Hall of Famer

Bobby Heenan -

Bobby Heenan -

Revered as one of the most iconic figures in professional wrestling history, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan is considered by many to be the greatest manager in the history of the sport.. Known for his quick wit, impeccable timing, and unparalleled ability to entertain, Heenan carved out a legendary career as both a manager and a color commentator. His managerial skills shone brightest when he led numerous wrestlers to championship glory, earning him the moniker “The Brain” for his strategic genius. Transitioning seamlessly to broadcasting, Heenan’s razor-sharp humor and insightful commentary became a staple of wrestling television, endearing him to millions of fans worldwide. 

Real NameRaymond Louis Heenan
Stats: 6′ 0″, 224 lbs.
BornNovember 1, 1944


Early Life

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, born Raymond Louis Heenan on November 1, 1944, had an early life that set the stage for his future success in professional wrestling. Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Heenan’s childhood was marked by modest means and the challenges of urban life. 

From a young age, Heenan showed an interest in professional wrestling, a passion ignited by watching wrestling matches on television and attending live events. This early exposure to the sport deeply influenced his aspirations and dreams. The charismatic personalities and the theatricality of wrestling captivated him and left a lasting impression.


Heenan’s journey into wrestling began in the 1960s when he started as a wrestler and later transitioned into managing, a role in which he truly excelled. His early life experiences and his innate understanding of the psychology of entertainment helped propel him to become one of the most memorable and influential figures in professional wrestling history.

He entered the wrestling business in his early teens, selling refreshments at live events and assisting wrestlers by carrying their jackets and bags. He made his professional debut in Dick the Bruiser’s Indianapolis territory in 1961 at the age of just 17. A natural in the ring who never received formal training, Heenan initially competed as a wrestler and manager under the moniker “Pretty Boy” Bobby Heenan.

At the start of his career, Heenan faced challenges being taken seriously inside the ring due to his lack of physical intimidation, despite his technical prowess. However, after honing his technique in the W.W.A and Central States promotions, the talented Heenan transformed himself into a crafty, tough, and often cowardly wrestler. 

Following a disagreement with Afflis over payments, Heenan left the W.W.A for Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association (AWA), a move that proved highly advantageous for his career. During his tenure as a manager in the AWA, Heenan, who eventually adopted “The Brain” moniker, was paired with some of the AWA’s top rule-breakers. In addition to his valued protégé, Nick Bockwinkel, Heenan lent his wit, humor, and interview skills (as well as frequent outside interference) to villains like The Blackjacks, Ray “The Crippler” Stevens, “Superstar” Billy Graham, Angelo Poffo, Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd, The Valiant Brothers, Bobby Duncum, Ken Patera, Baron Von Raschke, and many more. Conversely, Heenan’s underhanded tactics placed him in conflict with the AWA’s most popular “good guys,” including heroes like The Bruiser, The Crusher, Billy Robinson, Pepper Gomez, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, and, of course, Verne Gagne. In fact, “The Weasel” shed considerable blood defending his men and their championships.

In 1975, Heenan guided his main protégé, Nick Bockwinkel, to his first AWA World title victory over the long-standing champion Verne Gagne, resulting in a reign for Heenan and Bockwinkel that lasted over five years. “The Brain” also supported “Tricky” Nick when he reclaimed the title in 1980. Moreover, Heenan managed three tag teams (Bockwinkel & Stevens, Lanza & Duncum, and Patterson & Stevens) to six AWA World Tag Team championships, with his iconic team of Bockwinkel & Stevens holding the AWA belts for an impressive total of 27 months.

Heenan’s dominance persisted when he left his long-established base in the AWA and transitioned to the NWA, specifically TBS’s Georgia Championship Wrestling, in 1980. Upon his arrival, AWA protege Blackjack Lanza followed suit and swiftly secured the Georgia TV (forerunner to the WCW World TV) title. Concurrently, The Masked Superstar and “Killer” Karl Kox, new members of the NWA’s Heenan Family, both clinched the esteemed Georgia Heavyweight title under Heenan’s guidance. His rivalries with Wahoo McDaniel, Tommy Rich, and former AWA adversary The Crusher took center stage in the promotion during his time in Georgia.

Heenan later departed the NWA and returned to the AWA. His intentions were clear: he aimed to torment anyone obstructing the Heenan Family, particularly AWA icons like Verne Gagne, “Mad Dog” Vachon, and Rick Martel. For around two years, he accomplished just that, guiding Bockwinkel to a series of tainted victories before departing his AWA home base once more in pursuit of new opportunities within the rapidly growing World Wrestling Federation. Upon joining the WWF, Heenan quickly rose to prominence as the top manager, overseeing leading WWF superstars like “Big” John Studd, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, “King” Harley Race, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Andre the GiantMr. Perfect, The Islanders, Hercules, The Brainbusters, and countless other WWF villains in their clashes with Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and additional WWF fan favorites. In addition to managing his wrestlers to WWF Intercontinental and World Tag Team titles, Heenan achieved multiple WWF World Heavyweight championships through proteges Andre the Giant and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

Heenan’s career highlight as a manager came in 1987 when he began managing the legendary Andre the Giant. Andre, a genial babyface throughout the years, took umbrage with Hogan, overshadowing his achievement of being undefeated over the last 15 years. He was scheduled to confront Hogan on an episode of Roffy Piper’s “Piper’s Pit” television segment. When André came out, he was accompanied by Bobby Heenan, who accused Hogan of befriending Andre only so as not to meet him for a title match. While Hogan appeared shocked by Andre’s allegation, Andre doubled down by challenging Hogan for his World Heavyweight Championship belt at WrestleMania III. When Hogan further expressed disbelief, Heenanreveled in satisfaction when Andre ripped off Hogan’s shirt and crucifix. After the buildup to one of the biggest matches in wrestling history (and certainly one of the most viewed and best attended) Heenan saw his meal ticket defeated when Hogan bodyslammed the Giant and pinned him. Heenan and Andre left the ring in disgraced, with Heenan appearing overwhelmed as they were driven away as Hogan played to the crowd.

Bobby Heenan - Andre the Giant -

Heenan with Andre the Giant

Over the following decade, Heenan thrived in the WWF, where “The Brain” became not only the leading manager but also the premier color commentator, or as he called himself, a “broadcast journalist.” His remarkable partnership with Gorilla Monsoon on the USA Network’s Prime Time Wrestling show was notable and highly entertaining. Simultaneously, the WWF’s “King of the One-Liners” became a mainstream celebrity due to his regular appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and The Arsenio Hall Show. Heenan played a significant role in numerous top WWF storylines and was one of Vince McMahon’s most devoted employees off-camera. However, in 1994, a new challenge awaited “The Brain” in his former Atlanta-based NWA territory, now known as WCW. As an announcer, Heenan reached millions of weekly viewers on the highly-rated WCW Monday Nitro, Thunder programs, and pay-per-view broadcasts. However, except for a single WCW pay-per-view appearance as Ric Flair’s mentor, Heenan focused solely on his “broadcast journalist” responsibilities during his six-year tenure in WCW, avoiding any managerial roles.

Bobby Heenan - wrestlingbiographies.comAfter half a decade of commentating WCW’s network and pay-per-view events, it became apparent that Heenan’s performance quality was deteriorating. This included his almost revealing Hulk Hogan’s heel turn as a member of the New World Order at the 1996 Bash at the Beach pay-per-view event. He would later admit that he was disenchanted by WCW’s politics and uninspired by its on-screen content. In January 2000, WCW decided to remove Heenan from his Monday Nitro position and the company’s pay-per-view events. He continued to deliver color commentary for TBS’ Thunder program until July 2000, when he was replaced by former wrestler Stevie Ray. Four months later, the decision was made to relieve Heenan from his duties on the syndicated WCW Worldwide series, effectively concluding his six-year affiliation with World Championship Wrestling.

After parting ways with WCW in 2000, Heenan occasionally appeared in WWE and had brief tenures in TNA, Ring of Honor, and W.O.W. He also authored two successful books: Bobby The Brain: Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All in 2002 and Chair Shots and Other Obstacles: Winning Life’s Wrestling Matches in 2004. However, in January 2002, Heenan stunned the wrestling community by publicly revealing his throat cancer diagnosis. He underwent treatment, and although the cancer went into remission by 2004, he had to endure reconstructive jaw surgery, which temporarily left him unable to speak. His health challenges persisted, and between 2010 and 2016, Heenan experienced several falls that led to a broken hip, shoulder, and pelvis.

