Former WWE Superstar Lanny Poffo, Brother Of Macho Man Randy Savage, Dead At 68
The wrestling world is saddened over the passing of Lanny Poffo, who competed in WWE throughout the '80s and early '90s after debuting in the industry in 1974. Poffo was 68 years old.
The official statement from WWE reads as follows:
“The son of Angelo Poffo and younger brother of WWE Hall of Famer ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Lanny Poffo had a style all his own. Arriving in WWE in 1985 alongside his brother, ‘Leaping’ Lanny Poffo was one of the first high-flyers in WWE. While he achieved some success as a fan favorite reading his own poetry and throwing Frisbees to the crowd, he reached new heights as The Genius while managing Mr. Perfect.”
As an athlete in professional wrestling, Lanny Poffo has been credited (along with legends like the late Owen Hart) with being the prototype for the modern wrestler. Poffo frequently performed moves that had never been seen before on WWE television — many wrestling historians credit him for popularizing the moonsault.
Photo: Getty Images
To put it simply: Jumping off the top rope and flipping backward seemed outside the realm of possibility before Lanny Poffo came along. Would there be hybrid high-flyers like Seth Rollins at all if it wasn’t for the roads that “Leaping” Lanny Poffo paved?
Despite living in the shadow of his older brother, Randy Savage, for most of his career, Poffo managed to carve out a successful WWE career that we’re sure made Randy proud. Poffo’s WWE career was multifaceted and looking back, it can be dissected into two parts: His aforementioned “Leaping” Lanny era and his run as the man known simply as “The Genius.”
While the character of “The Genius” caught on later in his WWE run, he didn’t climb up very far in the Superstar rankings. However, Poffo should be commended for his full-on dedication to the character he showed at all times. Even a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in this promo segment for Survivor Series 1989 showed that he truly loved entertaining the WWE Universe:
“I am thankful for being the world’s smartest man,” Poffo said while flashing his trademark over-the-top smile.
Lanny Poffo has one incredibly impressive win on his resume, which occurred on Nov. 25, 1989, during an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event. Against all odds, defeated Hulk Hogan in a match for the WWE Championship ...
... Alas, Poffo won the match via count-out, so the title never changed hands. The match itself is a cult classic, as Poffo’s mannerisms and theatrics combined with the over-the-top movements of Hogan to create something extraordinary. Not many Superstars have had decisive victories over the Hulkster, and Poffo is one of the select few.
Do yourself a favor: If there’s one thing you do this weekend, make sure to check out classic Lanny Poffo matches on Peacock. They’re worth it. From his athleticism to the passion he brings to his in-ring performance, Lanny Poffo truly was a genius — and he will be sorely missed.
USA Insider passes along our condolences to his friends and family.