Rogue of the Week: Macho Man Randy Savage

Friday, 20 May 2011 13:28 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Rogue of the Week: Macho Man Randy Savage

Amongst professional wrestlers in this surreal modern era, showmanship is important, whether it's Hulk Hogan tearing off his little yellow tank tops or erstwhile The Rock Dwayne Johnson and his supernaturally elastic arching eyebrow.  In a crowd filled with such outsized personalities, Macho Man Randy Savage was a standout.  Signature moves like the atomic drop and the hair-pull hangman earned Macho Man a devoted following of wrestling enthusiasts, but his outrageous fashion sense, energetic persona, and wholly distinctive voice allowed him to carve a niche in the greater popular culture.  Unfortunately, Savage – whose name outside of the ring was Randall Poffo – died in an automobile accident today.  To mark his passing and his singular style, we're making Macho Man our first posthumous Rogue of the Week.

Driving near his home in Seminole, Florida, the 58 year-old former wrestler lost control of his Jeep Wrangler and collided with a tree.  He died shortly thereafter at a local hospital.  According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Savage was wearing his seatbelt and alcohol was not involved.  It's currently suspected that he suffered a heart attack while at the wheel.  His wife, Barbara L. Poffo, was in the car as well, and she was hospitalized for minor injuries.

In the realm of wrasslin', Savage was most known for his nine-year tenure in the World Wrestling Federation, beginning in 1985.  During that time he twice won the WWF Championship and increased the popularity of the WWF with his ecstatically-received performances in the ring.  His blindingly neon sunglasses, cowboy hats, and elaborate outfits helped define the style of popular wrestling in that era.

For much of his career he was managed by fellow wrestler Elizabeth "Miss Elizabeth" Hulette, who was herself a prominent professional wrestler.  The couple divorced shortly after she retired from wrestling in the early 1990s and Miss Elizabeth died tragically in 2003.

Though he amassed some twenty championships over his career, Randy Savage has long been associated with his contributions to the popular lexicon  The wonferfully drawn-out "Oooooh yeah" catchphrase endures to this very day, and his unmistakably emphatic speech and voice are still frequently imitated.  His time as a pitchman for Slim Jim beef jerky sticks added "Snap into a Slim Jim" to the unwritten list of rare advertising soundbites that endure for decades in the public consciousness.

In 2002, Savage stole a scene in one of the biggest blockbusters of all time.  He played wrestler Bone-Saw McGraw in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man.  Bone-Saw is essentially a more menacing variation on Savage's wrestling persona, and he delivered that unmistakable throaty energy while terrorizing Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker.

Regardless of the medium, Macho Man Randy Savage was a gleefully over the top performer who will be greatly missed.  If you need any persuading as to his Roguishness, just listen to 'Be a Man', a song in which a rapping Macho Man happily challenges and demeans Hulk Hogan.

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