My Time with Ring of Honor and How Caprice Coleman Saved the Day

I am going to be 65-years-old on December 28th, 2019, which is Medicare age. Also this coming December I’m expecting my second grandson. Despite the growing number attached to my age, it’s just made me feel so young to have been invited to take part in Saturday, August 24, 2019’s Ring of Honor tapings at Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first of two appearances I’ll be doing for Ring of Honor (with the second being in New Orleans on October 12, 2019). I am so appreciative of people like Hunter Johnston, the booker of Ring of Honor, who allowed me to come in and help out in the broadcasting booth.

Lanny Poffo, Ian Riccaboni, and Caprice Coleman of Ring of Honor
It was an honor to sit at the broadcasting booth alongside Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman of Ring of Honor.

“I didn’t want to become Fred Ottman (Shockmaster) famous!”

Through this experience, I got to meet some new people as well as old friends like Jay Lethal, Shane Taylor (who is an enormous but wonderful wrestler who moves like a junior heavyweight), and Joey Mercury, who had the unfortunate circumstance of being known for getting hit in the face with a ladder. He was fantastic and helped me every step of the way.

 

At the show, I came out to join the commentary team for the main event. During my entrance, I threw frisbees to the crowd from the stage and cut a promo telling the fans that the performers of this generation are much better than the ones from my generation. I hope my companions don’t hang me for that comment! I then made my way down the stairs. But before doing so, I noticed that the stairs didn’t have a handrail. Pyrotechnics had just gone off, it was a bit smoky in the venue, and the stairs were painted black so I asked if I could have help coming down the stairs because I didn’t want to become Fred Ottman (Shockmaster) famous!

The Shockmaster | Fred Ottman Opens up About Infamous Botched Debut

Quinn McKay, who wears glasses and does a fine job as a backstage interviewer for Ring of Honor, ended up being put to the task of ensuring I didn’t make headlines by taking a tragic spill at the show. I am forever grateful for that!

Just a year ago, I had a great time with New Japan where I was treated remarkably well. I had the opportunity to work and travel with Kevin Kelly for many many miles. He’s a great announcer and on that trip, he was trying to groom me to be one too. This commentating thing is harder than people realize and Kevin tried to give me the benefit of his wisdom and I tried to apply it for Ring of Honor last weekend.

Mavs Gillis, Lanny Poffo, and Chris Charlton commentating for New Japan in 2018
Mavs Gillis, Chris Charlton, and I commentating for New Japan in 2018.

How Caprice Coleman of Ring of Honor saved the day

Now I’m going to share a story with you all. When I sat down at the commentator booth alongside Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman, I grabbed the headset and put it on myself and didn’t realize that it was on backward. On top of that, you know how the male goes into the female in electronics? I knocked the male out of the female for my sound but not my voice. In other words, you could hear me but I could not hear Ian or Caprice.

Caprice, who was sitting on the opposite side of the table from me, noticed that I was fumbling around during the first ten minutes of the forty-minute elimination match between Rush, Jeff Cobb, Jay Lethal & Kenny King versus The Briscoes, Matt Taven & Shane Taylor that we were calling so he reached over and put the male into the female.

For ten hectic minutes before that, I couldn’t hear Caprice but I could hear Ian slightly as I was sitting right next to him. I had moved the headphone away from my ear on that side so I could hear Ian in real-time. It was a chaotic few minutes and I didn’t know what to do, but Caprice did. Afterward, I could hear perfectly. Caprice Coleman- what a team player. He saved the day!

After the taping was over, I explained to them both how I could hear Ian slightly but couldn’t hear Caprice as he was all the way over on the left. I said, “I hope I didn’t talk over you during the time I couldn’t hear anybody!” Thankfully, he said I didn’t and everybody was happy with how things went.

Wrestlers of today

What was really great about this whole experience was that I got to meet a lot of the new talent backstage. They are hungry, determined, athletic, excellent in the ring, and everybody had something nice to say about how much my brother meant to them. Things like this mean the world to me to hear.

As an additional treat, I got to meet and catch up with The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express’ Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton. Some fans may remember one year before Randy and I went to the WWF, we had a match against The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express that made history because Randy took Ricky Morton onto the table and gave him a pile driver causing the table to break. Some say hardcore wrestling was born that day but I say that’s nonsense because Abdullah the Butcher was before that, though I do appreciate the sentiment! There’s always been hardcore it’s just that it was never called that at the time.

