Published on May 17th, 2015 | by Pro Wrestling Stories0
RANDY AND LIZ – The True Tragic Story Behind Wrestling’s Greatest Fairytale
Not every fairy tale is as it seems. This is the true story of the first couple of professional wrestling, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth.
“Elizabeth was different from any other woman in wrestling.
The crowd felt very protective of her. When [the heel] Savage would make an angry move towards Elizabeth, the fans wanted to jump over the barricade and stand in front of him. She won the people over. [Later] their sympathy for her allowed them to see Randy as human…”
“Away from the spotlight, the real Liz was very much like the character she played.
She was shy and quiet and her elegant grace was easy on the eyes. She and Randy were great together and had already been married for years before their live on pay-per-view wedding at Summerslam ‘91…”
“Every time you put Randy Savage in a ring with Hulk Hogan it changed the amount of revenue that was generated across the board, with Elizabeth as the extra piece of the puzzle to keep the door open.
Elizabeth didn’t necessarily have to sell the storyline, but just to have her as the third cog in the wheel…”
“Hogan will try to suck the blood from anyone to get himself over. Every time anyone did something good, you’d look over and there [Hogan’s] face was…”
GEORGE ‘THE ANIMAL’ STEELE:
“While Randy was always very professional, having Elizabeth there made things tough for him. I think it would have been tough for anyone. She was a beautiful young lady. They were married, and it was never easy having your wife with you on the road. Most of the guys I knew who tried it wound up divorced, and they were no exception. Professional wrestling was not exactly the set of The Waltons…”
“The backstage environment is like a zoo.
Hallways are set up as dressing rooms, you can see guys half undressed, totally undressed, going to the shower in a towel, or still in their underwear or their trunks.
Elizabeth was one of the only women at the time that was in the backstage area. And I gotta tell you, man, I’ve never met a group of males with a greater tendency toward adultery, promiscuity, and even sexual perversion.
Randy was just protective of the wife that he loved…”
LANNY POFFO (Randy’s Brother):
“There were people putting Halcion in people’s drinks. There were people using people’s suitcases as toilets. It was like National Lampoons Animal House! My brother was just a no-nonsense guy in a world full of nonsense…”
“I remember envying Randy for being able to bring his wife on the road all the time…but in hindsight, it seems to me anyway, that never being out of each other’s sight probably contributed to the demise of their fairy tale romance more than anything else…”
“Savage was a hot-tempered guy, and Elizabeth was a very shy person who wouldn’t do anything to upset him. She seemed totally devoted to him…”
GEORGE ‘THE ANIMAL’ STEELE:
“Honestly, Randy was the most jealous man I had ever met, and it created a real problem…
Every night it was something different. Randy’s jealousy was driving him crazy. There were times when he would lock her in the dressing room. Randy was always screaming at somebody…”
‘SENSATIONAL’ SHERRI MARTEL:
“Let me just say this…both of them were Scorpios and they were both over-protective of each other and very jealous…but I knew that they loved each other very much too.
And sometimes when you love someone so much, you don’t realize what you’re doing, even if you think it’s in their best interest…”
“I made more money working with Randy than anyone else because he was such a professional. And he was actually the same way out of the ring as he was in the ring, with the voice and the attitude. He lived Macho Man. He didn’t bring character – that WAS him.
Randy was my boy. To go through that whole business with him and be such great friends…then to have a falling out that lasted 10 years…”
“[Hogan and I have] never been friends.
Acquaintances at best…just a business-type thing on television.
I got nothing good to say about Hulk Hogan.
He’s a punk. You know what I mean?
Everyone knows it’s sports entertainment, entertaining wrestling fans. But sometimes what goes on behind the scenes is stronger than the soap opera on the video scope…and that’s what happened with me and Hulk Hogan…”
“Sadly in his later years, Randy got wacky and crazy and bipolar. He accused me of everything.
When his wife left him; when he got divorced and when he lost his job…he blamed me for it all…”
“Elizabeth and I were having problems.
It happens that at the time Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan’s wife [Linda] were very, very, very best friends. And they were running around together. I didn’t think it was healthy for our relationship. I would call home and Elizabeth wouldn’t be there…”
“I wasn’t really finished growing up. I was reacting a little and acting out…maybe against Randy and not having a clear focus and idea of what I wanted as well…”
“Randy was very protective of her and did not allow a line leading to over-friendly contact [with other talent].
