Wrestler of the Day – July 18: Jerry Lawler

Here’s a commentator who could actually wrestle: Jerry Lawler.

This is going to be a bit different than you might expect. Lawler has been around SO long that it’s almost impossible to cover everything. I’ll have to jump a lot as several years of his old stuff is very difficult to find.

Lawler got started in 1970. Here’s a match from I believe 1975/1976.

Jerry Lawler vs. Don Anderson

Lawler is a huge heel here and is already ticking the fans off before the match. The guy is nothing short of a master at that. A headlock goes nowhere and it’s Anderson taking over with an armbar. Back up and Lawler backs up before grabbing an armbar. Anderson counters and we get a complaint of tights being pulled to no avail. Back up again and Jerry hammers away, knocking him out to the floor with a big right hand. This brings out a football player that Lawler had yelled at earlier to knock Jerry out for the DQ.

Here’s a one time only moment: Ric Flair comes to Memphis. This was all set up and blown off in one episode. Flair was in Memphis on August 14, 1982 for a match and the angle came from there. I’ll include the promos for background.

Flair comes in to the studio and talks about how Memphis has surprised him with its class and how well read everyone is. He’s willing to wrestle here out of the goodness of his heart and signs for a contract against the Southern Heavyweight Champion, whoever that is at that point, at a date in the future. He’ll also be in the ring later tonight against Rick McCord.

Later in the show, Jerry Lawler comes out and doesn’t like that he’s facing Pat Hutchinson because Pat isn’t much competition. He would however like to shake hands with Ric Flair. Here’s Flair in the robe but Lawler asks him to step down off the apron for a second. Flair acts like he doesn’t know who Lawler is, even though Lawler says they wrestled on the same card a few months ago.

Ric says he isn’t wasting his time on Lawler but he’ll talk to him after the match. Jerry says Ric is here to impress the pretty women of Memphis and that won’t happen if he beats a rookie like McCord. The World Champion isn’t impressed and says he could wrestle a broom. He’s surprised by Memphis and could wrestle anyone and impress everybody. If the people here want him to face somebody else, then bring them out.

That’s exactly what Lawler wanted to hear, because he’d love to wrestle Ric Flair. Ric agrees to a ten minute time limit non-title match. Jerry plays on Flair’s ego, saying that if no one is up to Flair’s caliber, why not put the title on the line? Ric thinks it’s beneath him but he’ll do it anyway. They make it clear that the title is on the line for ten minutes.

NWA World Title: Ric Flair vs. Jerry Lawler

After the introductions, Flair wants it known that the champion is a fair man. Lawler may be a big man in Memphis, but Flair will give him the chance to walk out right now. Lawler says bring it on and the bell rings. Ric easily takes him to the mat and Jerry clearly isn’t much of an amateur wrestler. They trade hammerlocks with Flair being taken to the mat and it’s off to an armbar by the King. Jerry wins a battle over a top wristlock and takes the champion down with a headlock.

Back up and the time is already screwed up as they’re halfway done after about four minutes. Jerry is sent face first into the buckle but he catches Ric in a quickly broken sleeper. There are less than three minutes to go and Flair chops Lawler down, only to get caught in a gutwrench suplex for two. Ric hammers away and gets two off an elbow drop as we’ve got a minute left. There’s a knee drop for two more and a delayed vertical suplex. Flair puts on the Figure Four as time runs out after less than eight minutes.

Rating: D. The match was pretty horrible but they didn’t have the time to go anywhere. You would think Lawler would get in more offense though as this was mainly a Flair squash after about three minutes in. The time thing was probably a TV deal and something that was very common back in the day.

Post match Flair screams that Lawler gave up but is told it was a time limit draw. Now he wants five more minutes and the match continues. Flair throws Lawler around but Jerry is all ticked off. There goes the strap and Jerry hammers away before sending him into the corner for a Flair Flip. The middle rope fist connects and Ric bails to the floor. He grabs the title and leaves for the countout.

Lawler declares himself the winner and wants to know where his belt is. After a break, promoter Eddie Marlin comes out and says there was no contract and it wasn’t a title match. Ric comes back out and says there’s no contract and rips Memphis apart. Flair won’t ever wrestle Lawler again and says Jimmy Hart is the only man he trusts in Memphis.

Ric writes Hart a check for $10,000 for the destruction of Jerry Lawler. He’ll sign the check the day he hears that Lawler has a broken arm, a broken leg, a broken neck or whatever it takes to get him out of wrestling. There will be men coming in from around the world to take care of Lawler and he’ll know that Ric Flair is the Big Daddy of Memphis. I’ve always liked this story, even though it was something they did in almost every territory to make the top guy look like an even bigger deal.

