It’s been nine years to the day since the passing of “Macho Man” Randy Savage and ESPN caught up with Lanny Poffo to commemorate the wrestling legend’s memory.
ESPN Senior Writer Sam Borden spoke with Lanny about his brother Randy and the column starts off with the story of “The Genius” suggesting to Savage about listening to Pampero Firpo to help find his wrestling voice.
Wrestling is the ultimate copycat business, so Lanny suggests that his brother think of a wrestler named Pampero Firpo, whom the boys used to see on TV when they were teenagers living in Hawaii for a year with their dad. Firpo had a sort of croaky, gruff, ethnically ambiguous voice, and he used to end commercials by shouting, “You are watching … the No. 1 station in Hawaii!” The ads ran all day.
Lanny tells his brother to imagine Firpo’s voice — the way it dragged like a bag of rocks — and make it his own. A few seconds pass, and suddenly Lanny’s brother pipes up.
“You … are watching,” he says, his volume starting at a whisper and rising roughly, like the words are straining to get out of his throat, “the No. 1 station in HAWAII, OH YEEEAAHH! OOOOHHHH YEAH!!!”
“You know something?” Lanny says to me now, “and this is the absolute truth: After that, I never heard my brother’s regular voice again.”
Another moment in the column has Lanny recalling the last time he got to hang out with his brother which happened to be the day before he passed away.
On May 19, 2011, Lanny goes to Randy’s house to hang out and have a few beers. Randy asks Lanny to bring Miller Lite, then berates Lanny — lovingly, as brothers do, but also in full Macho Man style — when Lanny shows up with MGD. The brothers sit and talk and laugh.
As Lanny leaves, Randy walks with him out to the car and admires how Lanny seems to move without much of a limp or shuffle. “I’ve got to hand it to you — you really SURVIVED THIS BUSINESS!” he growls at his brother.
Lanny stops. “So did you,” he says, and Randy shakes his head. He grimaces.
“No, I didn’t,” he says. “I’m in pain all the time.” The brothers say good night.
The next morning — nine years ago today — Randy has a heart attack while driving near his Florida home and crashes into a tree. He dies at a local hospital. He is 58. The autopsy reveals that he had an enlarged heart with severe blocking of his coronary arteries.
In sum, the story of Randy Poffo’s life is very nearly one and the same with the story of the Macho Man’s. That is what everyone says about Savage — that unlike most other wrestlers, he never turned off. What Lanny said about Randy’s voice vanishing for good? It wasn’t hyperbole. Even years later, when Savage would talk to Lanny’s young daughter, it was, “Hello, BIGGUN! How ya DOING?”
Borden’s piece covers plenty of Savage’s life and also has some quotes from Ted DiBiase as well.