Randy Poffo was born November 15, 1952 in Columbus, Ohio. His father, Angelo, was a wrestler in the ‘50s and ‘60s, so it was only natural that Randy would eventually find himself in the family business. At the suggestion of friend and trainer Terry “The Goose” Stephens and Georgia Championship Wrestling booker Ole Anderson, Poffo adopted the surname “Savage.”
After stints with the now-defunct ICW and Memphis wrestling, “Macho Man” Randy Savage signed with the WWE in 1985, WCW in 1994, and TNA in 2004. During a 32-year career, Savage amassed 20 championships, with six between the WWE and WCW. He was later named by the WWE as the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time and credited for bringing “a higher level of credibility to the title through his amazing in-ring performances.” Savage spent most of his WWE and WCW careers married to and managed by “Miss Elizabeth” Hulette. The two divorced in 1992, and he married long-time girlfriend Barbara Lynn Payne in 2010. Savage died of cardiac arrhythmia on the morning of May 20, 2011. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 28, 2015.
Throughout his illustrious career, Macho Man was a force to be reckoned with in and out of the ring. His flamboyant costumes, raspy voice, and catchphrase of “Oooh yeah!” were iconic in both the sport and pop culture in general during the late 20th century. It seemed Savage was always “on” no matter what he was doing, because his character was do deeply ingrained in who he was. This lifestyle of course yielded some interesting facts, events, and stories - some of which are quite surprising or downright unbelievable. With that, let’s look at the top 15 shocking/insane real life Macho Man Randy Savage stories.
15 Threatening to Beat Up Chris Kanyon Over "Has-Been" Comment
No one ever knew when they could set Randy Savage off, but a promo by Chris Kanyon on Good Morning America indeed did just that. While in character, Kanyon called Savage a has-been.
Kanyon was warned by Diamond Dallas Page that his comments weren't taken too well by Macho Madness and that he'd better go apologize. Kanyon feared for his life and called Savage immediately, leaving an apology on his answering machine. Kanyon wouldn't hear from Savage for months, getting him nervous. Finally when he saw Savage face to face, Randy said everything was cool.
The reason Macho Man was so upset was that Slim Jim was trying to faze him out of his endorsement, thinking he was washed up and his opinion was amplified after hearing Kanyon's comments.
Savage told Kanyon not to worry because he got a $1 million endorsement deal after all. "I got the deal anyway," said Savage. "Otherwise, you would have gotten a million-dollar ass beating."
14 Randy Really Earned His ‘Spider-Man’ Role
When Randy Savage auditioned for Sam Raimi’s 2002 blockbuster Spider-Man, he hadn’t been seen since his last WCW appearance in 2000 - and with the collapse of the promotion soon after, he was looking for work to further his career. Plus, after appearing in the dud Ready to Rumble the same year, he also needed some redemption. Savage landed the role of Bone Saw McGraw, which he did so by conducting his audition in full Macho Man mode - cutting promos with the producers and threatening to beat everyone up.
To further illustrate his commitment, Savage also insisted on performing his own stunts in the film, which resulted in an injury from getting repeatedly monkey-flipped into a steel cage and landing on his head.
13 The Feud That Never Was
During his last couple of years with WWE, Savage felt like he was forced into the announcer role, and longed to get more active in the ring and really compete again. When he first saw then-up-and-comer Shawn Michaels, he knew he had found an opponent. Macho Man devised a program that would last for two years and two WrestleManias, and ultimately culminate in Savage putting Michaels over, and then retiring to the announcers desk for good. Vince McMahon didn’t bite though, and said WWE was looking to feature younger and smaller wrestlers, especially in the wake of numerous steroids scandals. Of course it never happened and now never will - but can you imagine if it did? Those would have been a fun couple years.
12 Savage Owner?
When WCW was on the outs, numerous figures emerged to potentially buy the promotion from owner AOL Time Warner - including the Macho Man himself. When Fusient Media Ventures backed out of the deal toward the end, Savage stepped in, but AOL was already deep into talks with the WWE, and it was too little too late. It would have been shocking (and also quite interesting) to see Randy as the promotion’s owner, especially since he had lived so frugally while wrestling in the years prior. Apparently ownership of the company in general wasn’t Savage’s main goal, but he instead mainly sought control of WCW’s extensive video library.
