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As you can tell from the title of my post, I am already breaking down any social, economic, or political barriers between the United States and France. Knowledge has been exchanged at an alarming rate, between myself and the everyday Frenchman/women. Be weary, World. Pete Livingston might just bring you all together.
France is a wonderful city. Every stereotype you’ve read, heard, or seen in movies and television is true. There is B.O., a lot of cigarette smoking (more than America), and an abundance of crazy drivers and park jobs. Cafes are, almost literrally, every other building. Tiny tabletops and chairs are packed along sidewalks while people lounge about, drinking coffee and espresso while eating their lunch. Chocolate shops are frequent, as are boulangeries (bread/pastry shops). According to our cab driver, and from what we’ve read, there isn’t a huge difference in the Cafes of France. You just sort of pick one and do your thing.
I didn’t really know what to expect in France, but so far it seems very San Franciscan. It is a lot of new mixed with old. If you’ve ever been down by the water, in San Francisco, then you know what I’m talking about. Renovated flats, old buildings transformed into restaurants, that kinda deal. There are a lot of one way streets and parking is at a premium. It is probably just as chaotic to navigate the streets of France as it is San Francisco, but there are similarities to simply things. There are main streets that run the length of France, think Market and Geary, and if you can get to those streets then you’ll be ok in finding your location and destination. The Seine River also acts as a central “street”, as it seems to split the city in half, and can be used as an obvious landmark. Like any other big city, there is a shit-ton of random construction going on everywhere and bits of graffiti, flyers, and the occasional beggar/gypsy.
I strangely feel at home, here. I don’t necessarily mean that I would want to live here, but I feel comfortable in Paris. Its not a scary place, it doesn’t feel dangerous, etc. Paris is not entirely off the charts different than any other big city I’ve been to. I don’t mean that in a bad way, or mean to disenchant “The City of Love”, I just mean to say that France is very nice and isn’t in your face, or over the top (so far). I have not felt culture shock, necessarily, outside of getting used to the Euro. As long as you make feeble attempts to speak French, people think you’re pretty cool. They, in turn, will try to speak english with you. Feel free to laugh at them. Or don’t, because that is kinda rude.
I have already scaled the Eiffel tower. It was a very cool experience. Seeing the Eiffel tower, for me, was not the shining moment of my life. I was never one of those people who had “see the Eiffel Tower” on my bucket list but I had to see it. It is a wonderful structure. No, my heart did not melt upon my eyes first gaze, and I didn’t go weak in the knees, but I did think, “Damn. That is one hell of an impressive tower.” I recommend climbing the stairs for the first two tiers rather than take an elevator to the very top for a couple of reasons:
1. You have a chance to read a lot of great information about Mr. Eiffel
2. you get a chance to see the foundation of the Eiffel Tower as you climb 600+ stairs over the course of two tiers.
3. Nice litte workout.
4. The line to climb stairs is a lot shorter than waiting for an elevator.
The views are nothing short of spectacular. The crowded tiers are definitely short of spectacular. Its all fun in the end, I guess. You just go with the flow and enjoy where you can. If you’re in Paris, by all means, go to the Eiffel Tower. Its cheap, its worldly, and you get to be around a lot of B.O. So don’t pass that up.
Between the first and second tier, we came across an information board that (for whatever reason) was covered in graffiti! People signed, drew pictures, whatever. So I took the liberty to give our blog a little love:
We stayed late and walked back to our hotel, but before stopping for dinner. Dinner was pretty good. Dinner is expensive in Paris, I’ll say this much. I had chicken over rice with some mushroom sauce. The rice was plain, but the mushroom sauce was great. Chicken, pretty good. You have to combine everything to get the best flavor; that is what I discovered. Chelsea got a nice whole fish. We got a little table wine, which was tasty, paid our bill and bounced.
We went to sleep, for we were tired, and jet lagged, and American, and jet lagged, and tired.
