The day-to-day goings-on in pro wrestling (or whatever it's called these days) might not be of much interest to the mainstream news outlets, but when Randy Savage tragically died in a car crash after suffering a heart attack today, it was big, big news everywhere.
Most of the people who control the media not only knew of the "Macho Man," they were probably closet wrestling fans during the height of his popularity. I learned of Savage's death on ESPN radio while driving back to the office after lunch, and quickly turned to WFAN, where the discussion was in full swing. Checking the Internet upon my return to the office, Savage's death was the lead story on cnn.com. Even as I'm writing this blog, I was interrupted by reporters from Newsday and Sports Illustrated looking for my take on Savage's career.
Kostya Kennedy of SI (who did some freelance work for us way back when) asked me what it was about Savage that made him stand out as a wrestler. I really didn't know how to answer that. Was it his talent? I guess that's the first thing that gets any wrestler noticed. But there was something about the man that reached out and touched the audience. Whether they wanted to love him or wanted to hate him, they always wanted him. I supposed that's the best explanation of that cliched "It Factor" that has become part of our vernacular.
Randy Savage was a superstar, a term that we at PWI don't throw around loosely. He wasn't always the nicest of men. In fact, he very nearly got violent with our own Bill Apter over a cover headline on PWI. He later called and apologized, blaming his behavior on "the demons" inside his head.
If anything good can come from his tragic death, hopefully those demons died right along with him.