We’ll stay in Memphis with this match on January 15, 1983. And no it’s not him.

Sabu vs. Jerry Lawler

Boy that would mean a much different match today. Before the match Lawler says he’s sick of Hart and all of his cronies and all their bounties and challenges and all that stuff. If Hart wants to, bring all his boys out here right now and let’s do it. Hart and Sabu come out and it’s on fast. Lawler throws Sabu into the ring and the beating begins. They head to the floor and Lawler destroys him with a chair. I don’t think this was anything resembling a match. Actually the referee is letting it keep going. Eaton runs in and gets a right hand from Jerry.

Lawler beats the tar out of Eaton too before heading back in to beat on Sabu some more. Back to Eaton as Jerry has to keep going between the two of them. He doesn’t seem to have many friends here does he? Sabu finally gets in a shot on Lawler with his collar and the beating is on. Some people finally come in to help but get beaten down as well.

From the AWA’s Super Sunday in 1983.

Jerry Lawler vs. John Tolos

Tolos is a guy named the Golden Greek who died a few years back. This is right after the David Letterman show with Kaufman so Lawler is a national sensation at this point. Tolos jumps him immediately and Jerry is in trouble early on. He hits a jumping shot to the arm and hooks a wristlock on Lawler. Lawler comes back with a punch and hooks a headlock. It’s so weird hearing Jerry called a young man.

Lawler cranks on the head and the fans are getting into his stuff. He cranks on the head twenty seven times with the fans counting along. A big right hand puts Tolos down and hooks the chinlock. A jawbreaker gets him out of that and they collide to put both guys down. Tolos gets up and throws him over the top for….not a DQ for some reason.

Back in Tolos gets some two counts and there goes the strap. He takes Tolos down and hits rapid fire punches to the face followed by the middle rope fist drop for two. Lawler misses a charge and both guys go down. Tolos misses a middle rope knee drop and the piledriver ends this. Lawler can’t do much but he can hit a piledriver with the best of them.

Rating: D+. Not much here but Lawler was a much bigger deal at this point on a national stage due to the Letterman/Kaufman thing. Having him come out here and piledrive a midcard level guy was the right move. The problem with this show is becoming clear though as there aren’t any real stories to the matches. To be fair though, that’s normal for wrestling back in this era.

Back in Memphis on December 26, 1987. There wasn’t much to be seen in the years between.

Lord of the Ring First Round: Curt Hennig vs. Jerry Lawler

Hennig jumps Lawler to start and stomps away with Jerry in big trouble. Curt pokes him in the eye as this has been one sided so far. Lawler is draped across the top rope for two and a knee lift puts him down again. Curt sends him into the corner as the beating continues. Lawler finally starts getting fired up and takes the strap down as the fans get into the match. Jerry pounds away in the corner so Hennig throws the referee down. Apparently that isn’t a DQ so Lawler makes his comeback and punches Curt down, eventually ending him with the middle rope fist drop.

Rating: D. This was more of an angle instead of a match. Jerry was chasing the world title at this point and would finally win in about five months later. This was more or less a teaser for future matches which is fine, though I’m surprised they went with the champion getting pinned in just over five minutes.

Jerry would finally get his real World Title (kind of) when Curt Hennig was jumping to the WWF. Lawler would be AWA World Champion in a title unification match at SuperClash III.

AWA World Title/WCCW World Title: Jerry Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich

This is a legit unification match which is rarer than anything you’ll ever see in modern wrestling. This would be like the TNA Champion and ROH Champion unifying their belts. See what I mean? The unification lasted like a month because no one could actually let that stand. Lawler comes out to Gonna Fly Now. That takes guts. Both guys are faces but Lawler is the de facto heel.

Kerry, ever the brilliant guy, cuts his left arm half to pieces TAKING HIS JACKET OFF, because that’s where he was keeping his razor. There is literally blood dripping onto the mat 5 seconds into the match. Lawler rams it into the post like 40 seconds in to give it a reason to bleed, which shows some intelligence. Marshall manages to confuse right and left. And people wonder why this company folded.

Kerry hits a big right hand to take over and keeps checking his cut. Marshall says both of them have beaten Flair, Savage and Hogan. That’s true in Lawler’s case but I don’t remember ANY instance of Von Erich even facing Savage or Hogan. Then again he messed up left and right not 2 minutes ago so I’d take that with a grain of salt. Von Erich gets a clothesline and Lawler is annoyed.

