Randy Savage
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’80s Wrestling Column: Catching The Macho Madness Bug

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Saturday night at the beginning of October 1987. For many, it was just a regular autumn weekend. Not for me though. Not for the millions of wrestling fans around the world. Because on that Saturday, Honky Tonk Man, along with The Hart Foundation, destroyed “Macho Man” Randy Savage and smashed a guitar over his head. To make matters worse, Honky pushed down the beautiful Miss Elizabeth on Saturday Night’s Main Event and sent her crashing to the mat.

Like most of the WWF fans around that point, I started gravitating towards Macho Man shortly after his WrestleMania III match against Ricky Steamboat. Even as a child, it was very hard not to like someone that was as cool as Randy Savage. Leading into that autumn Saturday night, Randy Savage had begun treating Miss Elizabeth a little nicer and wasn’t being mean to the fans. As a kid, I picked up on that super quick and I’m sure every other kid around the world did as well. They put him in a few heel vs. heel matches against guys like Harley Race and Hercules. Little did we know at the time, they were about to introduce us to Macho Madness and all of us were going to be on board for the ride.

So back to that Saturday night in October of 1987, Miss Elizabeth ran to the locker room to get help for her man. When she came back through the curtain she wasn’t alone. She was with the biggest wrestling superstar on the entire planet, Hulk Hogan! Once Hogan came to the save for Randy Savage, the rest was history. It automatically gave Randy Savage that little extra he needed to go from a WWF Superstar to a WWF Megastar. The beauty of storytelling and painting a picture so clearly that everyone can see it. Look at The Bloodline and Sami Zayn for a modern-day example, because they are doing it perfectly right now.

It’s a simple formula. Wrestling fans want to be taken on an emotional ride. Why do we sit in front of our televisions every week watching our favorite TV shows? The answer is easy. We are invested in their characters and storytelling and want to see where the story is going to go next. It’s hard to find a storyline that took you on more of a roller coaster ride of emotions than The Mega Powers storyline did. That storyline was developed for over a year so well that when they finally clashed with each other at WrestleMania V, they really were exploding!

I asked former ECW Tag Team Champion Danny Doring about his memories of growing up a huge Randy Savage fan. Danny said, “Randy Savage to me was everything in wrestling. When I say that I mean when I first saw him on my TV it resonated with all of my feelings. He was athletic, cocky, flamboyant, and backed it all up. He took me from being a casual fan to a mega fan. I wanted to be just like him. I took aspects of his personality and incorporated them into my football days and then eventually into a pro wrestling career myself. All of this capped off beautifully when I had the opportunity of meeting him at an event in Florida where I got to thank him personally for inspiring me. They say don’t meet your idols. I did and loved every second of it.”

“When you look at the variables that took pro wrestling from local arenas and territories into the mainstream, “Macho Man” Randy Savage checked every box” said former NXT Wrestler Bull James. “The look, presentation, verbal skills and intensity, coupled with the fact that he was a walking catchphrase and merchandise machine, made it a no-brainer to put him in a featured spot on WWF programming week in and week out. There’s a reason we’re still talking about him to this day. A generational talent that doesn’t come along every day.”

Shortly after Hulk Hogan made the save for Randy Savage, my entire bedroom was filled with Macho Man merchandise. LJN figures, shirts, teddy bears, bandanas, foam fingers, sunglasses, posters, wall hangers, and more were all over the place. I couldn’t get enough. I had caught the Macho Madness bug.

I had the honor of meeting Randy Savage when I was a teenager at WWF’s Headlock on Hunger benefit in New York City in the early 90s. You couldn’t help but be starstruck meeting someone like that who was such a larger-than-life figure.

For some that might already know, I am a long-time wrestling promoter from New Jersey. One of my brands is 80s Wrestling Con and our next event is May 6th at The Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, NJ. Besides Bret Hart appearing as the headliner for the event, another highlight of the Con will be Randy Savage receiving the 80s Wrestling Lifetime Achievement Award. His brother Lanny Poffo will be on hand to accept the award for The Macho Man.

If you were to have told me when I was a little boy with a Randy Savage thumb wrestler on my thumb that I would be honoring him one day at my big wrestling convention that everyone else you’re watching on TV would also be at, I wouldn’t have believed you in a million years. I’m 45 years old now. I still have the Macho Madness bug. The cool part is, you probably do as well. So be sure to check out my column each and every week right here and we will all take a walk down memory lane reliving our childhood together.

– Tommy Fierro

Feedback? Email me at: 80sWrestlingPics@gmail.com

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