Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Randy vs. the Rapture

Dedicated to Dan 'the man' Hepp. All things Savage

At 6.15PM on Saturday night I was sitting in this same spot when I heard a huge thunder roar down from the sky. And I thought: Oh man, is the Rapture really happening as predicted? Seconds later I was still here, and I understood what had taken place in Heaven’s wrestling ring. The Macho Man Randy Savage had landed a flying elbow from the top rope, right across the unconscious face of God, thus saving the world from certain termination. How did Randy Savage get God down you ask? Easy. Miss. Elizabeth distracted the Great Creator with a little ringside leg, and Savage suckered him for the finishing move. So yes I do think the whacko who predicted this Rapture had it right. Problem is he didn't count on Macho Madness. Classic mistake. And when I realized we’d all safely see the next almost-Armageddon, I said out loud, “OOoooooooohhhhhhh Yyyyyyeeeeaaahhhhhh.”

For those who’ve been living under a Macho-sized rock since Friday, former WWF icon, Randy ‘the Macho Man’ Savage died in Florida, after suffering a heart attack at the wheel and driving his jeep into a tree. He was 58 years old. His wife was sitting shotgun, and maybe, from across the meridian, he thought he saw that tree staring at his wife the same way he caught Hogan hawking Elizabeth in the 80’s, and said, “Tree, you get jealous eyes, ooh yeah,’ and taught that roadside birch a lesson, Macho style, same way he taught Hogan backstage at Saturday Night’s Main Event. Maybe but probably not. I like to think he went to that big Slim Jim Factory in the sky to save all mankind from the forthcoming Rapture. And I’d like to be the first to say, ‘Thank you, Macho Man.’

Macho’s was a life of sheer madness, and, as a former WWF fanatic, I loved every second of the always-nonsensical insanity. Genius comes in all shapes and sizes, and what Savage could do with Mene Gene by his side cutting promo was second to none. Plus he was an amazing wrestler inside the 'steel' ropes. Savage survived multiple bites from Jake the snake’s 12-ft python, Damien. If that’s not Macho, I don’t know what is. He had feuds with guys named Rickey Steamboat and Honky Tonk Man. He wrestled Hulk Hogan in the main event at Wrestlemania V. He held all major WWF Championships. (Forget WCW. That was fake wrestling.) He told Morgan Fairchild not to go crazy on him while sitting beside her on Arsenio Hall’s couch. A Kardashian-sized jab in the 80's. 'Can you dig it!'

Everyone has been going on line and sharing their favorite memories of the Macho Man. Whether it was the Mega Powers vs. the Mega Bucks, or his battles with the Bobby Heenan family, or his outrageous outfits and huge sunglasses, or the fact that he was the only figure in sports history to get away with, and gain popularity from, playing the abusive, out-of-control boyfriend. There was no limit to his theatrics, and when he was on the circuit, the WWF was as real any athletic event in America.

My favorite memory of the Madness was seeing him live at the Glens Falls Civic Center when I was 9 years old. WWF used to have this interview segment hosted by a red-faced fellow named Brother Love, who was anything but. I was less than ten feet from Savage being interviewed on a raised platform when the massive Andre the Giant came out to confront him. How decidedly inconvenient, I thought, because Randy was just bashing the Giant. While Macho was distracted by the Giant, the Million Dollar Man came rushing from behind, clobbered Savage with a double-fist to the back of the head, dropping him right into the waiting clutch of Andre. The Giant raised Savage up in a vicious choke hold then tossed him off like a bag of trash. The crowd booed and I booed, until Andre the Giant looked right at me, swear to God he did, and I froze a big boo in my throat and gave Andre a 'giant-sized' thumbs-up out of fear. If I didn't he would've choke-slammed me. Like I said, WWF wrestling was real back then. I still can’t figure out how come Savage couldn’t see Million Dollar Man behind him, or at least suspect something fishy was about to fly. Oh well, that was Randy Savage for you. Crazy as they came.

By the time he died, Savage’s once black beard had gone snow white and the whole act felt long gone, but it was always great, always Macho, right till his final promo cut for the WWE video game. Along with Hulk Hogan he helped define a time in wrestling that will forever prove to be its pinnacle, and for that he’ll always be a part of my childhood and best memories. A part of an innocent time when I believed rassling was for real. But those days are done for me, for all of us born in the 80’s, and now Macho Man is gone too. Heaven bound to battle Big John Studd, Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, and Owen Hart, and of course, Miss. Elizabeth in his eternal corner, distracting opponents for Randy then taking the blame when he loses.

When Savage walked through the pearly gates on Friday, I’m sure he was wearing his bright pink robe and big sunglasses, and the heavenly harps played ‘Pomp & Circumstance,’ because Macho never made a ring walk with any other music. And when he finally met God, I’m sure he pointed his finger right in the Creator's face, and said, ‘The Macho man is not impressed, ooh yeah.’ I’m sure of it.

Thanks for saving us from the Rapture, Randy.

See the Madness for yourself:

For more Macho Madness see the Cat’s Pajamas @ Facebook

Brian Huba

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