Still feeling out now. Again remember that Lawler is a legit tough guy here and not a comedy guy that is a grizzled veteran. School boy gets two for Kerry. They do a test of strength which even the announcers say is stupid for Lawler. Jerry misses a right hand and the discus punch gets two. Lawler sends him to the floor and takes over as we’re into the meat of the match now.

Piledriver is loaded up and hits but Kerry beats him to his feet. Another discus punch hits for two. Claw goes on but he can’t quite cinch it in. A knee drop misses and Jerry gets a second wind. And there goes the referee about ten minutes in. Von Erich gets a Piledriver and there’s no referee. There is blood everywhere. Outside and Kerry punches the post by mistake, shifting momentum again.

Lawler does the Memphis standard of pretending to have a foreign object to drive the fans nuts. There’s nothing in his hand but it looks great. Kerry’s head is busted now and Lawler goes in for the kill, hitting the middle rope punch for two. He throws in the foreign object on the second one but Lawler jumps into the Iron Claw on the stomach (just go with it). The regular Claw goes on and blood is literally dripping off Von Erich’s head. Jerry finally gets a rope but it goes on again, this time in the middle of the ring.

The referee keeps checking on the cut and Kerry keeps shaking his head to make it harder to do, probably thinking there’s too much blood there. They get up and Kerry misses a charge in the corner to send Kerry’s head into the post. I was wrong earlier as they’ve found new places to bleed on. They slug it out and Lawler gets the object again for another shot.

Kerry’s tights have blood on them and are half red now when they started as white. Jerry goes after the eye like a crazy man and just picks his shots now. Kerry misses a big swing and it’s Ali Shuffle time. Time for the object again and Von Erich hits the floor. Lawler gets a running punch back in and Kerry is somehow able to fight back.

Discus punch hits in the corner and the referee keeps wanting to check on the cut. They punch each other and the referee finally gets to check on the cut. The fans are totally behind Kerry here. Claw goes on again and Lawler is almost dead but gets his arm up at the last possible second a few times. The referee checks the eye again and stops the match with Lawler out cold. Not for Lawler passing out, but because Von Erich “can’t continue.” WEAK ending, especially when Lawler is unconscious.

Rating: B+. This would have been a lot higher if they got the ending right. The blood thing works if they’re both down or something, but with Lawler out cold in the Claw and somehow winning there, I don’t get how that exactly works. Still though, this wouldn’t last long at all as the AWA stripped their title off Lawler in January or so and Larry Zbyszko of all people won it due to being Verne’s son in law.

Back to Memphis again on January 26, 1991.

Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Garvin

Uptown Bruno runs his mouth for awhile on commentary as the stalling is going on. We’re a minute in and there hasn’t been any contact. Ok there’s a lockup so we’re really going now. A right hand puts Garvin on the floor and he yells at the fans a bit. Garvin wants to box and Lawler is fine with it, so Garvin runs again. Back in Garvin charges into a boot in the corner. They’re averaging a strike a minute so far.

Bruno slips Garvin a chain and a pair of shots with it puts Lawler down. Piledriver further kills the King and Bruno chokes a bit. A third chain shot puts him down but Lawler pulls the strap down. He punches Garvin into the ropes and calls for something. Someone throws a pair of scissors in and the chase is on. Garvin runs out for the countout.

Rating: C-. Pretty boring match here as the majority of it was brawling. That’s Memphis 101 though: they’ve very much into a simpler style but it works pretty well as far as a crowd reaction. Stuff like trying to cut someone’s hair is an act of war and a non-existent chain is all you need to send the crowd into a frenzy. It’s the polar opposite of Raw and to an extent it really works.

Another Memphis match from February 13, 1993.

Rock N Roll Phantom vs. Jerry Lawler

The Phantom is Ron Bass’ (remember him? You probably shouldn’t) brother in a mask. He’s rather fat and is from Louisiana. Luger is out for commentary again. The Phantom takes over to start but Lawler gets going and the same guys that came out with Christopher earlier are here with the Phantom. They come in for a DQ at about a minute in. Jarrett and Christopher come out for a huge beatdown. Christopher gets on the mic (fourth or fifth time tonight) and says if Lawler wants to fight him tonight, get Jarrett out of the ring. Christopher tries to run anyway but Lawler catches him and beats him up.

