Wrestler 'Macho Man' Randy Savage dies in Fla. wreck - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Wrestler 'Macho Man' Randy Savage dies in Fla. wreck

Posted: Updated:

SEMINOLE, Fla. (AP) - Randy "Macho Man" Savage, the professional wrestler known for his raspy voice, the sunglasses and bandanas he wore in the ring and the young woman named Miss Elizabeth who often accompanied him, died in a car crash Friday in Florida. He was 58.

A Florida Highway Patrol crash report said the former wrestler — whose legal name was Randy Mario Poffo — was driving a Jeep Wrangler when he lost control in Pinellas County around 9:25 a.m. The Jeep veered over the raised concrete median divider, crossed over the eastbound lanes and collided head-on with a tree.

Police said he may have suffered a "medical event" before the accident, but the report did not elaborate, and it said officials would need to perform an autopsy to know for sure.

The report said a woman in the vehicle, identified as Barbara Poffo, suffered minor injuries. A statement from Stamford, Conn.-based World Wrestling Entertainment said the passenger was the wrestler's wife.

"Poffo will be greatly missed by WWE and his fans," the statement said.

Savage was a charismatic wrestler made famous for his "Macho Man" nickname and his "Oooh Yeah!" catchphrase. He was a champion in Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation, and later Ted Turner's now-defunct World Championship Wrestling.

Poffo was under contract with WWE from 1985 to 1993 and held both the WWE and Intercontinental Championships.

"Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife Lynn," WWE said.

Savage defined the larger-than-life personalities of the 1980s World Wrestling Federation (now WWE). He wore sequined robes bejeweled with "Macho Man" on the back, rainbow-colored cowboy hats and oversized sunglasses, part of a unique look that helped build the WWF into a mainstream phenomenon.

For most of his career, his valet, Miss Elizabeth, was by his side. Elizabeth Hulette was his real-life wife. They later divorced, and Hulette died in 2003 at 42 in what was later ruled a prescription drug overdose. She was among many performers in the sport to die young.

Others include Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig, who died of a cocaine overdose in 2003 at 44, and Chris Benoit, who killed his wife and son and then committed suicide in their Georgia home in 2007. Benoit was 40.

The WWF made Savage their champion after a win over Ted DiBiase in the main event at WrestleMania in 1988.

Savage had not appeared for a major wrestling organization since 2004, when he performed for Total Nonstop Action.

He was at times both the most popular and most hated wrestler in entertainment. His flying elbow off the top rope was mimicked by basement and backyard wrestlers everywhere. Savage made good use of his deep, raspy voice as a corporate pitchman as well, for years ordering Slim Jim fans to "Snap into it!"

He's most known for his legendary rivalries with Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair. Wrestlers took to Twitter to let fans know Savage won't be forgotten.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hailed Savage as one of his childhood inspirations and heroes, while Mick "Cactus Jack" Foley called Savage "one of my favorite performers."

Hogan said he and Savage had just started talking again after 10 years.

"He had so much life in his eyes & in his spirit, I just pray that he's happy and in a better place and we miss him," Hogan wrote.

While so many personalities who left the WWF for WCW like Hogan, Roddy Piper and Mean Gene Okerlund were welcomed back to the company and even inducted into the Hall of Fame, Savage never returned.

Savage was a minor league catcher in the 1970s for St. Louis and Cincinnati before turning in the uniform for tights. His father, Angelo Poffo, was a longtime wrestler, and his brother, "Leaping" Lanny Poffo, was also a 1980s WWF mainstay. Condolences from fans poured in to Lanny Poffo's Facebook page on Friday.

___

AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Ultimate Pigskin Picks

    Ultimate Pigskin Picks

    CBS 8 invite you to play along with other San Diego football fans each week and pick the winners!  See how you do against News 8's Sports Director, Kyle Kraska and win weekly prizes!

     

    CBS 8 invite you to play along with other San Diego football fans each week and pick the winners!  See how you do against News 8's Sports Director, Kyle Kraska and win weekly prizes!

     
  • USA Gymnastics chief operating officer Ron Galimore resigns

    USA Gymnastics chief operating officer Ron Galimore resigns

    Friday, November 16 2018 1:43 PM EST2018-11-16 18:43:13 GMT
    Saturday, November 17 2018 2:55 PM EST2018-11-17 19:55:08 GMT
    Longtime USA Gymnastics chief operating officer resigns in latest high-profile departure. 
    Longtime USA Gymnastics chief operating officer resigns in latest high-profile departure. 
  • Orioles hire Mike Elias from Astros as executive VP, GM

    Orioles hire Mike Elias from Astros as executive VP, GM

    Friday, November 16 2018 2:20 PM EST2018-11-16 19:20:35 GMT
    Saturday, November 17 2018 11:55 AM EST2018-11-17 16:55:14 GMT
    Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias has been hired to rebuild the Baltimore Orioles, who traded many of their star players last season before finishing with the worst record in the majors. 
    Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias has been hired to rebuild the Baltimore Orioles, who traded many of their star players last season before finishing with the worst record in the majors. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.