"Hulkamania is like a single grain of sand in the Sahara desert that is Macho Madness." ~Randy "Macho Man" Savage
I was saddened to hear the news today that one of my childhood idols, Randy Savage, had been killed in a car accident in Florida after suffering a heart attack. Crushing news to lose an idol at the young age of 58. Was I fan of Randy "Macho Man" Savage growing up? I must answer using his famous catch phrase: "Ohhhhhh Yeahhhhhh!"
Macho Madness was very much alive and well in the house of my youth. My brother and I were HUGE World Wrestling Federation (It was the WWF at the time) fans and the WWF was reaching its peak during the mid to late 1980's, in large part because of a successful toy line, a print magazine, mega events like WrestleMania and colorful wrestling greats like Hulk Hogan and the man I am paying tribute today, "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
As a kid growing up on a central Wisconsin farm, we didn't have cable Television. We had 6 total channels. We had the 3 network channels (CBS, NBC and ABC -- Fox didn't exist yet) along with two additional CBS stations (channel 3 and channel 8) and a 2nd ABC station that came in only after 11pm when our aerial antenna was turned just right (channel 11). As such, we had limited access to wrestling. When "WrestleMania" events happened, we couldn't get them on Pay Per View. We had a long, agonizing wait for their release on VHS before we could go down to "Video City" and rent them!
Each week, the TV Guide would show up in the mail (with no Internet, how else would you know what's on TV?) and my brother and I would race to the mail box, grab the TV guide and turn the page to Saturday night at 10:30pm on NBC in the hopes that Saturday Night's Main Event would be on! The show, if you didn't know, was an hour and a half of big time match ups between the WWF's biggest stars. The "Ham and Eggers" as Bobby "The Brain" Heenan called them, always had Saturday night off so the stars could come out and shine!
Among the biggest matches on Saturday Night's Main event were fought between Randy "Macho Man" Savage and opponents like Jake "The Snake" Roberts, George "The Animal" Steele, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Koko B. Ware and The Honkey Tonk Man. The other greats fought too, but Randy's matches were always among the most epic and the most entertaining.
Randy would talk to "Mean" Gene Okerlund before the matches and provide my brother and I with entertaining quotes for days...years, even! Then Randy would go down to the ring (escorted by the lovely Miss Elizabeth, the first lady of Wrestling), he would put on a spectacle and, more often than not, he would win his match with his signature "big elbow from the top rope" finishing move (a move my brother and I executed on each other on more than one occasion).
Before my brother and I would sit down to play a game of TECMO BOWL on the NES, I would adjust my imaginary "Macho Man" Randy Savage sunglasses, point at him and say, "Ohhhhh yeahhhh...Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat? Your future looks bleak..." It was always good for a few laughs.
Another famous quote my brother and I would summon frequently is, "You see I'm gonna take that hairy bozo out there...George "The Animal" Steele...and I'm gonna put him down and pin him, 1, 2, 3...then hurt him REAL BAD!" That quote was the precursor to countless home staged wrestling matches over the years.
*sigh* Good times...
So how big of an influence was Randy Savage on my life? I couldn't tell you what I had for breakfast yesterday morning, but I remember "Macho Madness" quotes from 25 years ago. And I probably always will...
Rest in Peace, Randy Savage. You may be gone, but "Macho Madness" will live forever with me and in the heart of wrestling fans everywhere! Ohhhhhh yeahhhhhh!