And, believe me, the lines Randy drew never had slack in them. He knew full-well too many talent in the business had no scruples so he never subjected his beloved to the chance.
Let there be no mistake – wound up as the ‘Macho’ element of Randy’s life was, when it came to his marriage he was disciplined and controlled, had class and respected it traditionally…”
“I was getting ready to shoot a movie called Mr. Nanny.
I said to Liz: ‘Linda and the kids are all going down to Miami…and you know, we got a couple of different rooms all put together for the kids…’
I thought maybe Liz could come down to help Linda…”
“I was on the road. I would have [phone] conversations with Hogan and he would give me swerves and curves – but never say that Liz was there. She was either out with his wife Linda or hiding out at their house…”
“Hogan and his wife and [Vince] McMahon planted ideas in her head that she was missing out on some magnificent untamed life adventure…”
“Liz came down to Miami and the next thing I know – no disrespect intended, brother – but the big rib was all the room service guys would say, ‘We don’t know what room to take Liz’s room service to because she changes rooms so much…’“
“When I would call home there was no answer.
Four days went by and Liz called me and told me to get a lawyer because she wanted a divorce.
In desperation, I flew to Miami…”
“I was in the shower – because I was going to work at from six at night ‘til six in the morning filming – and he was in the room standing over Linda going, ‘Ooh yeah, where’s Liz…’
I come out of the shower and go, (puts his hands up) ‘Brother, she’s around back. I can show you the room she’s in…’
Twenty minutes before then, she had been sitting out at the pool…with her boyfriend.
And I was hot about it, man, because I just…I didn’t know what to do – I saw them leave the pool to go back to her room and I swear to you, as soon as I got to my room, that’s when Macho showed up…”
MATT BOURNE (a.k.a, Doink):
“Elizabeth was seeing this small time producer…who happened to be a friend of Hogan’s…”
“…So I took Randy and got the manager of the hotel, ran them around the back…I didn’t know if the boyfriend was still in there or if he split. All I know is when the manager [unlocked] the door Macho pushed it open: (adopts Macho Man voice) ‘WHAT’S UP, LIZZZ..?’
The door closed and I ran, brother. I ran back to my hotel room. About twenty minutes later there must’ve been forty police cars there…”
“Elizabeth was hiding in the back room when Savage went to see Hogan and he found out about it. Hogan showed his true colors – that’s why he got the black eye [that he had at WrestleMania IX]. Randy Savage gave it to him.
I’d bet my left nut and my son’s life on it. Hogan was supposed to be Savage’s friend and he threw him under a bus…”
“The honesty and friendship wasn’t there and possibly it was never was. I was fooled…”
“I spent a lot of time with Randy during the time of their separation and ultimately their divorce. Most of it in the hallways and locker rooms of coliseums; we were on the road, working our program together. Randy is meticulously tough but it really tested his spirit…”
“When Randy and I divorced there was a period of three or four years where I did maintain a normal life in Miami. I had a real job, but it was difficult…”
“[Savage] said that I was the one who started it, that I was the one who got him divorced. He blamed it all on me.
I was just trying to be cool. I was just inviting her down to hang out with Linda and the kids…I didn’t know she was gonna run wild on him. After that, bro’ – he snapped, you know? There was no fixing it…”
“Hogan disrespected me and my family – but through the media, you know? Instead of…let’s say, YOU have a problem with ME, you call me to the side, man-to-man; we talk about it, we agree to disagree, we have a fight, we have an adult beverage – whatever. Man to man. That’s not the way he does it.
‘Cos he’s a wuss.
You understand what I’m saying? He goes on the airwaves and he disrespects me – he gives me a shout over the radio, he gives me a shout over the TV, he gives me a shout over the internet here and there – but nothing FACE TO FACE – you got it?
If Hogan didn’t like what I said over the airwaves and wanted to [fight] in front of the WWF, in any arena nearby or in a garage of his choice – that would be cool for the Macho Man Randy Savage…
Liz thought she had a best friend with Hulk Hogan’s wife. Can you believe the fact that they don’t even talk now? So what kind of friends do you think they were? It’s almost like they got the job done…broke us up, did whatever they had to do. They’re not even friends now…”
“When I met up with Liz again later in WCW, she was a bit different, She wasn’t the same Liz. She was single. Her and Randy had got the divorce…”
“Later on in the WCW, Randy brought her in to use as an angle, and to get closure to everything… Randy’s all business and he doesn’t let his personal life get in the way of his business life. He knew that there’s a lot of fans that were really interested in seeing Elizabeth again, and he was right, they were.