Awards & Honors

In 2004, Bobby Heenan received the Cauliflower Alley Club’s “Iron” Mike Mazurki Award. He is also an inductee into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (1996), the WWE Hall of Fame (2004), the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (2006), and the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame (2010).


Ray “Bobby” Heenan passed away on September 17, 2017, at the age of 72, due to organ failure caused by throat cancer. This illness significantly affected his voice, a tool central to his success as one of the greatest managers and commentators in wrestling history. 

Heenan was honored with a special video package on “Monday Night Raw,” highlighting his legendary career and memorable moments. WWE also posted a tribute on their website and social media platforms. He was further lauded by wrestlers and other members of the wrestling community and fans worldwide.


Bobby, “The Brain” Heenan’s professional wrestling legacy is profound and multifaceted, cementing him as one of the industry’s most iconic figures. Renowned for his exceptional wit, charismatic persona, and unparalleled skills on the microphone, Heenan redefined the role of a wrestling manager and commentator. His ability to blend humor, intelligence, and a keen understanding of in-ring psychology made him a beloved and influential character as a heel manager and color commentator. He managed some of the biggest names in wrestling, leading them to championship glory and becoming an integral part of their storylines. As a commentator, his insightful and often humorous observations added significant entertainment to wrestling broadcasts, endearing him to fans worldwide. Heenan’s influence transcends his on-screen roles, inspiring generations of wrestlers, managers, and commentators with his innovative character development and storytelling approach. Even after his passing, “The Brain” continues to be celebrated for his contributions to the art of wrestling entertainment, remembered fondly by fans and peers alike as a true legend of the sport.


  1. Wikipedia: “Bobby Heenan.” –

  2. Editors. “The Heartbreaking Demise and Death of Legendary WWE Manager Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan.” –

  3. “Bobby Heenan.” –

  4. “NBA Basketball Legends, Current Superstars, Team Breakdowns.” –

  5. YouTube. “Sportscasting.” –

Frequently Asked Questions

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, born Raymond Louis Heenan, was a legendary figure in professional wrestling, known for his roles as a manager, color commentator, and occasional wrestler. He is celebrated for his quick wit, humor, and intelligence, which earned him the nickname “The Brain.”

Heenan began his career in the wrestling world in the early 1960s. He initially started as a wrestler but gained immense popularity and acclaim as a manager, where he showcased his strategic mind and charismatic persona, leading numerous wrestlers to success.

Heenan’s unique blend of humor, intelligence, and an innate understanding of wrestling psychology set him apart. His ability to play the role of a heel manager to perfection, along with his exceptional skills on the microphone, made him one of the most entertaining and beloved personalities in wrestling history.

Throughout his career, Heenan managed several high-profile wrestlers and was instrumental in their successes. As a color commentator, his insights, humor, and chemistry with fellow commentators added a significant layer of entertainment to wrestling broadcasts. Heenan is also remembered for his involvement in classic wrestling storylines and feuds.

Bobby Heenan’s legacy in professional wrestling is marked by his contributions to the entertainment aspect of the sport. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers and color commentators in wrestling history. His influence extends beyond his on-screen roles, having inspired future generations of wrestlers, managers, and commentators with his innovative approach to character development and storytelling in the wrestling world.

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Antonino Rocca -

Antonino “Argentina” Rocca stands as a paramount figure within the annals of professional wrestling, heralding an era of innovation and spearheading the domain of “high-flying” grapplers. Beyond his groundbreaking wrestling technique, Rocca emerges as an unrivaled box office draw, securing his position as the preeminent attraction of his time. At the pinnacle of his celebrity, “Argentina” Rocca transcends the confines of wrestling to become a universally recognizable sporting icon. Antonino, also acknowledged as Antonio, plays a pivotal role in the surge of wrestling’s popularity spurred by the advent of television, standing as a quintessential figure of the “Golden Age,” inspiring generations of wrestlers.

Real Name: Antonino Biasetton
Stats: 6′ 0″, 224 lbs.
Born: April 13, 1921


Early Life

Born Antonino Biasetton on April 13, 1921, in Treviso, Veneto, Italy, Rocca found himself living in the midst of a post-World War I village in recovery. Years later, his family moved to Rosario, a city in the province of Santa zFe in Argentina. As a young man, he was considered very talented in both soccer and rugby and starred in rugby for Rosario University before graduating in 1949 with a degree in electrical engineering.


He was purportedly trained by the great Polish legend Stanislaus Zbyszko, and because of his athletic prowess, he eventually came to the attention of Karl Nowina, a promoter in Buenos Aires, debuting in 1942. in 1945, nimble, agile, and acrobatic, he came under the eye of wrestler Kola Kwariani who once wrestled against Jim Londos in front of more than 80,000 fans in Greece. While Kwariani would become his booking agent years later, it was Nick Ellitch, a Yugoslavian-born wrestler popular in the 1930s and 1940s, who coaxed Rocca to journey to the United States. He arrived in 1948 under the moniker “Argentina” Rocca and began working in Galveston, Texas, and on August 6, 1948, in Houston, Texas he defeated Dizzy Davis for the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship. He held the belt for six months and then recaptured it later that year. His regional title put him on the map, and the young wrestler was soon taking on some of the top men in the business, including Kwariani, Angelo Savoldi, and the great Lou Thesz, whom he wrestled several times for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
By now, Kwariani was booking him throughout the Texas area, but the word of his showmanship put him in the focus of Joseph “Toots” Month, the powerful Northeastern promoter who was looking to pack the fabled Madison Square Garden. Mondt became his exclusive promoter but did loan him out to other promoters on occasion. The exposure to performing in New York City caused him to become a national sensation.
Rocca was unlike any performer before him, at least nationally. He demonstrated incredible high-flying maneuvers, from flying dropkicks to victory rolls to a version of the modern-day hurricanrana. Crowds were dazzled and packed auditoriums to see him.
While contemporaries often cast Rocca as a marquee attraction but an average wrestler, he defied the mold. Not just an exhilarating entertainer for his era, Rocca illuminated the prospect that a wrestler can infuse humor while commanding respect. The wrestling world was dominated at the time by brawling tough men or technical wrestlers specializing in submission holds. Rocca, instead, was an aerial specialist, wrestling only in his bare feet. “I was poor,” he once said. “I didn’t have enough money to buy shoes. I wrestled barefoot. By being barefoot, I get a better grip on an opponent and have better balance.” A signature spectacle involved him slapping an opponent’s visage, using bare feet to administer a humiliating flurry instead of hands. Beyond entertainment, this maneuver and his exceptional dropkick epitomized his extraordinary balance and coordination. He also originated the Argentine Backbreaker (similar to a modern-day torture rack). Additionally, Rocca expertly entangled adversaries in “pretzel holds,” eliciting delight from his legions of fans.
Mondt introduced him to Vince McMahon, Sr., who ran the Northeaster territory his Capitol Wrestling Corporation. While arenas in major cities like Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia were major stages for Capitol’s performers, Madison Square Garden was indeed the Mecca of venues. Rocca, with roots in both Italy and Argentina, appealed greatly to the ethnic population in the New York/New Jersey area. “I am their hero,” he once said of the city’s Spanish-speaking population. “Poor people identify with me,” Rocca said. “I wrestle, and I beat a bad, bad man, and they are glad.” He was presented as a blue-collar hero, pitted against heelish opponents such as Buddy Rogers, Gene Stanlee, Dr. Jerry Graham, and Dick the Bruiser. The latter two opponents were so villainous that in a tag-team matchup on November 19th, 1957, Rocca caused the Bruiser to submit while in the Argentina Backbreaker hold. As Rocca and his tag team partner began celebrating in front of the largely Puerto Rican crowd, Graham punched him in the face, causing him to bleed. An infuriated Rocca grabbed the larger man and began bashing his head against the ring post, opening up a cut on Graham’s forehead that turned him into a bloody mess.
Hundreds of fans rushed the ring, and Graham and the Bruiser had to legitimately fight for their lives. Eventually, seeing the dangerous nature of the situation, Rocca and Carpentier had to fend off many of the fans to protect their opponents.  With the crowd having tasted blood, more than 60 members of the New York City police department had to wade into the melee. Finally, Rocca had to get on the public address system and plead for calm before Graham and the Bruiser could be led to safety. The fans lifted Rocca onto their shoulders and carried him through his adoring fans.

