Randall Mario Poffo, (November 15, 1952 – May 20, 2011), better known by his ring name "Macho Man" Randy Savage, was a professional wrestler who achieved prominence in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and later World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Savage is known to wrestling fans and non-fans alike for his distinctively deep, husky voice and his trademark loud, drawn-out cry of "Ohhhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhhhh!", made even more popular by a series of Slim Jim ads. For much of his tenure in the WWF, he was managed by Miss Elizabeth, to whom he was married on December 30, 1984.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Randy was a minor league baseball catcher in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system prior to his wrestling career. He injured his natural throwing shoulder at one point, so he learned how to throw with his left arm instead.
He is a second-generation professional wrestler; his father Angelo Poffo was a well-known wrestler in the 1950s and 1960s, who was featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not for his ability to do sit-ups for hours on end. Randy's brother Lanny Poffo had a moderately successful career as a wrestler too, under the ring names Leaping Lanny Poffo and The Genius.
In the early 1980s, Angelo Poffo ran the "outlaw" ICW promotion in the mid-American states that featured his sons Randy and Lanny. The promotion competed with Jerry Lawler's Memphis promotion (later the USWA). Savage dated Debbie Combs for five years while they were working for ICW.
Eventually, the Poffo promotion disbanded, and Randy and Lanny entered the Memphis scene; while there, Savage feuded with Lawler over the AWA Southern Heavyweight title, and he and Lanny battled The Rock 'n' Roll Express (including one notably infamous match on June 25, 1984 in Memphis, where Savage injured Rick Morton by piledriving him through the timekeeper's table, which led to the Express winning by disqualification due to Savage's action). Later in 1984, Savage would turn face and become allied with Lawler against Jimmy Hart's First Family, only to turn heel on Lawler again in early-1985 and resume their feud over the Southern title, which ended when Lawler beat Savage in a loser-leaves-town match on June 8, 1985 in Nashville, Tennessee.
World Wrestling Federation 1985-1994
In June 1985, Savage signed with Vince McMahon's WWF and soon became a top heel. Savage made an appearance on Tuesday Night Titans where the established WWF managers all made their cases to offer their services to Savage (including Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, and "Classy" Freddie Blassie). Weeks later he debuted and was touted as the "number one free agent," and "the man who is demand." That night he revealed his choice of manager to be the lovely Miss Elizabeth. He made his pay-per-view debut at The Wrestling Classic on November 7, 1985, where he defeated Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat among others on his way to finishing runner-up to Junkyard Dog in a sixteen-man tournament.
He eventually beat Tito Santana to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship at the famed Boston Garden in 1986 by using an illegal steel object stashed in his tights. Early on in his WWF career, Savage also won a count-out victory over his future tag-team partner WWF Champion Hulk Hogan (although the belt did not change due to the count out), and was engaged in brutal feuds with Bruno Sammartino and George "the Animal" Steele.
Savage wrestled in what is widely considered to be one of the greatest matches in wrestling history when he faced Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III in front of 93,000 people in the Pontiac Silverdome. The match was the culmination of a long and bitter feud (which saw Savage "crush" Steamboat's larynx) between the two and featured tremendous athleticism and in-ring storytelling. After nineteen two-counts, Steamboat pinned Savage to end his near 14-month reign as Intercontinental Champion. The match was extremely choreographed, as opposed to the "on the fly" nature of most wrestling matches. Savage was a stickler for detail, and he and Steamboat laid out and rehearsed every spot in the match prior to WrestleMania, at his home in Florida. It still stands up to the test of time and is cited by such wrestling luminaries as Chris Jericho as their inspiration for becoming a wrestler.
The Mega Powers
Savage would turn face later in 1987 after the fans started cheering him for his exceptional in-ring ability. On Saturday Night's Main Event in October 1987 he solidified his status as a face when Elizabeth got Hulk Hogan to save him from a beatdown by Jimmy Hart's cronies The Honky Tonk Man and the The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart). As a result, The Mega Powers were born. Hogan and Savage would together rule the WWF for the next sixteen months.
