The Ego

Number three on my list of the greatest pro wrestlers of all-time is someone whose impact cannot be denied from an objective standpoint.  He was one half of wrestling’s first couple, participated in what many consider to be the greatest match in WrestleMania history, and whose voice was emulated by every fan in every living room across the country and probably world-wide.  He was the ultimate bad guy in the sport, multiple time world champ, and wore a cowboy hat.  He was sheer madness, the undisputed king of wrestling, a complete savage.  Yes, my number three all-time greatest wrestler of the modern era is the “Macho Man” Randy Savage.  He checks all the metrics.

A career as colorful as his ring attire, Macho Man spanned the ages from the indy’s, to WWE, and ultimately to WCW, and included runs as both Intercontinental Champion and World Heavyweight Champion.  Incorporating the real life story of Macho’s being the number one free agent on the market at the time, WWE (formerly WWF) decided to hold a conference to decide who would become the ring valet for Macho Man.  Well, he snubbed everyone and called to the ring Miss Elizabeth.  The rest, as they say, was history.

Mic Skills:

“Oh yeah!”, “Dig it”, and “Snap into a Slim Jim” all became part of our everyday lexicon as wrestling fans thanks to Macho Man.  He had an intensity to every word spoken during pre-match promos and was so incredibly over the top about his talents that even when he was portrayed as a heel, it was difficult to argue that he really didn’t have it all going for him.  When Miss Elizabeth became his ring valet, Macho would often use her as a springboard for unique verbal tirades against his opponents.  Undoubtedly one of the best and most underrated talkers ever to play the game, he paved the way for wrestlers to start interviews with their backs to the camera.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A1aJAyq5Gc

As the entertainment aspect of wrestling ramped up and evolved, so did the Macho one.  His time with Sensational Sherry (a wrestler in her own right) put him above and beyond as a true legend by amplifying his already great gimmick.  Macho Man was the best.  Everyone else just had to catch up.  And every wrestler that came after and was considered at least halfway decent on the mic should give a tip of the cowboy hat to Macho Man.

In Ring Ability:

Nobody, not even Jessie “The Body” Ventura, could make an argument against the in ring skills of Macho Man.  He literally went against every single competitor up until and including his time in WCW.  After winning the heavyweight title in WWE, Macho Man reigned as champ for an entire year and didn’t shy away from anyone, ultimately becoming the undisputed champ after defeating four opponents to do it.  He took all the help he could get and employed underhanded tactics the whole way through but it only solidified him as a marquee, must-see player. 

His matches with Steamboat and Santana are legendary and have (and still) inspired so many people to get into the business of sports entertainment, better or worse.  His unbridled madness in the squared circle, which often took opponents to the outside of the ring and into the crowd, gave the fans extra bang for their buck every single time.  His flying elbow drop from the top rope meant certain doom for anyone unfortunate enough to have it landed on them and this was long before moves like this were the norm.  Macho Man was one of the most athletic guys in the industry for over thirty years strong and that’s saying something.

Character:

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Randall Mario Poffo began his wrestling career as a second generation star in 1973 under his trainer (and father) the legendary Angelo Poffo (who himself did a world record number of sit-ups way back).  Unbeknownst to many mainstream fans, Randall actually had a bright baseball career ahead of him before his wrestling days playing for the Cincinnati Reds organization.  His time was cut short after an arm injury but the circumstance became the catalyst for his entrance into the ring.  And what an entrance it was.  He was a Spider-Man knock off!  Someone (probably his father), eventually suggested he change his name to something that more accurately reflected his “savage” wrestling style.  And the Macho Man character came into existence.  Oddly enough, years later Macho would land a role in Spider-Man The Movie (2002, Tobey Maguire). 

His years of good will and service as sports entertainment ambassador rivals that of anything the likes of John Cena or The Rock in today’s world with the major difference being that Macho was really always a bad guy in the ring.  That alone should speak for itself.  He was truly larger-than-life.  Coming out to “Pomp and Circumstance”, with a female valet, and wearing a cooler robe than Ric Flair, this character was so damn cool that he couldn’t be denied.  

With everything that went into the look, it could’ve all been for naught had he not been able to back it up stylistically, which he did with elegance and grace.  His ego was certainly unmatched at the time and it made for awesome feuds with The Giant, Hogan, Million Dollar Man and an entire generation of others on a list too long to name.  This guy was the dude.

Storylines:

Macho rose to prominence on the undercard out performing everyone at big name venues night in and night out.  He wrestled for the WWE from 85′ to ’93, winning his first gold in 1988, more than fifteen years after his ring debut.  His real life marriage to Miss Elizabeth was played out as a storyline in the ring as millions watched the moment he proposed and the duo became known as the “first couple” of professional wrestling.  The “rock and wrestling” era wouldn’t have been as special without them as evidenced by the jealousy-angle-over-Miss Elizabeth-feud with Hulk Hogan.

Before that, he’d had a run for the Intercontinental title with Tito Santana that could’ve been main event material.  Macho madness ensued after he left Miss Elizabeth and joined forces with Sensational Sherry, winning the King Of The Ring Tournament and dubbed himself “Macho King”.  Riding out into the crowd on a Cleopatra type float, the angle garnered jeers from the audience while the likes of King Kong Bundy, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and (later) King Booker no doubt ate some lunch.

As the scenery and such began to change for the WWE, it was offered that Macho Man sit at the announcers table to offer color commentary on the in ring action.  He wasn’t the best at it but what it did do was sort of put him above the rest of the roster at the time and it allowed him the opportunity to further his personal brand via one of his best assets; the mic.

Fast forward to WCW and the emergence of the NWO, it only made sense for Macho to again partner with (a much less sheepish) Miss Elizabeth.  At this point he was physically bigger, factionally badder, and still achieving new heights in the later stages of a remarkable career.

He went on to team with “Miss Madness” and Gorgeous George in a wild display of typical Macho Man chauvinism, challenging for the historic WCW heavyweight title.  Unbelievable.

Longevity:

For someone to perform at the level that Macho Man did in his particular profession is stunning.  He packed seats and filled stadiums for main event crowds in the biggest arenas, all the while exceeding the limits of human imagination and he did it without blinking.  He squared off physically and verbally with every big name player in  the game and made everyone near him better.  A career, any career, that spans thirty plus years is sure to have its’ ups and downs but Macho never seemed to let up or slow down.  

There is a list of current and former stars who continue to pay homage to this legend of the ring.  However, the truth is there will never be another era of wrestling as colorful or nearly as fun because there will never be another Macho Man.

Mic skills, character, storylines, longevity, yes, Macho Man checks every box.  Number three. My opinion.

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