It would soon be off to the WWF, with Lawler going after King of the Ring Bret Hart, triggering a LONG war, including this match at Summerslam 1993. It was supposed to take place earlier in the night but Bret first had to beat Doink the Clown. Jerry attacked him with his crutch to end the previous match, so Bret is coming in weakened.

Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler

Bret blasts him in the head with one of Doink’s buckets before the bell. They head inside and Bret immediately pounds Lawler down and gets in a crutch shot for good measure. Lawler gets in a crutch shot to the throat and chokes away as the referee (ECW’s Bill Alfonzo) is trying to restrain the Hart Brothers.

Bret gets crotched against the post, allowing Lawler to tell the referee to go yell at the Brothers again. The distraction lets Lawler get in more crutch shots in a classic simple heel move. He stops to tell the booing fans to shut up but Bret is ready to fight. Hart destroys Lawer and even throws in a piledriver before putting on the Sharpshooter for the academic submission. He won’t let go though and the decision is reversed.

Rating: B. The match itself isn’t much from an action standpoint, but the story was perfect (Bret wants revenge) and it’s a short form clinic on how to work a crowd from Lawler. Those subtle things like distracting the referee and sneaking in weapon shots and telling the crowd to shut up are so basic and easy but you NEVER see them today. Today’s writers need to watch some Lawler matches and they’ll learn how to have a crowd eating out of a heel’s hand in no time.

It takes about ten referees plus two Brothers to pull Bret off of Lawler. Bret is told that Lawler is the undisputed King so he goes after Jerry again as Lawler is put on a stretcher. Bruce Hart gets in some shots as well but Lawler is finally wheeled off, raising his arm in victory like the true villain he is.

Unfortunately we never got the planned blowoff to this feud as some 15 year old accused Lawler of rape (she admitted she made the whole thing up and Lawler was acquitted) so the Hart Brothers vs. Jerry and three hired goons at Survivor Series never happened. That’s a shame as the reaction for Lawler being destroyed by the whole family including Stu would have been a sight to behold.

Lawler would get into a weird feud with Roddy Piper over some charity deal, setting up Lawler’s lone PPV main event at King of the Ring 1994.

Roddy Piper vs. Jerry Lawler

Yes, this is somehow the main event of a show with a tournament and a world title match on it. Also, they talk about the New Generation as Lawler walks down the aisle. So we have two mostly retired guys representing the new generation. Yeah that makes a ton of sense. Donovan inadvertently points out the biggest flaw in the tournament: Lawler has always been king so it’s very confusing.

He calls himself the undisputed king of the company, despite Owen being crowned about 3 minutes ago. See the problem now? There’s also something about a children’s hospital in Canada as we’ve apparently shifted from King of the Ring to a bad TV movie of the week. Of course Piper has a full team of bagpipe players and drummers. For zero apparent reason, Piper is now best friends with the guy that made fun of him on Raw.

That makes less than zero sense. Apparently Lawler is to blame for the kid putting on the Piper outfit, doing an impression of Roddy, and bowing to King and kissing his feet. Why are we having this match again? That makes no sense at all but we’ll go with it anyway. Oh look Piper wants to talk. He uses the bubblegum line to a HUGE pop. The kid makes some bad jokes too for no apparent reason.

So, from the time Lawler came through the curtain, it took 8 minutes to start the actual match. Gorilla says it’s vintage Piper, and in this case it actually is as he doesn’t actually wrestle but fights. The kid has a crown on. Just take me now. Piper throws some punches to mix it up a little. Donovan thinks Piper doesn’t like Lawler. At least this is almost over. The kid keeps interfering and even Piper gets annoyed with him.

Lawler hasn’t gotten a single move in yet and we’re about 4 minutes in. Roddy has short and almost blonde hair at this point and it’s just not right looking. Lawler goes after the kid and gets beaten on. That’s the story way too many times in this. Make that 6 minutes with nothing from Jerry. Hey there’s a punch, and once he gets Piper dazed a bit, he goes after the kid again. This show just needs to end now. I mean right now. Walk out of the ring and the show will be better instantly.

Apparently by being evil, Lawler is showing his true colors. If that’s the case he’s the biggest patriot I’ve ever seen because he never has a problem showing them. We’re in the corner now with the kid next to the buckle and Piper on his for protection while Lawler kicks Piper. I hate this match. There’s no commentary for a bit either as they have nothing to say or Donovan has wandered off again.

Piper “defends” him by shoving him out of the ring head first. 96% of this match has been punches. I mean they’re not even throwing in any kicks or something like that to vary it up a bit. Why are these two main eventing this show? Can ANYONE explain that to me? Apparently Lawler has patented the sleeper. Does ANYONE ever remember him using that? I know Piper used it, but Lawler?