At WrestleMania IV Savage defeated "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase in the final of a tournament for the vacant WWF Championship. Savage would hold the title for a full year before losing it to Hogan at WrestleMania V in 1989. Prior to his WrestleMania V match, he turned heel on Hogan, getting jealous of him over Miss Elizabeth. He eventually left Elizabeth as his valet for Sensational Sherri. He adopted the moniker "Macho King" after defeating Jim Duggan to win the King of the Ring. After the match where he won the honor, Savage proceeded to give Duggan five big elbow drops from the top rope, and Sherri did several splashes from the top to further humiliate Duggan.
The "Macho King"
Savage would co-main event SummerSlam '89, where he teamed with Zeus, a character from Hulk Hogan's movie, No Holds Barred, against Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. In this match, Hogan totally killed off Savage's flying elbow after standing straight up after Savage hit it in the center of the ring. It was one of the biggest 'no-sells' in the history of wrestling. Hogan has been accused of having performed this "despicable act" out of fear that Savage could be a threat to his position in the company.
The Ultimate Warrior
In 1990, the "Macho King" feuded with the "commoner" Dusty Rhodes, meeting him in a mixed tag team match involving Sherri and Rhodes' valet Sapphire at WrestleMania VI and a singles match at SummerSlam. After this, Savage got into a feud with The Ultimate Warrior after the Warrior, then WWF Champion, refused to grant Savage the No. 1 contendership, as Sgt. Slaughter already promised, if he were to defeat the Warrior. Savage had sent "Sensational Queen" Sherri out during the 1991 Royal Rumble to try and convince the Warrior, and in a face-to-face interview laced with sexual innuendos and gestures, failed to get anywhere with the champion. Outraged, Savage promised revenge, which he sought during the Slaughter-Warrior title match. Sherri goaded the Warrior out of the ring, causing the Warrior to leave and run down the aisle, only to be ambushed by Savage with a clothesline. He followed up by smashing Warrior across the back with a light stand, all done without the referee seeing a thing, of course. Warrior managed to make it back to the ring, where (after being dominated for several minutes by Sgt. Slaughter) he rallied and was nearing victory, when Savage and Sherri interfered again. At an opportune moment the King smashed the Warrior on the head with his scepter, costing him the WWF Championship against Sgt. Slaughter. Savage would go on to score several tainted cage-match victories over Warrior, due to the interference of Sherri.
This led to a career-ending match at WrestleMania VII. Savage lost the match; even after receiving five consecutive flying elbow drops, the Warrior somehow managed to kick out. After the match, Savage was attacked by Queen Sherri as he lay dejected in the ring. This was too much for Miss Elizabeth, who happened to be in the audience. Elizabeth rushed to Savage's aid, fighting off Sherri and reuniting with her one-time love to huge crowd appreciation. The match was ironic seeing as how Savage stayed in WWF after it and the Ultimate Warrior left at SummerSlam that year. That shows that the retirement was only a storyline.
Savage would return to TV in a non-wrestling role as the "Macho Man" again over the summer with Miss Elizabeth and "propose" to her in the ring, leading to an on-air "wedding" at SummerSlam 1991, dubbed The Match Made in Heaven. It was at this time that Savage was targeted by Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who was by now a dastardly heel. In a memorable feud, Roberts would ambush Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth on their wedding day and later have a cobra bite Savage as the Macho Man lay prone in the ring. Due to fan pressure, Savage would be "re-instated" as a wrestler by WWF president Jack Tunney so that he could do battle with Roberts. The feud was brutal. During the Tuesday in Texas pay-per-view, Roberts — after losing to Savage — beat him down, then forced Elizabeth to beg for mercy; when Roberts was dissatisfied with her, he slapped her hard across the face.