As a former World of Warcraft player, I can say, without a doubt, Realm of the Mad God is the perfect fix for anybody who wants the epic feel of a paid subscription service MMORPG for literally none of the cost. I repeat, “None of the cost“. In the MMORPG world that is subscription services, guilds, level/item/reputation grinding, and hundreds (that’s right, I said hundreds) of hours of logged game time, its pretty rare to find something that you can pick up and play on your terms, for free, and get the same gratification in a flat, 8-bit world as you would in the three-dimensional world of eye-candy that is WoW and other MMORPG counterparts.
Let us break down “Realm of the Mad God”, shall we?
Hmmm…where to start…how about: “Getting started”?
That sounds good to me. We can dive into gameplay and specifics a few paragraphs later, but until then get your pen and paper ready; this might take a while.
First, you must have the internet connected to your computer. Second, you must have your computer turned on–not off. Third, you must log on to the internet.
Fourth, go to www.realmofthemadgod.com and press “PLAY”.
Thats it. Really.
You are now officially logged into a world with countless other 8-bit warriors, ready to quest, raid dungeons, and take down bosses! Create an account, if you wish. It isn’t necessary to play, but I would still recommend doing so. If not, your characters are saved onto your computer as “cookies”and can therefore be deleted far more easily if you feel like scrubbing your computer, catch a virus, whatever. With an account, characters are saved to the account and can be accessed from any computer, at any time.
You get all that down? Good. Pens down, please.
You start out in Realm of the Mad God as a level 1 Wizard “noobie” navigating your way through a tutorial dungeon, ala “Demon Souls”, learning the basic game functions such as:
- moving your character (A-S-D-W move you left, down, right, and up)
- your health and magic bar (red is health, blue is magic)
- attacking (Left click! Duhhhh…)
- World chat (Hit enter to bring up the typing bar)
- and using your unique class abilities (Spacebar!).
You learn other never before seen abilities such as:
- how to loot items from dead enemies
- adding items to your 8-slot bag
- blasting through cracked walls
- and other basic fundamentals that make up ROTMG!!!
The beautiful thing about basic fundamental actions? They are literally the only actions players will ever need!
There is not an abundance of spell bars, action bars, timers, and maps taking up your screen. Players have a map, four gear slots (class weapon, class item, ring slot, and class armor), your bag slots (eight total), statistics (Attack, dexterity, etc), and below that an empty space reserved for party members.
Each number in your item bag correlates to the numbers on a player’s keyboard. If you have a “health pot” in slot 1, simply hit the number 1 to use it. Or, if you are busy running and gunning, you can hold “shift” and click whichever item you would like to use. Pretty simple, right?
Once you clear the tutorial dungeon, you find yourself in the “NEXUS”. In the Nexus, one can purchase upgrades to characters, such as 8-bit pets, alternative colors, special items, etc. In the center of the Nexus is the server room. Each server holds a maximum of 86 players. Enter a server and begin your quest!
Sound simple? It is! Everything about this game screams “SIMPLE”! From the graphics, to the layout, to the limited actions–this game is about as simplified as shredded wheat! And once players enter their realm of choice they’ll be thanking their hind end for Realm of the Mad God’s simplicity!
From the moment players leave the Nexus and enter their server, they are immediately bombarded with low level enemies. This is where players see the difference between ROTMG and your regular everyday MMORPG–the gameplay speed. This is a game of running and gunning. Players “shoot” attacks at enemies while dodging enemy’s attacks in return– think “Robotron”, “Geometry Wars”, “Smash TV”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please use this invention called “Google”. That will help.
Quests are automatically assigned to players as they level up–the higher the level the tougher the quests. All quests revolve around defeating a “Boss” enemy. Their location is revealed to players, on their map, and on screen with a tiny red arrow encompassing a portrait of the “boss”, pointing you in the right direction. Defeat “Boss” characters to gain quick EXP and move on to the next quest. The lower leveled bosses can be defeated alone, but as you rise in power, so do your foes! This is where an 8-bit warrior must find friends! Good thing they are everywhere!
