ya that you love them cause ya never know! RIP Macho Man.”
Ricardo Rodriguez: “Thoughts go to Randy Savage's family. Definitely an amazing talent and a great inspiration to many. Can never forget Savage vs Steamboat.”
Yoshi Tatsu: “The Macho Man Randy Savage is one of my heroes when I was childhood and one of the best of all time. Rest in peace.”
Jack Korpela: “Hogan vs. Savage at WrestleMania V was the match that got me hooked on WWE as a kid. RIP “Macho Man” Randy Savage. My condolences.”
Trish Stratus: “Rest in peace. Randy – my first inspiration in the ring. My prayers & condolences to the Savage family.”
Bill DeMott: “When I got my start in WCW it was Randy that gave me the rub... My prayers and thoughts to the Poffo Family .”
Lucky Cannon: “My respect and condolence goes out to a true iconic figure the Macho Man Randy Savage and his family!”
Torrie Wilson: "Just heard the news of Macho Man Randy Savage passing... Rest in peace, Randy."
Mark Henry: "Wow family, one of my favorites is gone! Rest well (Randy Savage) you will be missed."
The Bella Twins: "Very sad to hear about Macho Man... His family is in our thoughts & prayers... Truly an amazin' & captivatin' man!"
Titus O'Neil: "My prayers go out to the family, friends & former colleagues of WWE Superstar Randy "Macho Man" Savage who passed away this morning. God Bless."
Scott Stanford: "Sorry to hear about the Macho Man! He was one of the best!"
Kharma: "In utter shock about Macho Man. So much charisma in one soul."
Lilian Garcia: "Just heard the news about "Macho Man" Randy Savage passing away. So sad. RIP Randy. My prayers go out to your friends & family."
Byron Saxton: "Randy Savage, may you Rest In Peace. Thank You for the memories an here's to an eternal Oooooh Yeahhh! God Bless."
Gail Kim: "RIP macho man. Thank u 4 all the great yrs u gave us.u were part of the reason I loved wrestling...what u did 4 all ... http://tmi.me/aqJ68"
TV personality Ryan Seacrest: “RIP Macho Man Randy Savage... loved watching him in the ring growing up. Oooooh yeeeah! http://bit.ly/jvssAd”
ESPN’s Michelle Beadle: “Just to remember one of the baddest: http://tinyurl.com/ywfdze. Macho Man.”
Actress Alyssa Milano: “Rest in peace, Macho Man Randy Savage.”
Singer Rob Thomas: “RIP RANDY "MACHO MAN" SAVAGE.”
TV personality Maria Menounos: “RIP Macho Man Randy Savage.”
ESPN’s Bill Simmons: “RIP, Randy Poffo aka Randy "Macho Man" Savage aka one of the greatest pro wrestlers who ever lived.”
The U.S. national soccer team’s Jozy Atlidore: “Macho Man was that dude! RIP Randy Savage. #ooooohyeeeeah”
NBA player Marcus Camby: “RIP Randy Macho Man Savage. Ooooooooooooh. Yeaaaahhhhhh.”
Jacksonville Jaguars player Kirk Morrison: “Ooooooohhhhhhhh Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhhhh (Macho Man voice)”
Houston Texans NFL player Brian Cushing: “RIP Macho Man Randy Savage.”
Actor and singer Donnie Wahlberg: “#RIPMachoMan”