Lanny Mark Poffo (born December 28, 1954), better known by his ring names "Leaping" Lanny Poffo and The Genius is a Canadian-American professional wrestler, motivational speaker, poet and actor. Poffo was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to Angelo Poffo, an Italian American Catholic, and Judy, a Jewish-American. He is also the real-life younger brother of "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Poffo grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois and currently makes his residence in Clearwater, Florida.
Poffo in August 2014
|Birth name||Lanny Mark Poffo|
|Born||December 28, 1954|
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|Residence||Clearwater, Florida, US|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||The Genius|
|Billed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Billed weight||252 lb (114 kg)|
|Billed from||Downers Grove, Illinois|
|Trained by||Angelo Poffo|
Early career (1973–1984)Edit
He began wrestling in the NWA territories in the 1970s before becoming a star in his father's promotion, International Championship Wrestling (ICW), where he held the promotion's title. Over the course of his regional career, Poffo both tag teamed and feuded with older brother Randy. Both brothers, along with their father, Angelo, were extremely popular in the Maritime provinces of Canada in Emile Duprée's "Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling" which had a weekly television spot on ATV and toured the Maritimes doing shows seven days per week with some days hosting two shows in two different towns. Upon the ICW's folding in 1984, he joined Randy in the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) before traveling with him again to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in June 1985. The brother angle was never worked in the WWF and the relationship was never mentioned on-air.
World Wrestling Federation (1985–1994)Edit
While Lanny was not a headlining WWF star like his brother, he initially built a niche for himself wrestling as a babyface. In his first role as Leaping Lanny Poffo, he would bring frisbees to the ring, read a short poem written on one of them that he himself had penned, and then throw the frisbees into the crowd. Each poem typically ridiculed the heel that he was about to wrestle, or built heat in favor of the face with whom the heel was feuding at the time. During his early career in the WWF, he was not a main-eventer and wrestled primarily as enhancement talent on television shows. However, rather than being squashed like most jobbers at the time, he was displayed a greater amount of offense in his matches. He found great success on house shows, where he frequently defeated other undercard wrestlers. Poffo performed an agile, athletic, high-flying style at a time when big, heavy power wrestlers still dominated the promotion. He was one of the first wrestlers in North America to use moves like the Senton Bomb and the moonsault, though the announcers of the time referred to the latter as a "leaping backflip". He attained some infamy in late 1986 and early 1987 by competing in a series of Bunkhouse Battle Royals in full knight's armor. He also is noted for competing in a Battle Royal on Saturday Night's Main Event at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit in 1987, where he was headbutted and eliminated by André the Giant, causing him to bleed heavily all over the floor and have to be carried out on a stretcher. André, in his first televised match as a heel, had accidentally caught Poffo on the bridge of the nose with his headbutt and stitches were required to close the resulting wound.
On March 18, 1989, still known as "Leaping Lanny", Poffo turned heel. He berated the local Boston sports teams, insulting them in his poetry, and instantly drew heat from the Boston crowd. Poffo was subsequently re-introduced as The Genius, a highly intelligent, arrogant heel who wore an academic cap and gown to the ring. His poems now ridiculed the face wrestlers, and he adopted an exaggerated effeminate, showboating manner, similar to that employed by Gorgeous George, to draw heat from the crowd. During his matches, the Genius would often write a mathematical equation on a clipboard that would "tilt the balance of the match in his favor". In addition, the Genius also served as "executive consultant" (and occasional tag team partner) for Mr. Perfect.
On the November 25, 1989 edition of WWF Saturday Night's Main Event, The Genius faced WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and spent much of the match taunting Hogan and drawing heat from the crowd with his absurd antics. Several minutes into the match, Mr. Perfect appeared at ringside where he goaded Hogan and defaced the championship belt by sticking chewing gum on it. Poffo then tricked Hogan into following him outside the ring resulting in Mr. Perfect striking Hogan with the championship belt and Poffo climbing back into the ring to win the match by countout. Later in the show, Mr. Perfect and Poffo destroyed the stolen belt with a hammer. Shortly after WrestleMania VI, Bobby Heenan became Mr. Perfect's manager. Poffo left the WWF in early 1991, but would return later that year when he became the manager of The Beverly Brothers (Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom). He would leave the WWF again shortly after Survivor Series 1992.
