"The Genius" Lanny Poffo passed away on Friday, February 2, 2023. (Photo Credit: WWE)
“The Genius” Lanny Poffo passed away on Friday, February 2, 2023. (Photo Credit: WWE)

WWE Hall of Famer: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan announced on his Facebook and Twitter accounts that “The Genius” Lanny Poffo has passed away at the age of 68.  As of press time, no cause of death has been announced.

Poffo is the son of wrestling legend Angelo Poffo and the brother of WWE Hall of Famer: Randy”Macho Man”Savage.  He made his debut on April 16, 1974 in All-South Wrestling Alliance (ASWA) and before leaving the promotion he teamed with his father, Angelo, to defeat The Royal Kangaroos.

The man that would eventually become known as The Genius would compete in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling (AGPW), Mid-South Wrestling (MSW), Continental Wrestling Association (CWA), International Championship Wrestling (ICW), World Wrestling Superstars (WWS) and various companies on the independent scene.

On the July 13, 1985 episode of WWF Championship Wrestling, he debuted as “Leaping” Lanny Poffo for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) when he teamed with Pedro Morales to defeat Barry “O” and J.A. Rizz.  In the future, Poffo would come to the ring with frisbees and read a poem about his opponent before throwing the frisbees into the audience.  Poffo’s career as “Leaping” Lanny would never see any championship gold.  However; his career would improve when in April 1989 the WWF repackaged Poffo into The Genius.

As “The Genius,” Poffo would still read poems before his matches but this time he would insult the babyfaces or the town he was competing in.  In the fall of 1989, he would become the “perfect” manager when he became the manager of Mr. Perfect.  Perfect and The Genius would feud with WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan and Brutus”The Barber”Beefcake in late-1989 and early-1990.  In fact, Poffo’s biggest victory in the WWF came on the November 25, 1989 episode of WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event when he defeated Hogan in a WWF Championship Match.  During the match, Perfect would make his way to ringside and at one point, The Genius was on the outside of the ring.  As Perfect was checking on his manager, Hogan exited the ring and shoved Curt Hennig away from Poffo before tossing Genius back into the ring.  As WWF Referee: Earl Hebner was being distracted by The Genius, Perfect nailed Hogan with the WWF Championship which allowed The Genius to gain the victory over Hogan via count-out.  But as the WWF Rulebook states, you can only win a WWF Championship by pinfall or a submission and since Hogan was counted out, he remained the World Wrestling Federation Champion.

At the WWF 1990 Royal Rumble, The Genius battled Brutus Beefcake to a double disqualification.  While the referee was down, Beefcake put Genius to sleep and began to cut his hair when Mr. Perfect ran to ringside before attacking Beefcake.  This would set-up a match between Beefcake and Perfect at WrestleMania VI.  After Beefcake pinned Perfect he would finish the job and cut the remaining of Poffo’s hair.  The Genius would wear wigs under amateur wrestling headgear to hide the haircut Beefcake gave to him.

On the September 7, 1991 episode of WWF Superstars, The Genius was revealed to be the manager of The Beverly Brothers – Beau and Blake.  In December 1991, there were a series of Six-Man Tag Team Matches between The Beverly Brothers and The Genius against The Bushwhackers (Butch and Luke) and Jim”The Anvil”Neidhart.  In the winter of ’91, The Beverly Bros. and The Genius would then enter into a feud with The Bushwhackers and Jamison.  This would lead to a showdown at the WWF 1992 Royal Rumble when The Bushwhackers, with Jamison in their corner, battled The Beverly Brothers, with The Genius in their corner.  The Genius would remain as the manager of The Beverly Brothers until his final appearance at WWF Survivor Series 1992.

Poffo returned to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on March 28, 2015 at the WWE 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to make the induction speech for his late-brother who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

The last time Poffo appeared in the wrestling world was in 2018 when he accompanied Ring of Honor (ROH) World Champion: Jay Lethal when he defended the ROH World Championship against Flip Gordon at All In 2018.

Outside of the squared circle, Lanny Poffo wrote 2 books.  The first book was released in 1988 called Leaping Lanny: Wrestling With Rhyme.  The second book, Limericks from the Heart (and Lungs!) and was released in 2016.  Squared Circle Comics released a biographical comic on Poffo in 2018 called The Genius Lanny Poffo.

Even though Poffo did not wear any gold around his waist in the WWF, he is an accomplished former champion.  He’s a former Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling (AGPW) International Heavyweight Champion.  He held the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling (GCCW) Tag Team Championship with his brother, Randy Savage.  He is a former Great North Wrestling (GNW) Heavyweight Champion.  While he was a competitor in his father’s wrestling organization – International Championship Wrestling (ICW) – he held the ICW Southeastern Heavyweight Championship, ICW United States Tag Team Championship (1 time with Mike Doggendorf and 3 times with George Weingeroff), and the ICW Heavyweight Championship (3 times).  While in NWA Detroit, he held the NWA Detroit World Tag Team Championship 2 times – once with Angelo Poffo and once with Chris Colt.  While competing in NWA Mid-America, he held the NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Championship and held the NWA Mid-America Tag Team Championship with Bobby Eaton.  Poffo also held the PWL International Championship while competing in the Pro Wrestling Lachine.

In 1991, Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) ranked Poffo #229 out of 500 in the 1991 PWI 500.  In 2003, PWI ranked Poffo #426 out of 500 in the 2003 PWI Years 500.

WU Online would like to pass its condolences to the family, friends and fans of “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, also known as “The Genius” – THE WORLD’S SMARTEST MAN!

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