I think Roddy agreed to give money or part of it or something that he wins here to the hospital. You know, instead of just giving it to them anyway from his own pocket. Lawler hits the only high impact move he knows and Roddy gets up. Piper says bring it on, so Lawler punches him down. That’s just amusing. This is just a bad match and it’s not showing any sign of ending.

Piper hits two bulldogs because the first wasn’t enough I suppose. He sets for a third and the referee goes down. Lawler hits him with the legendary foreign object and Piper is out. To continue the idiocy of this match, Lawler puts his feet on the ropes. That’s not that dumb of course as it’s a standard heel move that made Flair more hated than it was thought humanly possible to be.

No, the stupid part is Piper kicking his feet up into the air while not moving Lawler at all. Hey Roddy: IT MIGHT HELP IF YOU MOVED YOUR ARMS TOO! Seriously he’s just kicking them into the air. You would think he’s having a seizure or something. Anyway the kid shoves Lawler’s feet off the ropes because we just haven’t had enough fun tonight.

Piper botches a belly to back suplex and then botches a cover (Yes, he managed to botch a cover) for the pin to end this as apparently it’s a big deal that it’s Father’s Day. Ok then. Piper celebrates with the kid to end this.

Rating: F. WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THE POINT OF THIS??? It’s the second longest match of the night and it was AWFUL. Literally, 95%+ of that match was just punching. It wasn’t interesting, there was ZERO reason for this to end the show, and that kid was a freaking pest. Why wasn’t the WWF Title match the main event? It couldn’t have been to send the fans home happy. They were asleep for the most part. Hart won so it’s not like they would have been sad. I’m at a loss for words on this and that’s not something that happens often. I seriously have no clue what they were thinking here.

Back to Bret at the first In Your House. Bret had to face Hakushi earlier in the night but he “injured his knee” so Lawler is very confident.

Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart

Jerry didn’t see the interview so Bret limps to the ring again, only to climb in with ease. Lawler tries to run but gets caught in the corner where Bret pounds away. Bret takes him down with a slam and some legdrops followed by a BIG backdrop. All Hart so far but Lawler comes back with a quick piledriver (his finisher) but Bret is up in just a few seconds. He pounds way on Jerry in the corner again before piledriving Lawler down for one.

Jerry comes back with a slam of his own while going up top, only to jump into Bret’s fist to the ribs. Bret pounds away but here’s Shinja to distract Hart for about the 12th time tonight. The referee is knocked into the ropes and gets his ankle tied up in the ropes as Bret hits the Russian legsweep. Hakushi comes in and takes out Bret with a kick to the head and two top rope headbutts, giving Lawler the easy pin.

Rating: D+. Again this didn’t have the time to go anywhere as the last two matches haven’t even combined to go 11 minutes. Lawler vs. Hart was a feud that went on for over two years and would culminate soon enough. This wasn’t the best entry in the series though but it furthered both itself and Hakushi vs. Bret so no complaints there.

We’ll jump ahead again to Summerslam 1996 where Lawler has been tormenting Jake Roberts for his alcohol issues.

Jerry Lawler vs. Jake Roberts

Before the match we have the debut of a new Olympian who will be getting in the ring soon: Mark Henry. Lawler brings his own bag with him along with something in his pocket. He’s also wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey (the beloved Cleveland Browns had recently moved to Baltimore and become the Ravens) because Lawler knows how to rile up a crowd like few others ever could. Henry thinks it’s hilarious despite being a face.

Lawler pulls out two bottles of Jim Beam to be Roberts’ partners tonight and says Roberts’ wife only looks good after a six pack. Henry is so stupid that if he won a gold medal he’d have it bronzed. Once Roberts uses his bar stool as a walker to get out here, Lawler is going to knock him sideways so everyone can recognize him. It’s very impressive how easily Lawler can have a crowd eating out of the palm of his hand like this.

Roberts finally comes out so Lawler pulls a huge bottle of booze from the bag. Jake pulls the snake out of his own bag to scare Lawler to the floor and the bell finally rings. Lawler looks for a microphone but Jake sends him face first into the steps and hammers away back inside. Back to the floor with Lawler being sent into various hard objects until he steals a drink from a fan to blind Jake. Henry: “So what is the fan going to drink?” Lawler gets one of the bottles from ringside but has to block a DDT attempt. Another DDT is countered and Jerry hits him in the throat with the bottle for the pin.