Rocca Being Carried by Fans at Madison Square Garden.

So frightening was the riot that had taken place that the four participating wrestlers had to appear at a hearing in front of the New York Athletic Commission, where they were fined $2,600. It was estimated that more than 500 fans had been involved, and the four were suspended until the fine had been paid. In the aftermath, there were calls to ban professional wrestling in the state of New York, but instead, it was decided that children under the age of 14 would be banned from attending matches, a ban which lasted for 20 years.

Antonino Rocca, Eduoard Carpentier, Dick the Bruiser and Jerry Graham Attend the 1957 the New York State Athletic Commission Hearing.

 Notwithstanding his prominence and tenure at its zenith, Rocca gained only a few championships during his career. More than this being an indictment of his capability to carry the title belt, it was more of an indication that his popularity and drawing power were not dependent on a belt. Nonetheless, he carried the belt for several promotions, including the old American Wrestling Association (Ohio) World Heavyweight Championship in 1953 and the Montreal World Heavyweight Champion in 1954. Furthermore, he held belts with his frequent tag team partner, Miguel Perez, including the Capital Sports’ version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship in 1957 and the World Wrestling Council North American Tag Team Championship on September 11, 1976.
His partnership with Perez made for a lucrative run within in the New York market. Perez was Puerto Rican and helped to draw from the strong ethnic fan base that Rocca had already tapped into. From 1957 to 1960, the tandem headlined Madison Square Garden 28 times, battling the likes of The Grahams, the Fabulous Kangaroos, the  Tolos Brothers, and Johnny Valentine and The Sheik.


As a show stopper everywhere he went, Rocca was in high demand from promoters, fans, and other wrestlers. From his earliest days, where he worked in main events with Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne, he would match up against the biggest names in the sport over the years, including Johnny Valentin, “Classy” Freddie Blassie, Jerry Graham, Dick the Bruiser, Buddy Rogers, Karl Gotch, Gorilla Monsoon and  Killer Kowalski.


In late 1959 or early 1 960, promoter Jack Pfefer brought in Kwariani and Rocca to help him run the Madison Square Garden wrestling booking office as McMahon was pushed aside. They met with great early success as Rooca drew a Garden-record 21,950 fans for a singles match against a wrestler named “The Amazing Zuma.” Subsequent matches also drew well, but eventually, business soured as Rocca began to show his age.
McMahon fought his way back in and took control of the MSG wrestling office. He decided to go in a different direction as he featured showman Buddy Rogers as his champion and brought in Pittsburgh strongman Bruno Sammartino as his new ethnic drawing card. Relegated to third in the pecking order, Rocca left Capitol Wrestling and branched out, booking himself in territories through his company, “the World Booking Agency,” and ran a competing promotion based at the Sunnyside Arena in Queens, New York, and supported by Jim Crockett. 
While he succeeded in this endeavor (including booking some acts at the 1964 World’s Fair), Rocca suffered financial losses due to bad investments. Lou Thesz recalled in his autobiography “Hooker” that “The picture crystallized when I unearthed Rocca’s deal with the New York cabal (Vincent J. McMahon, Toots Mondt, and Kola Kwariani), which secured Rocca a 25% stake. Given that the enterprise’s finances pivot primarily on Rocca’s bookings, his partners claim 75% of his earnings.” He was forced to take on some side jobs (often working as a security guard). He still tried to wrestle in the Ohio and upstate New York territories but saw his career wind down until he decided to retire in 1969. But like most wrestlers, he couldn’t stay away from the ring, wrestling in California in June 1972 and a reunion tag team match alongside Miguel Perez in Puerto Rico in October 1976. His final foray in the sport came when he rejoined Capitol Wrestling (now known as the World-Wide Wrestling Federation), working as an announcer for McMahon’s television shows.

Personal Life

Antonino was married twice, the second time to Joyce. He had three children: Natella, Eric, and Antonino Jr.
His popularity extended beyond his work in the ring. He was very active with local charities and was noted for visiting sick children in local New York hospitals. He participated in community events, supported local businesses, and gave speeches to youth groups. His popularity extended beyond New York, however, as he appeared on national tv shows and even appeared on the cover of the August 1962 edition of the Superman comic book, where he through the Man of Steel out of the ring in a charity exhibition match.
At one point, Rocca had his legs insured for $250,000 and earned $100,000 a year for a while. He carried himself as a star and was an impeccable dresser. He often slept more than 12 hours a day and, occasionally, for as much as 30 straight hours before a match. He bragged that he would live to be 100. “And why not,” he once said: “Next to good blood circulation, the secret of life is rest. I expect to live to be at least 100.”


Antonino Rocca -


After experiencing severe abdominal pain, Rocca checked himself into Roosevelt Hospital in New York. He passed away two weeks later due to a urinary infection on March 15, 1977, at the age of 55.

Awards & Titles

Antonini Rocca remains a distinguished member of the WWE Hall of Fame (1995), the Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1995), the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (1996), and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (2003). In recognition of his impact on Latin fans, Rocca was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Hall of Fame in 2000, cementing his legacy as a true icon of Latin culture.


 Antonino Rocca’s legacy in the world of professional wrestling is a profound one. He was not only one of the most talented wrestlers of his era but also helped redefine the sport itself, pushing the boundaries of what was possible in the ring and inspiring countless wrestlers who came after him. Vincent J. McMahon said of him, “Next to Milton Berle, Rocca sold more TVs in the country than anyone else. He was wrestling on five different TV stations at that time. There was never a more likableand more personable fellow in sports. There was nothing phony about Tony.”


  1. History of Wrestling. “Antonino Rocca.” Available at:
  2. Wikipedia contributors. “Antonino Rocca.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Available at:
  3. Classic Wrestling Articles. “Antonino Rocca Dies At 49.” Available at:
  4. WWE. “Antonino Rocca.” Available at:
  5. CageMatch. “Antonino Rocca.” Available at:
  6. Pro Wrestling Stories. “The Night Wrestling Erupted into a Riot at Madison Square Garden.” Available at:
  7. Project WWF. “Profile: Antonino ‘Argentina’ Rocca.” Posted on April 5, 2021. Available at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Antonino Rocca, also known as “Argentina,” was a transformative figure in the world of professional wrestling. He was acclaimed for his innovative, high-flying wrestling style and was a significant box office draw. Outside of wrestling, he became a universally recognized sports icon.

Born on April 13, 1921, in Treviso, Italy, as Antonino Biasetton, Rocca grew up during the post-WWI era. His family moved to Rosario, Argentina, where he excelled in soccer and rugby. He graduated from Rosario University in 1949 with a degree in electrical engineering.

Rocca was renowned for his high-flying maneuvers and was an aerial specialist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he wrestled barefoot. He was known for moves like the Argentine Backbreaker and was applauded for his extraordinary balance and coordination.

Yes, he had major matchups against stars like Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Jerry Graham, Dick the Bruiser, and many others.

Rocca retired initially in 1969 but made occasional appearances later on. He finally left the ring and joined Capitol Wrestling (later the World-Wide Wrestling Federation) as an announcer.

Rocca is remembered for redefining wrestling with his unique style. He is inducted into several Halls of Fame, including WWE and the Hispanic Heritage Hall of Fame. Vincent J. McMahon once said that Rocca, along with Milton Berle, sold more TVs than anyone else during his time.

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Bill Goldberg -

Bill Goldberg -


He was an immediate success, capturing the World Championship within a year of his debut in the sport. He became the biggest name in all of professional wrestling until an injury threatened to cut short his career.

Bill Goldberg
Real Name: William Scott Goldberg
Stats: 6′ 4″ 295 lbs.
Born: December 27, 1966

Early Life

Bill Goldberg followed in the long path of wrestlers who have made the transition from the gridiron to the squared circle and become a wrestling star – he just did so faster and to a greater magnitude than anyone else in history. In only his second year in the business, Goldberg became the biggest name and biggest star in the business.

