If Hulk Hogan was our first inductee to the Wrestling Epicenter Hall of Fame, it stands to reason that our second inductee must be the Poffo family - Angelo, Lanny, and Randy "Macho Man" (Savage) Poffo. After all, Randy Savage came along at a time where no one was going to take Hulk Hogan from the top spot in the then WWF. No one did... Except Randy "Macho Man" Savage who held the WWF Championship for a whole calendar year after 4 years of Hulk Hogan's reign. And, despite the Hulkster's limited schedule during this reign, it was the "Macho Man" who proved to carry the championship best with no major hit to the business' growth. It is for this reason, and for a lifetime of memories we all have, that we proudly induct Angelo, Lanny, and Randy Poffo into the Wrestling Epicenter Hall of Fame in October 2015.
Angelo Poffo was a wrestler who was amongst the most well-known of the 50's and 60's. His influence on wrestling was not just limited to his family. During Randy Savage's WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2015, Hulk Hogan conceeded that his choice to wear yellow trunks came directly from having seen Angelo Poffo in his canary yellow trunks years prior.
Debuting in 1949, Angelo won his first championship in 1958 in the NWA, under the management of Bronco Lubich. He would go on to tag team with several other wrestlers, holding the tag team championship in the WWA and another, subsequent tag team, being managed by Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan. Angelo often wrestled as a heel in various ways including under masks. Under a mask, he riled people up as "The Masked Miser" early in his career and as "The Carpet Bagger" in Canada, as part of Emile Dupree's Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling. He also was a key part of pro wrestling evolving into a full blown entertainment specticall acting as a villainous manager and mouth piece to other talents.
Up there with the names of "Gorgeous" George Wagner of the time, it was of little surprise that Angelo would buy into an existing wrestling league (Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling) in Canada and go on to creat and operate his own, International Championship Wrestling from 1979 to 1983.
Angelo has two sons who entered professional wrestling - Lanny Poffo who performed under the ring names of "Leaping" Lanny Poffo and "The Genius", and Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Both sons achieved immense success in pro wrestling but few ever in professional wrestling enjoyed the success of elder brother Randy.
The " Macho Man" was born Randy Poffo on November 15, 1952, but, despite the family roots, Randy's first professional sport was not professional wrestling. In fact, Randy excelled at baseball. He was signed out of high school by the St. Louis Cardinals organization as a catcher though he played outfield during most of his time. He played for the farm system teams of the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and the Chicago White Sox. Driven by the same determination he became famous for in wrestling, Randy suffered an injury during a collision at home plate that injured his throwing arm - his right arm. Instead of making that his demise in baseball, Randy trained himself to throw with his left arm instead.
It was during Randy's baseball career that he earned the name "Macho Man" for his rugged persona. He joked in a 1996 interview that he earned the name for getting into fights with opposing pitchers and someone said, "What are you, some kind of Macho Man" and it stuck.
Randy played 289 games in four minor league seasons, batting .254 with 16 home runs and 66 RBIs. Despite a fairly impressive resume, Randy never was called up to the big time which broke his heart. During a 2014 WWE DVD documentary, Lanny Poffo said Randy didn't speak of baseball again after leaving it. But, the "Macho Man" that was coined during his baseball days was going to reach immense heights in the profession his father had done so well in years prior and was still promoting... Randy Poffo was about to become Randy "Macho Man" Savage, the wrestler.
Lanny Poffo, the younger of the two Poffo brothers, was born on December 28th, 1954, wrestling in the NWA territories, before joining his father's ICW where he would hold the ICW Championship. Lanny would then go on to both tag team with, and feud with, his older brother Randy, before they both headed for the WWF in 1984.
In wrestling, Randy Poffo, now using the last name of Savage, crafted a persona over a period of time that was by all accounts a not-so-distant extension of who he was. Using various territories including the International Championship Wrestling territory owned by his father as well as the larger CWA Memphis territory a few years later, the "Macho Man" evolved into a gravel voiced, incredibly intense performer with all the pomp and circumstance that went along with the direction wrestling had started to head towards in recent decades. Complete with colorful costumes, incredible high flying moves, and promos that rank up amongst the most memorable in wrestling history, the "Macho Man" Randy Savage character is one that is now instantly recognizable to everyone of all ages on all walks of life. If you say "ooooh yeah" in public, everyone will know who you are impersonating. That is a rarity for a pro wrestler.
Randy's style was seen as extreme. This was especially true for the time though if one thinks about it, it still holds up as such now. Randy piledrove "Rock and Roll Express" member Ricky Morton through a table long before Sabu made it fashionable to plunge through plywood. Asked about it by the Wrestling Epicenter in 2003, Randy Savage agreed that he believes it did help kickstart hardcore wrestling as we know it. One could also argue that the famed chicken-wire cage match Randy had with Jerry Lawler also helped that medium take shape. Savage, even before he reached great heights, was not the least bit afraid to jump off the top of the steel cage.
In 1984, amidst a movement that changed wrestling, Vince McMahon was purchasing the territories that stood in his way from making the then WWF a national and, eventually, international company. Those territories that didn't fold under his pressure saw the best talent from the territories called up to the major league of wrestling as it was becoming. Though it wasn't in baseball, Randy did get called up to join the major league leaving Memphis, a territory that did not fold at that time. Lanny Poffo states that Randy agreed to go but asked that they also bring his brother Lanny along. They did. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1985, Randy became one of the hot young sought after stars by managers of the WWF at the time. After a long campaign to attempt to earn his services, Randy annnounced his manager. That manager was revealed as Miss Elizabeth. Elizabeth, who was Randy's real life wife married on December 30th of 1984, served as the beauty to the intense beast the "Macho Man" character had become. Randy's "Macho Man" character served as a less-than-gentlemanly heel having Elizabeth open the ring ropes for him instead of vise versa and hiding behind her when an opponent was in chase of him. This lead to a "Love Triangle" between Randy, Elizabeth, and George "The Animal" Steele that came to a head at WrestleMania II seeing Savage score the victory over "The Animal".