Rating: D. This was much more of an angle than a match with Lawler giving a great lesson in how to fire up a crowd. Roberts wouldn’t be around much longer before heading to ECW and the indies. This would lead to Henry’s first mini feud against Lawler which started got his career going in slow motion.

Post match Lawler says Roberts is holding his throat because he wants a drink. Lawler opens the big bottle to pour it down Jake’s throat but Mark Henry makes a delayed save.

Jerry would be on a team at Survivor Series 1996.

Team Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Team Marc Mero

Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Jerry Lawler, Goldust, Crush
Marc Mero, Jake Roberts, The Stalker, Rocky Maivia

I think you know everyone here. Stalker is Barry Windham as a kind of military guerrilla warfare character. This is Rocky’s debut, so who do you think the focus is going to be on? Lawler and Roberts are feuding as well. Mero has Sable with him here. Sunny immediately freaks out on JR for suggesting Sable is hotter. She yells about being natural while Sable is about to melt near the fireworks. Rocky’s outfit looks ridiculous with kind of a cape but made of streamers that goes over his chest as well. Apparently Roberts was a surprise partner and the replacement for Henry.

Jake comes out with the big yellow snake sans bag and chases the team off with it. Goldust and Mero get things going with Marc cranking on the arm. They both block hiptosses so Mero rolls him up for two. Off to Stalker who is now just a guy in camo pants and a WWF t-shirt. Back to Mero to fire off a bunch of hiptosses to Goldie who is a bit calmer than he was last year. Rollup gets two for Mero and it’s back to the arm. Stalker pounds away at Goldie’s ribs before it’s off to HHH. Off to Mero to face Crush as HHH wanted nothing to do with Wildman (Mero).

Mero grabs the arm and for you trivia guys out there, Rocky’s first official time in a WWF ring is against Crush. It lasts all of six seconds before it’s off to Lawler who is immediately punched, kicked in the face, and knocked to the floor. You know Lawler is going to go insane with the selling too. Lawler wants nothing to do with Rocky so it’s off to HHH. Vince explains that Rocky’s name is Dwayne Johnson and that he took the name of his father and grandfather to come up with Rocky Maivia.

In the first of many matches, HHH stomps away in the corner and JR is in football mode. Goldust comes in and drops an elbow followed by some rights to the head. Crush comes in and works on the back for a bit before it’s off to Lawler. Back to HHH as Sunny makes fun of Vince for allegedly having a toupee. Rocky pounds away and backdrops HHH before it’s off to Roberts.

Jake beats up everyone but tries to get to Lawler instead of going after the legal HHH. The shortarm clothesline takes HHH down but the DDT doesn’t work. Off to Lawler who makes fun of Roberts for being an alcoholic. Lawler keeps doing it and there’s the DDT for the first elimination. Goldust comes in next as JR makes fun of the lack of tan on Roberts. We hit the chinlock for a bit until jawbreaker gets Jake out of it. Off to Stalker as JR and Sunny talk about Barry wearing lucky boots. Crush hits Stalker in the back and the Curtain Call (reverse suplex drop) gets the pin for Goldust to tie things up.

Mero comes in immediately to hit a knee lift to take over. Goldie gets in a shot and HHH finally comes in to beat on the other captain. A backbreaker puts Mero down and it’s back to Crush. This is during Crush’s gang member phase and he couldn’t look more out of place with his partners at this point. A legdrop gets two for Crush and it’s off to Goldie. Back to Crush for another backbreaker for two. Things are slowing down a bit here.

HHH comes in again and puts on an abdominal stretch. He gets caught holding the ropes and hiptossed out as is his custom with referees. A sunset flip can’t get HHH down before he makes the tag to Goldust. HHH is back in about five seconds later and let’s look at Sunny! Ok I can’t complain about that one as much. Jake is pulled in sans tag, allowing Mero to hit a moonsault press on HHH for the elimination. That was a very messy sequence with all the tags with nothing happening between them and the non-tag to Jake. Either that or I missed a tag and Mero was totally illegal when he pinned HHH.

It’s Mero/Rocky/Roberts vs. Crush/HHH. Crush comes in next and is almost immediately dropkicked out to the floor. Mero loads up a dive but Goldust makes a save and shoves Crush out of the way. Back inside, Crush’s Heart Punch (exactly what it sounds like) pins Mero. We were looking at a replay when it happened though so that’s hearsay. Roberts comes in, misses the short clothesline and is Heart Punched out as well.