Goldberg was never a wrestling fan growing up, but instead focused most of his attention on football. Born in Tulsa, Oklahomahe attended Tulsa Edison High School, where he played football as a linebacker and was a talented amateur wrestler. After high school, Goldberg attended the University of Georgia on a football scholarship, where he continued to display his athletic abilities on the field, being named an All-SEC Nose Guard. 

When his career as a Bulldog was over, he eyed stardom in the National Football League. Drafted in the 11th round (301st overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, he spent time with the team as well as with the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football. Eventually, he caught on with the Atlanta Falcons in 1992 and played for the team for two years before suffering a torn abdominal muscle, which put him out for the 1994 season. He was signed by the Carolina Panthers in 1995 but could not rebound from the injury sufficiently enough to play. He was thus forced to retire from football.


Early Training

While in a bar a year later, Goldberg met Diamond Dallas Page. Page was impressed with his size and look and recommended that he look at a professional wrestling career. Later, Goldberg was working out in a gym owned by Lex Luger and Sting and was further convinced by Sting to take a chance in the squared circle. After months of training in the WCW Power Plant, Goldberg appeared in a nationally televised fight against Roddy Piper. Months later, he made his official professional debut in World Championship Wrestling against Hugh Morrus, pinning the 300-pound wrestler. The next year and a half would be one of the most remarkable in professional wrestling history.


Goldberg began quickly mowing down his opponents with his patented spear and jackhammer combination. Eventually, he got his chance at the gold when he wrestled Raven for the WCW United States title. Showing little nervousness in his first title match, he quickly overpowered Raven and pinned him for the title belt. With his reputation and winning streak growing, everyone looked forward to a showdown between Goldberg and Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight championship. In front of a red-hot crowd in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 6, 1998, Goldberg speared Hogan and then hit the Jackhammer to obtain the pinfall. With the championship belt around his waist, he was now the biggest name in the sport and finished the year as the PWI Rookie of the Year. Goldberg’s meteoric rise in WCW was unprecedented, as he went on a legendary winning streak of 173 consecutive victories without a single loss.

Bill Goldberg -

Over the next year, Goldberg found himself battling members of the NWO and other wrestlers, striving for his title. Finally, Kevin Nash, after interference from Scott Hall (who used a tazer on Goldberg), was able to pin the champion. Goldberg subsequently placed himself in a hunt to reclaim his gold, often taking on various factions of the NWO. During one of these confrontations, Goldberg ran out into the parking lot of an arena and punched his fist through the windshield of a car. In doing so, he suffered a cut to his arm that took almost 190 stitches to close and which almost hit a nerve, seriously placing his career in jeopardy. For almost six months, he was forced to the sidelines and relegated to making publicity appearances and participating in supporting charities.  Finally, after a lot of speculation that he might not be able to return to the ring, he did so in June 2000 to a great ovation from his fans.

In 2001, WCW was purchased by WWE, and Goldberg eventually made his WWE debut in 2003. He had a memorable run with the company, capturing the World Heavyweight Championship and engaging in memorable feuds with some of the biggest names in the industry, including The Rock, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar.

Goldberg left WWE in 2004, taking a hiatus from professional wrestling to pursue other interests, including acting. He appeared in several films and television shows, such as “The Longest Yard,” “Universal Soldier: The Return,” and the reality TV show “Bullrun.”


Personal Life

Goldberg married Wanda Ferraton, a stuntwoman, in 2005. The couple has one son, Gage, who was born in 2006. Goldberg’s devotion to his family has been a driving force in his life, and he often cites them as his primary motivation for returning to the ring.

During his time away from wrestling, Goldberg also became an advocate for animal welfare and environmental causes. He worked with organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society, using his fame to bring attention to the plight of animals in need.

In 2016, Goldberg made a triumphant return to WWE, embarking on a series of high-profile matches and capturing the WWE Universal Championship. This final run in the company further cemented his legacy as one of the most dominant and beloved figures in professional wrestling history.

Bill Goldberg -


Throughout his career, Goldberg has been widely respected for his work ethic, intensity, and dedication to his craft. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including multiple championships and a 2018 induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. However, his career was not without controversy. Many wrestlers soured with his immaturity and failure to recognize that his success was largely due to the large push he was given by WCW management and the willingness of his fellow wrestlers to put him over despite his limitations in the ring. He got into numerous backstage scrapes (including famously with Chris Jericho) and was seen as sloppy and careless in the ring. In a match at Starrcade 1990, Goldberg kicked Bret Hart so hard in the head that Hart suffered a concussion so severe that it effectively ended his career. He was also very outspoken politically, which turned off numerous fans. However, most people who knew him described him as very nice and genuine.

Bill Goldberg’s journey from professional football to wrestling superstardom was atypical for a professional wrestler. He became the biggest name in the sport and was able to parlay that into an entertainment career beyond wrestling. But he is often remembered as a wrestler who was able to expand beyond his technical and verbal limitations in the short term but was unable to extend his popularity over the long run of his career.

Heading Title

  1. Wikipedia Contributors. “Bill Goldberg.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

  2. The Famous People Editors. “Bill Goldberg Biography.”

  3. Goombastomp Staff. “WWE’s Look at Goldberg is One of the Best Wrestling Documentaries.” July 14, 2022.

  4. Pro Wrestling Fandom. “Bill Goldberg.”

Frequently Asked Questions

After an injury ended his football career, Goldberg was spotted by wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page and Sting who were impressed with his physique and athletic ability. They encouraged him to pursue a career in professional wrestling, leading to his training at the WCW Power Plant and eventual debut.

Goldberg made an immediate impact in professional wrestling, quickly becoming a major star. Within just a year of his debut, he captured the World Championship, and his reputation soared due to his powerful in-ring style and winning streak.

Key highlights of Goldberg’s wrestling career include winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and the WWE Universal Championship. He is also known for his legendary winning streak of 173 consecutive victories in WCW.

Goldberg suffered a significant injury when he punched through a car windshield, requiring nearly 190 stitches and almost ending his career. This injury sidelined him for six months, during which he focused on rehabilitation and public appearances.

Outside the ring, Goldberg has been involved in acting, appearing in films like “The Longest Yard” and “Universal Soldier: The Return,” and television shows such as “Bullrun.” He’s also a dedicated advocate for animal welfare and environmental causes, working with organizations like the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Additionally, Goldberg is known for his podcast and has authored a biography titled “I’m Next: The Strange Journey of America’s Most Unlikely Superhero.”

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Antonio Inoki -

Antonio Inoki -


He was so beloved by his fans that they elected him to the Japanese parliament after he retired from the ring. What he did inside of the ring made him a respected statesman and a great champion for professional wrestling.

Real Name: Kanji Inoki
Stats: 6′ 1″ 240 lbs.
Born: February 20, 1943

Antonio Inoki is one of wrestling’s all-time greatest competitors, teachers, and promoters, as well as serving as wrestling’s Ambassador to the World. The noble and refined inoki has made it his career-long goal to bring respect to, and acceptance of, puroresu (Japanese pro wrestling) in the mainstream. Although some accuse Inoki of having the biggest ego in wrestling, eclipsing even the Hulkster…those people could not be further from the truth. The reality is, Inoki is a man with a vision…and, oftentimes, if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Inoki has done more to help wrestling than nearly anyone in the history of the sport. He loves pro wrestling deeply…and even used the slogans “King of Sports” and “Civil Rights For Puroresu” as the mottos of New Japan Pro Wrestling when he started the federation in 1972.

Early Life

Antonio Inoki, born as Kanji Inoki on February 20, 1943, spent his early years in Yokohama, Japan. His family faced financial difficulties during his childhood, and Inoki also had to deal with bullying due to his mixed Japanese and Brazilian ancestry. Despite these challenges, Inoki was determined to rise above his circumstances and find success.

Inoki’s dedication and talent paid off, as he made his professional wrestling debut later that same year against Kintaro Oki. He quickly established himself as a formidable competitor, and his reputation grew within the wrestling community. In the years that followed, Inoki would go on to build an illustrious career as a professional wrestler, promoter, and innovator, leaving a lasting impact on the sport in Japan and around the world.

