Saturday night in Hawkesbury, Ontario, halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, “The Genius” Lanny Poffo will be paying tribute to his brother at The Macho Man Randy Savage Memorial Show. But before the show, promoted by Great North Wrestling, he took the time to answer some questions from readers, in this first of two parts.
In this one, he talks a lot about his brother and some of what he is up to today. In part two, he addresses his earlier career, including his time in the Poffo-run ICW, Mid-South and the WWF.
Q: Did you choose Greg Valentine in particular to wrestle on your brothers memorial show? If yes why? [Annie]
LANNY: The promoter suggested it. I don’t pick who I’m going to wrestle.
GREG: Is he a suitable choice?
LANNY: It doesn’t really matter. Nothing is going to bring him back. If the fans want to remember him, I’m all for it, and it doesn’t matter who I wrestle.
Q: As a longtime wrestling fan since 1982, do you think your brother Randy “The Macho Man” Savage should go in the WWE Hall of Fame for the class of 2012? [James, Racine, Wisconsin]
LANNY: He should have gone in every year they had it since the beginning of time. Yes, it would be nice, but it won’t bring him back. It’s up to the fans, and the fans have demanded that he go in.
Q: I enjoyed meeting you at the St. Thomas Sports Spectacular a couple years back. You were a true professional and a true gentleman. I had always wondered about the exclusion of your brother, Randy Savage, from the WWE Hall of Fame. My question, to your knowledge, did the WWE ever reach out to Randy for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame? What was Randy’s feeling toward such an honour from the WWE if it was ever to be offered to him? [Dan Kelly, St. Thomas, Ontario]
LANNY: Yes, we talked about it. As a matter of fact, what he was, remember when the Von Erichs got into the Hall of Fame? That was the first time he’d mentioned it, and my father was still alive. We celebrated his birthday, and at this point my father was coherent. He says, ‘The Von Erichs are in the Hall of Fame? I’m not going in, ever, into the Hall of Fame unless it’s the Poffos, Lanny, Randy and Angelo.’ That’s what he said. We didn’t cremate him against his wishes and we’re not going to go into the Hall of Fame against his wishes either.
Q: Are you/will you be writing an autobiography based on you and your brother Randy’s career in wrestling? Maybe title it Behind the Madness: The Lanny Poffo and Randy Savage Story. [Angus Wong]
LANNY: I don’t think that would be a good idea at this time. I’ve had several offers, but my concern is my mother right now. I don’t want to give her anything else to deal with.
Q: Condolences to you and your family on Randy’s passing. Do you wish you could have played up your relationship with Randy in the WWF? [Bernhard Wall]
LANNY: No, I liked it better the way it was. It was better for Randy and it didn’t hurt me at all. At least I got my [run] for four months with Hulk Hogan. I’ve decided to live the rest of my life with no animosity whatsoever, and I’m not going to be bitter like 100% of the wrestlers are.
Q: Is it true that you had a three-year contract with WCW and they never used you once? [Annie]
LANNY: That’s true. I bleached my hair blond for several years, and I bought several capes, trying to be the next Gorgeous George. But the phone never rang. I wanted to work, and I wasn’t the only wrestler in that situation. You might say that my brother was looking after me, and it was just a perk of my brother’s; they just took care of the Macho Man and his brother.
