When I saw the news on Twitter Friday morning that The Macho Man Randy Savage had died I immediately called my big brother. Only he would understand why I would be upset that a professional wrestler had died.
Growing up in the 1980s I cannot tell you how many hours I spent eating hot boiled peanuts and watching WWF wrestling with my brother and his friends. We watched during the golden age when Mean Gene Okurland manned the mike and Hulk Hogan ruled the ring. We loved Rowdy Roddy Piper in his crazy kilt. We loved to boo the Iron Sheik (not PC now!) and just marveled at Andre the Giant. And somehow it didn’t seem odd that Miss Elizabeth was passed back and forth between wrestlers as their manager. (My brother told me the sad news that she had died several years ago. I didn’t realize that.)
We came to wrestling honestly. My grandfather and uncle were huge fans and we would watch The Nature Boy Ric Flair when we were at their house on what was then Channel 17. (Wooooooooooo!) Were those matches in black and white? Because that how’s they are in my mind. Maybe it was just my grandfather’s TV set.
When my brother turned 30 I threw him a party, which included a WWF cake with a wrestling ring and stand up toy wrestlers. When I was checking it at the bakery, some kids were patting their moms saying “I want that cake!”
Michael and I watched through the ’90s when the mantle was passed to The Rock and Chris Jericho. But I haven’t probably watched since I had kids.
My brother still watches DVDs of old WrestleMania with his kids and I think watches some of the current wrestlers.
He sent me this note on Facebook on Saturday: “WE WISH YOU WERE HERE TO EAT HOT BOILED PEANUTS WITH US AND WATCH WRESTLE MANIA 3 ( RICKY THE DRAGON STEAMBOAT VS RANDY MACHO MAN SAVAGE). IT WAS A GREAT LOSS AND WE ALL WILL MISS HIM. WE LOVE YOU THERESA. UNCLE C., THE SAINT OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLERS, IS GIVING HIM THE HEAVENLY TOUR.”
I tracked one particular TMZ link about the Macho Man’s death and it had more than 100,000 page views in less than an hour. That is an amazing number of people remembering and wanting to read about a wrestler they watched growing up.
Did you bond with your siblings over WCW or WWF wrestling growing up? Have you shared it with your kids?