Due to Randy's large persona and complete package with Elizabeth, he was put in the main event against WWF Champion Hulk Hogan for many larger venue house shows. Randy would even garner a count-out victory over Hogan at one of the shows which, during this time, was virtually unheard of. Their paths would cross multiple times over the years.
Randy captured the WWF Intercontinental Championship by defeating Tito Santana. Randy used an item found in his trunks to reverse a belly to back suplex attempt by Santana hitting Santana in the head knocking him out. It was the first of many WWF belts Randy would hold.
The Intercontinental Title picture was much more competitive then, than it is today. At this time, one single challenger started to show himself worthy of the belt. In a dirty deed by the heel champion, Randy Savage used the ring bell to plunge into the throat of Ricky "The Dragon' Steamboat taking him out of action. This would lead to perhaps the greatest wrestling match of all time at WrestleMania III as Randy would take on Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat in front of over 93,000 screaming fans at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan.
Ricky Steamboat remarked about the match, "Hulk and Andre sold the show. We (he and Randy) stole it." The match was the first of its kind complete with near falls, interference from George Steele, as well as the involvement of Elizabeth. In the end, it became the standard set amongst all major matches to follow. And, without that match, it is debatable if wrestling would be nearly as athletic as it has become today.
In 1988, Randy Savage and Elizabeth started to get cheered by the live crowds. Randy's immense talent and personality hit a nerve with people. As a result, when Hulk Hogan was beginning to venture towards movies, the WWF gave Randy "Macho Man" Savage the opportunity to carry the banner. After an intense night where Randy Savage wrestled 4 times in a tournament at WrestleMania IV, the "Macho Man" won the WWF Heavyweight Title defeating "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase with a little help from Hulk Hogan who had, earlier in the night, been eliminated in a draw between himself and Andre the Giant. The celebration, immortalized by the image of Elizabeth sitting on Randy Savage's shoulder with the championship belt on her shoulder, cemented that a new era had begun. It also had cemented that the villainous character of the cowardly, not-so-gentlemanly "Macho Man" had evolved into just that, a gentleman.
For a full calendar year, Randy Savage carried the WWF Championship defending it against all comers of all sizes. But, when the heels began to gang up on the "Macho Man", it was Hulk Hogan who was called upon to befriend the "Macho Man" again. The "Macho Man" and the Hulkster, along with Elizabeth, made up the "Mega Powers". If you were a fan of the WWF of the time, you knew that name was very fitting.
Despite being considered one of the most powerful teams in history, even making the list as one of the top 10 tag teams of all time according to a recent WWE Countdown episode, cracks between the forged friendship began to show. At Summerslam 1988, the "Mega Powers" defeated the "Mega Bucks" Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant when Elizabeth served as a distraction removing her skirt and showing herself in a pair of red panties. This, very risque for the WWF at the time, served as a major crack as Randy could be seen being less than thrilled with Hulk Hogan's appreciation for Elizabeth's appearance.
The love triangle was viewed as very risque for the time period. It pushed the boundaries of the very cartoon-like style of the WWF programming. During a tag match between the "Mega Powers" and the "Twin Towers" of Akeem and Big Bossman, Randy was tossed onto Elizabeth. Hulk Hogan left ringside to carry her back leaving Randy Savage to fend off the two big men. On a segment on Saturday Night's Main Event, Randy and Hulk Hogan were getting into it for real during the break. Hulk Hogan said in a 2014 interview that the argument was so hot during the break that he wasn't even sure when the red camera light went back on. When the light did go back on, Randy hit Hulk Hogan with the WWF Championship belt effectively turning heel. The "Mega Powers" were about to explode.
At WrestleMania V, Elizabeth did not manage Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage. She was supposed to make a choice. In the end, she didn't. But, not chosing Randy Savage seemed to be the choice in and of itself. Hulk Hogan won the match and WWF Championship amidst the first mixed reaction to Hulk Hogan by an audience during his 80's Hulkamania run.
After Randy's loss to Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 5, the two would travel the world on a house show loop headlining in many different countries. The result was always the same with Hulk Hogan comign out on top. Elizabeth started to appear at random shows siding with Hulk Hogan against Randy who, at this point, was a full blown heel. After that house show loop, though, Randy would pair up with "Sensational" Sherri Martel who acted as the polar opposite of Elizabeth. Where Elizabeth was soft spoken and did not get physically involved, Sherri was very loud and always was physically involved.
The Hulk Hogan/Randy Savage feud would continue through most of 1989 seeing the two on opposite sides of a tag team match at Summerslam 1989 and even in a cage match on pay-per-view coupled with the first TV airing of Hulk Hogan's movie No Holds Barred. But, once the feud ended, Randy Randy's position started to slip away from the top of the card. Randy team would take part in a Survivor Series match where Randy defeated Bret Hart with the big elbow. But, it was clear he had slipped from the main event scene.
While Randy had slipped from the main event scene, Lanny Poffo now found himself in that scene. Lanny had joined the WWF with Randy back in 1985 and was used heavily as a middle card talent. He became well-known for bringing frisbees to the ring and throwing them out to the younger members of the audience which resulted in him getting solid babyface reactions. However, it was as a heel that Lanny would enjoy his greatest success.
In late 1989, Lanny was now wrestling as "The Genius". "The Genius", the manager of Mr. Perfect, explored Lanny's poetic talents. As "The Genius", Lanny would cut poetic promos against his or Mr. Perfect's opponents that were not flattering. The combination of the poems and an ambiguously homosexual mannerisms made Lanny a heel the whole crowd could boo... And did! In 1989 on an episode of saturday Night's Main Event, "The Genius" was pitted against then WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. Though Hogan's feud was with the brash young Mr. Perfect, Lanny capitalized on a mistake made by the Hulkster and with a little help from Mr. Perfect himself, scored a count out win over the Champion. This resulted in the duo taking the belt backstage and Hennig hammering the belt to destroy it.
In January of 1990, Lanny appeared on the popular day-time talk show Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. Complete with a poem for the occasion and facial expressions in awe of Mr. Perfect, it could easily be argued that Lanny's "Genius" character stole the show.