Inoki’s interest in professional wrestling was sparked by Rikidōzan, who is widely considered the father of Japanese professional wrestling. Rikidōzan’s impact on the sport in Japan inspired Inoki to pursue a career in wrestling, setting him on the path that would ultimately lead to his legendary status in the industry.

Antonio Inoki - Rikidozan -

Inoki and Rikidozan

Early Training

In 1960, at the age of 17, he began training under the tutelage of Toyonobori, a former sumo wrestler, and Karl Gotch, a European wrestling expert. Gotch, who was renowned for his technical wrestling skills and knowledge, helped Inoki hone his in-ring abilities, particularly in catch wrestling and submission techniques. This training laid the foundation for Inoki’s innovative “strong style” that later came to define his wrestling career and impact Japanese professional wrestling as a whole.Their guidance helped Inoki develop his wrestling skills, including his technical prowess and mastery of submission techniques.

Inoki’s dedication and talent paid off, as he made his professional wrestling debut later that same year against Kintaro Oki. He quickly established himself as a formidable competitor, and his reputation grew within the wrestling community. In the years that followed, Inoki would go on to build an illustrious career as a professional wrestler, promoter, and innovator, leaving a lasting impact on the sport in Japan and around the world.


On September 30, 1960 he made his pro wrestling debut, losing to Kintaro Ohki. The name “Antonio” is said to have been given to him by his mentor and hero Rikidozan, after the legendary Antonio Rocca. Before forming N.J.P.W., Inoki wrestled for the N.W.A.’s Japan Wrestling Association (J.W.A.). During those years, he gained valuable experience and learned great deal about the sport. But in 1966, he decided to try wrestling for Tokyo Pro, a rival of the JWA. Inoki’s relationship with Tokyo Pro didn’t last long, though, and by 1967 he was back with the JWA until he left to create New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Inoki founded New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 1972, a promotion that would go on to become one of the most successful and influential organizations in professional wrestling. Inoki’s vision for NJPW was to create a platform for showcasing the best wrestling talent in Japan and from around the world, with a unique style that would set it apart from other promotions.

Inoki’s experience as a wrestler and his training under Karl Gotch and Toyonobori greatly influenced the style of wrestling he wanted to promote in NJPW. He emphasized the “strong style,” which combined elements of martial arts, catch wrestling, and traditional professional wrestling. This innovative approach was characterized by hard-hitting strikes, submission holds, and a focus on realism, setting NJPW apart from other wrestling organizations of the time.

Under Inoki’s leadership, NJPW quickly gained popularity and began attracting top talent both domestically and internationally. The promotion forged relationships with other major wrestling organizations, such as the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), which enabled NJPW to feature high-profile matches and cross-promotional events.

Throughout the years, NJPW has been home to many legendary wrestlers, including Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu, Shinya Hashimoto, Keiji Mutoh, and Hiroshi Tanahashi. The promotion has also been a breeding ground for the development of new stars, such as Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, and Kota Ibushi.

The founding of NJPW not only provided an opportunity for Japanese wrestlers to compete at the highest level, but it also allowed the unique strong style to gain worldwide recognition. NJPW’s continued success and influence are a testament to Inoki’s vision and dedication to elevating the sport of professional wrestling.


Although Inoki was often linked as a rival of Baba,  he engaged in numerous high profile programs with other wrestlers that were considered some of the rivalries in Japanese wrestling history. Inoki’s feud with Indian-Canadian wrestler Tiger Jeet Singh during the 1970s was an intense and heated rivalry. Their matches were known for their brutal, no-holds-barred style, with both competitors using weapons and engaging in bloody battles. His rivalry with American wrestler Stan Hansen in the late 1970s and early 1980s was marked by hard-hitting and physical matches. The intense battles between these two warriors showcased the strong style that Inoki helped popularize in Japan, and their matches were highly regarded by fans and critics alike. In the 1980s, Inoki had an intense feud with Riki Choshu, another top star in Japanese wrestling. Their rivalry saw them clashing over various titles, including the NWF Heavyweight Championship, and their matches featured a blend of technical wrestling and brawling. This feud helped solidify both wrestlers’ legacies as icons of Japanese professional wrestling. Finally, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Inoki engaged in a rivalry with Tatsumi Fujinami, one of NJPW’s rising stars. Their matches showcased the best of Japanese professional wrestling, with a focus on technical ability and hard-hitting action. This feud helped establish Fujinami as a top wrestler and further cemented Inoki’s legacy as a living legend.

These rivalries, among others, contributed to Inoki’s status as a trailblazer in the world of professional wrestling. They allowed him to showcase his unique “strong style” and helped popularize the sport in Japan and around the globe.

Awards & Titles

During his long and successful career, Inoki won numerous titles…the NWA Texas Heavyweight title (under the somewhat insulting name of Tokyo Tom) in 1964, the NWA (Texas) World Tag Team title in 1965, the NWA (Tenn.) World Tag Team title (w/Hiro Matsuda), 4 All-Asian Tag Team titles (w/Michiak Yoshimura), 4 NWA International Tag Team titles (w/Giant Baba), and the NWA United National title in 1971. He also went on to win the National Wrestling Federation (N.W.F.) World Heavyweight title 4 different times between 1973-1981 as well as the N.W.A. North American Tag Team title twice, the U.W.A. (Mexico) World Heavyweight title, and also the I.W.G.P. Heavyweight championship, among others.

Many times throughout his career he has faced champions of other sports (Judo Gold Medal winner Willem Ruska, World Karate champion Willie Wlliams, and boxer Chuck Wepner) in an effort to bring credibility to the sport of wrestling. In 1976 he fought his famous (although somewhat disappointing) “Boxer vs. Wrestler” match with World Boxing champion Muhammed Ali. Although the match was fairly uneventful, it did give pro wrestling an aura of legitimacy.

Antonio Inoki - Muhammad Ali -

Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali

As a promoter, Inoki is a genuine trailblazer — bringing pro wrestling to countries like Russia, China, Korea, and Taiwan that had never had a pro wrestling event in their country, or even seen the sport on TV. The two cards he promoted in Korea drew crowds (with a little help from the Korean gov’t.) of 150,000 and 190,000! Talk about bringing wrestling to the world…

In 1979, Inoki was involved in a very controversial title switch involving Bob Backlund and the WWF Heavyweight title. On November 30, 1979 in Tokushima, Japan, Backlund was pinned by Inoki for the WWF title. The next day, the two wrestlers had a rematch, and this time Backlund regained the title. However, the WWF President Hisashi Shinma declared the match a “no-contest” because of interference from Tiger Jeet Signh. Shinma awarded the title back to Inoki, who refused to accept the championship. A match between Backlund and “Big, Bad” Bobby Duncum (of all people) on December 12, 1979 in New York City took place to decide the winner of the “held up” WWF title, with Backlund winning.

Ironically, American fans never knew of the controversy in Japan, and thought the Backlund/Duncum match was just a regular monthly title defense for Backlund. The WWF has never acknowledged the title switch, and to this day does not count Inoki as a former WWF Heavyweight champion.

The “Collision in Korea” was a historic professional wrestling event held over two days, April 28 and 29, 1995, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Organized by Antonio Inoki, the event was a joint production between his New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and the American promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The event was officially titled “International Sports and Cultural Festival for Peace” and aimed to promote peace and diplomacy through sports, particularly professional wrestling.

The event took place at the May Day Stadium, drawing a massive crowd, reportedly over 150,000 people on each day, making it one of the largest audiences ever recorded for a professional wrestling event. Many top stars from both NJPW and WCW participated in the event, including Ric Flair, Scott Norton, Shinya Hashimoto, and Kensuke Sasaki, among others.

One of the most notable matches of the event was the main event on the second day, where Antonio Inoki faced Ric Flair. This match was significant not only due to the high-profile nature of the two competitors but also because it symbolized the collaboration between Japanese and American wrestling promotions. Inoki emerged victorious in the match, further solidifying his status as a legend in the wrestling world.

The Collision in Korea event was a unique and ambitious effort to use professional wrestling as a means to bring people together and promote peace. The event’s success and historic nature have left a lasting impact on the world of professional wrestling, and it remains a testament to Inoki’s vision and influence in the industry.