The greatest aspect of ROTMG is that once a player enters a server everybody is on the same team. There is no “ganking” (players killing other players), no horde vs alliance, no camping, just everybody working towards one goal–defeating Oryx “The Mad God”. If players are within the vicinity of one another they are automatically placed into a party. And unlike other MMORPG’s, the EXP points that people gain within a party are not divided amongst everyone, but given in whole! So if there are ten people in a party, and they kill a boss worth 50 EXP, everybody receives 50 EXP! The point of the game is to have everybody work together towards a common goal and help one another in the process.
When players first start questing, they find themselves on the outskirts of the map, in one of the sandy beach regions. The weakest enemies are located by the beach and as quests become more difficult, players venture further and further towards the center of the map. Speaking of the map…the map is arguably your most important tool. When a journey begins, the map is a giant black square. As players explore the island, more of the map is revealed. The beauty of Realm of the Mad God’s map is that every single person is represented by a green dot. This way, players can see where all of the action is taking place. If you were to run your cursor over a green dot, the characters name, class, and level pop up. Thats all very cool, right?
BUT THATS NOT ALL.
If you were to “click” on a players dot, the game gives you the option to teleport to them! If you see a gaggle of dots heading for a quest boss, but are too far away to catch up for the kill, simply choose a dot, click the dot, choose teleport and…BAM! There you are! This simple but effective function makes it easier to get around the map– but be careful! If a character is too weak for an area, death is all but guaranteed. So be careful where you teleport. It is a useful tool, but must be used in moderation. Teleport to the wrong area of the map and you can say goodbye to all that hard work leveling up!
Since I just brought up death, we should cover my next topic: Death.
In Realm of the Mad God, death is not an option. I mean, characters can die, but in doing so means the deletion of said character. Thats right; once a character dies in Realm of the Mad God, he is gone. Forever. Like, never coming back. Ever. Any loot accumulated, any cool gear earned, whatever had been collected will be gone. So while the gameplay of ROTMG is fast and furious, recklessness will get you nowhere. Believe me, I know.
After you die, a screen pops up displaying your lifetime statistics with that character. After their statistics are tallied up, players gain “Fame points” based on their performance. The more dungeons players raid, the more enemies players kill, and the accuracy of attacks can earn more fame points. Use these fame points to buy stuff for characters in the Nexus.
Levels & Classes
The level cap is 20, in Realm of the Mad God. No, its not very high compared to WoW’s 70-80 lvl system, but it is a difficult task to complete! As I said before, you can’t simply dive head first into battle against a Cube God at level 1. A single hit will destroy you! You have to take the time to slowly work your way towards the center of the map, gaining gear, experience, and meeting friends along the way. If you don’t, attaining 20 will never happen. And if you fail to attain level 20, then that means you can’t experience any new…CLASSES!
As of right now there are 13 different classes to choose from. Meeting certain lvl requirements unlocks new classes:
- TIER 1: Wizrad (Your starting class)
- TIER 2: Priest (acquired with by reaching lvl 5 with your wizard), Archer (Lvl 5 Priest), Rogue (lvl 5 Archer), Warrior (lvl 5 Rogue)
- TIER 2.5: Knight (lvl 20 Warrior)
- TIER 3: Necromancer (lvl 20 Wizard & Priest), Paladin (lvl 20 Priest & Warrior), Assassin (lvl 20 Wizard & Rogue), Huntress (lvl 20 Rogue & Archer)
- TIER 4: Mystic (lvl 20 Huntress & Necromancer), Trickster (lvl 20 Assassin & Paladin), Sorcerer (lvl 20 Necromancer & Assassin)
Thats a lot of leveling! And if players don’t take the necessary precautions while playing it’ll take forever!
The versatility of the classes allow players to discover what class is right for them. If a person likes speed, go with a Rogue. If a person likes to blow crap up, go with a Wizard. If people want to be a tank, go Warrior. Just because a class is lower on my tier list doesn’t mean they are any less effective than the classes in the higher tiers. I simply arranged them by availability, or in what order people tend to unlock them. All classes are effective and all classes are mained. I think the tier system is in place to add replay value to the game; adding that achievement factor we have grown to love, over the years. Obtaining the maximum level in multiple classes is the carrot at the end of the stick to keep players coming back for more.
