Friday, May 20, 2011

Macho Man & Memories

I normally wouldn't feature a celebrity's death as a blog post, but I noticed on someone's Google talk status this afternoon that Randy "Macho Man" Savage died today. No, I didn't know the guy. From what I read he was a decent fellow and my hearts and prayers go out to his wife & family - especially to his wife who was in the car with him when he died.

Like I said, I didn't know the guy. And by "the guy" I mean Randall Poffo (his real name) because let's face it: wrestlers are actors. We don't know their lives outside the screen typically speaking, and so - I didn't know him, just his character. They give a lot of their bodies to give entertainment to their audience, and Randy Savage was one of a dying breed (in my opinion) who weren't just muscle and actually had a goofy character. The wrestlers of that time knew the genre was ridiculous and hammed it up quite a bit with their characters.

Wait... here's where confession time comes in, right? I grew up in a home where we watched wrestling. I actually enjoyed it well into my college years and my college pals and I even gave each other nicknames that were spin-offs of wrestlers' names. Me? I was The Rack. No, don't ask. It's better off that way. But we did - we watched "Monday Night Raw" every week until it started to get crappy. When did that happen (and yes, I know some of you are thinking it was always crappy)? Early in the 2000's. Things started to be less goofy & more sex/sexy. It made it crappy. It was right around when Mick Foley left, actually.

Mick Foley in a typical pose.

Mick Foley is probably my favorite wrestler of all time because he didn't mess around, he's a family man, and it was more than a job for him. It was a passion. Don't believe me - read both of his autobiographies. They're entertaining for sure and if nothing else show the heart of a man who was pursuing his passion and providing for his family at the same time. Great reads, especially the first one - "Have a Nice Day". One of the greatest matches of all time was Mick Foley and the Undertaker - Hell in a Cell. And actually... well... you know what, read the book. It's in there.

Anyways - Randy Savage. Most people know him from the "Slim Jim" commercials. But I remember being a little kid sitting around our lunch on a Saturday afternoon before going outside to play, hovered around a little black & white TV watching the Macho Man, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Bret Hart, and the like. I remember my mom making us popcorn for us on the nights we didn't have school the next day and wrestling came on. She hated/hates it - but got a kick out of us kids goofing around watching it with my stepdad. When it became apparent that my brother & I used to get into the plot lines (yes, there are plot lines... they're about as deep as a typical afternoon soap opera, but there are plot lines), my parents would record any of the Pay Per Views they would spring for.

Here's the thing - and here's why I'm posting this. In the summer of 1991, I was almost 11 and my brother was 8. This was at the height of my childhood wrestling fandom, as it were. We had been following the plot of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth (who ended up marrying in real life well before this all happened and ended up divorced a year later... anyways) and desperately wanted to watch SummerSlam that year.

Why? Because he was going to propose. Seriously, guys. And they were going to have a wrestling wedding. We begged and begged - and my parents ordered the Pay Per View and taped it for us - yes, I said taped. Like on VHS. We didn't have DVR's back in "those days". The next night after dinner we were allowed to throw in the tape and watch the entire thing unfold. And... well... really you have to watch it to see (and really, it's only 30 seconds, just watch):

So for WEEKS... maybe even MONTHS or YEARS... it was quoted in our house. "ELIZABETH? ELIZABETH? WILL YOU MARRRRRY ME?" in that Macho Man voice of his. In fact, every once in a while it'll pop up in the back of my head and I'll chuckle to myself. The memories of an 8-year-old Jim Cochrane walking around the house saying it just crack me up to think about.We would take Barbie dolls and re-enact it with his Macho Man doll and then follow it up with ridiculous doll wrestling matches with Barbie-Elizabeth cheering them on.

At any rate... I know I can't be the only one out there with great memories around ridiculous things like wrestling matches on TV. Just sayin'.

So Mr. Poffo - thanks for the memories, the ridiculous outfits, and whatever else you added to the wrestling entertainment industry. I hope that your friends & family have many fond memories of your time here on earth. Rest in peace.

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