Also in 1990, Lanny found himself in the main event again teaming with Mr. Perefct against Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. That is two major main events from a talent who describes himself as a "journeyman".
While Lanny was riding high, Randy was winning a championship of sorts and a new persona. Randy defeated "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan to become the "King". Randy adopted the persona "Macho King" with "Sensational Queen" Sherri. As the "Macho King", Randy would feud with wrestling's "common nam", "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes with his valet, "Sweet" Sapphire. Sapphire was an overweight African-American lady who idolized Dusty Rhodes from a far and was used to further the "common man" appearance of Dusty who, unlike prior years, was wrestling in polka-dots and dancing around the ring to soul music... And it got over huge.
At WrestleMania VI, the "Macho King" and "Sensational Queen" were defeated by "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and "Sweet" Sapphire with a little help from Miss Elizabeth who appeared on the show for the first time in months. Elizabeth tugged on the hair of Sherri causing her to fall into a roll up by Saphire and to lose the match.
Randy's feud with Dusty Rhodes would last until Summerslam where Saphire left Dusty tot ake the money offered by Ted DiBiase. Randy was without a feud at that point until the night after Survivor Series 1990 when Randy Savage made his intentions well known attacking then-WWF Champion the Ultimate Warrior. Despite the attack, Warrior would defend the title at the Royal Rumble against Sgt. Slaughter who was being pushed hard as he had turned on the United States and was for Iraq who the US was at war with at the time. Sherri was involved in segments leading up to the event asking for Warrior to accept Randy's challenge. On the Brother Love show, Sherri fell to her knees in a very seductive segment for the time... Or for any time.
During Warrior/Slaughter match, Randy ran to the ring in what seemed to be faster than I've ever seen a baseball player tear down the first base line. Randy hits Warrior over the head with the septer leading to Slaughter scoring the pin and becoming champion. The Warrior/"Macho King" feud was finally on.
At WrestleMania VII, Randy put his career on the line against the Ultimate Warrior's career - there could be only one. In an epic match where Warrior kicked out of multiple big elbows, the finish of the match was awfully similar to the finish of Randy's main event push from 1988 to 1989. Randy took several shoulderblocks from Warrior and tumbled to the floor outside the ring. Warrior placed Randy in the ring and got the win with a one-foot pin. Randy appeared to fizzle out. After the match, Sherri started to beat on Randy feeling her career was over as well. Then, the unthinkable happened. After 2 years apart, Elizabeth ran to the ring and saved Randy. The end of this match was Randy carrying around Elizabeth on his shoulders the same way he did 3 years prior when he was at the height of his career. This time, seemingly, at the end of it.
After taking time off, Randy shortly resurfaced, making guest appearances on Coliseum Home Videos and on TV. The "Macho Man" and Elizabeth story was to play out on screen for us to go full circle. In the ring, Randy asked Elizabeth to marry him. She agreed in the same way Randy had ended many promos over the years, "Ooh yeah!". With that, Summerslam would feature the "Match Made in Heaven and the Match Made in Hell" with the wedding, clearly, being the forward of that. In Madison Square Garden, the wedding took place and closed the show.
Though most wrestling weddings in the modern era end in some kind of dastardly deed, this one went off without a hitch. It wasn't until the following wedding shower that Jake Roberts and The Undertaker made themselves known as Jake Roberts put a snake in one of the wedding gifts. This would be the needed reason for the Randy to return to the ring.
After campaigning to be reinstated, Randy got his wish and ultimately got to face Jake Roberts at Tuesday in Texas. The end of the match saw Jake Roberts continually DDT Randy and punch Elizabeth in the face.
Complete with scenes that seemed to be out of horror movies as a snake gnarled on Randy Savage's arm leaving it a bloody mess and various dastardly deeds done by the "Snake Man", Randy ultimately got his revenge on Jake Roberts with a convincing win over him on an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event.
Ric Flair had joined the then WWF at this point and won the World Championship by winning the Royal Rumble. Top contenders were considered to challenge for the belt at WrestleMania 8 including Hulk Hogan, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. In the end, it was Randy.
With Randy in his sights, Flair promised to show explicit pictures of Miss Elizabeth that Flair had taken during a fling the two had prior to her meeting the "Macho Man". This came complete with pictures being shown in the WWF magazine of the two together in a hotel room. Flair went as far as to say he'd unveil a massive one Elizabeth over the ring if needed. Elizabeth denied the claims. However Flair, managed by Mr. Perfect, continued these claims to get under the skin of the "Macho Man".
At WrestleMania 8, in an epic match, Randy Savage defeated Ric Flair to win the WWF Championship for the 2nd time. When Flair tried to get fresh with Elizabeth after the match, she showed a "Macho" side of her own and slapped him across the ring. Much like WrestleMania IV, WrestleMania VIII was highlighted by Randy and Elizabeth.
While the couple was on top of the world on TV, nothing could have been further from the truth in reality. With conflicting stories as to why, the couple split in real life. Elizabeth made her final appearance for the then WWF in April of 1992 managing Randy in a successful title defense against "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels. The match would ultimately air on an episode of WWF Prime Time in June. Though Randy's feud with Ric Flair continued, the WWF Magazine assisted in helping write Elizabeth off the show by publishing the real photos that Flair showed this time with Randy Savage in the room with her... Flair had them doctored.
The Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage, both babyfaces, would start up a summer-lasting feud with heated exchanges. This brought us to a WWF Title match at Summerslam 1992 as a rematch from the reitrement match from WrestleMania VII. This time, Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect tried to convince Randy and Warrior that the other was working with the heel tandom and the whole match was built around the untrust amongst Randy and Warrior... Who would turn heel and join Flair and Mr. Perfect? In the end, neither.
Randy would lose the World Title to Ric Flair who was a transitional champion to deliver the belt to Bret Hart not long after. Savage ended up forming a tag team with the Ultimate Warrior known as the "Ultimate Maniacs" and defeated Ted DiBiase and IRS collectively known as Money Inc. But, Warrior would once again (as had been proven previously) get into trouble with WWF officials and be written off TV. As a result, Randy was left without a partner...