After a nineteen-month absence, Poffo returned in May 1994 and defeated Koko B. Ware on two house shows in Florida. His final WWF match was a loss to Mabel on June 11 at an event in Richmond, Virginia.
World Championship Wrestling (1995–1999)Edit
Poffo signed a WCW contract in 1995, but never appeared for the promotion. In a later shoot interview, Poffo explained that he was contacted by his brother (Randy Savage), who was wrestling in WCW at the time, with the guarantee of a contract. Savage, who had purchased the Gorgeous George gimmick, offered the character to Poffo, feeling that his brother would generate heat as a heel. Poffo signed the contract with WCW, began an intense training regimen, and bleached his hair blonde in preparation for his return to the ring. However, as he recalled, despite being under contract for five years and receiving regular paychecks, he was never contacted with any bookings. His own repeated calls to the office went unreturned, and he was simply never used by WCW. Ultimately, Savage gave the Gorgeous George moniker to his then-girlfriend and valet Stephanie Bellars.
Independent circuit (2005–present)Edit
Poffo was a part of Wrestle Reunion in Tampa, Florida on January 28–30, 2005, and defeated "The Royal Stud" Adam Windsor at that event. He also wrestled in Canada as part of the Supershow in Pembroke and Hawkesbury Ontario.
Poffo has toured the East Coast of Canada with UCW, wrestling in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. After that tour, Poffo also wrestled in Poland and Florida, as well as a show in England.
On May 6, 2012 in Reading, PA, Poffo teamed with JD Smooth in a disqualification loss to "Pretty Ugly" in Regional Championship Wrestling's event Rumblemania 8.
Return to WWE (2015)Edit
On March 28, 2015, Poffo returned to WWE at the 2015 Hall of Fame induction ceremony to induct his deceased brother, Randy Savage. Poffo read poems and shared memories about his brother's past. The following day, Poffo shared the stage with other 2015 Hall of Fame inductees at WrestleMania 31, representing his brother.
Outside wrestling, Poffo has published two books. One is a collection of poems and limericks, most of which were related to drug and alcohol awareness, directed toward young children. Poffo is a vocal opponent of tobacco smoking and also published an anti-smoking book of limericks entitled Limericks from the Heart and Lungs!. He appeared in infomercials as an endorser of Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle exercise machine, and is a certified credit counselor and motivational speaker. In March 2013, Poffo played a K9 police officer in the Discovery Investigation network's "I (Almost) Got Away With It".
Lanny also worked as a used car salesman for a short time working for CarMax in central Florida.
In 2018, Lanny released a biographical comic through Squared Circle Comics, titled The Genius Lanny Poffo.
On September 3, 2018, Lanny, alongside JP Zarka of ProWrestlingStories.com, launched a weekly podcast entitled The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo. The podcast featured 20 episodes including interviews with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Terry Funk, B Brian Blair, Fred Ottman, Sean Waltman, Jeff Jarrett, Molly Holly, "Eugene" Nick Dinsmore, "Hustler" Rip Rogers, Kevin Kelly, Bill Apter, Outback Jack, Keith Elliot Greenberg, Sean Oliver, Evan Ginzburg, Alicia Atout, and more. The show ended its run on January 21, 2019.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- AGPW International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Great North Wrestling
- GNW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Lachine
- PWL International Championship (1 time)
- PWI ranked him # 350 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 1993.
1The ICW United States Tag Team Championship is referred to as the ICW World Tag Team Championship in some publications.
- "Lanny Poffo profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- Scheiber, Dave (27 December 2001). "A wrestling dynasty". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 14 February 2002.
- Remembering...Lanny Poffo/The Genius Archived 2008-10-16 at the Wayback Machine
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- Lanny Poffo Interview Recap from WrestlingEpicenter.com Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
- ""All In" Results: Cody Rhodes Faces Nick Aldis For The NWA Title, Kenny Omega Vs. Pentagon Jr. - Wrestling Inc". Wrestling Inc. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- Beaston, Erik (March 29, 2015). "WWE Hall of Fame 2015: Grading Inductee Speeches, Top Highlights and More". The Bleacher Report.
- "Lanny Poffo Interview | BLANKMANinc". Blankman Inc. 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
- Amazon.com: Limericks from the Heart (and Lungs!)
- AGPW International Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Gulf Coast Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- ICW Southeastern Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- ICW World Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- ICW World Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA World Tag Team Title (Detroit) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Mid-America Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com