Personal: Macho Man

What's impressive is how quickly this picture appeared after his death.

Wrestling legend Randy “Macho Man” Savage died a month ago, and while this post isn’t timely I still felt it was worth talking about his significance to me. I actually didn’t become a fan of his directly through his wrestling in the WWF or WCW, nor his commercial endorsements (none of which reached the United Kingdom, at least to my knowledge) or his appearances in things like Spider-Man or Dial ‘M’ For Monkey*.

No, I discovered Macho through video games.

The specific video game was WCW/nWo Revenge on the N64. One of that system’s biggest strengths was it having four controller ports on the system itself. Previously released systems like direct rival the PlayStation and legacy systems like the SEGA Mega Drive and SNES could support four players through hardware accessories, but as that required a separate purchase there weren’t many games that supported it (which is also why the Wii Remote will always have better support than PlayStation Move or Kinect). Knowing that people just needed a controller each to play games with four players meant that many games supported it, and a lot of the greatest local multiplayer games of that generation – Super Smash Bros., GoldenEye 007 and WCW/nWo Revenge itself – were on that system.

WCW/nWo Revenge was a fighting game for up to four players, with a huge roster (most wrestlers had the same body types and just varied in faces, so making a new character was a reasonably quick process), some basic customisation (you could replace a wrestler’s outfit with any other outfit for that body type and alter the colours) and a grapple system that is still talked of fondly today (usually compared favourably to THQ’s current efforts with its WWE games).

There wasn’t that much personality in each individual wrestler, possibly because of the large roster or simply the technical limitations of the hardware generation, with most standing out only through their face/mask and their finishing moves. But then there was Macho Man.

Ooohhh Yeaahhh!

Macho’s taunt was an elaborate strut that ended with him pointing at his opponent and shouting out his signature ‘Ooohhh Yeeaahhh!’, one of the few characters to have a voice sample. Upon discovering that he immediately became my favourite character and I used him as my main character for a long time, taunting often.

Eventually I began to use him less because of the discovery of a cheat that allowed you to escape any pin just by tapping the analogue stick, making it essentially impossible to win by pin fall in a multiplayer game, as even when you all agreed not to use it the temptation was always there. That meant victory had to come from submissions or knockouts, neither of which Macho’s moveset specialised in, so for proper competitive play I switched to Scott Steiner, whose Screwdriver finisher was a powerful knockout move (and was banned from use in the actual WCW) and his Steiner Recliner was an excellent submission finisher. For sheer personality though nobody beat Macho.

From there I started watching WCW itself, initially just interested to see the real-life versions of characters I only knew from gaming but finding it entertaining enough to stick with every week, and aside from some issues as it moved channels I followed WCW until its demise. Macho wasn’t always present, but when he was he was always entertaining and generally the highlight of the event.

Around that time my friends and I started to get into online gaming for the first time, playing together in a clan we called New World order, named for the the WCW’s nWo wrestling faction. We all adopted the names of wrestlers to fit in with the theme so I chose Macho Man, of course, and went on to stick with that username across the web for many years (in fact there are some communities where I’m still referred to as Macho).

In a small way then Macho Man helped shape who I am, affecting my interests and online persona, and while he had been keeping a fairly low profile in recent years (issues around his departure from the WWF in 1994 meant he never returned, so after the collapse of WCW and ECW there wasn’t really anywhere else for him to go) his death is still pretty significant to me. Considering I only watched wrestling for a brief period and missed out on what would be considered the glory days of both the WCW and the WWF the following might not mean much, but Macho Man will always be my favourite wrestler.

This image came from the Where's Randy Savage Tumblr, a blog seemingly dedicated to inserting Macho into all other images. Click the image for a link.

* In Spider-Man Macho plays an amateur wrestler named Bonesaw who is defeated by Peter Parker, but considering Bonesaw is just a man and Parker is a superhero that doesn’t really count, especially as Parker uses pretty much the full range of his superpowers to win:

Using superstrength, superagility and web shooters would surely have earned Bonesaw the victory by disqualification. However, in the Dial ‘M’ For Monkey episode ‘Rasslor’ Macho played an intergalactic wrestler who challenges all of Earth’s superheroes to a fight, ultimately defeating all of them apart from Monkey, who he could have defeated easily:

So even if you count the Spider-man fight as a legitimate battle that still makes it one point for the superheroes and eight for Macho, putting aside any other fights we didn’t see (I’m sure even in Dial ‘M’ For Monkey there are more than nine superheroes) and the fact that Rasslor has been travelling from planet to planet for a long time and never lost a fight. However you slice it his loss to The Amazing Cheating Spider-Man barely counts at all.

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  1. July 10, 2011 at 15:04

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