Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


“Macho Man” Randy Savage: 1952-2011

By Frankie Thirteen

“Macho Man” Randy Savage, whose flamboyant appearance, outrageous sound, and impeccable ring style thrilled wrestling fans over four decades, died today in Tampa.

TMZ reports the wrestling legend suffered a heart attack while behind the wheel of his Jeep Wrangler, veering off the road and into a tree.

Savage was 58.

Savage, born Randall Mario Poffo, was the son of wrestling hall-of-famer Angelo Poffo, who once held the world record for sit-ups. Randy Poffo originally had aspirations towards professional baseball, playing minor league ball for St. Louis, Cincinnati and Chicago after college. But by 1974, he followed his father to the ring, wrestling in the Florida and Georgia territories. One of his first characters was a Spider-Man knockoff called “The Spider Friend,” but a successful pairing with Ole Anderson would set him on a more fruitful path. Anderson remarked that the name Poffo didn’t fit someone who “wrestled like a savage,” which inspired Randy to adopt that as his ring name.

The newly christened Randy Savage bounced around the territories during the early ’80s, wrestling in his father’s International Championship Wrestling and in Memphis against Jerry “The King” Lawler. However, his career really took off when he signed with Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation in 1985.

At the time, McMahon was aggressively courting talent from across the country in an effort to create the first truly national professional wrestling promotion. “Macho Man” Randy Savage, as he became known, made an immediate splash thanks to outfits exploding with color, furious eyes often hidden by shades, stream-of-consciousness boasts and taunts fired at opponents with an unbelievably booming rasp, and a highly athletic ring style that emphasized dynamic storytelling. After a “bidding war” over his contract between the WWF’s best-known managers, Savage debuted his own manager, the lovely “Miss Elizabeth” Hulette. Savage and Hulette were married in real life, but their onscreen relationship was more contentious, with Savage frequently playing the raving egomaniac whose jealousy regarding Elizabeth bordered on terror.

Indeed, some of his most memorable feuds used this aspect as impetus, most notably with George “The Animal” Steele, whose crush on Elizabeth earned him Savage’s ire. He also shared a particularly vicious rivalry with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat over the Intercontinental Championship, which led to a now-legendary match at WrestleMania III.

Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat, WM3, Part 1. by akim93

The notoriously detail-obsessed Savage plotted every second of his match with Steamboat beforehand, and to this day, many wrestling fans remember it as one of the greatest matches of all time.

By the following year, Savage’s popularity with fans necessitated a change in his character, so the WWF turned him into a “babyface,” or good guy, and pushed him towards a run for its then-vacant world championship. With a timely assist from Hulk Hogan himself, Savage captured the title at 1988’s Wrestlemania IV after a sixteen-man tournament. With Miss Elizabeth in their corner, Hogan and Savage joined forces as “The Mega-Powers,” and battled some of the largest and craftiest competitors in the Federation.

In competition, however, there can’t really be two people on top of the mountain, and the Mega-Powers disintegrated onscreen within a year, in tandem with their real-life friendship. The former Mega-Powers battled in the main event of Wrestlemania V, with Hogan reclaiming the WWF Championship. Savage also parted ways with Elizabeth onscreen, leading to her extended absence from WWF television. He replaced her with “Sensational Sherri” Martel and redubbed himself the “Macho King” for a while (after defeating Hacksaw Jim Duggan for that regal title), but “ended” his in-ring career after a retirement match at Wrestlemania VII in 1991 against the Ultimate Warrior.

WWE-WrestleMania VII – Macho Man vs Ultimate… by M-Gronjol 
He reunited in the ring with Elizabeth following the match, a touching moment remembered fondly by many. Following his “retirement,” Savage settled into a color commentary position alongside Vince McMahon and finally “married” Elizabeth on television, but their real-life marriage ended within a year. He returned to the ring within months of his forced retirement, engaging in feuds with the likes of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Ric Flair, often in response to an affront to his “First Lady.” (Elizabeth passed away eleven years later from a drug overdose.)

The Macho Man’s WWF contract expired in 1994, and rather than renew it, he followed his one-time friend and rival Hulk Hogan to Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling, where they renewed their partnership for a time. Hogan later betrayed Savage, along with the entire wrestling world, when he turned heel and formed the New World Order. Because of the nature of WCW’s often chaotic storylines in the ’90s, the two would band together and turn on each other with maddening frequency.

Outside of the ring, Savage was best known as the long-time spokesman for Slim Jim smoked meat snacks, appearing in commercials through the ’90s with his catchphrase, “Snap into a Slim Jim!” (His Slim Jim slogan was arguably as iconic as his signature wrestling phrases, “Ooh yeah!” and “Dig it!”)

He lent his voice to animated series such as Dexter’s Laboratory and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. His most seen non-wrestling appearance was in the first Spider-Man movie as wrestler Bonesaw McGraw.

In addition to his acting and voice work, Savage recorded a rap album entitled Be a Man, the title track of which took aim at his former friend Hulk Hogan. According to Hogan’s Twitter, however, time may have healed their particular wounds–the Mega-Powers started to talk again recently, says the former champ.

To watch Randy Savage in action, be it dropping the elbow from the top rope or laying a vicious verbal smackdown on the Honky Tonk Man, was to watch an artist at work. He was a true “ring general,” who understood the psychology of the game and worked to use it to his advantage in entertaining audiences.

There are men who are capable of having great matches with even the most limited of opponents, and there are men who can hold a crowded arena in the palms of their hands with but a carefully chosen string of words. Randy Savage was that rare combination of both, and his importance to the professional wrestling industry can never be overstated.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


Forces of Geek is protected from liability under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and “Safe Harbor” provisions.

All posts are submitted by volunteer contributors who have agreed to our Code of Conduct.

FOG! will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement.

Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content.


In many cases free copies of media and merchandise were provided in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The opinions shared on Forces of Geek are those of the individual author.

You May Also Like


De Niro Con​, a celebration of 80 years of Robert De Niro, unveiled its programming lineup. Coinciding with the 2024 Tribeca Festival, this three-day tribute takes...


This weekend, Marty Krofft passed away from kidney failure at age 86. With his older brother Sid, the brothers founded Sid & Marty Krofft...

Arts & Culture

If someone can retire at 99, die at 102, and still leave us feeling like we didn’t get enough of him, then it’s fair...


Written and Illustrated by Various Published by Z2 Comics   It’s hard to categorize The Illustrated Al. Is it a song lyrics book? A...