WATCH: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs Lanny Poffo and Randy Savage, Memphis Wrestling, June 25th, 1984

 

In 1973, I was working for Tom Renesto and Ann Gunkel, the widow of Ray Gunkel. When Ray died, they had split off from the NWA. The thing is, Renesto always treated me like a son as did Dicky Steinborn, Thunderbolt Patterson, “The Missouri Mauler” Larry Hamilton, Rock Hunter, and “The Assassin” Jody Hamilton. Steinborn was a friend of my fathers and one of the greatest babyfaces in the country during his day (see: Dick Steinborn vs. Dory Funk Jr). These men always had time for me and what an experience it was to have all these great talents trying to teach me, unselfishly taking time with me to nurture me and prepare me for the business. I was just 18-years-old turning 19. It wouldn’t be long until I was off with my father to work with “The Sheik” Ed Farhat’s promotion from Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario.

Battle for Atlanta | How The NWA Crushed Ann Gunkel’s Outlaw Promotion

I look back at this time in my life and I’m flooded with memories with how these people went out of their way to help me learn. How lucky I am to be in the business and have had so many people help me along the way. That’s why whenever I get the opportunity to take part in shows with companies like Ring of Honor or New Japan, or whenever I go to schools to give lectures, I never discourage people. I always encourage people because life will discourage you so why should I do it? Real life is full of rejection and heartbreak but they’re not going to get it from me. I’m there to motivate not to demoralize. Whenever I go to Atlanta, I think how lucky I was to have graduated from the wrestling school of Atlanta and how I had the opportunity to go to places like Savanah, Columbus, Augusta – everything in the loop.

Leading back to it all, it was an enjoyable experience working with Ring of Honor again. Everyone was professional and polite, from the moment I got off the plane to the moment I stepped foot on terra firma. And to think, none of this would have happened had I not by chance sat next to Ring of Honor TV Producer Mark Brown on a flight to New Orleans in 2018. He and I have since become friends and have got together in Clearwater with his lovely wife and family. Through this fateful meeting, he got me in touch with the people of Ring of Honor. One thing led to another and here now I am able to have some nostalgic moments at age 64. Having the privilege of being able to be a part of their show makes me feel like a young man again because I am hanging around with young and hungry people. They tried to call me sir and I say, “No, you call me Lanny! I don’t need your respect- I want to earn it.” If ever I am needed again, I will be there!

Upcoming Appearances

I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on December 28th, 1954. I’m very excited to be returning to Calgary for the very first time in many years. Not only will I be taking part in two shows, but the people behind the trip are treating me to a day at Banff National Park, Lake Louise, and Jasper for a day of tourism. This will be a tick off the bucket list for me!

On Thursday, August 29th, 2019, I will be making an appearance for Real Canadian Wrestling’s “Back to School Bash”. Here are the following details for the event:

Location:
Norwood Legion
11150-82st
Edmonton, Alberta

Meet and Greet: 6:00 pm
Door: 6:30 pm
Show: 7:00 pm

RCW Canadian title match: WWE legend “The Genius” Lanny Poffo challenges Heavy Metal

Grudge rematch: Chris Perish vs Jesse Youngblood

Last Man Standing Match: Son of Irish vs NITE

RCW Canadian tag title match: Malicious Malitia vs Barricade/Dean Richtor

Alberta Title Match: Dylon Stone(Champion) vs Mentallo

Jack Pride vs Wavell Starr

TICKET PRICES:
Meet/Greet(Ringside): $30.00
Advance: $25.00
Door: $30.00

In case you missed it, be sure to read my first articles on Pro Wrestling Stories:

Lanny Poffo
Lanny Poffo, formerly known as "The Genius" and "Leaping Lanny" of the WWF, is an occasional columnist for Pro Wrestling Stories, a published author, motivational speaker, former host of The Genius Cast podcast, and brother of WWE Hall of Famer “Macho Man” Randy Savage. You can find him on Twitter @LannyPoffo, Facebook @lanny.poffo, or GeniusLannyPoffo.com.