Poffo in August 2014
|Birth name||Lanny Mark Poffo|
December 28, 1954 |
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|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|
Lanny Mark Poffo (born December 28, 1954), better known by his ring names "Leaping" Lanny and The Genius is a Canadian-American professional wrestler, motivational speaker, poet, actor and credit councilor. Poffo was born in Calgary, Canada, to Angelo Poffo, an Italian American Catholic, and Judy, a Jewish American. He is also the younger brother of "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Poffo grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois and currently makes his residence in Largo, Florida, a suburb of Tampa.
He began wrestling in the NWA territories in the 1970s before becoming a star in his father's promotion, International Championship Wrestling, 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 Dupre'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 CWA before traveling with him again to the World Wrestling Federation 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)
While Lanny was not a headlining WWF star like his brother, he 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 against, or infuriated the heel by building heat for 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 typically allowed a greater amount of offense in his matches, and won some matches (usually against other enhancement talent). He found great success on house shows, where he frequently defeated other undercard wrestlers. Poffo performed an agile, high-flying style at a time when big, heavy wrestlers still dominated the promotion. He was one of the first wrestlers in North America to use moves like the Senton Bomb, and particularly 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 rowdy 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 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 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 of the ring resulting in Mr. Perfect striking Hogan with the championship belt and Poffo climbing back into the ring and winning 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 then wrestled in the undercard until the fall of 1991 when he became the manager of the Beverly Brothers (Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom). He would leave the WWF 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, VA.
World Championship Wrestling (1995–1999)
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 Poffo recalled, despite being under contract for 5 years and receiving regular paychecks, he was never contacted with any bookings. Poffo's 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)
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)
On March 28, 2015, Poffo returned to the WWE at the 2015 Hall of Fame induction ceremony to induct his late brother Randy Savage. Poffo read poems and shared memories about his brother's past. The next day, Poffo shared the stage with the 2015 Hall of Famers at Wrestlemania, representing his brother.
Outside of wrestling
Outside of 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".
- Finishing moves
- Wrestlers managed
Championships and accomplishments
- 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.
- Floridian: A wrestling dynasty
- Remembering...Lanny Poffo/The Genius
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- Lanny Poffo Interview Recap from WrestlingEpicenter.com
- WWE hall of fame 2015
- http://www.blankmaninc.com/the-genius-leaping-lanny-poffo-interview Lanny writes a poem for an interview with Blankman Inc
- Amazon.com: Limericks from the Heart (and Lungs!)
- "Finishing Moves List". OtherArena. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- "Jimmy Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- "Big Business Brown's website". Big Biz. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
- "Lanny Poffo interview". Powerslam Productions. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- 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
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lanny Poffo.|
- Official website
- Newspaper article on the wrestling league that Lanny Owns http://netnewsledger.com/2012/03/07/all-star-promoter-tag-team-of-lanny-the-genuis-poffo-devon-hannibal-nicholson-ready-to-bodyslam-easter-ontario/
- Lanny Poffo Interview