Joyland

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Interview Questions For Randy Savage

by Nathaniel G. Moore

edited by Emily Schultz

Hello Randy, Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Sorry I missed you. My name is Ricky Galore and I have a lot of issues, I mean questions, for you. To start off, I’ve seen you live a few times at wrestling shows: at Maple Leaf Gardens versus Ricky Steamboat with my sister and dad when you were Intercontinental champ in the summer of 1986; then at Wrestlemania VI in 1990, then again at Maple Leaf Gardens two more times; once against Razor Ramon; once against Shawn Michaels in the early 1990s. I think around 1992. I saved up money from my grocery store job to buy a ticket to Wrestlemania VI at Skydome, it was like $65 and I had the worst seats. You were no longer the main event, and wrestled somewhere in the middle of the card. I think eighth. Strange because the last three Manias you were The. Top. Dog. I ran into classmates from school near the concession stands and they asked who I was there with. I told them my cousin, which was a lie. I was alone! My classmates had gotten free tickets and were watching it from one of the skyboxes. They weren’t really wrestling fans and acted a bit snobby, like the only reason they were there was because they got free tickets. You lost to Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire in a mixed tag team match with your new manager Sensational Sherri. Two years later, when I was seventeen, my uncle bought me a video camera and it had these dubbing functions on it, so I could make video dubs and do voice-overs. I made one video with you crawling back to the ring at Summerslam 1992 in a match against the Ultimate Warrior, where Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair attacked you. The song I chose was "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran. You losing the match seemed to go with the thesis I was trying to prove, that the times had changed. The lyrics went, "I won’t cry for yesterday / there’s an ordinary world / somehow I have to find." I guess I was dealing with "our" collective place in the world: no longer relevant or worthy of attention, no matter how colorful our attire was. Sorry, but that’s how you made me feel. Your hyper colors were like, so desperate. Things were better a few years before. I identified with your best friend status with Hulk Hogan in 1987-1988. I had a best friend then too, an intense best friendship with Andrew. We were the Mega-Powers too, you know. When you and Hogan split in early 1989, Andrew and I bet two dollars on the outcome of your match at Wrestlemania V. I bet on you, and you lost. I still believed in you though. Andrew kept saying, "I told you." That summer you teamed with Zeus, who was this large muscular black guy and I started working at Dominion and was trained by a black teenager named Matthew. He said that he used to live across the street from me when I lived near Northern Secondary School for a couple of years in the late 1970s, and that I peed in front of him or something when I was like four or five but I didn’t remember it as vividly as he did. He used to hit me in the shoulder when we sorted the empty cola bottles in the back of Dominion, and he would tell me that he counted every shopping cart he ever pushed and had pushed like 12,500 carts and was going to retire when he got to 20,000. Around this time, the summer of 1989, Andrew and I still hung out, here and there, but I wasn’t invited up to his cottage, and he seemed to be more popular than I was from the previous year. So I’m skipping all over the place here in my first question to you because I’m a bit nervous. It’s crazy, I mean, you were such a huge part of my life from the first time I saw you in 1986 until like January 1993 when I watched you get tossed out of the ring by Yokozuna on the scrambled cable channel that was showing the Royal Rumble. So you can really pick apart the years that you affected me. And the parallels--I mean we both had best friends who were more popular than we were, who were blonde and well, we both know how those two separate relationships turned out. I mean, you wrote a whole rap album about how much you hate that guy didn’t you? I just found a DVD set of your whole entire career online! I think it’s a bootleg or something, because there is no Amazon or distribution link. It’s called The Best Of Randy Savage: The Macho Man's DVD Set. The set has very rare matches including your father's ICW promotion, plus Puerto Rico, Georgia, Memphis & New York. 21 DVDs For $200! This set spans nearly twenty years of your life. Reading the listing of some of the matches I was reminded of key moments in both our lives again and all the strange parallels, watching you and Tito Santana in a match on CHCH channel 11, the summer of 1986. Tito was winning, you were bleeding and my father was shouting from the backyard for me to clean up the garage. I couldn’t miss the match, I kept stalling, he kept yelling. You were wearing yellow tights, spackles of blood along the waistline. Then in the late fall of the same year you were defending the Intercontinental