Lanny Poffo Auditioning for New Japan Color Commentator Role

On the latest edition of The Genius Cast podcast, Lanny Poffo responded to questions raised over a recent Wrestling Observer newsletter column by Dave Meltzer. Meltzer wrote that Lanny Poffo has come up in discussions as a possible replacement for Don Callis in the color commentator role for New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Related: Lanny Poffo, Brother of Macho Man Randy Savage, Launches Podcast

Lanny Poffo talking into the microphone wearing a black t-shirt an jeans with Jay Lethal sitting on the top turnbuckle with sunglasses on and pointing to the sky in honor or Randy Savage at an April 2018 Ring of Honor show
Lanny Poffo and Jay Lethal at an April 28, 2018 Ring of Honor show in Lakeland, Florida

Here is Dave Meltzer’s statement in full:

“It appears that Don Callis is likely done as an announcer with NJPW. Callis wasn’t called for the KOPW show and hasn’t been called about any future dates, they’ve basically stopped calling him but he hasn’t been told he’s no longer being used. Callis was unable to work several G1 events due to his schedule with Impact Wrestling, More than just bring an announcer; he helped put together the Omega vs. Jericho match that did big business for the company. The idea right now is to have a rotation of color commentators through the end of the year. The feeling is that if he’s brought back, it may just be for select big shows that fit his schedule. Jim Ross has been talked about for the Tokyo Dome, with the idea of using the live feed on AXS rather than going in studio and voicing it over. Lanny Poffo’s name has also come up as a possible replacement.”

When The Genius Cast podcast co-host JP Zarka asked if there was any truth to what Dave Meltzer said, Lanny Poffo replied with a question of his own, “My name?” 

He wasn’t open to talking about it at first. In fact, he wouldn’t have talked about it at all (you don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched), but when he learned that Dave Meltzer reported that his name was out there as a potential replacement for Callis, Lanny figured he should be forthcoming.

Listen to Lanny’s statement and further information not included in this article below:


“I’ll tell you what I know. Michael Craven from New Japan, I met him September 1st at All In. He asked me if I would be interested in holding the microphone as a color commentator [for New Japan] and I responded, ‘Wow, that would be great!’

“I love New Japan. I’ve never been to Japan. Can you imagine that? Of all the countries I’ve been, I’ve never been to Japan. That is on my bucket list!”

When discussing the nature of what his role would entail for New Japan, he clarified, “It’s just an audition. I’m flying out October 23rd and I’m coming back November 4th.”

Lanny Poffo will fly out to Tokyo, Japan on October 23rd to audition for the New Japan Pro Wrestling Color Commentary role

All of this came together almost by fate. Lanny Poffo explains that he sat next to Ring of Honor TV producer Mark Brown on an airplane on his way to New Orleans for WrestleCon during WrestleMania weekend in April. This chance meeting was the catalyst that led to a series of opportunities for him.

“[Mark Brown] is the one who told me that Hunter Johnston was the booker [for Ring of Honor] and he gave me his e-mail address. That is how I got [booked at] Lakeland, Florida [for a Ring of Honor show back on April 28, 2018]. The Young Bucks came up to me [at this show] and asked me politely if I would be on Being The Elite, and if you look at episode 101, I make a cameo appearance. Now that took my career from life support to the mainstream. All of a sudden I have a pulse!”

Lanny continued, “I’m going to be sixty-four on December 28th and I feel alive now, I feel young. These people make me feel young. I love New Japan and I love Ring of Honor, and I still love WWE. Wrestling has been very, very good to me so I want to be good to wrestling. I hope so much that I can do a good job.”

In true The Genius fashion, Lanny Poffo came up with a poem about his impending trip to Japan:

“The Genius comes to New Japan
So let your hearts rejoice
And bathe in the luxury
Of my poetic voice

My grooming is impeccable
My outfit is brand-new
Ichi, ni, san, shi, go,
Roku, shichi, hachi, kyuu, juu!”

“They bought me a ticket to Tokyo from Tampa and I’m going to get on that plane and do my very best to be an asset and not a liability. New Japan is a very exciting group of people and I feel very lucky to be invited. In the meantime, I’m retired, but I like to keep flexible and open for exciting opportunities like this!”

Whatever happens, good or bad, The Genius Cast podcast will roll along. Hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app to follow along with Lanny Poffo on his exciting journey!

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JP Zarka founded Pro Wrestling Stories in 2015 and is the creative force behind the website as editor-in-chief. From 2018-19, he was the podcast host and producer for The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo, brother of WWE legend Macho Man Randy Savage. His diverse career includes work as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, and musician, notably as a singer-songwriter with the London-based band Sterling Avenue. Zarka has appeared on TV programs like “Autopsy: The Last Hours of” on Reelz (U.S.) and Channel 5 (U.K.) and has contributed research for programming on ITV and BBC.