Savage would have another run as WWF Champion, defeating "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII in 1992, and holding it until September of that year, when he lost it back to Flair at a WWF TV taping in Hershey Pennsylvania. Savage and Flair would later swap the WCW World Heavyweight Championship during their 1995-96 feud, making them the only duo to win and lose both the WWF/E and WCW versions of the world title to each other.
Shortly before WrestleMania VIII, the Savage-Flair angle was expanded to include allegations by Flair that he had a previous relationship with Elizabeth; as "proof," Flair presented photos with himself and Elizabeth in casual situations. The photos were later printed in an issue of WWF Magazine. The feud continued after Savage won the WWF Championship, with Flair and "executive consultant" Mr. Perfect playing a voicemail from a woman claiming to be Elizabeth, saying she loved Flair and that she was "waiting at home." The feud continued for most of the summer, with WWF Magazine exposing Flair's photos as fraudulent in the July 1992 issue.
Late in the summer of 1992, Savage and Hulette divorced. After the decree was finalized late that summer, Savage issued a statement that was printed in WWF Magazine revealing that he and Elizabeth were no longer together, and thanking the fans for their support through the years. The publication of Savage's statement marked, at the time, a rare acknowledgement of the wrestlers' private lives for both the WWF and its flagship publication. Savage continued with the WWF for two more years, and except for the statement in WWF Magazine, his divorce from Elizabeth was neither referred to nor figured into any of Savage's future feuds.
The Ultimate Maniacs
Razor Ramon had injured Savage's knee during a title match against Flair, ultimately costing him the match and the title. Savage backed Warrior to be the man to dethrone Flair. Savage and Warrior were scheduled to face Flair and Ramon in a tag team match at that year's Survivor Series.
Warrior left the WWF weeks before the event was to take place, so Savage chose Mr. Perfect, executive consultant to Flair, as his partner to replace Warrior. Perfect turned face and teamed with Savage. The duo defeated Flair and Ramon via a disqualification.
When Monday Night Raw began in January 1993, Savage served primarily as a color commentator, wrestling only occasionally against characters such as Doink, The Repo Man, and Crush. Savage appeared alongside Jim Ross and Bobby Heenan to broadcast WrestleMania IX in 1993. He seemed to be overly enthusiastic during the WrestleMania IX broadcast, especially during the opening bout between Shawn Michaels and Tatanka. He can be heard exclaiming random thoughts out of context as well as having slurred speech. Some speculate that Savage may have been intoxicated during the broadcast due to the fact that he seems to 'sober up' throughout the pay-per-view. His constant screaming of the phrase 'WrestleMania IX, the Roman Coliseum' leave critics wondering what was actually wrong with Randy. He also defeated Crush in a "Falls Count Anywhere Match" at WrestleMania X. Savage also made periodic appearances in Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion in fall 1994. His final WWF pay-per-view appearance was at SummerSlam where he served as host. He left the WWF in November.
World Championship Wrestling 1994-1999
Savage resumed his rivalry with Ric Flair during this time. During the 1995 WCW United States Championship tournament (created when former champion Vader was stripped of the belt for attacking WCW on-air Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel), Savage interfered in Flair's match vs. young Alex Wright, attacking Flair and causing Wright to get disqualified, setting up a tournament semifinal match where the winner would face the winner of the Sting/Meng match for the United States Championship at The Great American Bash that June. Savage and Flair's match never took place, as Savage and Flair brawled in the backstage area prior to the bell ringing. They were both eliminated from the tournament, and had their own match in the main event of the Bash, which Savage won. Later on that year, during part of the storyline where Arn Anderson and Ric Flair turned on each other, Flair (in looking for a partner to take on Anderson and Brian Pillman in a tag match) tried to recruit Savage to be his partner. However, remembering the rivalry (and how Flair had attacked Savage's father, Angelo Poffo, during their rivalry), he refused, telling Flair point blank to "get the hell out of here!"