11 Randy Being Randy
When Macho Man was shooting his scenes for 2002’s Spider-Man, he shared a trailer with Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell, with whom he also shared a scene in the film. According to Campbell, having the same trailer as Savage was an interesting experience, especially when Randy would get randy and loudly...entertain...his female guests while making “animalistic” sounds. “It didn’t matter where I sat,” Campbell recalled. “There was some girlfriending happening right next door, but it’s like a duplex with no insulation. So yep, he had fun working on that movie.” Since Savage was between marriages at the time, there’s no telling who or how many guests he entertained during filming.
10 Be A Man
Out of all the crazy things Randy Savage did in and out of the ring, the worst has to be his 2003 rap album Be a Man. I feel like I could easily end this description here and you’d already completely agree with me, but let’s think a little more about this with one question: Why? Why would a wrestler with no musical experience ever agree to put out a rap album? Why would someone with an already successful and prosperous career make such a ludicrous business decision? And why, pray tell, would Macho Man Randy Savage decide that the best time to produce and release an album was at age 50? Despite apparently taking the album very seriously and putting a lot of hard work into it, it was a gigantic failure, with one critic even calling it “a physiological impossibility, it sucked and blew at the same time.”
9 Mama’s Boy
Usually, most wrestlers’ nicknames come from suggestions by other wrestlers, trainers, promoters, and people in the biz. That’s true in Randy’s case for “Savage,” but as for “Macho Man”? That was all Randy’s mommy. Back in his early days, Savage asked his mom to make a list of potential nicknames. After reading a Reader’s Digest article that claimed the phrase “Macho Man” would be the next hot term, she added it to the list.
“A few days later, Randy called me from Macon, Ga., and said, ‘What’s a Macho Man?’” his mother recalled. “I said, ‘I have no idea.’” Somehow it stuck though, and the rest is history.
8 Hulk Hogan’s Savage Make-Up
Out of the ring, Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan had a tense and turbulent relationship, and the two feuded for years, even after they both retired. Since the two weren’t very active in the years that followed, most people believe Savage took his grudge to the grave with him, but that’s not true. Less than a year before he died, Randy spotted Hulk in a doctor’s office, and snuck up behind him.
If it were a few years prior, Savage probably would have put Hogan in a chokehold, but Randy was at a point in his life where he was making peace with his past, and he instead embraced his former colleague. When Hulk saw who it was, he was instantly happy, and the two buried the hatchet. They even had plans to see each other again, but Savage unfortunately passed away soon after.
7 The Brain Behind The Look
Michael Braun might not have a notable name, but have you heard of Jimi Hendrix? Sonny & Cher? Aerosmith? The Temptations? These folks were/are definitely famous, and their signature looks in the ‘60s and ‘70s came from designer Michael Braun. And when the musicians stopped calling, Braun turned to wrestlers, and his first client was Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster soon referred a friend to Braun, the friend of course being Macho Man Randy Savage. The two would work together for years, and many of Savage’s most iconic and flashy outfits were designed by Braun - right down to the cowboy hats, boots, and hand-painted sunglasses.
6 Bill Dundee Pulled A Revolver On Randy
Back in ‘70s and ‘80s, Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett ruled wrestling in Memphis. Although other promotions tried to move in on their territory, nobody came close to succeeding, until the Poffos arrived. Angelo Poffo started International Championship Wrestling in 1978 with his sons Lanny Poffo & Randy Savage as the stars, and before long ICW spent most of their airtime trashing the Memphis crew. Eventually the feud culminated in a parking lot run-in between the ICW guys and Bill Dundee (the number two babyface in Memphis) and Dundee was clocked in the face, and then grabbed his Smith & Wesson revolver.
Here’s where it gets dicey. While Dundee claims he was initially sucker-punched and after he got his gun the Poffos fled, Savage claimed it was a mutual fight, and when Dundee pulled the gun, Savage wrestled it away, pistol whipped Dundee, and broke his jaw. Even after the two sides eventually made up (and Randy & Lanny joined ICW), the exact details of the bizarre incident remain fuzzy.