title against Ricky Steamboat and crushed his throat on the outside railing at ringside, then threw him in the ring and crushed his throat again, this time with the ring bell. I was taping highlights of this at the time and watched it in slow motion again and again to see if it was real. It looked real. I actually got a bit emotional watching this, it really took me back to my childhood--wrestling was so special back then and Randy Savage was definitely a reason for that! That was a Youtube viewer comment. I work for Shooting Star Wrestling; it’s an online video and interview site that chronicles the lives of former wrestlers. And you can buy them. What a coup it would be if we filmed this interview! I’d get a promotion for sure as you’re like the J.D. Salinger of pro wrestling. In 1986, I built a toy-wrestling ring with a fruit crate and some bungee cords. One afternoon my father got mad at me for something and stomped his foot through the centre of the ring! I had to rebuild the ring with thicker wood that I deemed "foot-proof". I made a purple cape for your action figure out of material my mom had in her sewing box. I’ve edited about forty wrestler interviews since I started working here. Mostly guys who were mid-carders for a while in the late 1980s or early 1990s. But since a lot of them had key matches with bigger stars, we can attract visitors because they talk about these types of matches with bigger stars, and people are interested. But you would be a dream interview because you haven’t made any public appearances or gone on the record since you released your rap album Be A Man. I feel like I’m drunk dialing you. Anyway, the first year I knew you, that Christmas I asked for a set of work out weights and I studied photos of you and your forearms, the way your muscles formed along your triceps and forearms and biceps, even your leg muscles. I figured somehow I could resemble you in one way or another, I even thought of buying a small swimsuit and getting the stars and "Macho Man" on the back like you had, but the only colors they seemed to have at the local Eaton’s was this bright baby blue, a color you never wore in the ring. Then in the fall of 1992, I made a “Macho Man” ring jacket out of an old denim jacket. It was for Halloween but at the last minute, after promising a classmate I’d wear it to school, I chickened out. I even spray painted a cowboy hat fluorescent orange. I had bought the hat in Cuba on a cruise with my grandparents in 1987. But sometimes I wore the jacket in my room and did strange promos challenging my high school antagonists to do battle. I would film it with a video camera my Uncle Carl bought me for Christmas in 1991. In late June 1988 I christened my classmate Juan Miranda the Juan Man Gang, after your opponent at the time One Man Gang. After weeks of build up, we had a cage match during the last week of school that consisted of us wrestling beside a linked fence and the first person to reach the top of the fence won. Macho Madness was at its peak. I lost when Juan’s friend, acting as his manager, held onto my leg preventing me from climbing the fence. After the match people said "That’s it?" I guess we could have thought of a way to make the match more interesting. About a month before, at an inter-school track meet, Juan had been throwing me around on the lawn when Andrew kicked the fence and told Juan to stop it. And Juan did. It was just like when Hulk Hogan saved your ass all the time. I’m jumping all over the place here! It’s all coming out in a gushing wave. That winter Andrew came over along with my other friend Eric. We made a tape, like a cassette sports show and we wrestled. I told Andrew I was Macho Man and Roddy Piper put together, and he started singing "put together as one, there are people dying..." imitating the song "We Are The World". I cracked up so hard. We took turns doing play-by-play as we wrestled. Andrew said, "Oh my God, Ricky’s juggling with a saw blade. They seem to be calling wrestlers in from all over the world to try and stop this. They say they’ll be here tomorrow morning?! What the heck, where are these people!" Years later, I used sound bites from this audio cassette for the friendship memorial VHS I made for Andrew in the fall of 1992 called "The Death of the Mega-Powers." On the same tape I made another montage with a George Harrison song, "All Those Years Ago" that had clips of me and Andrew playing hockey in our driveway and the Mega-Powers (you and Hulk) kicking ass in the ring. Also around this time, my dad started working at Andrew’s father’s funeral home, I think it sort of made Andrew think our family was desperate, or that we were beneath not only his family, but virtually every family in the community. My father became The Undertaker, grew pale and smelled of deadly chemicals. I wrote a lot of strange notes at this time as well, in your voice, issuing challenges and questioning loyalty to my friend. No one really understood what I was going on about. Andrew was avoiding me at all costs, started playing squash all the time with his new best friend Alex from California. I felt that Andrew and I had been friends for so long that the end