Believe it or not, wrestling was a huge part of my life growing up. Heck, if I'm being honest, into my college years. Basically until WWE started favoring the boring wrestlers with typical cool-bro-bad-ass personas over, well... Larger than life heroic characters.
|Like this handsome devil.|
My Mom got me into watching wrestling. She had followed WWF since she was a kid. (She was a big fan of Gorgeous George and Haystack Calhoun--whom she met once). When I was a little kid Saturday afternoon meant taking in wrestling matches over peanut butter and honey sandwiches. She explained to me it was like a soap opera for men (and we watched Santa Barbara every weekday afternoon, so I already knew I liked soap operas).
It was a great metaphor.
|There were good guys...|
|(Good guys? ...Maybe?)|
|Supernatural forces at work...|
|...And love stories.|
It was flashy and spectacular. No one could possibly wear these wild clothes or function under the weight of these towering personalities, yet these neon tassled gods pulled it off. Every week these incredibly powerful, shaking, impossibly loud men hollered threats at each other into my living room. I would get all kinds of riled up.
|There's not a six year old alive |
who can't get behind this kind of energy.
They held grudges, they avenged wrongs. They saved their friends one week to stab them in the back the next week. It was riveting.
|There is a 90% chance that ref suffered |
permanent hearing loss from this match.
It seemed to me back then that Miss Elizabeth had the best job in television. Vanna White was a close second (I was six, give me a break).
|She got to escort Macho Man down to the ring...|
|She had an endless closet of puffy, sequined dresses...|
|She rode around on Macho Man's shoulder....|
|She was friends with all the good guys...|
|...Which was helpful, because all the bad guys stalked her.|
In her own cowering, crying way she was breaking the glass ceiling just by being there. And she never gave up. She never backed down. Oh, she flinched. And she cringed....
|She flinched and cringed a lot, actually....|
|But she always stood by her man.|
Every week she was back, cheering on Macho Man. George "The Animal" Steele wasn't going to scare her off. Ric Flair wasn't going to keep her from supporting her man. However many times she was kidnapped, Miss Elizabeth never stopped flinching for her right to stand outside the ring crying.
|Ric Flair was born 75 years old.|
His mother was a tanning bed.
There are always people who complain that wrestling isn't real. "No kidding," I like to respond, "They had a guy who played an undead corpse. What about that did you EVER think was real?"
|Spoiler alert, that guy's not really a king either.|
Sure, maybe they weren't actually beating each other senseless, but they were real gymnasts. They were still doing back flips off the ropes! They were still bench pressing 250+ pound men over their heads and holding them there! Cirque du Soleil isn't real, and people can't wait to pay money to see those shows--and no one even gets smashed in the face with a steel chair!
|Remember when Hulk Hogan lifted Andre the Giant over his head?|
|They still had to deal with this vicious creature.|
And its snake.
It breaks my heart this generation won't have Macho Man, Hulk Hogan, or Ultimate Warrior as their heroes. Childhood heroes should be larger than life over the top champions. Not the guy standing in front of you at Six Flags.
|John Cena looks like the guy you have to talk to at your|
family barbecue because he knocked up your white trash cousin Denise.
|"STOP HOGGING THE POTATO SALAD AND GET BACK TO|
DENISE, JOHN. MMMM, YEAH, GET ME A STEAK ON THAT GRILL!"
|Now these are role models.|
|When the Ultimate Warrior told you to|
eat your vegetables, you f-cking listened.
Why am I posting about wrestling today? Well, it's almost a year since Macho Man Randy Savage passed away. A lot of wrestlers have met with crazy or self destructive ends. Randy Savage? He just suffered a heart attack while he and his wife were driving. It could happen to anyone. (The Red Sox sadly lost announcer Carl Beane the same way last week).
By all accounts, Randy Savage was as sweet in real life as his good guy Macho Man ring personality. He even admitted to the steroid use so people wouldn't make the same mistakes he did. In an industry plagued with scandal, he was one of the actual good guys. He's one of our childhood heroes we can still feel really good about.
|He even aged gracefully.|
While Hulk Hogan is still dying his hair blonde,
Randy Savage rocked his inner Santa Claus.
He's offering these to folks for free download, if you want your Facebook cover to show some love to Randy Savage this week too. You should be able to right click and save them from here, but if you can't send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll hook you up! (Ryan has more fun with FB covers than anyone I know. Especially for someone who hates Facebook as much as he does).
Our television has been playing Wrestlemanias and Summerslams nonstop the past few weeks, as we've revisited our favorite Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth moments. They're both gone now but they'll live on in our hearts and on our tv screens for years to come, thanks to video. Because our kids are going to have larger than life over the top heroes to believe in.
|Like this handsome devil.|