At Survivor Series 1992, Randy converted Mr. Perfect into a babyface after Flair made it seem as though he was better than Perfect ever was. Flair got upcoming star Razor Ramon as his partner. This amtch, which served as the blow off to the Randy Savage/Ric Flair feud, saw Randy and Perfect win.
Randy Savage was approaching 40 years of age and the then WWF was starting their "New Generation" to start to build towards a roster of younger stars. Despite Randy's obvious ability to still perform, he was placed on announcing duty and served as an announcer for many WWF broadcasts including the flagship Monday Night RAW.
Despite the movement, Randy would end up back in the ring from time to time appearing in the Royal Rumble as well as various matches on RAW including a mixed tag with a midget wrestler they called "Macho Mini", appearances in battle royals and the Royal Rumble, and seemingly was always called upon when they needed a great crowd reaction. Unlike many in his position, especially since, Randy was never used as enhancement talent. Despite being in the position as an elder statesman being used to shed light on the younger talent on commentary, the younger talent was not given undeserved victories over Randy in the false belief of "giving back". But, when Randy received his last major feud in the WWF, he was pitted against a younger, larger opponent - A Hawaiian wresler named Crush, Bryan Adams.
On commentary, Randy Savage sang the praises of Crush in his efforts of defeating Yokozuna. In the end, despite a nobile effort, Yokozuna defeated Crush and served to deliver several "Bonsai Drop" finishing moves to him seeing Crush return back to Hawaii injured. Over the next few weeks, segments would run wth Randy checking up on Crush on various WWF programs to offer an update on his return. When Crush did return to RAW, we saw a different side of him. Crush returned flagged by the devious Mr. Fuji and spoke ill of his friend Randy Savage. Crush said Randy's checking up on him was to see how badly he was doing, not to see how soon he'd return. In the end, in a cowardly attack after Randy attempted to talk sense into him, Crush would turn on Randy and deliver several drops to Randy dropping him face, and teeth, first over the guard rail leaving Randy a bloody mess presumably knocking out teeth.
The feud with Crush would carry on through the winter and spring of 1993 into 1994 resulting in Randy's return to WrestleMania on March 20th of 1994 from Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. Randy would face Crush in a "Falls Count Anywhere" match and those rules were put to the test as the two traveled throughout the venue. Unlike traditional "Falls Count Anywhere" matches, the match was not a one-fall affair. Instead, the fall could take place anywhere and the person pinned would have 10 seconds to get back up and return to the ring thus ensuring that the falls would indeed happen anywhere but the traditional squared circle. Randy would win the match scoring the pin in the backstage area and ensured Crush's inability to return to the ring as he tied him up with cables ringing him up in the air. Randy would celebrate with the live crowd and even head down to the Paramount theater which was showing the events of WrestleMania on the big screen and celebrate with them as well. But, despite the return to WrestleMania, the party was somewhat spoiled by backstage happenings.
That same night, WrestleMania X, Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels had an epic ladder match to determine the Intercontinental Champion. Two members of "The Klique", the two apparently went over-time and forced time to be taken from other parts of the show which, unconfirmed, included Randy Savage's match with Crush and a subsequent tag-team match which was cut all together. While rumors continue to run rampart and as far as I know, the whole story has not been told, Randy apparently took exception with Shawn Michaels for the incident. During an exclusive interview with the us (Wrestling Epicenter) in December of 2014, Lanny stated that Randy wanted to have a feud with Shawn Michaels on screen feeling the "Heartbreak Kid" was the talent who could wrestle Randy and have a match that would eclipse the greatness of Randy's most famed match, his WrestleMania III match with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. Though the two had wrestled in prior matches, as noted above, the request was denied by the WWE. Lanny went on to say that he is not sure Randy, at that stage of his career, could have eclipsed the WrestleMania III match with anyone. But, as he so eloquently put it, "Wouldn't you have liked to have seen him try?"
Lanny himself had fizzled out of the WWF picture, until the Fall of 1991, when he took on the role as manager of the Beverly Brothers. By Survivor Series 1992, the partnership with the Beverly Brothers had long since disolved, as the pair were no longer working for the WWF. Perhaps also swallowed up by the "New Generation" youth movement, Lanny was seldomly used. It was clear that as was the case in so much of entertainment at the time, anything associated with the prior decade in any way was shinned to avoid some sort of omni-present stigma by which every creative force raged against. Such was the "New Generation", a necessary evil to create new stars perhaps at the expense of established stars who still had a lot left to offer. That, while possible to be viewed as an opinion, is about as close to fact as any opinion could be. If one disagrees with that, one need only look at the Poffo family in this circumstance to realize my statements are correct. Lanny left the WWE after Survivor Series that year. Lanny would briefly return to the WWF in the summer of 1994, wrestling to two wins over Koko B. Ware, but would once again leave shortly thereafter.
Randy stayed with the WWF throughout the summer of 1994 returning to the announce booth and doing charity work under the WWF banner. Randy even returned to the baseball diamond playing a charity softball game co-captaining the WWF team with Shawn Michaels in a game that highlights were included on the Summerslam 1994 Coliseum Video release. During his life, it was not widely known the devotion of Randy Savage to the children of the Special Olympics. However, during his "Macho Man" DVD in 2014 and his acceptance speech for Randy at the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame, Lanny lit up expressing his brother's passion for those athletes. With a persona larger than life, Randy was able to be a hero for the Special Olympians and meet them face to face. During the exclusive interview with Wrestling Epicenter, Lanny stated that Randy never had biological children of his own and viewed those athletes as lovingly as he would his own children. Randy may have been every bit as "Macho" as his "Macho Man" persona would indicate. But, he was every bit as good of a man as wrestling ever knew.
With the "New Generation" of the WWF in full swing and the "Kliq" starting to run wild in the locker rooms of the WWF, Randy made one of the most shocking moves in wrestling history leaving a legends-style treatment at the WWF and accepting an active-wrestler position in Ted Turner's rival World Championship Wrestling promotion. Randy's "Mega Powers" partner Hulk Hogan had left the WWF in 1993 and began work for WCW in the summer of 1994 to a great response. It was clear that WCW, who had long-since been the WWF's closest competition yet still considerably smaller than the juggernaut that was the then WWF, was ready to spend major money in an attempt to finally claim the number 1 spot on top of the wrestling world.
