Today is a sad day in the world of professional wrestling, as TMZ is reporting this morning that Randy 'Macho Man' Savage has died as the result of a heart attack behind the wheel of his automobile and a resulting crash into a tree. This in his home of Tampa, FL. Savage was best known as first the foil to and then the ally of wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, leading to the legendary MegaPowers tag team, in which he and Hogan ran roughshod over the WWE, and his legendary feud with Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, with whom he had a career-defining match at Wrestlemania III.
Savage was a solid in-ring performer, who knew how to really tell a story through what he did in the ring. Where he shone, however, was cutting promotional spots and hyping himself. The Macho Man was one of the largest personalities in the history of wrestling, and will be remembered as one of the men who helped catapult the sports entertainment business to the billion-dollar industry it's become today. Also, the constant presence of his valet, Miss Elizabeth, seemed to humanize him, and remind everyone that, no matter how brutish the Macho Man could be, he was still able to be tamed by her quiet, demure beauty.
Randy 'Macho Man' Savage was so pervasive in pop culture that he was still doing advertisements for Slim Jim beef snacks years after his initial run in the wrestling business ended. Last year, WWE released a DVD collection of Savage's best moments, called The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection, and he returned to the ring in videogame form, appearing as a legend in THQ's WWE All-Stars, released only a couple of months ago.
In the wrestling business, when one of their own dies, those who would pay their respects gather at an empty ring while 10 bells are rung, as a tribute to the fallen. Today, we ring 10 bells for the immortal Randy 'Macho Man' Savage, who transformed the sports entertainment business, who survived the brutality and turmoil of the wrestling business, and who was a pop culture icon right up until the day he passed.