In the early 1980s, Antonio Inoki was involved in a scandal related to his professional wrestling promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The scandal was centered around Inoki’s alleged connections with the infamous Japanese yakuza (organized crime syndicates). It was claimed that Inoki had sought financial support from yakuza members to help fund NJPW events and maintain the promotion’s operations.

The scandal came to light in 1981 when the tabloid magazine Shukan Gendai published an article accusing Inoki of having ties with the yakuza. The accusations had a significant impact on Inoki’s reputation and the public perception of NJPW at the time.

In response to the allegations, Inoki held a press conference in which he denied any involvement with the yakuza. Although no concrete evidence was produced to prove Inoki’s direct connections with the criminal underworld, the scandal tarnished his image and cast a shadow over his otherwise impressive career.

Despite the controversy, Inoki managed to overcome the scandal, and NJPW continued to grow and thrive in the years that followed.


Inoki transitioned from professional wrestling to politics in the early 21st century, leveraging his fame and popularity to enter the world of Japanese politics. In 1989, Inoki founded the Sports and Peace Party and ran for a seat in the Japanese House of Councillors but was unsuccessful in his bid. However, his political aspirations did not end there.

In 1995, Inoki ran again, this time as an independent candidate, and was elected to the House of Councillors, serving as a member of Japan’s National Diet for a six-year term. During his tenure in office, Inoki focused on issues related to sports, culture, and diplomacy, continuing the themes that had defined his wrestling career.

In addition to the “Collision in Korea” event, Inoki made numerous trips to North Korea as part of his diplomatic efforts. He also established the Antonio Inoki Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to fostering peace through sports and cultural exchanges.

Though Inoki did not seek re-election after completing his term in the House of Councillors, his political career demonstrated his commitment to using his influence to promote peace and diplomacy, particularly through the medium of professional wrestling and sports in general.

Personal Life

Inoki was married twice and has children from both marriages. Inoki’s first marriage was to a woman named Tazuko, with whom he had two children: a daughter named Hiroko and a son named Hiroaki. Hiroaki, who was born in 1972, followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in professional wrestling under the ring name “Kendo Kashin.” Hiroaki gained success in the wrestling world, winning several championships in different promotions throughout his career.

In 2000, Inoki married his second wife, Mitsuko Baisho, a Japanese actress known for her work in both film and television. The couple has a daughter together named Maria Inoki, who was born in 2001. Despite the high-profile nature of Inoki’s career, his family has generally maintained a private life away from the spotlight.

Antonio Inoki -

In addition to his immediate family, Antonio Inoki has a brother named Simon Inoki (real name: Kenji Inoki), who also had a career in professional wrestling and later became an executive in the wrestling industry. Simon Inoki played a significant role in the operation of NJPW Antonio sold the promotion in 2005.

Inoki converted to Shia Islam in 1990 during a pilgrimage to Karbala, the Shiite holy city in Iraq. Hdescribed himself as both a Muslim convert and a Buddhist

Antonio Inoki died on On October 1, 2022, at age 79, Inoki died from systemic transthyretin amyloidosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Antonio Inoki, born Kanji Inoki, was a legendary figure in professional wrestling, known for his roles as a competitor, teacher, and promoter. He was instrumental in popularizing puroresu (Japanese pro wrestling) globally and was known as the sport’s Ambassador to the World. He founded New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 1972, significantly impacting the sport’s history.

Inoki was born on February 20, 1943, in Yokohama, Japan. Despite facing financial challenges and bullying due to his mixed Japanese and Brazilian ancestry, he was inspired by Rikidōzan, the father of Japanese professional wrestling. He began training at 17 under Toyonobori and Karl Gotch, making his professional debut in 1960 against Kintaro Oki.

Inoki was known for his “strong style” in wrestling, a blend of martial arts, catch wrestling, and professional wrestling. This style, characterized by hard-hitting strikes and realism, became the hallmark of NJPW under his leadership. His promotion brought together top talent from Japan and abroad, forging important international relationships.

Inoki had several high-profile rivalries, including with Tiger Jeet Singh, known for their intense, no-holds-barred matches, and with Stan Hansen, showcasing the strong style. He also had significant feuds with Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami, contributing greatly to the legacy of Japanese professional wrestling.

Inoki also ventured into politics, founding the Sports and Peace Party and serving in Japan’s House of Councillors. He was involved in diplomatic efforts, notably organizing the “Collision in Korea” event in 1995, promoting peace through sports. He was married twice and had children, including Hiroaki, who also became a professional wrestler. Inoki converted to Islam in 1990 but also identified as a Buddhist.


  1. Wikipedia Contributors. “Antonio Inoki.”

  2. History of Wrestling. “Antonio Inoki.”
  3. Inoki Genki Factory. “Biography of Antonio Inoki.” Inoki Genki Factory,

  4. Bosack, Michael MacArthur. “A man larger than life: Remembering Antonio Inoki.” The Japan Times, October 2, 2022. businessman, and politician.

  5. “Antonio Inoki Obituary: Japanese Combat Sports Pioneer Dies at 79.”, October 1, 2022.

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An icon of the 1980s and 1990s, Randy Savage boasted a distinctive catchphrase and an exuberant persona. Yet, he wrestled with personal demons, jealousy, and paranoia, often overshadowed by other legendary pro wrestlers. Nevertheless, Savage was extraordinary, an enigma in life and adored after death, standing out among a sea of talented peers.

Real Name: Randy Poffo
Stats: 6′ 2″ 237 lbs.
Born: November 15, 1952


Early Life

Born as Randy Mario Poffo in Columbus, Ohio, on November 15, 1952, he was the eldest son of Judy and Angelo Poffo, the latter a renowned professional wrestler. The couple met at DePaul University, and Angelo, after a baseball career setback, found success in wrestling during the 1950s and 1960s. He also gained fame for his record-breaking sit-ups, featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Randy’s younger brother, Lanny, would also become a pro wrestler. As a wrestler’s family, the Poffos frequently relocated, living in Ohio, Illinois, New York, and eventually, Kentucky. Randy excelled in sports and academics in high school, earning a National Honor Society membership.

Despite receiving a scholarship offer from Arizona State University, Randy chose to enter the Major League Baseball draft. Disappointed when undrafted, he graduated from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale in 1971. Post-college, Randy pursued baseball and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. As a two-time All-State catcher in high school, he joined the Gulf Coast League’s Sarasota Cardinals, hitting .286 in his rookie year. His performance improved the following year, earning a spot on the GCL All-Star team.

In 1973, Randy hit .344 in 25 games as a designated hitter for the Sarasota Red Birds. However, his batting average dropped to .250 upon promotion to Class-A ball with Orangeburg of the Western Carolinas League. Moving to Florida in 1974 to play for the Cincinnati Reds affiliate, his performance declined, with a .232 batting average, nine home runs, and 66 RBIs. After being released by the Reds, he tried out for the Chicago White Sox Class-A affiliate but failed to secure a position. He switched to left-handed throwing and first base due to a shoulder injury. Randy concluded his minor league career with 289 games across four seasons, a .254 batting average, 16 home runs, and 129 RBIs.

Early Career

The transition from baseball to wrestling wasn’t just a career change; it was a return to familial roots. In the mid-1970s, Savage began training under his father’s guidance, learning the ropes of the sport that would eventually make him a global superstar. He started his wrestling career in 1973, wrestling under his real name in several territories, including the NWA. His early years in the ring were characterized by an evolving persona and a style that was beginning to show glimpses of the “Macho Man” character that would later captivate the world. It was during these formative years that Savage honed his skills, developed his character, and began making a name for himself. He wrestled in various territories, including International Championship Wrestling (ICW), where he and his brother Lanny Poffo, known as “Leaping Lanny,” wrestled as the Poffo brothers. These early years were critical in laying the foundation for Savage’s rise to fame, setting the stage for his emergence as one of the most charismatic and dynamic personalities in professional wrestling history.

Savage introduced a distinctive persona to the ring. John Pantozzi described him as someone who “seemed to have captured a rainbow and wore it for all to witness.” His extravagant style extended from his vivid, personalized capes and fringed wrestling tights to his oversized sunglasses, raspy voice, and deliberate speech. Savage commanded attention, appearing on the verge of attacking audience members at times. His overprotectiveness towards Elizabeth was a recurring theme in his storylines, with some feeling it bordered on dangerous obsession. Combined with his rapid, aggressive wrestling technique, Savage quickly became a top prospect in the industry.

