While home during paternity leave, I’ve been passing some of the time by watching presentations of WCW Monday Nitro, WCW Thunder, and select WCW pay-per-views from 1998 on WWE Network. I happened to find myself watching WCW/nWo Spring Stampede, which was quite the entertaining pay-per-view because all of my favorite WCW wrestlers—Macho Man Randy Savage, Raven, Curt Hennig, Booker T, and La Parka—were performing. All of them, with the exception of La Parka, won their respective matches with Raven and Macho Man winning the United States Heavyweight and World Heavyweight championships, respectively. I next watched the episode of Nitro that aired the following night…by total coincidence, it was 20 years ago today on April 20, 1998. All of my guys were once again in action. While La Parka and Booker T won their matches, Raven and Macho Man both lost the championships they earned the night before to Goldberg and Hollywood Hulk Hogan, respectively. Curt Hennig also lost a match—via disqualification on account of Rick Rude interference—that he would’ve easily won 9 out of 10 times as he was the superior wrestler. In watching that episode, I remembered why I stopped watching WCW programming late in the Summer of 1998: I felt like my guys weren’t getting their proper due. That episode of Nitro was the last time I saw Macho Man at the top of the pyramid in wrestling. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: my Macho Man Randy Savage fandom.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across Macho Man back in 1995, when I saw him on an episode of WCW Saturday Night. If I’m not mistaken, he was wrestling against Steve Austin…when he was “Stunning” and not “Stone Cold”. I remember seeing this dude come out with a striped costume…striped pants, a striped coat with streamers, a striped cowboy hat, striped boots, and striped glasses. It was very flamboyant with the loud colors and all. That was my introduction to the Macho Man Randy Savage.
What it meant to me then? From the start, I loved Macho Man. I mean, what’s not to like about him? The high-flying, anything goes style he exhibited in the ring. The intensity. The flamboyance of his ring attire. The distinctive voice. The trademark “Oooh yeah!!!”. Of course, you gotta throw in the theme music and the lovely Miss Elizabeth. Before Macho Man, I was just a casual viewer of wrestling…basically, if I was in front of a television and WCW Saturday Night was on, I’d watch to see the action. Savage changed that for me. I started watching more and more of the WCW television shows and following his career. I remember watching Nitro the night after he won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at WCW World War 3 in 1995. I was pumped for the interview he gave with Mean Gene. I didn’t too much like it when he joined the nWo because it meant that he had to shake the “Pomp and Circumstance” theme music and his ring attire became strictly black and white but I got over it. Because he was “my guy”, I became devoted to the nWo. Nothing had me at a higher point in my viewing of wrestling than when he captured the World Heavyweight Championship at the aforementioned Spring Stampede. I didn’t care that Kevin Nash powerbombed Sting to seal it for Macho Man. All I cared about was “my guy” having the gold. When Savage joined the Wolfpac, I joined the Wolfpac. I loved that dude.
What it means to me now? After he lost that title to Hogan 20 years ago today, it was never the same for him. The injuries, the poor storylines…it all resulted in him losing his spot at the top. I stopped watching WCW in July 1998 so I never saw him return to the ring back then. I saw him on an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger and he was in the Spider-Man film I saw the night I bust out the Nokia tune when Regal Cinemas Wildwood 14 was having technical difficulties. He, unfortunately, passed away in 2011. Though I very rarely watch wrestling these days—this legacy stuff on WWE Network is about as close as it gets for me—his legend and legacy live on with me. He’s still my favorite wrestler of all time. He’s still the most dangerous wrestler I’ve had the privilege of seeing in person or on television. I still have his theme music as a ringer on my mobile phone. I was Team Madness then and I’m still Team Madness now. I’ll always love Macho Man Randy Savage. Ooooooooooh yeeeeeaaaaaah!!!