We’re left with Rocky (who actually gets a face chant in MSG at this point) vs. Goldust and Crush. He starts with the one not painted like an Academy Award and accepts a Test of Strength for some reason. A small package out of nowhere gets two for Maivia and here’s Goldust again. Rocky cross bodies Crush for no count as both bad guys are in the ring at once. Goldust hits Rocky low which isn’t illegal apparently but Crush Heart Punches Goldie. Cross body pins Crush and about thirty seconds later, a shoulder breaker (Rocky’s original finisher) gets the final pin.

Rating: C+. This dragged a bit in the middle, but it accomplished three goals: Roberts got to knock Lawler out cold, Mero got to pin HHH to continue their feud, and Rocky got to debut strongly. The problem is the rest of the match wasn’t much to see. Maivia winning over guys like Crush and Goldust is a good thing because it’s unrealistic to have him beat the IC Champion and beating Lawler doesn’t mean anything because Lawler is a career jobber in the WWF. Crush is a big imposing guy who is also a jobber, but at least he looks intimidating. Goldust has credentials too and a loss isn’t going to hurt him. Smart booking.

Jerry would show up in ECW to attack the promotion, setting up a match at Hardcore Heaven 1997.

Tommy Dreamer vs. Jerry Lawler

The story here is obvious: it’s ECW vs. the WWF and Lawler attacked Dreamer a few months back with the help of Rob Van Dam to set this up. Dreamer comes in with something metal to block Lawler’s right hands before knocking him to the floor with a shot to the head. Tommy throws a fan’s drink in Lawler’s face and crotches him on the post. Jerry is already busted open. There’s a hamburger and metal sign to the face as Dreamer is in full control.

They fight into the crowd and a beer to the head knocks Lawler back a few steps. He’s whipped into the barricade and punched with a popcorn bucket. Tommy chokes with a belt and they head inside, only to have Dreamer get crotched while trying to get a chair to the top rope. Lawler throws him off the top and face first into the chair before hammering him outside with right hands. Dreamer gets crotched on the barricade as well before Lawler finds the belt that choked him earlier.

Some shots to the head set up some whips to the back before Lawler looks at another burger. Back in and Lawler hits his finisher piledriver but it only gets two. The fans barely respond as they know it’s not ending that fast. Jerry rips the ECW shirt off Dreamer’s back and wipes himself with it to continue driving the fans insane. Tommy shrugs off a bunch of right hands and swears a lot before hammering away at Lawler. He takes too long posing and shouting ECW though, allowing Jerry to nail a low blow.

More low blows keep Dreamer down and Lawler DDTs the referee for no apparent reason. He tries to crotch Dreamer on the post but gets pulled face first into the steel for his efforts. The lights go out and come back on to reveal Rick Rude blasting Dreamer in the head with a trashcan. Now Dreamer is busted open as well but still kicks out at two. Now the fans are getting into the near falls.

Lawler talks more trash to the fans but Dreamer loads up a piledriver, only for the lights to go out again. They come back to reveal Jake Roberts who lays out Dreamer. Jerry and Jake have never quite gotten along so Lawler hides in the corner. The DDT (Jake’s signature move) knocks Dreamer silly and Jake rants about God for a bit. Lawler offers a handshake but gets clotheslined as well. The referee wakes up and counts two on Dreamer, earning some applause from Jake as he leaves.

Jerry hammers away even more but gets caught in the DDT. Before Dreamer can drop him though, the lights go out a third time. Why he can’t DDT Jerry with no lights is beyond me. The lights come back up to reveal Sunny (Former ECW girl, current WWF girl and Candido’s real life girlfriend) who blinds Dreamer with hairspray. Beaulah and Sunny get in a fight, allowing Dreamer to hit Lawler low a few times and hook the DDT for a pin.

Rating: D+. WAY overbooked here with too many run-ins, especially ones like Roberts that didn’t mean much. The moment at the end with ECW triumphing over the WWF, was a nice moment for the fans but it took a lot of mess to get there. This needed to be about half as long and minus at least one run-in, but it’s not completely terrible as the emotion and payoff were both there.

We’ll skip ahead a few years as Lawler is basically retired from active wrestling. He would however come out of retirememnt on occasion, including this match at Summerslam 2000.

Tazz vs. Jerry Lawler

Tazz comes out with a cowboy hat and a blind man’s cane to really rub in the idea. He takes too long though as Lawler jumps him with a right hand to get us going. They head inside and a dropkick puts Tazz down and follows up with a bunch of right hands to the head. There’s the middle rope punch but a second attempt only hits mat.