On November 26, 1995 at World War 3, Macho Man won the WCW World Title by winning the 60-man three-ring battle royal. He lost the title to Flair a month later. Macho Man won the title back a month later but lost the title back to Flair another month later. In January 1996, he would bring Elizabeth with him into WCW as his valet once again. Elizabeth turned on Savage in his last title loss to Flair. Thereafter, Flair claimed that Elizabeth had given him a sizable amount of Savage's money, taken in their divorce settlement, and which Flair used to set up a "VIP section" at Monday Nitro events. Flair and Savage continued to feud through the Great American Bash in June 1996.
In July 1996, the nWo was formed when Hulk Hogan turned on Savage and joined The Outsiders, a tag team of former WWF wrestlers Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. After their inception, one of their main enemies became Macho Man himself. At WCW Halloween Havoc 1996, Macho Man faced Hogan for the WCW Title but lost when the rest of the nWo interfered. After months of abuse from the nWo, Savage joined them at SuperBrawl in 1997, when he helped Hogan defeat Roddy Piper in a rematch from their Starrcade match the previous year. He also reunited with Elizabeth, who had joined the nWo several months earlier. He began feuding with Diamond Dallas Page and Kimberly. When Hogan failed to recapture his "nWo" Title from Sting, it was Savage's turn, and he got his shot at WCW Spring Stampede 1998. Hogan tried everything he could to make sure that Savage would not win the title because Hogan felt that he was the only nWo member who should be World Champion, since he was the leader of the stable. With the help of Nash, however, Savage beat Sting for the belt.
The following night on WCW Monday Nitro, Hogan faced Savage for the championship. For a while it looked like Hogan had Savage beat, but for the second consecutive night, Nash came to Savage's aid, powerbombing Hogan. Savage tried to capitalize, but an interfering Bret Hart attacked Savage and preserved the victory for Hogan.
After that, Savage joined with Nash and others to form the nWo Wolfpac, a split from Hogan's group, which became known as nWo Black and White or nWo Hollywood.
For nearly a year, Randy Savage took a hiatus from the company due to an injury. When Macho Man returned, he came back with a new look and new attitude and also brought with him his then 22-year-old girlfriend Gorgeous George as a valet. His first action was as the guest referee in the WCW world title matchup at Spring Stampede 1999, which was won by Diamond Dallas Page. For a short time after, Randy would interfere in DDP's matches to make sure that Page kept his World Title (for reasons unknown and never explained by WCW), but when Kevin Nash won it at WCW Slamboree 1999, Savage went after the title himself. It was around that time that Madusa and Miss Madness joined Macho Man as his other two valets; together they were known as Team Madness.
At WCW Great American Bash 1999, Sid Vicious returned to WCW and helped Macho Man attack Kevin Nash. This led to a tag team between Kevin Nash and Sting against Randy Savage and Sid Vicious, in which whoever pinned Nash (including Sting) would win the World Title, at WCW Bash at the Beach 1999. Savage won the WCW title for the fourth time when he pinned Nash but lost the title again to Hollywood Hogan the next night, when Big Sexy interfered and powerbombed Macho Man (in a reversal of the situation from the previous year, where Nash had attacked Hogan to help Savage keep his title, albeit unsuccessfully).
After that, Team Madness slowly started to disband as Madusa and Miss Madness started fighting each other because they blamed the other for Savage's title loss. Savage soon fired both of them. and started a feud with Dennis Rodman and defeated Rodman at road wild 1999. He eventually joined the Millionaire's Club with Hogan, Jim Duggan, Flair, DDP, and other popular veteran wrestlers. When Vince Russo came to WCW and Savage's WCW contract expired, Savage and George left WCW and never returned.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling 2004
Savage made his return to wrestling for TNA and feuded against Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. At Turning Point he teamed up with Jeff Hardy and A.J. Styles to defeat the The Kings of Wrestling (Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall). The main event of Final Resolution 2005 was going to be Jeff Jarrett and Randy Savage for the NWA Title. Savage's plan was to win the belt and then drop it back to Jarrett at the next pay per view. When TNA Management didn't like the idea Savage left because neither party would budge.
