New E-book Reveals the Shocking Lifetime of Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage

Jon Finkel has been a pro wrestling fan since his childhood in the mid-eighties, during a golden time when Hulkamania was running wild, “Big” John Studd was cleaning house, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage was earning a reputation as one of the most skilful and charismatic grapplers on the scene.

As a published author, Finkel has written about “sports entertainment” before, but his first fully fledged wrestler biography was a passion project that deserved a worthy subject. In his book, Macho Man: The Untamed, Unbelievable Life of Randy Savage, the author explains why he was drawn to the mastery of the Macho Man, and shares some of the facts that he uncovered in order to whet our appetites for the book before its official release date of April 2, 2024.

“I try to write books on people who are one-offs,” Jon Finkel tells M&F. “I’m fascinated with people who accomplish rare feats that nobody else has done, or who have unique stories that standout amongst even the greats in their field. Macho Man fits that bill. The transformation that Randy Poffo the baseball player made to get to Randy Savage the wrestler, and then Macho Man the icon drew me to the story.”

John Finkel

‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage was an All-Round Athlete and Entertainer

Indeed, Randy Savage is one of those rare pro wrestlers that becomes larger than the industry itself. Before “The Rock” and John Cena were dominating Tinsel Town, this man had already been there and done that. Perhaps one of his most high-profile outings on the big screen was as “Bonesaw McGraw” in Spider-Man (2002). Savage was also part of the WWF (now WWE) Superstars band in the early ’90s, enjoying international music chart success with “Slam Jam” and “WrestleMania,” and he went from Slam Jam to Slim Jim when he landed the mother of all endorsement deals. He was also known for his consistently great physique inside of the squared circle.

“The most incredible thing about Randy Savage’s physique is that he originally spent a decade transforming himself into the perfect baseball player,” says Finkel. “When he was in the Minor Leagues for the Reds in his early 20s, he was 6’1″ and weighed a lean 185 pounds. He had a ripped core and sinewy arms and forearms – perfect for pulling baseballs and throwing people out from home to first (he was a catcher).

He adds that “when [Savage] he took up wrestling, he embarked on an insane weight gain program from old school mid-70s bodybuilding masters like Arnold. It was all about steak, eggs and protein shakes. Train heavy, repeat. That was his life. Few people know that in the late 70s, Macho Man even competed in a few bodybuilding shows. He took 5th in a Mr. Kentucky competition and placed top 10 in several others. He even did a posedown with Lou Ferrigno. Imagine that: Macho Man and “The Incredible Hulk on the same stage!”

The author says that the wrestler was schooled in nutrition thanks to his dad. “Macho Man’s father, Angelo Poffo, was also a wrestler and so he got his sons, Randy and Lanny (who also wrestled as ‘The Genius), into nutrition very early,” shares Finkel. “They were one of the first families in their neighborhood to have a juicer and they made fruit smoothies all the time. Randy lived on the road for most of his wrestling career, so he’d pound protein shakes and order double chicken sandwiches at fast food restaurants and toss the bread if he wanted to lower his carb intake. Fast, easy protein was the name of the game.”

For Randy Savage, There was Method Behind the Macho

“Randy was the most intense wrestler and pre-match planner in the entire WWF” says Finkel. “Rather than call the moves in the ring like most wrestlers, he wanted to come up with an entire gameplan before each match, with whoever he faced. This was a rarity at the time. Most guys would talk for 2-3 minutes before a match. Randy wanted to run through as much as he could, almost like a pre-match strategy session.”

It’s difficult to argue with Macho’s methods, since his classic confrontation with Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III (1987) remains as one of the greatest bouts of all-time. But, while he was lauded by both his fans and peers for his work between the ropes, observers also wanted to know what was going on in Savage’s personal life between the sheets. It is true that Savage married (and later divorced) his valet “Miss Elizabeth.”

It was also true that his relationship with Hulk Hogan was as fractious on screen as it was off. “Early in the WWF, they were rivals and then best pals whose wives hung out together, who lifted together and had BBQs together all the time. Then they didn’t speak. Then they were tight for a while before drifting away again. It was the ultimate on-again, off-again friendship in terms of being best pals and then not speaking.”

As a former two-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Savage left WWF for WCW in 1994 when it became clear that the companies’ then owner, Vince McMahon felt that he didn’t fit in with the youth movement of his “New Generation” era stars. Macho proved his doubters wrong however, and won the WCW World Heavyweight title on 3 occasions. He last wrestled on television for NWA: Total nstop Action (now known as TNA) in 2004 .

Macho Man Randy Savage in his iconic costumeJohn Finkel

Randy Savage Found ‘Serenity’ Before He Was Taken Way Too Soon

Sadly, Savage’s life came to a tragic end in 2011 when he had a heart attack and crashed his Jeep into a tree in Seminole, Florida. He was only 58. “In the early years of his retirement, I’d say Randy was searching for an outlet,” says Finkel. “He was doing some voiceover work for movies and cartoons and he famously played ‘Bonesaw McGraw’ in Spider-Man, and then he tried his infamous rap album , but nothing seemed to stick, even though he gave each project 100%—which was the only way he knew how to operate. Eventually, it seems he was able to come to peace with how his career ended and his legacy. In fact, I titled the last chapter in the book ‘Serenity’ because he was on the road to finally relaxing. He got remarried, he reconciled with Hogan. He was doing some work with the WWE. On Savage’s last night, before he passed, he was having a few beers with his brother Lanny and was in a great mood.”

Finkel’s book details Savage’s incredible rise and inevitable lows and will make for essential reading for pop culture fans. “Regardless of who his opponent was, Randy would study what their strengths were and then play to them. He was that meticulous because, as he’d say; ‘body does it better than the Macho Man Randy Savage! Ooh Yeah!’”

You can pre-order here and join Jon Finkel’s Books & Biceps newsletter  for updates, giveaways, behind-the-book videos, and more.

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