5 He Painstakingly Choreographed His WrestleMania III Match
While most bouts were called on the fly during Savage’s career, possibly with a handful of predetermined spots, Macho Man planned out and memorized each and every step of his WrestleMania III match against Ricky Steamboat, and made his opponent do the same. The two even rehearsed it extensively at Savage’s Florida home beginning months prior to the event. Although wrestlers in the current, heavily-scripted era might be used to this approach (The Undertaker often utilizes this technique nowadays), to see this level of preparation in the ‘80s was unprecedented, and a good illustration of just how serious Randy took his performances and his career. And it worked.
Although Hulk Hogan battling Andre the Giant was billed as the main event, Savage and Steamboat not only easily (and deservingly) stole the show, but put on one of the best matches in wrestling history.
4 Now Batting for the Cincinnati Reds...
Macho Man Randy Savage is one of the greatest and most important things to happen to wrestling, but Savage initially applied his athletic abilities elsewhere. Back when he was still Randy Poffo, he dreamt of making it in the MLB and even played in the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox minor league organizations. He never made it past A-ball, but Poffo managed a .254 average with 16 home runs and 66 RBI over four seasons as an outfielder, first baseman, and catcher.
Although he wasn’t quite talented enough to make it to the bigs, Poffo’s dedication was incredible; after separating his right shoulder in a 1973 home plate collision, Poffo taught himself to throw left-handed in order to keep him on the playing field. In the end, he wasn’t quite valuable enough, and chose to instead pursue his father’s former profession and change his name to “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
3 Savage Battles Road Warrior Hawk...Out of the Ring
Macho Man had a lot of beefs both kayfabe and real, and one of the biggest in the latter category was with Road Warrior Hawk. Their feud began after a show in Japan back in 1996 when the two exchanged barbs, and Hawk ended up punching Randy out. Things were uneventful for the next few years, but boiled up again backstage at a Tampa Kid Rock show, of all places. Savage sucker-punched Hawk, and Randy’s then-girlfriend Stephanie Bellars (Gorgeous George) and another woman brutally attacked Hawk’s wife.
Although Hawk was willing to let the scuffle between wrestlers slide (as part of an unwritten code), he brought legal action against the two female attackers. As ridiculous as a group of adults legitimately fighting is, the most insane part of this story is the grudge that Savage held for years and then suddenly resurrected one night.
2 Liz & Randy
When it came to the relationship of Randy Savage and his former wife, Miss Elizabeth, it seemed as if everything was out in the open, since it was big part of the wrestlers’ angles. You’d think, with all the ridiculousness shown, their real life relationship was calmer, but it was quite the opposite. Even in reality, Randy was insanely jealous when it came to Liz. For instance, Macho Man would often get jealous at the kayfabe actions of George “The Animal” Steele and his lusting over Miss Elizabeth, despite the fact that Steele was happily married and even had a kid older than Liz.
One time, after The Animal carried Miss Elizabeth out of the arena as part of a show, Savage had a complete meltdown. His jealousy was reportedly so bad that he would insist Miss Liz had a private dressing room so she wouldn’t socialize too much, and Randy would often lock her inside during shows. When he went on the road without her, a couple times he locked his house from the outside, trapping her for days on end. Their turbulent relationship fizzled out for good in 1992.
1 Rumored Affair with Teenage Stephanie McMahon
This story has never been proven as fact, but it's one of the most infamous backstage rumors, urban legends, whatever you want to call it. People had wondered for years why Randy Savage was never brought back to WWE following his departure in 1994. He and Vince McMahon once had a very close relationship but whenever Savage's name was brought up, McMahon would have none of it.
The rumored reason is that Savage had an affair with Stephanie in 1994 and Vince didn't find out until a few years later. Respected wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer believes this theory and claims that many top WWE officials believe the affair to be true too.
“When I first heard the story I didn’t believe it....but, you know, after a certain number of years when it’s just, you know, ideas are brought up for Randy Savage and the reaction—there’s something real, real bad because, let’s face it, I mean, I couldn’t count the number of times Vince said he would never do business with Hulk Hogan, and he always does. So, I don’t know…"
We may never know the truth behind this one.