Lanny Poffo Death – Undisclosed

1954-2023 (age 68)

lanny poffo death

Lanny Poffo, 80s wrestling star, and brother to “Macho Man” Randy Savage, dead at 68

Second-generation wrestler Lanny Poffo’s career was eclipsed by his brother, “Macho Man” Randy Savage (aka Randy Poffo). Nevertheless, the man nicknamed “Leaping” Lanny Poffo and “The Genius” had fondly remembered runs wherever he worked.

Lanny was a skilled technician and is often credited as one of the first American wrestlers to use the moonsault during his matches. He had a brief run in the main event, despite often working as an enhancement talent.

Born on December 28, 1954, Lanny Poffo’ grew up watching his father Angelo Poffo perform as a professional wrestler. Angelo Poffo was a well-regarded veteran who helped break his sons into wrestling.

Lanny Learns the Ropes

Lanny debuted in 1974, working with his dad in tag team matches in different wrestling territories including the National Wrestling Alliance’s (NWA) Big Time Wrestling. The two became a formidable tag team, winning tag team championship gold when Lanny was just 20 years old.

By 1976, Lanny broke out into singles matches, working in several NWA territories before teaming with brother Randy in Jim Crockett Promotions. Lanny continued honing his skills in various promotions.

One such promotion was Canada’s Atlantic Grand-Prix Wrestling where he feuded with his brother Randy. At the time, the promotion did not acknowledge they were brothers.

International Championship Wrestling

Around 1979, Angelo Poffo founded International Championship Wrestling (ICW). Like many family-owned promotions, Angelo’s sons played major roles in the company, holding its championships.

While wrestling has seen some sons of famous wrestlers pushed beyond their capabilities, Lanny and Randy were outstanding wrestlers. Indeed, in 1978, “Leaping” Lanny worked a 60-minute Broadway with then-NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race.

ICW was labeled an “outlaw” promotion because it ran against NWA-sanctioned promotions. That didn’t stop ICW from running for several years. The wrestlers even challenged rivals from Memphis’ Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) to meet them in shoot matches.

The ICW finally folded in the mid-80s and the CWA utilized the perceived heat between the Poffo’s and CWA by having Angelo, Lanny, and Randy work in the promotion, going after its popular wrestlers.

Headed to the Big Time

In 1985, Randy Savage signed with the WWF, bringing his brother with him. However, Randy and Lanny’s status as brothers was never acknowledged on WWF TV.

Lanny began working as “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, a babyface who recited poetry before his matches and threw frisbees out to the fans. Poffo served as an enhancement talent, often beating other enhancement talents in preliminary matches but losing to star wrestlers in order to make them look good.

Poffo’s biggest run in the WWF came when he turned heel, becoming the arrogant intellectual, “The Genius” and teaming with Mr. Perfect (aka Curt Hennig). “The Genius” had several high-profile matches including a count-out win over Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event. Nonetheless, “The Genius” served as a sidekick to Mr. Perfect during his campaign against Hulk Hogan.

While Lanny Poffo’s time in the main event was brief, he remained in the WWF until 1992, returning in 1994 for an abbreviated campaign.

In 1995, Lanny became another of the many ex-WWF Superstars to join World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He also became one of the wrestlers who was paid for years, despite never wrestling a match (there are conflicting reports as to whether Poffo wrestled one or two matches in WCW).

Later Career

Like his brother and father, Lanny Poffo had saved and invested his money wisely, which meant he didn’t have to wrestle. Nonetheless, Lanny made occasional appearances in the 2000s at wrestling conventions and indie shows.

In 2015, he inducted his brother Randy Savage into the WWE Hall of Fame. Although Savage had told his brother he didn’t want to go in unless all three members of the Poffo family were inducted, Lanny made the call and Randy entered the 2015 class.

Outside the ring, Lanny Poffo served as a motivational speaker and authored two books. According to the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online, he spent his last few years living in Ecuador.

The Death of Lanny Poffo

On February 2, 2023, wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan informed the wrestling community via Facebook that:

“With a very, very heavy heart, I’ve been asked to let everyone know about the passing of our friend and colleague Lanny Poffo, The Genius.

RIP Lanny”

The WWE tweeted its condolences:

Lanny Poffo’s cause of death is currently unknown. 

Lanny Poffo’s death follows the recent passing of Ring of Honor star Jay Briscoe. Look for an article on Mr. Briscoe soon.

What are your favorite memories of “Leaping” Lanny Poffo? Let us know in the comments below.

Other wrestlers who have died in the 2020s include Mr. Brodie Lee, Butch Reed, Daffney,  “Judo” Gene LeBell, and Road Warrior Animal.