of our friendship had to be some sort of blowout pay-per-view spectacular. But whenever I spoke to him, he would shake his head. He would shoot down every idea I had for us: going to a movie, playing road hockey, going shopping, going to the park on our bikes. As I said, at that time I turned my jean jacket into a Macho Man Randy Savage ring jacket. I added bright colours along the arms, wrote out "Macho Man" in glittery paint on the back, and from the arms added long streams of bright material (yellow, orange and pink). I was going to wear it to school for Halloween along with a cowboy hat I spray painted orange but chickened out at the last minute. I didn’t have a beard or sunglasses; mainly because I was afraid of being ridiculed. How did you feel wearing that stuff at the time? Did you ever wear it out in public? Outside of wrestling? It’s not very practical attire. Historical Fact: In February 1994 I was attending a family function with my father in Kingston. Present were my aunts and grandparents. At some stage of my father's inebriation, he began to tell the story about how my mother wanted to leave him. He carried on talking frankly about how he would tie her up in courts for years before she got the house. This was before we had even sat down to eat. That was a defining moment in my life. Had I done absolutely nothing I probably wouldn't have ever become the person I am today. Maybe that would be better for some people. Maybe everyone. But I still to this day think I did the right thing. Listening to my father go on was too much, I began to cry and went outside to sit in the car in subzero weather, I mean, I had to go somewhere and I couldn't just walk home, we were in Kingston. But what happened next shocked me the most: my father just came outside to check on me, like two minutes later. And so I lost it. I was smoking in the passengers seat, from his cigarettes which were in the car. He sat down beside me in the drivers seat, I got out, went around to his door and opened it, threw him on the ground in the snow and kicked him in the guts three times. I stomped on his back and went inside. A few minutes later my father returned and told his sister he had to lie down. I sat down next to my grandmother and she leaned in and said, "It's sometimes hard with family," not knowing the smackdown I had just let loose on her son. I stopped myself; I really feel that I was not so awful. I mean I didn't hit him in the face or nose or cheap shot him. I threw him on the ground and kicked him a couple of times. He had done the same to me dozens of times. But when we got home things quickly changed. I was being phased out of the federation. He told my sister and mother I just attacked him out of nowhere. I never understood why my father did that, or if I had not taken the trip with him how things would have turned out. But my father essentially murdered my entire career in about three or four minutes. After that the booking committee was no longer behind my character. So now in the beginning of 1996, that’s where I’m next on the journey of our entwined lives, um, I had been on medication for nearly eighteen months, and then lived in a one-room apartment beside my father’s apartment that was on top of a funeral home where he worked. There was a small staircase that connected our two places. The funeral home was not Andrew’s father’s company, though my father still worked there from time to time. My mother lived alone. My father was studying to become a funeral director and I helped him every once and a while deliver bodies to the morgue or pick up flowers for a service. I’d tune in to see you on Monday Nitro feuding with Ric Flair over the WCW world title, but my biggest memory from this period was definitely the pharmaceuticals that dominated my landscape. It was March 1996, a cold evening. My father had the night off or was on call, and I was joining him for a drink or something when I decided I would take all my Epivals. It was one of three pills I was on. So while he was on the couch in his living room, I lined them all up on his kitchen table. I had a tape recorder with me and was slurring as I did a running commentary of my actions. I just kept saying, "I’m going to do it," or "I’ve got to do it". The next thing I remember was being strapped to a table in the emergency room, a nurse telling me I threw up on her, and the taste of charcoal in my mouth. My mom picked me up from the hospital and I stayed with her for two days. This began the wilderness years. Ten years after first seeing you on television, there I lay, recovering from an overdose, the television screen off, the world stopped dead in its tracks. February 1986 - March 1996: a decade of watching your Technicolor peacock meltdown, your voice grinding away, colors bleeding out of you and that was it, 12-22, the complete seasons of my life, our life, our various haircuts, mine moving from Hitler (like my dad’s) to Elvis or George Michael, and your hair, with a dark dye tint, smothering the gray out with a glossy brush of chemicals. I know that was a lot of questions I just asked but maybe if you can phone me back and comment on them, that would be great.