For followers of professional wrestling and even pop culture, Randall Poffo aka “Macho Man” Randy Savage was one of the most recognizable superstars of the pro wrestling business. Sadly, Mr. Savage died in a car crash today. He was only 58 years old. I had the privilege, on two different occasions in the early 2000s, to talk with Randy about a variety of things. He was always one of my favorite people to speak with from the pro wrestling industry.
In October of 2003, the “Macho Man” was a guest on the weekly, wrestling radio program I was doing at the time. He was in the middle of a rap album promotion tour. Randy was also working on his ongoing challenge to Hulk Hogan, to get a super-match booked anywhere, any place, any time. Through the 26 minute interview, Savage shared much about his new music passion, but later in the interview we got into a deep discussion about death. We spoke of his many colleagues who had died since their time in professional wrestling.
During the interview, the also now deceased wrestler Brian Adams joined the call. Adams died in 2007. He was 44 and was Randy’s bodyguard at the time. I recommend that all wrestling fans, pop culture junkies and everyone else take the time to listen to this interview and the words of Randy Savage.
As big as Randy’s star was in wrestling and entertainment, The “Macho Man” treated me very well in our interviews. We even went on to correspond afterward. Randy Savage was pure class. RIP.
Listen to the entire “Macho Man” Randy Savage interview:
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Looking back at our final interview, it now seems eerie that I asked him how tough it was to see so many of his professional wrestling colleagues pass away. For a moment, Mr. Savage reflected on life, death and the passing of his colleagues:
“It’s really, really, really sad because these are our friends. It’s a brotherhood. There’s always time out to pay tribute to a friend. That’s just the way we are…It’s a reality check. Everything is a reality check. Every second that goes by is a precious moment in time and we gotta take one day at a time. It’s just one of those things that we just keep reminding ourselves.”
At the time of our interview in 2003, Mr. Perfect, Curt Henning and his ex-wife, arguably the most classy and pretty woman in wrestling, Miss Elizabeth had both just died. I asked Randy, in a follow-up question, if he felt like the lifestyle that a professional wrestling talent led was the cause for many of his colleagues dying young.
No doubt, in the coming days, people will draw their own conclusions and have opinions on that issue. Who knows, Mr. Savage dying in a car crash might’ve, in some way, been impacted by a style of life that accompanies many in the professional wrestling business. At the time, Randy didn’t think the lifestyle had anything to do with his colleagues passing:
“Not at all. I think that’s just randomly, situations happen. If you put baseball under a microscope or any endeavor under a microscope, you’re gonna have people that, tragedies that happen sooner rather than later and anything whether it be any endeavor. You know what I mean? It’s just one of those things. These are isolated cases.”
Many will remember Savage’s glory years with the WWF – now the WWE – and the now defunct WCW. At his side for most of that run was the lovely Miss Elizabeth, who at the time was his wife. This interview was conducted shortly after her passing and Randy recalls how he got the news and that they both had closure before she passed:
“We ran together. We were together for about ten years. I feel very, very sorry for her and her family. It was a tragic loss. My friend Steve Kern called me up and that’s a good friend. He actually told me about Elizabeth and Curt Henning at two different times. That’s what a friend does is tells you good and bad news. It very bad news on that. It was a sad situation and I know about it just about as much as you do about it. I feel real about it. We had closure. We had separation, but at the same time, we buried the hatchet, we moved on with our lives and I saw her about five years before and that was the last time I saw her and we both said hello to each other. It was all good that way, but I really feel sorry for her family.”
Expanding out into the mainstream entertainment world, the “Macho Man” had a role as Bone Saw McGraw in the first Spider-Man movie alongside Tobey Maguire. Savage reflected on the movie and the role:
“It was one of those things where it wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter. I had to come out about three times and try out for it because it was definitely gonna be huge cause of the Spider-man following. So I definitely wanted the part. I went and tried out three different times and I really don’t know who I was going against. I guess it was some of the WWF wrestlers, but whatever, some reason director Sam Raimi gave me the ball and I ran with it. I really had a lot of fun. Spiderman was real tough. Spiderman whipped the Macho Man.”
Finally, most people remember the iconic WrestleMania 3 match between Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Randy Savage, for what is now the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Some call it one of the greatest matches of all time. Everywhere Ricky and Randy went in their lives after that performance, fans, journalists and just about everyone else always asked about it. Savage confides that match gave him the most excitement of his entire career.
“The Pontiac Silverdome, WrestleMania 3 was the biggest rush I ever got with those 93,000 plus people…Nothing compares to that. That was incredible.”
For those who never had the opportunity to speak with Randy Savage or meet him, he was a great person to talk with. You were always excited and interested in what he had to say. Both myself and CYInterview offer its condolences to the Poffo family at this difficult time.
You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com