Speaking of achievements! There are five achievements that can be obtained within each class. They are shown as five little stars in the class selection screen, underneath each character portrait. Obtaining stars raises player’s personal account “Star” rating. The more stars a player has, the bigger their rep. The first star is easy: “Gain 20 fame with your _____”. But, after that, the hill monumentally steepens–120 fame for the second star. After the second star, I haven’t a clue what the requirements for a third star are. I’ve never made it past the 20 fame achievement. I’m still new to the game. Shut up.
With the 13 available classes and five achievement stars per character, players can end up with a total of…lets do some math!
13 characters x 5 stars = 65 stars!
I apologize for neglecting to show my work. 65 total reputation stars is the final answer.
(See, you’re learning, too)
In all seriousness, Realm of the Mad God is a phenomenal game. Its smart, cute, humorous, challenging, but its not overly time consuming. You can log on, immediately join a group of 85 other people, and grind out a few levels before bed. Maybe even take down Oryx himself? You should definitely give Realm of the Mad God a shot. Its as easy to pick up as it is addicting to play. But remember, easy to learn is not easy to master. This game will challenge your patience, your quick wit, and those run and gun skills. So be careful; one false step at level 19 and….poof. I’ll see you in the nexus.
Well, I’ve been keeping this on the DL for the past few months, but I finally decided to let my dedicated readers (all two of you) know that I am currently shooting an untitled documentary about the history of arcades and the influence of “Street Fighter” on competitive gaming.
Let me tell you something about creating a film: This is some scary shit.
The entire process is difficult: approaching subjects about your project while trying not to sound bat-shit insane, trying to raise money for travel and equipment, finding the time to film, actually committing to a project, getting people to believe in a vision that they might not understand…its all scary as, excuse my French, fuck.
Trying to organize everything, in order to create a unique story experience, is as difficult as it is daunting. I have written a general outline of how I would like my documentary to go, but there are so many elements out of my control that I can only take a deep breath, keep my batteries full, and pray for good footage.
We’ve done two sit down interviews, so far, and captured some nice footage at Starbase Arcade, in San Rafael, CA.
Currently, we will be following Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez and Abraham “Neo” Sotelo. This should be one heck of a year. Busy as hell, but a lot of fun, also.
I’ve met some really cool people and I’m excited to see where this project goes. I guess I’ll be dropping updates, here on Los Livingston Brothers, in regards to the progress of the documentary.
Here are a few screenshots of the documentary thus far!
More to come! Evo is just around the corner.
Photo courtesy of the awesome guys over at “Where’s Randy Savage?”
For the longest time, people equated Randy Savage with Slim Jims.
Not saying there wasn’t anything wrong with that. It’s obvious that because of those commercials, it turned Savage into more of a recognized face all over the United States. Even being arguably the 2nd biggest name in the WWF during the 80′s behind Hulk Hogan isn’t enough some times. But for fans who grew up during the biggest pro wrestling boom in the country, Savage represented a rarity in the sport: He was as immensely entertaining outside of the ring as he was in it.
Randy Poffo died this past Friday after a car crash in Seminole, Florida, 20 minutes from where I spent two years with the Dunedin Blue Jays. He was 58 years old and was one of the greatest professional wrestlers ever, and arguably the greatest all-around performer in the history of the WWF.
It didn’t hurt that he was a world class athlete: He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school to play catcher, but a combination of breaks not going his way, injuries and the looming presence at the Major League level of some guy named Johnny Bench left Savage to leave baseball after four seasons, and he moved on to professional wrestling, getting his full-time start in 1975 (he had previously done part-time work with his dad during baseball offseasons). Being a second-generation wrestler after his father Angelo Poffo, Savage was given his ring name by Ole Anderson because he didn’t think the last name “Poffo” sounded like a tough guy.
