Lanny Poffo and his brother Randy “Savage” Poffo were sons of outlaw promoter Angelo Poffo. Before they hit it big in the WWF in the mid ‘80s, they worked the Mid Atlantic territory (among others) where George Scott was booker. Scott and Lanny became friends, and Scott likely brought the Poffos to the WWF years later when he was booker during the rock n’ wrestling era.
Fight: Lanny Poffo vs Gene Anderson
Date: November 3, 1976 (unconfirmed)
Location: North Carolina (exact location unknown)
Source: Armpit reader Dave, RF Video
Randy had a reputation as a tough guy back then, and was not afraid to mix it up. An example of that is a fight he had with Ron Garvin, in which Garvin could’ve really injured Randy badly because of the dangerous object used. Garvin had heard stories about Randy, so he was prepared for something in case it happened. While Lanny was involved in that fight with Garvin too, he was admittedly not as tough as Randy and also nowhere near as hot tempered.
However, Lanny was still the son of a pro wrestler and very athletic and limber. In 1976-1977, he was working North Carolina and often worked the undercards that Ric Flair would headline. Lanny claimed the territory would often run three shows per night, and that Flair’s would almost always sell out even if the other two shows didn’t. Lanny claimed Flair even drew a sellout in Fayetteville on the night Jimmy Carter won the 1976 election against Gerald Ford (November 2, 1976).
Lanny was at the YMCA the next day, and Ole was complaining that the house was down at the town he worked. Lanny claimed Ole said, “How do they expect us to draw with the Presidential election?”
Lanny asked, “What town were you in? I was in Fayetteville and we had a sellout.”
Ole asked, “What was on top?”
“Ric Flair,” Lanny replied. Lanny then joked that maybe the polls closed early in Fayetteville that day.
Lanny claimed Ole would always knock Flair behind his back, but kiss up to him in person all the time. Ole said, “Well don’t forget, Flair entertains them, but we convince them.”
Lanny shot back with, “How do you convince an empty chair?”
Ole replied, “How dare you talk to me, in this business? Just for that, we’re gonna teach you a lesson tonight.” The ‘we’ Ole referred to was his tag team partner Gene Anderson, a noted tough guy in the business.
The match was a battle royal, and once half the wrestlers had been eliminated, sure enough, Gene came up from behind and picked Lanny up in the air and took him down. Lanny did a short sit-out and pinned him, and kept him pinned as Tim Woods, Dino Bravo, and Randy were laughing at how Gene’s plot was foiled.
Lanny said he liked Gene, and rather than submit or hurt him, he just kept him pinned. He finally let him up and said, “Okay Ole, your turn.” Lanny claimed Ole’s face turned white and that he didn’t want to face him. Unbeknownst to Lanny at the time, Gene was considered the tougher of the two Anderson brothers. However, Gene was much older at the time and his health was affecting him, while Lanny would’ve been in his early 20s.
There’s no love lost between Lanny and Ole to this day. Ole wasn’t a fan of Lanny’s effeminate gimmicks, and Lanny knew it. Ole is also unpopular among those who know him, and Flair once called him a “miserable bastard” on his podcast. Ole was one of the all-time great promos, and had both success and failure as a booker over the years. He’s perhaps most well known for conceiving the Black Scorpion angle in WCW in 1990.