Today we want to remember Randy Mario Poffo, AKA ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, who died on this day in 2011 of a heart attack while driving with his wife. He was 58 years old.
Randy became a global name in the mid-80’s as a member of the World Wrestling Federation, alongside his then real-life wife, Miss Elizabeth. He wrestled some of the biggest names in the business including Tito Santana, Diamond Dallas Page, Bret Hart, and Jake 'the Snake' Roberts. One of his most important matches was against icon Hulk Hogan at the Boston Garden on 6/27/86.
Most don't know it, but the Macho Man was drafted as a catcher out of high school by the St. Louis Cardinals and played four years in the minor leagues before suffering injuries that led him to consider a wrestling career. He first appeared on the wrestling circuit in 1973 during the baseball off season as a character called " the Spider". He would adopt the nickname "Macho Man" after his mom read a Reader's Digest article predicting that the phrase would become "the next hot term".
The guy made a mark on us for many reasons: his larger than life personality, wild outfits, and unpredictable behavior kept us glued to the screen, but the raspy voice is what we tried to recreate while practicing wrestling moves in our bedrooms. That charisma is what made him a crossover celebrity paving the way for guys like The Rock. If you didn't grow up in the 80's, then you probably remember the Macho Man as the spokesman for Slim Jim where he was known by his trademark "oh yeah" catch phrase that people everywhere emulated. We still smile when we hear someone try the voice.
After his death, Savage’s remains were cremated and his ashes were placed under his favorite tree on his property in Largo, Florida. He won 29 titles in his 32 year career - placing him among the greatest pro wrestlers who ever lived. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.