Q: Can you talk about your Gorgeous George web project. I found it on MachoMan.com. I remember reading the name was bought by Savage or WCW and meant for you, but do you own the name now? Are you doing a project of sorts? [Ryan Mitchell]
LANNY: Here’s what happened. Randy bought the rights for me, so I could be Gorgeous George. But then when they didn’t call, he made his girl, Stephanie Bellars, Gorgeous George and do the gender-bending title. Then, you see, almost as if Randy knew he was going downhill, Randy started apologizing to everybody he had told bad things to, making amends for feuds he had had in his private life. So, one of the things that he felt badly was Gorgeous George, George Wagner, the old one, was 10 years older than my father, and was already established when my dad was starting out. He played a tremendous role in my father’s development, and took an interest in him and encouraged him, and gave him validation that he was on the right track. That’s something, when the greatest in the world does that to a kid, it means something — or it should. So Randy felt that, okay, another reason he did it, he knew that his athletic skills were diminishing with age, as they all will. He decided to get up on more gimmicks, more gimmicks, more gimmicks; that’s why he gave the gimmick to Gorgeous George, to get some use out of it, because they weren’t going to use me. Then, a year before he died, he got the idea that he wanted to do a tribute to Gorgeous George because if Gorgeous George hadn’t been nice to my dad, my dad wouldn’t have made it in wrestling and wouldn’t have had two kids that followed in his footsteps. It was all because of Gorgeous George, and he had trashed his name. So, he built a DVD to honor the name. If you go to MachoMan.com, it’ll hijack you into gorgeousgeorgeenterprises.com, and you can see the poem that I wrote, and I was the emcee of it, and they had Gorgeous George’s later matches on it.
Q: Did you prefer being a manager or wrestler? [Annie]
LANNY: I preferred being a wrestler, but if I ever came back, it would have to be as a manager because I’m really old now. I’m going to be 57 in December.
Q: Lanny, what poem that you wrote for your intros got the biggest positive audience response? [RockGolf]
LANNY: The one I did for Special Olympics. I did some non-wrestling poems in wrestling situations. The reason I did it was Arnold Schwarzenegger was in the audience in what was then the Meadowlands, the Brendan Byrne Arena, now I believe it’s the Continental Arena. Arnold came back to the dressing room and he said [doing Schwarzenegger’s voice], ‘Lanny, that was very nice. Maria and I just loved the poem.’
Q: How has having Macho Man Randy Savage as a brother impacted your career positively and negatively? [Corinne, Manitoba]
LANNY: It was only positives, and I guarantee you I wouldn’t have been in the WWE or WWF if it weren’t for Randy. The reason that I know that was after they invited him in, he said, ‘Do you got any room for my brother?’ They said, ‘Well, not on top.’ He said, ‘Are you a heel or a babyface?’ I said, ‘Well, if I’m not going in on top, I’d rather be a babyface.’ Because there’s nothing more depressing than an underneath heel — you do all that cheating and you still can’t win. So, anyway, I’d rather be a babyface if I’m underneath, but I’d rather be a heel on top.
Q: How do you feel about your brother being in recent WWE products, such as; video games, etc …? [Quickstorm1]
LANNY: I think it’s fantastic. Did you see the interview he made for the Mattel dolls? He said, ‘It looks just like me, not now, but then.’ He got a big pop at the ComicCon with his video when he made that self-deprecatory joke. I thought it was phenomenal. He made a joke about himself that he didn’t look like that anymore.
GREG: None of us look like we did 20 years ago.
LANNY: No, but we expect a star to always stay in shape. But the thing is, he died at the age of 58, almost 59. It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.
Q: Has Mattel approached him about a future Genius figure for their Legends Series?
LANNY: No but I’m waiting by the phone!
Q: What are you doing now and did you find peace after pro wrestling? [Courtney Marshall]
LANNY: I have a website, GeniusLannyPoffo.com, and I sell my books, my pictures, my stuff. I even have a little bit of a thing where I can call them up. And I make appearances and stuff. So I’m still feasting off my moment of fame in my later life, like what’s old is new. Did I find peace? Yes, until about three months and 11 days ago. Nobody called that shot.
Q: What has been you greatest in ring achievement over your long successful career and also outside the wrestling world? [Chris Coady, Arnprior, Ontario]
LANNY: Wrestling Hulk Hogan on NBC in 1989. Appearing on Regis Philbin in 1990. Outside the ring, the birth of my daughter on 5-29-1984.
Q: What was the biggest regret you had in your wrestling career? Either something you had done or failed to do. [Todd in NC]
LANNY: My biggest regret? Let’s see. I have no regrets. Wrestling has been very good to me, and for me to start regretting it now would be, I would be just like every other wrestling interview I’ve ever heard, and I’d like to avoid that if I can. Some of the people with the most to be appreciative of are the least appreciative, which I find hilarious.”