I was in WCW famously on the payroll but not working, so I decided to take my suitcase there and see if they could use me at all, and that’s where I saw the lovely Miss Elizabeth in the dressing room. She said hello to me and we talked for about five minutes and that was the last time I saw her…”
“For as much as we complain, all of us – about the traveling, the schedules and the planes and all of that – there is something sort of special about [the wrestling business] that is hard to let go. I suppose it’s in my blood.
I didn’t realize it until actually I got a call and somebody said, ‘What do you think about coming back to work?’
I was so excited. I never thought I would come back to it. Because of my personal relationship with Randy, I didn’t want to be involved if it would make him uncomfortable. Now we have a good relationship and he has a very sweet girlfriend and we all get on very well.
When I first started in the business I was treated like royalty in the world wrestling federation…standing in the background and listening and not pushing myself into the forefront of whatever was happening, I gained a lot of knowledge. That was probably what connected me to Lex [Luger] because we both go along and do what we are supposed to do. That’s what has made us connect and bond and find mutual respect for each other…”
“Lex and I rode together for years. Then, Liz came into the picture, and it was all three of us. We were inseparable- Liz even set me up with my wife. And when you were with the two of them, you could see that they were very close, very tight. They were friends, lovers, and business partners…”
“I’ve changed a lot in my lifetime. I was worried about my wife then …it’s very hard to let go. But you’ve got to…”
“I was living a lifestyle back then that [involved] a lot of drugs, alcohol…in my book I call it ‘a life of folly’.
There was a lot of collateral damage from that to my family, my friends and those closest to me, including Elizabeth.
I take a lot of responsibility for what happened.
People say, ‘Well Lex, you didn’t make her drink or shove pills down her throat…’
But I was a very big influence on her life at the time. I was doing that stuff, and she wanted to do what I did, so…if you want to talk about regrets…”
“I found out about it on the internet. I looked at it and said, ‘Oh my God, Elizabeth died…'”
“I saw her about five years before. We both said hello to each other. We had closure. We buried the hatchet, we moved on with our lives. That was the last time I saw her…”
“Probably three or four months before Randy passed, we ran into each other at a doctor’s office.
I was on my seventh or eighth back surgery, and I couldn’t pass an EKG because I was getting just jammed up with anesthesia every three or four months. My new wife Jennifer and I were sitting on those little seats in the doctor’s office in Tampa and all of a sudden the door opens and in comes Randy.
‘Yeeeah! Ooooh yeah! What’s up?’
I went, [Gasps]. Freaked me out, scared me to death.
And he goes, ‘Hey, brother. What’s up, Hogan?’ He had that gleam in his eye and looked really healthy. He gained his weight back and he had a wedding ring on. I said, ‘Hey, Mach, what’s up with the ring?’
He said, ‘Hey, just married my childhood sweetheart…’
We talked on the phone a couple of times after that. I invited him over to have a barbecue, and we really got back on track, which was cool.
Later, I was with Lanny, his brother, at an independent wrestling show. He told me their mom wasn’t doing so well with [Randy’s father] Angelo passing away. So we had planned on having a barbecue at her house — because I got along well with Randy’s mom — and try to cheer her up. So, Lanny and I called Randy from the arena.
Three days later, he had the heart attack.
It’s hard. That’s the tough one. Out of all the guys who have passed away, that’s the tough one for me. Because he was a great person…”
“Would I ever write a memoir? No…Because I know so much about so many people that I would never want to say anything that someone might take the wrong way.
These are the people I’ve had a lot of fun with and I’ve been through a lot of their pain. I’ve been married and divorced and it’s not easy. I just wouldn’t want to invade anybody’s life like that by sharing secrets…”
SOURCES: thebiglead.com, WWF Radio, IWRInteractive.com, cyinterview.com, finalvisionfilms; ultimatewarrior.com, ‘Animal’: George Steele’s autobiography, PWTorch, brethart.com, wolfpacktV, Inside The Ropes radio, WGD Weekly, misselizabeth.com, Interactive Wrestling Radio, WWE.com
Quotes used in this article originally compiled by Matt Pender and shared here with thanks to our friends over at ‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page