In 2005, Savage told a Missouri newspaper that he can't wrestle right now because of "health concerns," as he had apparently injured his back.
Jakks Pacific tried to sign him up for the Classic Superstars line up only to be denied by Vince McMahon, despite the fact that he allowed them to sign a number of wrestlers on bad terms with WWE, including The Ultimate Warrior (signed twice by Jakks), Bruno Sammartino, and even Bret "the Hitman" Hart. Savage remains one of the few big stars who hasn't signed up with Jakks for a figure.
Outside of the ring
- Savage provided the voice for the character, Rasslor, on an episode of the "Dial M For Monkey" segment on Dexter's Laboratory.
- He has also lent his voice to the online cartoon College University in which he voiced himself.
- He also appeared in one of the more popular episodes of the television program Space Ghost Coast to Coast, entitled "Piledriver." In the episode, Savage supplied the voice of Space Ghost's grandfather, a former professional wrestler (oddly enough). Zorak commented, "That sounds like Randy Savage," and the character also referenced Elizabeth, his brother, "Leapin" Lanny Poffo, "Wildfire" Tommy Rich and Haystacks Calhoun, a now obscure wrestler from forty years ago.
- Savage beat out rival former wrestler Goldberg as the casting choice to appear in the original Spider-Man movie as the underground wrestler "Bonesaw McGraw." The original character from the comics is named Crusher Hogan.
- In 2005, he provided the voice of Sasquatch in the Nickelodeon show The X's.
- He's also appeared on The Jeff Foxworthy Show as himself.
- Savage played pro wrestler James "Pretty Boy" Carter on the sitcom Nikki, Ep# 14, Season 1, "Fallback". His character's financial bankruptcy and physical injuries led Dwight (Nick Von Esmarch) his long-time fan, to rethink his own options between college education and passion for wrestling.
- He played a prison inmate who was forced to fight other inmates in a cage in the episode "Fight or Die" of Walker, Texas Ranger.
Savage had pursued a career as a rap artist; his debut album Be a Man was released on October 7, 2003. His album was met with scathing reviews; according to a review by Dan Aquilante of the New York Post, his album "defies the laws of physics by blowing and sucking at the same time." Another critic described the vocals as sounding like "Nick Nolte after a whiskey and sandpaper binge." The title track of the album was intended to make fun of Hulk Hogan.
When Phil Hellmuth did an interview on Sirius Satellite Radio recently, he said that Savage will be on the next season of VH1's Surreal Life along with Playboy Playmate Tina Marie Jordan and rock musician Peter Steele. This has been verified by Savage himself in a press release, though VH1 has not released the official cast list yet.
TMZ reported that "Macho Man" Randy Savage died in a car accident in Florida 20 May 2011 morning. TMZ spoke to Savage's brother, Lanny Poffo, who revealed that Savage had suffered a fatal heart attack whilst driving his car in Tampa, which caused him to lose control and crash into a tree.
Randy Savage was 58 years old and had celebrated his one-year anniversary with his wife Lynn the previous month.
- When Poffo played for the St. Petersburg Cardinals minor-league baseball team in 1971, one of his teammates was Keith Hernandez. The team was managed by the legendary Jimmy Piersall.
- His first wrestling character was similar to Spider-Man.
- During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he also became known for a supposed friendship with Hogan that quickly developed into a very open (and unscripted) rivalry after Savage accused Hogan of sleeping in Elizabeth's bed during a road trip. Savage and Elizabeth were divorced on September 18, 1992. Savage and Hogan have a strained relationship to this day. It has been speculated that Savage punched Hogan in the face just prior to WrestleMania IX, causing Hogan to have a swollen eye during the event. The story was found to be untrue and Hogan's swollen eye due to a jet-ski accident.
- Savage has never been able to defeat Hulk Hogan in any type of match, with the exception of a series of count out victories in the mid-1980s on the house show circuit and a disqualification win on WCW Monday Nitro in 1998.