Speculation has run rampart surrounding Randy Savage's somewhat abrupt departure from the WWF. While he was being utilized as a legend and an announcer with a safe position, Randy reportedly wanted to wrestle. In a 1998 WCW video release called "Macho Man" Randy Savage and also in a 1998 interview with the Jud Nelson Show, Randy stated he left the WWF because "I was tired of being a big fish in a small pond" clearly taking a shot at the fact that, in 1998, WCW was considerably higher in the ratings than the WWF was. But, the controversy circulating to this day concerns unanswered questions over a possible relationship between Randy and Vince McMahon's daughter Stephanie McMahon. Because the rumor mill is so strong and because the later snubbing of Randy Savage's accomplishments are so obvious to fans, we felt the need to mention the rumors which Randy helped continue by posting videos online eluding to taking Stephanie from Triple H after Triple H, for no good reason, started taking shots at Randy in interviews in 2001 and 2002 calling him a "dinosaur" amongst other unflattering things. For the record, Trple H is Stephanie McMahon's husband now. The rumor had to be addressed here but we will not explore it further than we have as nothing was ever confirmed and likely never will be.
Randy, by this point, was also the spokesman for Slim Jim. "Need a little excitement? Snap into a Slim Jim" was recognized everywhere. Others, including the Ultimate Warrior, were used on the commercials but Randy Savage stuck and took the Slim Jim deal with him to WCW. Many feel this is why the WWE took such a negative view of Randy which was held for years to come.
Randy appeared on an episode of WCW Saturday Night saying he'd either team up with the "Three Faces of Fear" which later became known as the "Dungeon of Doom" and slap Hulk Hogan in the face or shake Hulk Hogan's hand. After Hogan defeated Brutus Beefcake (going under the name "The Butcher" at the time) at Starcade 1994, Hogan was surrounded by Kevin Sullivan, John Tenta (Earthquake), and Beefcake when Randy Savage hit the WCW ring for the first time. In the end, he shook Hulk Hogan's hand and chased the bad guys out of the ring. The "Mega Powers" were together again.
Back in the ring, 1995 was a good year for Randy Savage. Despite friends saying Randy Savage's WCW work wasn't as good as his WWF work during interviews on the 2014 WWE "Macho Man" DVD, Randy's WCW work was extremely strong and I would argue against their point.
Randy would have tremendous matches seeing him victorious over several tops tars including Steve Austin, Paul Orndorff, and John Tenta. But, one of Randy's most well-known feuds was about to ignite itself again. Ric Flair, who had been retired by Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc 1994, wanted reinstatement into WCW. After sneak attacks, the "Mega Powers" actually sought his reinstatement so they could face off. The request was granted and a tag match was set for Slamboree 1995 featuring the "Mega Powers" of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage against "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and Big Van Vader. "The Mega Powers" would win the match. But, perhaps, lose the war.
Lanny was also now under a WCW contract. His brother Randy had purchased the rights to the name "Gorgeous George", feeling his brother would gain tremendous heel heat taking on that persona. Lanny, though never wrestled for the promotion, despite being under contract for the following 5 years.
Angelo Poffo was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame at Slamboree 1995 as well. He was also ringside to cheer on his son in the main event. After the match, throwing a fit over the loss, Ric Flair attacked Angelo and put him in the Figure Four. Randy and Hogan made the save but the feud that was restarted by the action would rage on throughout the summer.
Though Randy lost to Ric Flair at the Great American Bash 1995 in a wild brawl, he would serve to defeat Flair with virtual ease in front of a record crowd at Bash at the Beach actually on the beach of Huntington Beach, CA. Randy, flagged by TV's Baywatch beauties, defeated Flair with the big elbow.
One thing Randy Savage does not get enough credit for is being one of the major bargaining chips WCW used to garner a Monday night TV time slot on Turner's relatively new TNT network. The show, which would serve as a head-to-head challenge to the WWF's Monday Night RAW, was WCW Monday Nitro. Because of big name stars such as Randy, Hogan, Flair, Sting, and Lex Luger who jumped from the WWF the night of Nitro's debut from the Mall of America in minneapolis, MN. The inception of Nitro would serve as the start of the Monday Night War which pitted WCW and the WWF at direct opposition of each other on television. Wrestling was about to get as hot as it was in the 80's one more time.
At World War 3 1995, the WCW World Heavyweight Title was decided in a 3 ring, 60 participant battle royal with the winner becoming champion. Amongst perhaps the most impressive roster of legendary talent, up and comers, and International stars ever in one single battle royal, Randy Savage came out on top and emerged as the WCW Champion. He would hold that title until Starcade the following month and lose it, in a bloody war, to Ric Flair. Savage had competed earlier in the evening in a US versus Japan series defeating Japanese sensation Tenzan.
On January 22, 1996, Randy "Macho Man" Savage received a rematch with WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair. Randy would win the match and the championship back. But, despite the win, Randy ultimately ended up having harsh words for his friend Hulk Hogan who hit the ring as soon as Randy won the belt. Randy felt Hogan was celebrating too much and his trust issues were starting to be discussed on WCW TV. Couple that with the return of Miss Elizabeth just a few nights later at Clash of the Champions from Las Vegas, NV and you had a melting pot of emotions from Randy Savage that started to show the "Madness" once again.
As noted above, Miss Elizabeth made her return to wrestling in the corner of Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan, who also had NFL star Kevin Greene in their corner, at Clash of the Champions. Elizabeth's return was as the manager of Randy Savage though the two didn't share any tender moments on camera at that time. So, when Elizabeth ultiamtely turned on Randy at Superbrawl and joined Ric Flair and the IV Horsemen assisting Flair in capturing the title from Randy, it was not as big of a surprise had the turn happened at WrestleMania 8 some 4 years prior.
