Lanny Poffo (December 28, 1954), better known by his ring name "Leaping" Lanny Poffo is a Canadian-American professional wrestler. Poffo was born in Calgary, Canada, to Angelo Poffo, an Italian American Catholic, and Judy, a Jewish American. He is also the brother of wrestling legend "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Poffo grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois. He holds both Canadian and American citizenship.
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. 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.
While Lanny never attained the popularity of his brother in the WWF, he still managed to find a niche for himself as a minor fan favorite. As Leaping Lanny Poffo, the Wrestling Poet he would bring frisbees to the ring, read a short ode written on one of them that he himself had penned, and throw the frisbees into the crowd. Each poem typically ridiculed the heel that he was about to wrestle against, or angered the heel by building heat for the face that the heel was feuding with at the time. Despite wrestling as a jobber, he was arguably in the "Jobber To The Stars" category as he was usually allowed to get in a fair amount of offense in his matches, and won some matches on occasion. Poffo wrestled a high-flyer style at a time when big, heavy wrestlers still dominated the promotion. He was one of the first wrestlers in North America to utilize such moves as the Senton Bomb and the moonsault in their arsenal, though the announcers referred to it at the time as a "leaping backflip". He made some publicity in late 1986 and early 1987 by competing in a series of Bunkhouse Battle Royals in full knight's armor, though he was eliminated quickly.
In April 1989, Poffo was re-introduced as a heel wrestler and became The Genius, adopting a highly intelligent, sniffy persona and wearing an academic cap and gown to the ring. He officially turned heel at the Boston Garden on March 18, 1989 still known as Leaping Lanny, he berated Hulk Hogan and stuck up for Randy Savage in his poem. This was a mere two weeks before Wrestlemania V. His poems now ridiculed the face wrestlers, and he now behaved in an even more effeminate manner to infuriate the crowd. During the match, the Genius would construct a mathematical equation that would tilt the balance of the match in his favor. In addition, the Genius also served as a manager (and occasional tag team partner) for Mr. Perfect.
On the November 25, 1989 edition of WWF Saturday Night's Main Event, The Genius beat WWF Champion Hulk Hogan by countout due to Mr. Perfect hitting Hogan with the championship belt. Later in the show, Mr. Perfect and Poffo took a hammer to the belt, shattering it to pieces. Later, The Genius was the manager of the Beverly Brothers (Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom). It was in this capacity that Poffo last appeared in the WWF, at Survivor Series 1992.
World Championship Wrestling (1995-1999)
Poffo signed a WCW contract in 1995, but he was rarely used. In his autobiography, Chris Jericho commented that he only saw Lanny Poffo work once and probably received the same paycheck as Chris who worked 22 dates a month. He sat at home and collected a paycheck for four years. Although it is rumored that Poffo did in fact work WCW events as WCW's mascot, Wild Cat Willie, Poffo disputes this claim in an online interview.
In a later shoot interview, Poffo clarified the details of his WCW tenure. He explained that he was contacted by his brother (Randy Savage) with the guarantee of a WCW contract. Savage, who had recently purchased the Gorgeous George gimmick, offered the character to Poffo, feeling that his brother would generate some great heat with the character. Poffo signed the contract and then began a strict training regimen (as well as bleaching his hair blonde) in preparation for his return to the ring.
However, as Poffo recalls, the phone simply never rang. Despite being under contract, he was never contacted with any bookings. Poffo's own calls to the office went unreturned, and he was simply never used by WCW.
Life after wrestling
Outside of wrestling, Poffo has released a collection of poems and limericks, most of which were related to drug and alcohol awareness, directed toward young children. Poffo is a staunch anti-smoker and has released a book of limericks entitled Limericks from the Heart (and Lungs!) He is also a certified credit counselor. He was last seen on television in infomercials as an endorser of Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle exercise machine. Lanny Poffo was a part of Wrestle Reunion in Tampa, Florida on January 28–30, 2005. Poffo defeated "The Royal Stud" Adam Windsor at that event. He also wrestled in Canada as part of the Supershow in Pembroke and Hawkesbury Ontario Canada.
Poffo recently completed a tour of the East Coast of Canada with UCW. He wrestled in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Lanny has a daughter named Magen with his ex-wife. Lanny is so very proud of his daughter, Magen Poffo, for being a non-smoker at nearly age 21, turning 21 on May 29. "That's one thing my ex-wife and I can agree on and feel proud of as we, at least, have raised a child that is a non-smoker.
Championships and accomplishments
- Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling
- AGPW International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- PWI ranked him # 426 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
1The ICW United States Tag Team Championship is referred to as the ICW World Tag Team Championship in some publications.