So after a few years of Savage developing and not getting the pushes that his dad thought he deserved, him and his brother (“Leaping” Lanny Poffo, also dubbed “The Genius”) soon made their way to Memphis in 1984, catching on with Jerry Lawler’s CWA promotion. Savage immediately made a local name for himself with an infamous angle that saw him piledrive perennial fan favorite Ricky Morton through a ringside table (something that would become almost commonplace years later), and from there, he was inserted into a program with Memphis legend Jerry “The King” Lawler after turning on him, as well. His work in Memphis led to a memorable “Loser Leaves Town” match, one that was subsequently rated as a Top 15 match during the recent Death Valley Driver Video Review Memphis 80′s project.
His work with Lawler made him appealing to Vince McMahon, whose WWF had just had their first WrestleMania and were looking to expand their talent base. Although he wasn’t a big name on the territorial scene coming in, Savage was booked as a wanted client for many managers before making a choice that would define the rest of his career. Savage chose the then-unknown Miss Elizabeth to be his manager, and from there, his ascension to stardom began. Playing an egotistical maniac with jealousy issues stemming from anyone who looked at Elizabeth (something that would permeate their personal relationship together, as well), Savage quickly shot up through the ranks and defeated Tito Santana in a nefarious manner in February 1986 to win the WWF Intercontinental Title. He would then hold the belt for over a year, feuding with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, George “The Animal” Steele and, most famously, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.
After crushing Steamboat’s larynx with a ring bell shot from the top rope as he was laid across the guardrail at ringside, Savage put in a huge amount of preparation for what became known as WrestleMania’s greatest match at the time: The WrestleMania III match that saw Savage and Steamboat put on a clinic for the packed Pontiac Silverdome crowd in Detroit. After some help from Steele, Steamboat rolled up Savage on a bodyslam attempt to end the match in a triumphant manner with good defeating evil. Notably, the match was so great that Hulk Hogan was extremely mad that the two of them had that type of match just before his much-anticipated showdown with Andre The Giant (although if anything, it just kept the crowd rabid for the main event). As a sidenote, the match, as great as it was, ultimately led to the demise of Steamboat in the WWF. Hogan, still mad about being upstaged, used political pull to get his friend The Honky Tonk Man booked to beat Steamboat for the WWF title, leading Steamboat to head back to the NWA and have the feud of his career with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
For Savage, it meant that he had to start up his rise again, but his match against Steamboat opened up the possibilities of an incredible future, and with that, he actually started gaining some fans. He eventually became the #2 babyface in the WWF, feuding with Honky Tonk Man to try and win back his IC title. After The Hart Foundation jumped him after an IC title challenge, Elizabeth pleaded with Hogan to come out and save Savage in one of the more memorable angles in the history of WWF’s Saturday Night’s Main Event. Hogan ran out, helped destroy the Foundation and Honky, and formed “The MegaPowers” with Savage, a duo that would run roughshod over the rest of the WWF heels for the duration of 1987 and into 1988.
From there, Savage would have the pinnacle of his career at WrestleMania IV during a tournament for the vacant WWF Championship. After Hogan and Andre went out early, Savage fought through three hard matches on his way to a final with Ted DiBiase, who was wrongly given the title after Andre gave it to him. In another memorable match, Savage dropped the elbow for his first title, rejuvenating a fan base that had seen Hogan as champion for much of the past four years and might have been getting burned out. Savage would have an awesome summer feud with DiBiase that ended up seeing the two pair off with their respective tag team partners in Hogan and Andre. This would carry the WWF through the majority of 1988.
At the 1989 Royal Rumble, Hogan would accidentally knock Savage out of the match, building tension between the superteam. Hogan had also enlisted Elizabeth’s service as a manager, pushing Savage over the edge with jealous, culminating in their battle at WrestleMania V, where Savage gave Hogan his best match in the WWF, although Hogan won out in the end. Savage’s 1 year, 6 day title reign would be the longest the WWF would see for almost two decades. After Savage teamed with Zeus (“Tiny” Lister, most notably from the “Friday” movies) against Hogan and his crony Brutus “The Barber” Beefacke, he went on to adopt the moniker of the “Macho King” after beating “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan for the “King of the Ring” title.
