The Genius on Savage’s reigns

While conducting research for my 2009  WWE Championship book, I was lucky enough to speak with Lanny Poffo (aka The Genius) about his brother’s time in the company, particularly his two WWE Championship reigns. Of course, as you probably already know, Poffo’s brother was none other than Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Much of our conversation wound up in the book. But you can read the “cutting room floor” excerpts right here. Please keep in mind that this interview was conducted prior to Savage’s death in 2011:


Were you there at WrestleMania IV to celebrate with your brother?
I wasn’t any where near Atlantic City at the time, so I don’t know what was going on there. My mother, father and myself and my wife and daughter were all very thrilled for him. It was an intense evening.


I was there in 1971 when he as ignored in the Major League Baseball draft and I was there when he made up his mind that he was going to be at a free agent tryout in Busch Stadium in St. Louis and out of 300 free agents, he was the only one signed. He signed for no bonus and $500 a month. He supplemented his income by playing cards with the bonus babies. After five years, he got cut from every team he played for. He played for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox.


Then in 1975, he started over as a professional wrestler. Ten years later he made it to MSG. Two years after that he’s a world champion. That’s phenomenal. I’ve seen him overcome so much diversity; he’s a tremendous example to me as a younger brother. We may get disappointed, but we never get discouraged.


Were you ever jealous of your brother’s success?
I speak at a lot of schools … I’m a public speaker. That’s the question that everybody asks me.


I could take the attitude to be jealous, but I would have a big hole I’m my liver right now because that’s no way to live. I also believe that God didn’t make a mistake when he made me. I’m very proud of my career and my accomplishments. At the age of 55, I consider myself healthy, wealthy and free. I owe it all to wrestling. To be jealous of my brother would be ridiculous because my career would never have reached the heights that it did without him. He got me into WWE, I knew I would make it to the top spot.


One of the greatest moments of my career is when Randy Savage became “Macho King” Randy Savage and I wrote a poem for him. That’s the only time we were in the ring together. They kept us apart.


I believe there is no such thing as a jabroni in this business. We’re the ones who make you look good. And eventually my turn came too. I had a seven-year run and I’m not ashamed to talk about it.


How important was Elizabeth to Randy’s success?
He was going to be successful anyway because he was there three months before. Then she came and got over like brand new money. She made Randy look large and when you stand next to somebody who is diminutive, you look larger, which is something that Sensational Sherri could not do, she was a big woman. I believe Randy would have succeeded anyway. It was garnish that she was there. She became an amazing star and it’s sad to say that both of these valets are gone now. But Randy is 57 years old and he’s doing well now.


Did Randy have any apprehensions over the WrestleMania VIII storyline with Ric Flair?
[Randy and Elizabeth] put business ahead of everything. I imagine there were a couple of things they wouldn’t do, like pose nude in Playboy. They did draw the line at a few places. But they believed that the show comes first. Even if you don’t like the position that you have, you do the best you can with what you got.


Later in WCW, even after the divorce was public, since so many people were asking about Elizabeth, Randy brought her in as part of a storyline and turned her heel. No matter how they felt inside, they were never above doing things like that.


I thought the worst thing Randy did that I would have never done was let Jake Roberts’ snake bite him. He got a 103 fever and the snake died. Jake “The Snake” Roberts was the greatest talent to ever throw it all away. But he was different, unique, special.

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