His talents were soon recognized by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Promoted as wrestling’s top free agent, Savage joined the WWF, announcing Miss Elizabeth as his new manager amidst much excitement. The gentle and reserved Elizabeth served as a stark contrast to the explosive, suspicious Savage. In his WWF pay-per-view debut, Savage fought his way through a 16-man battle royal before ultimately losing to the Junkyard Dog. He then feuded with Tito Santana over the Intercontinental Title (IC) belt, which he won on February 24, 1986, at the Boston Gardens arena. The IC title often led to a challenge for the WWF Heavyweight belt, and Savage faced off against champion Hulk Hogan in several matches. Although he defeated Hogan on multiple occasions via count-out, Savage could not claim the belt due to count-out rules.

Savage then entered into a dream feud against veteran wrestler George “the Animal” Steele, who had developed feelings for Elizabeth and intervened when Savage mistreated her. They competed for the IC title at Wrestlemania II in a cage match in Uniondale, New York. Though Steele withstood Savage’s signature elbow drop, Randy secured a roll-up pinfall using the ropes for extra leverage.

Savage’s rivalry with Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat came next, with both skilled athletes offering a refreshing contrast to the slower-paced matches typical of the WWF. The feud escalated when Savage attacked Steamboat during a fan meet-and-greet, crushing his throat. The storyline continued for months, culminating in a highly anticipated match at Wrestlemania III, which many would hail as the WWF’s greatest.

Savage was known for meticulously planning his matches, a trait attributed to his perfectionism and desire for flawless execution. Announcer Gene Okerlund recalled, “Savage was obsessed with things being absolutely perfect and tight in his matches.” Lanny explained that Randy believed in sports and entertainment, striving to prove himself the greatest athlete ever. This dedication to excellence contributed to his memorable performances on the Wrestlemania stage.

Randy Savage - Ricky Steamboat -

Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III

Behind the scenes, Savage and Steamboat meticulously orchestrated their match, and the three-month-long vignettes illustrating Steamboat’s injuries whipped fans into a frenzy. As Dave Hebner refereed and both wrestlers entered the Pontiac Silverdome, the crowd erupted with excitement. In the ring, Steamboat quickly sought retribution, choking Savage with a Hangman maneuver. The match was a nail-biter, featuring 22 near falls. The audience went wild when Savage grounded Steamboat after a disoriented Hebner took a hit. Savage seized the ring bell, climbed onto the turnbuckle, and prepared to repeat his earlier assault on the Dragon’s throat, only to be thwarted by Steele. Injured, Savage attempted a bodyslam, but Steamboat countered with a roll-up and secured a pinfall. The crowd went wild as Hebner handed Steamboat the belt, and he and Steele exited to applause. Savage remained in the ring, defeated and humbled, with a distraught Elizabeth by his side, knowing he had just delivered the performance of a lifetime. Many fans consider the Wrestlemania match the greatest in WWF history, and it was named 1987’s Match of the Year by both the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and Pro Wrestling Illustrated. However, as Lanny later revealed, the match became an unattainable benchmark for Savage, haunting him in the years to come.

Despite his villainous persona, Savage’s in-ring prowess and electrifying promos attracted fans in droves. As his popularity soared, he found more fans cheering than jeering. After winning the King of the Ring on September 4, 1987, Savage softened his treatment of Elizabeth and his antagonism towards fans, propelling him towards another shot at the IC belt, now held by Honkytonk Man. During their October 3, 1987, match on Saturday Night’s Main Event, the Hart Foundation interrupted, leading to Honkytonk smashing a guitar over Savage’s head. Elizabeth fetched help, returning with Hulk Hogan. Hogan entered the ring, and after a tense standoff, Savage extended his hand, forming the Mega Powers.

Over the next few months, Savage and Honkytonk faced off in various matches, with Savage chasing Honkytonk’s Intercontinental belt as a stepping stone to the WWF championship. Behind the scenes, however, Honkytonk refused to relinquish the belt to Savage, arguing that his own momentum was too strong and that Savage didn’t need the belt to be a legitimate contender for the WWF World title. Consequently, their feud concluded with a series of cage matches between Savage’s team and Honkytonk’s team. Though he failed to capture the IC title, Savage had bigger goals on the horizon.

On February 5, 1988, WWF’s “The Main Event” occurred at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana. The show featured a rematch between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant from their iconic Wrestlemania III fight. Andre controversially won due to referee Earl Hebner, who posed as his twin brother Dave and wrongfully delivered a three-count pinfall. Andre then gifted the title to Ted Dibiase, the Million Dollar Man. However, the title was ultimately vacated since it could only change hands via pinfall or submission. Consequently, a 14-man tournament was scheduled for Wrestlemania IV to determine the new WWF World Heavyweight Champion.

Macho Man, a tournament favorite, reached the finals against Ted Dibiase after defeating Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, and the One Man Gang. With Hogan at ringside to prevent interference, Savage pinned Dibiase and won the title after Hogan attacked Dibiase with a chair. Savage, Hogan and Miss Elizabeth celebrated their victory, reuniting the Mega Powers.

Over the next 371 days, Savage defended his world title against formidable opponents like One Man Gang, Big Boss Man, and André the Giant. He enjoyed even more popularity as part of the Mega Powers alongside Hogan, with the duo winning matches at the first Summer Slam event and the 1988 Survivors Series.

Outside the ring, Savage and Hogan develop a friendship, and Elizabeth becomes close with Hogan’s wife, Linda. However, tensions rose when Hogan accidentally eliminated Savage from a Royal Rumble match on January 15, 1989, leading to an in-ring fight. Five weeks later, during the Main Event II, Elizabeth was injured, and Hogan carried her away, leaving Savage feeling betrayed. Savage accused Hogan of trying to steal Elizabeth, setting the stage for a title defense against Hogan at Wrestlemania V. Despite being hospitalized for an elbow infection, Savage competed for 17 minutes before being pinned by Hogan.

Without the championship belt and Miss Elizabeth, who remained with Hogan, Savage replaced her with Sensational Sherri Martel. Over the next few months, Savage and Hogan continued to face off, with Hogan often teaming up with Brutus Beefcake against Savage and Tiny “Zeus” Lister. After winning the 1989 King of the Ring tournament by pinning Jim Duggan, Savage declared himself the “Macho King.” During his coronation, he received a scepter from Ted Dibiase and was accompanied by his brother Lanny, now known as “The Genius.” Savage faced Hogan once more for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship but lost due to a controversial pinfall.

Over the next year, Savage competed against Dusty Rhodes and the Ultimate Warrior. At Wrestlemania VII, he faced Warrior in a retirement match. After losing, Sherri attacked Savage, but Elizabeth, watching from the audience, chased her off, reuniting the couple and turning Savage into a fan favorite again. Despite the retirement stipulation, Savage wrestled a few more matches, with his last match on April 1, 1991, in Kobe, Japan.

Retired from wrestling, Savage worked as a color commentator for WWF broadcasts. The WWF continued to showcase his relationship with Elizabeth, culminating in their on-screen wedding at SummerSlam 1991. However, the couple’s reception was marred by Jake “the Snake” Roberts, who had hidden a live snake in one of their gifts.

On an October 21, 1991 broadcast of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Roberts taunted Savage, provoking him to enter the ring. Roberts then attacked Savage and forced a live King Cobra to bite his arm. Despite being de-venomized, the snake wouldn’t release Savage’s arm, and Savage later experienced a fever that sent him to the hospital. After this incident, Savage was reinstated and faced Roberts in a series of matches until February 1992.

Randy then focused on WWF champion Ric Flair, who had claimed to have had an intimate relationship with Elizabeth and shared doctored photos of them together. WWF Magazine later exposed the photos as fake, showing the original images of Elizabeth and Savage with Flair’s substitution.

Savage and Flair feuded over Elizabeth’s honor, leading to Savage winning the championship at Wrestlemania VIII on April 5, 1992. However, behind the scenes, Savage and Elizabeth’s marriage was crumbling despite their on-screen portrayal of a strong relationship. Savage was known to be overly jealous and protective of Elizabeth backstage, often demanding other wrestlers stay away from her. The couple eventually divorced on September 18, 1992, with Elizabeth’s final WWF appearance on April 19, 1992. Savage’s issues with Hulk Hogan, whom he blamed for contributing to his marital problems, led to a long-standing grudge.