Around this time, the WWF started airing parody segments with two actors pretending to be Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man. They called it the "Huckster and Nacho Man". Petty? Beyond words. Complete with mockery of the stars' ages and bald spots, this was a hurtful act by the WWF and childish. At WrestleMania 12, the crowd was able to voice their opinion of the segments and boo'd which clearly surprised Vince McMahon who was calling the preview show when the crowd boo'd at the childish sketch.
Randy would feud with Ric Flair, the IV Horsemen, and the Dungeon of Doom along side Hulk Hogan throughout the spring of 1996 culminating in the "Doomesday Cage" match that saw Randy and Hogan take on some 8 guys ina 3 tier cage match. The match, often pointed to as one of the worst concepts in wrestling history, saw the "Mega Powers" win out once again with Savage scoring the pin on Ric Flair at the bottom of the cage after a pot and pan shot as the household items were delivered by the "Booty Man", Brutus Beefcake.
As Hulk Hogan took time off, Randy's spiral into "Madness" attacking members of the Horsemen, especially Ric Flair, at will. It got to the stage that Randy Savage was suspended by WCW and locked out of the arena. In fact, the storyline for many broadcasts became that Randy was locked out yet somehow he'd find a way to get in and attack Flair once again. Though not allowed tow restle, Randy Savage served as the "Coach" to Steve "Mongo" McMichael and Kevin Greene in a wrestler versus football player match against the Horsemen with their "coach" Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. But, despite the "suspended" gimmick and the "coaching" position stories going on, a larger story was taking shape in WCW that would change wrestling forever. The New World Order was coming and WCW was amidst a hostile takeover.
The story was told as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash had come from another place to take over WCW, the other place clearly being the WWF. In the end, a match was set for Bash at the Beach 1996 that would pit WCW's 3 top guys against Hall, Nash, and a mystery partner. It turned out, as you probably already know, to be Hulk Hogan as the partner turning on Randy Savage as he dropped several legs on him and scored the pin. Hulk Hogan had, for the first time in 15 years, become a heel or bad guy and formed the New World Order with Hall and Nash. Randy Savage would be amongst the first targets.
The popularity of the story of an invasion faction trying to take control over WCW proved immensely popular and WCW started to win the ratings war with the WWF. During that invasion, Randy Savage's "Madness" hit yet another gear as he was on patrol against the nWo at full force. One episode even saw Randy leap on top of the nWo's limmousine and lay on the roof as it sped away as he tried to get to the faction. After being attacked by The Giant who turned on WCW and joined the nWo faction, Hulk Hogan, now calling himself Hollywood, used a streak of yellow paint on Savage's back and called him a coward while The Giant and the rest of the nWo beat Savage down. It was at this point that Elizabeth, who had been duped into joining the nWo with a big contract, tried to save Randy covering his prone body as the assault continued. Hogan spraypainted Elizabeth's dress as well and even spat on Elizabeth. It was clear the "Mega Powers" were going to explode again. And, Elizabeth was once again at the center of it.
In a video interview shot on the set of Hulk Hogan's movie "3 Ninjas: High Noon on Mega Mountain" and shown to Randy before a match on Nitro, Elizabeth was both bad-mouthed by Hogan and did a touching interview stating her devotion to Randy. The footage caused Randy to stutter step and leave the arena clearly emotionally drained and heartbroken.
At Halloween Havoc 1996, Randy Savage faced "Hollywood" Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Title. With the odds stacked against him, Randy lost the match as The Giant came in and cost him the match while Elizabeth was forced to watch.
Randy was not on WCW TV until early 1997 appearing in the rafters with fellow WCW star Sting. The two seemed to be working in tandom. For months, they'd appear as the nWo would do a dastardly deed. It wasn't until Superbrawl VII from San Francisco, CA that Randy and Sting appeared side by side this time walking down the aisle as Roddy Piper and "Hollywood" Hogan were battling for the belt. Randy walked on leaving Sting behind and handed Hogan a pair of brass knuckled helping Hogan defeat Piper. After the match, Randy revealed that he was now in the New World Order himself and proceeded to drop the big elbow from the top rope on a prone Piper several times. The following night on Nitro, the nWo rewarded Randy's actions by presenting him with Elizabeth. On camera, the two were once again reunited.
Earlier, we mentioned that Randy was hoping to find an opponent to have matches with that could rival what he did with Ricky Steamboat. We believe he did when he started a feud with Diamond Dallas Page at WCW Uncensored 1997 by having Elizabeth hold up a defaced (spraypainted) copy of Diamond Dallas Page's wife's Playboy spread. This, without a doubt, would go on to be the most important feud Randy Savage would have in World Championship Wrestling and while it isn't as easy to pinpoint a singular match that was as good as the WrestleMania III match, the feud as a whole is up there amongst the best things the "Macho Man" ever was involved in.
At Spring Stampede 1997, Randy Savage made a star of Diamond Dallas Page by losing to Page's finisher the "Diamond Cutter". In a 2004 interview with the Wrestling Epicenter, Page told us that Arn Anderson walked into the room and asked what the finish to the match would be. Randy replied that he'd take the Cutter, 1-2-3. Page said, "I nearly fell off my chair!" Randy's loss to Page would make Page a main event star for the duration of WCW. But, it was far from the end of their feud. The Great American Bash would serve as "Save/Page II" where Randy would defeat Page with a little help from his friends. The feud would go on through the summer, seeing Page sneak attack Randy in matches as Page would dress as La Parka or come out of nowhere and cost Randy matches and vise versa. The two were also involved in a Tag Team Title feud with Randy filling in for the open door "Wolfpack" tag team defending the championships.
The feud would come to an end at Halloween Havoc 1997 from Las Vegas, NV. Complete with a catfight between Elizabeth and Kimberly and a battle amongst Halloween props such as grave stones, Randy defeated Diamond Dallas Page in their third and final major match.
As time went on, Randy's role started to become the big name nWo star that would go out and have great matches with the younger talent without a set feud. Randy would rack up wins over talent such as "Gentleman" Chris Adams, Booker T, Disco Inferno, and various others before landing in a brief feud with Lex Luger. Randy would lose a pay-per-view main event match against Luger at Souled Out 1998. Randy did not receive help from the nWo in this match as had been the case with all major matches the nWo was involved in and the lack of help both caused the loss and also did not escape Randy's notice. "The Mega Powers" were about to explode again.