This led to Savage taking a downturn from his spot at the top for a while, only getting his shot at the top after The Ultimate Warrior won the title at WrestleMania VI in 1990. Savage got in Warrior’s face numerous times and wanted his shot at the title after the 1991 Royal Rumble, but after Warrior didn’t grant him his shot, he viciously attacked him and left him for dead before his match with Sgt. Slaughter, who had then become an Iraqi sympathizer. That shot led to yet another famous Savage WrestleMania moment, as after a couple of months of bickering back and forth with the Warrior, Savage put his career on the line in a match with the Warrior at WrestleMania VII. Much like his match with Hogan at WrestleMania V, Savage was widely considered to have worked a miracle with Warrior in their match, and after three epic tackles, took the fall and went off into the sunset.
But it was after the match that turned him back into one of the biggest faces the company had ever seen. After drifting away from Elizabeth after becoming “The Macho King” and taking on “Sensational” Sherri Martel as his manager, Savage came face to face with Elizabeth in the ring after Sherri attacked him. After Elizabeth pulled Sherri off of him, the two embraced in one of the most loving moment seen in a wrestling ring. Soon after, Savage proposed to Elizabeth during his time as a color commentator, and at SummerSlam at that year, they were famously married in of the cooler moments in WWF history.
Even though the two had made their “Match Made in Heaven,” old foe Jake Roberts stood lurking in the shadows, taunting both Savage and Elizabeth and trying to lure Savage out of retirement with the help of The Undertaker. Because of this, Savage kept going to WWF management to try and get reinstated, but to no avail. Soon after, in one of the most memorable angles in WWF history, Roberts viciously attacked Savage on an episode of WWF Superstars, and instead of pulling out his trusted python Damien to assist him in the humiliation, Roberts produced a friggin cobra out of his bag, which bit Savage in the arm deeply (although it was devenomized). With this despicable act, Savage soon would be reinstated by WWF President Jack Tunney and Savage would continue to feud with Roberts. Roberts even went so far as to slap Elizabeth after she begged for Roberts to stop the beatdown on Savage after their match at that year’s special pay-per-view “Tuesday in Texas.”
Savage would go on to take down Roberts in 1992, but he would once again have to fight off someone that had his eye on Elizabeth. This time, it was “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, who had won the belt at the Royal Rumble that year and talked about an earlier tryst between himself and Elizabeth. After producing doctored photos to enrage Savage, the two went on to have yet another awesome Savage WrestleMania match at WrestleMania VIII at the Hoosier Dome. Savage had his knee destroyed by Flair, but found enough presence of mind to roll him to win his second WWF title.
Savage would then go on to hold the title for a few months before the Ultimate Warrior was named as the #1 contender for the title, leading to a heated match at the first ever international SummerSlam in London. Savage would be attacked by Flair and Mr. Perfect during the match, leading to him losing the match by countout. He wouldn’t lose the title, but a few weeks later, he lost it to Flair after interference from Razor Ramon. This was supposed to lead to Savage and Warrior teaming up to face Flair and Ramon, but Warrior was fired before the feud got going, and Savage enlisted Perfect’s help as a way of getting back at Flair for holding him down. Their match together ended in a disqualification. Once Monday Night RAW started in January of 1993, Savage went back to his role as a color commentator, sometimes leaving his post to wrestle, primarily against Yokozuna and in Royal Rumbles. He would have a feud against Crush in 1994 that led to their WrestleMania X match in a famous Falls Count Anywhere match.
After Savage was unhappy with him not being used that much, he would then go on to WCW after a huge rush of talent switched over once Hogan moved in 1994. He would continue in his role as that #2 face, actually winning the WCW title four times and feuding with the likes of Flair, Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page and others. He would also join the nWo with Hogan in 1997, but his WCW time was not nearly as good as his WWF time. He eventually left WCW for good in 1999, returning in a cameo appearance in 2000 in a battle royal for one final chance at a WCW title shot. After that, he made a two-shot appearance for Total Nonstop Action in 2004, but left after he was unhappy with his standing.
Once Savage left professional wrestling, there was a long while where many didn’t exactly know what he was up to. Miss Elizabeth had died due to an overdose earlier in the decade at the age of 43, bringing up memories of their times together back in the WWF. Savage would marry a woman known as his high school sweetheart, Lynn Payne, in 2009. Lynn would be in the car with him two years later when their car crashed in Largo.