- Savage's ring entrance music in the WWF was Pomp and Circumstance, known best as the theme played at high school graduations. Because the song was in the public domain and therefore could not be copyrighted by the WWF like most themes, Savage was able to bring it with him to WCW and used a rock version of the theme for much of his early to mid-WCW career.
- Savage also angered many in the early 1980s by regularly giving out the phone numbers and home addresses of wrestlers in rival companies.
- Savage's two WWF and four WCW World Heavyweight Championship reigns were all ended with Savage losing the title to either Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair.
- In 2004, a trademark case was brought against Randy Savage by the makers of Kool-Aid, claiming that he stole the catchphrase "Oh, Yeah!" from their anthropomorphic mascot. The case is still pending.
- In a WCW video about his career in WCW, he admitted to never liking Diamond Dallas Page. He later admitted that he had changed his mind and thought he was a stand up guy.
- In 1995, Savage pushed for WCW to place his father, Angelo Poffo, in its Hall of Fame. Commentator and wrestling legend Gordon Solie opposed this decision, because he felt wrestlers (or in this case, family of wrestlers) should not be asking for spots in the Hall—in this case, especially, since Poffo did not have much of a career in WCW. Poffo's induction went on and Solie left the company shortly after.
- In 1998, Savage accepted an award from Harvard University's humor society Harvard Lampoon as Man of the Year.
- In recent years, Savage has praised Extreme Ironing several times in the media after having taken it up as a hobby himself.
- On the June 20, 2006 episode of ECW on SciFi, Savage was parodied by a masked "luchador" going by the name "Macho Libre." This spoof was played by Tony DeVito. He cut a promo imitating Savage and was then interrupted by The Sandman, who made quick work of the overweight luchadore to get the pinfall.
- Finishing moves
- Diving elbow drop, with theatrics
- Signature moves
- Alternating jabs to the opponent's chest and head
- Atomic drop
- Back elbow
- Diving crossbody
- Diving double axe handle, sometimes to the outside of the ring
- Gutwrench suplex
- Hair-pull hangman
- High knee to the back of opponent
- Jumping knee drop
- Lariat takedown
- Multiple elbow smashes
- Scoop slam
- Sleeper hold
- Snake Eyes
- Vertical Suplex
- "Macho Man"
- "Macho King"
- Entrance themes
- "Fame" by Irene Cara (International Championship Wrestling)
- "State Of Shock" by The Jacksons ft. Mick Jagger (Continental Wrestling Association)
- "Pomp and Circumstance Marches" by Sir Edward Elgar (WWF)
- "Pomp and Circumstance Marches" by Jimmy Hart and Howard Helm (WCW)
- "Rockhouse" by Frank Shelley (WCW; used as a member of the New World Order)
- "Kevin Nash/Wolfpac Theme" by Jimmy Hart and Howard Helm ft. C-Murder (WCW; used as a member of the nWo Wolfpac)
- "What Up Mach" by Jimmy Hart and Howard Helm (WCW)
- "Pomp and Circumstance Marches" by Dale Oliver (TNA)
Championships and accomplishments
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- Georgia Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship (1 time) with Lanny Poffo
- International Championship Wrestling
- ICW Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- Mid-South Wrestling
- AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- Mid-Southern International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- National Wrestling Alliance
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him # 9 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- PWI ranked him # 57 of the best tag teams of the "PWI Years" with Hulk Hogan.
- PWI Wrestler of the Year Award (1988)
- PWI Most Popular Wrestler Award (1988)
- PWI Most Hated Wrestler Award (1989)
- PWI Comeback of the Year Award (1995)
- PWI Match of the Year, versus Ricky Steamboat (1987)
- PWI Feud of the Year, versus Diamond Dallas Page (1997)
- PWI Stanley Weston Award (2011)
- World Championship Wrestling
- World Wrestling Council
- WWC North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- 1987 Match of the Year (vs Ricky Steamboat)