Randy Savage openly challenged "Hollywood" Hogan'sauthority on Nitro and subsequently was beaten down in various segments by the nWo, though still remaining a member. On Thunder, a prone Randy was carried to the ring by the nWo wearing a Sting mask. And, Nitro began with Elizabeth running to a down Randy in the parking lot with the implication being that Randy was struck by a car. In reality, Randy partially tore his ACL at a WCW Saturday Night taping and was working hurt.
While injured and showing signs of a babyface turn, Harvard University honored Randy as the Harvard Lampoon's Honour Society's Man of the Year for 1998. Flagged by students singing his "Pomp and Circumstance" theme song at him, Randy accepted the award and filmed a segment as a paid nWo announcement which aired on Nitro.
At Uncensored 1998, Randy Savage took on "Hollywood" Hogan in a steel cage. It turned out to be a no-contest as Sting actually came in and made the save for the "Macho Man" who, in turn, beat up Sting and ran off. It wasn't an nWo attack, Randy just wanted the WCW Heavyweight Title. At Spring Stampede 1998 the following month, Randy defeated Sting and captured the WCW World Heavyweight Title again. The reign, however, would be short lived as "Hollywood" Hogan would capture the title on Nitro the following night with a run in by Bret "The Hitman" Hart that helped Hogan score the pinfall victory.
With the nWo at odds, Randy helped forge the nWo Wolfpack. Unlike the traditional black and white of the nWo, this was a babyface version of the group that wore black and red. The group's core was Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, and Konnan. Ultimately, Sting would join the group. But, while merchandise sales were high, the story clearly was becoming convoluted. It was not helped by Randy Savage's clear injury that was in need of time off.
The night after the Great American Bash which saw Randy team with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in a losing effort against "Hollywood" Hogan and Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Randy was written off TV by an nWo attack inside a steel cage. Randy would not return until late 1998.
Randy Savage returned, flagged by a blonde lady who was considerably younger, for a brief run in during a Nitro in late 1998. But, his full return was at Spring Stampede 1999 as the special referee of a 4 corners match between Ric Flair, Diamond Dallas Page, Sting, and "Hollywood" Hogan. Ironically, at the same event Page defeated Randy at 2 years prior, Randy counted the pin that earned Page his first World Title.
Randy's run in 1999 started as a babyface helping his blonde valet going by the name Gorgeous George defeat heel referee Charles Robinson. But, his run would utliamtely turn heel as he forged Team Madness and began a feud with former nWo Wolfpack mate Kevin Nash. Flagged by the before mentioned Gorgeous George, "Miss Madness" who later went on to become Molly Holly, and legendary wrestler Madusa, "Team Madness" served as a force that would challenge for the World Title at the Great American Bash 1999. Through the title was not won by Randy that night, Sid Vicious did emerge as the latest member of "Team Madness".
At Bash at the Beach 1999, Randy "Macho Man" Savage won his 4th WCW World Heavyweight Title in a tag match pitting himself and Sid against Sting and Kevin Nash where the winner of the fall would be champion. In a very WrestleMania IV moment, Randy raised Gorgeous George and the belt over his shoulder in victory. But, just like his 3rd reign, it would not last long as "Hollywood" Hogan would return from injury the following night on Nitro and once again challenge and defeat Randy for the WCW World Heavyweight Title.
Randy was no longer in the World Title picture following that loss and embarked on a brief, but eye opening, feud with former NBA star Dennis "The Worm" Rodman. Randy would defeat Rodman in a brawl at Road Wild 1999 in Surgis, South Dakota that saw the two wrestle around the biker's festival including into the porta-potty.
Randy's WCW contract was coming to an end and he was only used from time to time for the next few months. He appeared in Hulk Hogan's locker room in a backstage segment where Sting was not sure if he could trust Hogan and also made an appearance on Nitro in November of 1999 with Gorgeous George where he said, "The bullets are out of your gun. You need me, I don't need you". While it appeared to be a shot at WCW, during a 2003 interview with the Wrestling Epicenter, Randy revealed that he was directing those remarks at both WCW and Hogan.
During a May 2000 episode of Thunder, Randy Savage came to help the "Millionaire's Club" in a battle with the New Blood. The return saw Randy even help ut Hulk Hogan, whow as Hulk by this point once again. It was a one-off appearance and the final one Randy ever made for WCW. WCW was in turmoil at the time with budget cuts abound and far too many writers in charge. The company was sold to Vince McMahon on March 26, 2001 and closed.
Randy did an IGN video interview in 2000 stating that he was a free agent. This is what sparked the heat with Triple H who called Randy a "dinosaur". Interestingly, 3 parts of the 4 part interview done with the site are still online with 1 part still missing citing its removal by request of the WWE. It is not clear what was objected to.
In 2001, Randy Savage appeared in the mega-hit Spider Man. This was arguably Randy's largest film role but he had made verious TV appearances through his career including guest-star appearances on the Jeff Foxworthy Show and Mad About You to name a few. Randy also made guest appearances on Regis and Kathie Lee (much like Lanny back in 1990) in 1996, TBS' Dinner and a Movie, Pictionary, and various other daytime shows.
In the early 2000's, Lanny started appearing on infomercials for Tony Litte's Gazelle, the freestyle exercise machine. The infomercials aired multiple times and featured Lanny expressing the virtues of the machine. Tony Little went to Lanny's home to film and Lanny was given super star treatment.
In 2002, Randy was advertised to appear for an Australian promoter's attempt to run a pay per view from Las Vegas, NV called WWA Revolution. While on the posters and commercials for the event, the weekend of the event saw his name crossed out with the words "Not Appearing" over his image. In our 2003 interview, Randy stated he was never confirmed for those shows and payment was never received.
After many years away from the ring, Randy Savage started getting involved in training wrestlers and holding matches in an empty gym filmed for his official site. The concept, ahead of its time, would have seen a subscription service to his site used to promote wrestling matches. In fact, it was this concept that Randy did our 2003 interview to promote. Though it never got off the ground, one must wonder if the concept was borrowed by various streaming sites of today whom air "IPPV", Internet Pay Per View, events through a subscription service.