When Savage died, I got a text message from my friend Cole Garner asking me to rattle off my Top 5 all-around performers in WWF history. Savage immediately sprang to the top of the list, which coincided with notable DVDVR message board poster Dylan Waco asking if Savage was indeed the best all-around performer in WWF history. While guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and others are noted for all-around ability, nobody quite had that combination of impressive physical abilities and incredible talking skills that made Savage who he was. He had one of the most graceful and devastating finishers of all time, he was equally as great as either a face or a heel, and he could command the crowd with a wave of his finger.
I’ll remember most what Savage did towards the end of his WWF career, as I was a bit young when he was neck-and-neck with Hogan to be at the top of the WWF. His program with the Ultimate Warrior and his feud with Jake Roberts were some of the more notable memories of mine, and I still remember that glaring red “X” on Superstars when he got bit by the cobra. Later on, I would look back on Savage’s career in other ways. He was a damn good color commentator (his riffs on Hogan and Warrior were great, as was his adoration for Hart and Perfect in their great King of the Ring 1993 match, where Savage was so impressed that he actually got in the ring and hugged Bret after his victory) and he took his job as seriously as anyone else, with his extensive attention to detail allowing him to shine like few others did.
He had an incredible run in the 80′s, and as far as pro wrestling superstars go, the only people who could be considered bigger than him in the United States were Hogan, Flair and Lawler, with him being better than Dusty Rhodes in the ring, but a sliver behind him on the mike outside of it. His style was incredible, and his use of “Pomp and Circumstance,” much like Flair’s use of “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” became synonymous with his entrances. He was intense, gifted, hard-working and driven to succeed more than probably anyone else of his time. He knew what his gifts were and did everything he could to bring them out in himself, and because of it, he amplified each program he was a part of.
Probably the sourest part of the story was that since the inception of the WWF/E Hall of Fame, Savage was never inducted, supposedly stemming from bad blood between himself and Vince McMahon due to his departure from the WWF in 1994 and various other rumors (including him supposedly hitting on and/or hooking up with Vince’s daughter Stephanie, a rumor later found to be without merit), and now, with WrestleMania coming to Miami,Florida in 2012, there is probably no other place better than his home state to have his long overdue induction, even with The Rock being noted as the headliner and possibly overshadowing his accomplishments.
For me, I’ll remember Savage as one of the most gifted performers of a sport that I had followed ever since WrestleMania III, when I saw Hogan slam Andre and thought anything was possible. I watched Savage/Steamboat on that same VHS tape and didn’t remember it much at the time, but even with the numerous replays of Hogan slamming Andre, the fan in me appreciates the Savage/Steamboat match more and more each time I watch it: Two of the best wrestlers ever locking up in an epic feud-ender that had a crowd supposedly ready for Hogan go crazy for The Macho Man and The Dragon.
Before that match, he famously quipped that “History beckons The Macho Man, yeah!” Looking back on Savage’s own history, his career is something to be revered by myself and others. Another piece of proof that speaks to his greatness: In 2006, TNA wrestler Jay Lethal took on the moniker “Black Machismo” and did Savage’s mannerisms and voice to a T, even going so far as to take his elbow drop as his finish. When Savage was asked about it, he reportedly gave Lethal his blessing, having been flattered that someone went to those lengths to pay homage to his hero. Out of all the posthumous Savage remembrances, Lethal’s was the most poignant, writing a poem that touched on some of Savage’s most memorable catchphrases and revealing that Savage was his wrestling hero growing up.
While Lethal got to live out his worship of Savage, he was hardly the only one who loved him, and over the coming weeks and months, I will be happy to look at other people’s memories of the Macho Man, bringing back memories of my childhood and theirs. The professional wrestling community lost a true legend, and as his fans, we remember him as one of the best of all time.
Rest in Peace to the “Macho Man” Randy Savage, 1952-2011. We will miss you very much, but we will never forget you.