In 1993, Savage’s popularity earned him a spokesman role for Slim Jim beef jerky products, promoting the brand with the catchphrase, “Need a little excitement? Snap into a Slim Jim!” He continued as their spokesman until 2000.

Savage defended his World title against the Ultimate Warrior and others before losing it back to Flair in September, partly due to interference from Razor Ramon. Over the next two years, he competed in singles and tag matches against top wrestlers and was a color commentator for Monday Night Raw and PPV events. Savage remained in these roles until his WWF contract expired in November 1994.

Although Vince McMahon believed that Randy Savage’s time as an in-ring competitor had passed, Savage felt he still had much to achieve. As 1994 came to an end, Savage’s WWF career concluded, and he debuted in World Championship Wrestling on December 3, 1994. Initially hinting at a possible continuation of his feud with Hulk Hogan, Savage instead aided Hogan at Starrcade ’94, establishing himself as a babyface in WCW.

Savage’s first major WCW feud was against former WWF rival Ric Flair, headlining television and pay-per-view events throughout 1995. On November 26, 1995, Savage won his first WCW World Heavyweight title at World War 3, but lost it to Flair the following month. Savage regained the title in January 1996, only to lose it once more to Flair in February. Their rivalry continued until the summer 1996, when the New World Order (NWO) emerged.

As a key figure in the match that launched the NWO, Savage teamed with Sting to face The Outsiders. Following Hogan’s shocking heel-turn, Savage joined forces with Sting, Lex Luger, D.D.P., and others to defend WCW against the NWO. However, after failing to negotiate a new contract, Savage briefly left WCW before making a surprise return in January 1997.

Upon returning, Savage felt blackballed by WCW and sought out Sting. WCW President Eric Bischoff told Savage he could only return as an NWO member, which Savage did at SuperBrawl VII. Reuniting with Miss Elizabeth, Savage feuded with Diamond Dallas Page and his wife Kimberly before targeting former ally Sting, who now held the WCW title. At Spring Stampede 1988, Savage defeated Sting for the championship, despite interference from Hulk Hogan and a torn ACL during the match.

With Kevin Nash’s help, Savage caused a rift in the NWO, leading to the formation of NWO Wolfpac. Savage then feuded with Bret Hart and Roddy Piper but disappeared midway through the year for knee surgery.

As the late 1990s approached, the landscape of WCW began to shift. The emergence of the New World Order (nWo) storyline saw Savage playing a pivotal role, alternating between adversary and ally. His character’s evolution during this period was a testament to his versatility and ability to adapt to the changing dynamics of the industry. However, it also marked the beginning of the end of his active in-ring career.

Injuries, a common plight among professional wrestlers, marred Savage’s final years in WCW. His high-impact wrestling style had taken a toll on his body, leading to sporadic appearances and a reduced in-ring schedule. Additionally, the arrival of new, younger talent shifted the focus away from the veterans who had once dominated the scene.


Randy Savage’s last official match in WCW occurred in 2000, signaling the end of his full-time wrestling career. While he didn’t retire officially at this point, this match represented the final chapter of his active in-ring story in WCW. Though not his most memorable, the match closed the WCW chapter of a career that had spanned over two decades.

After WCW, Savage made occasional appearances in other promotions, but his time in WCW was the final significant period of his wrestling career. One of Savage’s most memorable post-wrestling ventures was his foray into acting. He lent his distinctive raspy voice to the character of “Bonesaw McGraw” in the 2002 blockbuster “Spider-Man,” directed by Sam Raimi. His performance, though brief, was a hit with fans, blending his wrestling charisma with his natural flair for entertainment. Savage also appeared in several TV shows and movies, showcasing his versatility as an entertainer beyond the wrestling ring.

Savage’s unique voice became his ticket to the world of animated entertainment. He provided voiceovers for various animated projects, most notably the character of “The Thug” in Disney’s “Bolt.” His ability to infuse animated characters with his distinct machismo and energy was a testament to his creative talents and adaptability as an artist.

Leveraging his fame and recognizable persona, Savage became a popular choice for brand endorsements. One of his most famous post-wrestling roles was as the spokesperson for Slim Jim Snack Foods. His energetic and over-the-top commercials for Slim Jim became iconic in the 90s, with his catchphrase “Snap into a Slim Jim, oh yeah!” resonating with audiences and becoming a cultural reference point.

Surprisingly, Savage explored his musical talents by releasing a rap album titled “Be a Man” in 2003. The album featured a mix of wrestling-themed songs and personal tracks, including the titular song “Be a Man,” a diss track aimed at fellow wrestler Hulk Hogan. While the album received mixed reviews, it showcased Savage’s willingness to experiment and his passion for entertaining in all forms.

Outside of the entertainment industry, Savage was known for his philanthropic efforts. He was involved in various charity events and activities, often using his fame to raise awareness and funds for causes he believed in. 

Personal Life

The most famous relationship in Savage’s life was with Elizabeth Hulette, better known as Miss Elizabeth. Their on-screen partnership in the WWF was one of the most iconic and beloved storylines in wrestling history. Their chemistry was palpable, with Miss Elizabeth’s poised and graceful demeanor perfectly complementing Savage’s over-the-top machismo. Behind the scenes, however, the couple had more than just a business relationship. The two had met at a gym in Lexington, Kentucky in 1982 and were married in 1984. Unfortunately, Randy’s jealousy and overprotectiveness were too much for Elizabeth and she divorced him in 1992. However, they would continue to work together, including in WCW as members of the NWO.

While in WCW, Savage dated Stephanie Bellars, who worked under Gorgeous Geroge and as part of the Team Madness stable. In 2010, Savage married Lynn Payne a woman he had dated before his relationship with Miss Elizabeth.  His marriage to Lynn settled him and he enjoyed his life away from the carnival atmosphere in professional wrestling. The couple retired to their home in Seminole, Florida.

Randy Savage - Miss Elizabeth - wrestlingbiographies.comDeath

Randy Savage passed away in 2011, but his impact on professional wrestling remains. His charisma, intensity, and unique style set a standard in the industry. In WCW, he was not just a performer but an innovator, a legend, and an icon whose influence extended well beyond his years in the ring.

As fans reminisce about the “Macho Man’s” glory days, it’s clear that his spirit and contributions to professional wrestling will never be forgotten. Randy Savage’s career in WCW was the final act of a magnificent play, leaving behind a legacy that will forever echo in the annals of wrestling history. 

Randy Savage passed On the morning of May 20, 2011., He was driving his Jeep Wrangler near his home in Seminole,with his wife in the passenger seat when he became unresponsive and crashed into a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene at the age of 58. His autopsy indicated that he had an enlarged heart and advanced coronary artery disease, which had resulted in a sudden heart attack. The cause of death was officially ruled as atherosclerotic heart disease. His wife suffered only minor injuries in the accident. He was cremated five days later, and his ashes were placed under a favorite tree on his property in Largo, Florida.


In the pantheon of professional wrestling, Randy “Macho Man” Savage is a figure of immense stature, his legacy a rich tapestry of unforgettable moments, groundbreaking achievements, and an indelible influence on the sport. Born Randall Mario Poffo, Savage’s career spanned over three decades, marked by his unmistakable voice, flamboyant attire, and an in-ring prowess that captivated audiences worldwide. His iconic bouts, notably against Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III and his intense rivalry with Hulk Hogan, are etched in wrestling lore, showcasing his exceptional talent and charisma. Beyond his athletic feats, Savage’s persona, a perfect blend of intensity and showmanship, redefined what it meant to be a sports entertainer. His impact extended beyond the ring, as he became a cultural icon, recognized even by those distant from wrestling. His “Oh yeah!” catchphrase and Slim Jim commercials transcended the sport, making him a household name. Savage’s untimely passing in 2011 was a profound loss to the wrestling world, but his influence endured, inspiring new generations of wrestlers. His induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015 was a fitting tribute to a man who was, in many ways, the embodiment of professional wrestling’s spirit and spectacle. The “Macho Man” Randy Savage remains, for many, the heart and soul of an era, his legacy forever a part of wrestling’s grand history. 

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