In 2003, Randy released a music CD called "Be a Man". The CD was a rap CD where Randy openly called out Hulk Hogan who he had a very on-again off-again relationship with through the years. The CD featured a song written by Lanny Poffo which was a tribute to their mutual friend Curt Hennig who had passed away in 2003. It was called "My Perfect Friend" and, while not this writer's type of music, was the most well written song on the album.
Randy Savage returned tow restling for NWA TNA in 2004. Early in the year, a song recorded for the company was used during their countdown show that featured Randy singing. However, it was never spoken about so it is debatable if it was ever supposed to air. In November, Randy shockingly returned to the ring for a Six-Man-Tag match between Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, and himself aganst the "Kings of Wrestling" Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. Randy scored the pin on the NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett. The plan was for Randy to face Jarrett for the Championship at Final Resolution but it never took place and Randy somewhat quietly retired from the ring for good.
Lanny Poffo released his second book titled Limericks from the Heart (and Lungs!) in 2004. The book is full of limericks with many looking at the dangers of smoking, poking fun at the reasons people start.
In 2005, Lanny Poffo returned to the ring for a match with Adam Windsor at the Wrestle Reunion event. The match was perhaps best known for Lanny's wardrobe malfunctions thanks to not having his own gear to work in. Lanny also continued to do sporadic bookings including trips to Canada and in Europe.
For years, WWE inducted Randy's peers into their Hall of Fame. From 2004 to present, the weekend of WrestleMania was kicked off by having inductions into the Hall of Fame. Peers such a sHulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase, Sherri Martel, and a steady stream of others were inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame with no mention of Randy Savage. Conversely, action figures for legends were released by the company and, for years, Randy Savage's image was nto used. It was noticed by the fans. But, no answers were ever given. In our 2014 interview with Lanny Poffo, Lanny implied that the problem could have had to do with the Slim Jim sponsorship that Randy took with him to WCW when he left the then-WWF. We already have covered other, more personal rumors discussed.
In 2007 and 2009, Randy's voice acting career took off as he suplied a voice for a King of the Hill character and voiced a character in Disney's Bolt. Randy had previously done voice work for Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Diam M for Monkey, and Dexter's Laboratory in the 90's as part of the Ted Turner Cartoon Network tie-in.
In 2009, the WWE released a DVD collection on Randy "Macho Man" Savage, hosted by Maria Kanellis who never worked with Randy. This collection did not include a documentary and was strange because every other release on a particular star at the time did include a documentary. But, it was the first time in years the WWE had mentioned the "Macho Man".
In 2010, Randy Savage started working on a tribute project to the original "Gorgeous" George Wagner. It was the first time in some time that Randy's name was in the headlines for pro wrestling.
On March 4, 2010, Angelo Poffo passed away after a long medical battle. In an interview with Kayfabe Commentaries, Lanny Poffo said Randy carried anger towards the WWE for years concerning a battle royal that was held in the 80's at the New Jersey Meadowlands Arena. It was a legends battle royal that Angelo wanted to take part in and higher ups in the company refused Randy's request o behalf of his father. Because of this, Randy often would tell his father that the only way he'd accept a WWE Hall of Fame induction is if the whole family was inducted. Lanny stated it made his father smile every time he said it so he'd say it often.
On May 10, 2010, Randy married the love of his life, Barbara Lynn Payne. In a 2010 interview with Rip Rogers who wrestled for the Poffo family's ICW promotion, Rogers stated that he was happy as could be for Randy as he knew that Randy always loved Lynn. This was confirmed in the 2014 WWE DVD on Randy as both Lanny and their mother spoke of his elation in meeting back up with her and finally getting married.
In 2011, a new WWE video game called WWE All Stars pitting comic book styled versions of WWE legends and then-present talent in the ring together. Randy Savage himself did voice overs for the commercials promoting the game. While many hoped it was the start of a new relationship between Randy and the WWE, many stated that it was the video game company THQ that asked for Randy to do the commercials.
On May 20, 2011, Randy Savage passed away suffering a heart-attack causing him to become unresponsive and crashing the Jeep Wrangler he was driving with his wife, Barbara Lynn Payne, in the passenger's seat. He was 58 years old.
On the RAW following his death, the WWE ran a touching video for the memory of Randy Savage. Wrestler CM Punk also wore Savage's famed star-trunks in the main event of that show and adopted the "Flying Elbow" as one of his signature moves. The WWE also began to release merchandising for Randy Savage and seemed to finally recognize his legacy.
In 2013, Lanny Poffo appeared on the Discovery Investigation network's "I (Almost) Got Away With It" playing a K9 Police Officer. To the time of this posting, Lanny still active doing motivational speaking and wrestling related appearances including an upcoming UK tour with Hulk Hogan amongst others.
With several action figures released and a DVD that indeed did include a documentary, Lanny Poffo accepted the WWE's induction of Randy Savage into the Hall of Fame. Inducted by Hulk Hogan, who had reconciled with Randy just months before his death, and accepted by Lanny Poffo, the "Macho Fan" who had been shunned by the largest wrestling company for years could rest assured that the legacy of the "Madness" would live forever.
When asked why he'd cosndier bending, Lanny told the Wrestling Epicenter in 2014 that he, for the first time in his life, was the older brother and while he would love to hold out and have the Poffo family go in together the same way the Von Erich family did years prior, he made the decision as, for the first time in his life, the older brother that it was more important that Randy Savage be inducted into the Hall of Fame for the "Macho Fan" than to hold out for what the WWE was not interested in doing.
Angelo, Lanny, and Randy Poffo each made their own undeniable mark on pro wrestling which is felt to this day. While we understand Lanny's decision and do support it, we at the Wrestling Epicenter are inducting all 3 Poffo men because all 3 deserve it and it is what we feel is right. We only wish our opinion was shared by World Wrestling Entertainment.
Lanny Poffo was asked for permission to induct the family. We were given the following quote concerning the induction. "On behalf of the Poffo family, many thanks!"