Tazz hits some forearms to the back as JR calls him a jackass. Lawler is whipped to the floor so Tazz can talk trash to JR. Back in and Tazz hits what might have been a low blow and goes up for a swanton bomb of all things but Lawler moves. The piledriver connects but Tazz no sells it and the referee is bumped. There’s the Tazzmission on Lawler but JR gets up and smashes the candy jar over Tazz’s head to give Lawler the pin.

Rating: D. What do you expect here? It’s a nothing match which had no business on Summerslam but that’s par for the course a lot of the time. Lawler is harmless enough and at least the win wasn’t clean. Tazz came in so hot but has done almost nothing of note since his debut at the Rumble.

And this one at No Way Out 2001 as Jerry didn’t like censorship.

Jerry Lawler vs. Steven Richards

Tazz does commentary in Lawler’s place. He’s still a wrestler so this is a new thing for him. He’s a bit like his normal commentating self but not all the way yet. Lawler makes a full entrance despite being at the commentary desk not 2 minutes ago. We see a clip of the RTC stopping the (XFL’s) Las Vegas Outlaws cheerleaders last night. RTC was a parody of the Parents Television Council who got on Vince every 9 seconds for something he did.

This is the walking definition of a catch your breath match as the fans need something worthless to bridge the gap from the war they just saw to the last two matches. Lawler expands his offense from just punches by adding in rapid fire punches. This is why it’s great to have someone like Lawler around: you can throw him in there for something like this and you know he’s going to at least be passable, especially since he only wrestles like twice a year so his expectations are very low.

Kat and Ivory go at it for a bit but the distraction allows Richards to take over. Richards misses a splash in the corner and Lawler takes over for a bit. Apparently if he wins Kat gets to be naked. Ivory comes in and Teddy Long takes FOREVER to get rid of her. Kat tries to hit Richards with Ivory’s belt but she nails Lawler by mistake for the pin. Kat has to join RTC now, but she was released in like two weeks, resulting in Lawler quitting. They were married at the time.

Rating: D. This was pretty weak but at the same time it was about as good as it was going to get. It was on the level of a pretty bad TV match but like I said this was designed to just fill in about 10 minutes so that the fans could breathe a bit. Nothing special at all but it did its job I guess.

Lawler and JR would lose their commentary jobs due to losing a match at Unforgiven 2003. Here’s a chance for them to get their jobs back on Raw, September 15, 2003.

Al Snow vs. Jerry Lawler

Coach and JR are on commentary here as Lawler controls with some very basic stuff. They slug it out and King hits a DDT for two. Snow comes back with a slam but a suplex is countered into a small package for the pin. This was the last match of the show people. This is the main event. Let that sink in.

We’ll jump way ahead again for a match from August 6, 2007 on Raw for the right to be called the King. This is a warmup for Booker before he faces the King of Kings at Summerslam 2007.

King Booker vs. Jerry Lawler

Booker doesn’t think much of Jerry until Lawler gets in a left hand. Some right hands have Booker in trouble but he pokes Jerry in the eye to take over. A back elbow to the jaw puts Lawler down and a hook kick gets two. The ax kick misses and Lawler hammers away before dropping an elbow for three but Booker’s foot was on the ropes. The breather allows Booker to nail a superkick. He hammers away in the corner and that’s a DQ win for Lawler.

Rating: D. Not much to see here but Lawler knew how to work a crowd even at this point. You couldn’t have Booker lose of course and he would get to pin Lawler the next week. This is the beauty of a guy like Lawler: he can do this stuff and isn’t going to lose a thing. There wasn’t anything to the match but there didn’t need to be.

We’ll jump ahead to 2010 for a match that really doesn’t need much explanation: Jerry Lawler vs. Jason Voorhees.

Ok maybe this does need an explanation, because yes, it’s THAT Jason Voorhees. This took place on Jerry’s very low level TV show in Memphis where the top heel was Tom Savini. Again, yes THAT Tom Savini. He claimed that Lawler murdered Andy Kaufman 25 years earlier, so he’s sending his movie creations to get revenge. The show didn’t last long if that wasn’t clear.

Jerry Lawler vs. Jason Voorhees

This is in TOM SAVINI’S MONSTERVISION, meaning there are Jason masks on the side of the screen and the video twitches a lot. Jason is led to the ring in chains and is carrying a machete. Some fat guy on commentary says Lawler killed Kaufman by giving him brain cancer via the piledriver.

Lawler can’t hurt Jason’s face so he hammers away at the ribs, only to be sent out to the floor. Jason chokes with a chain so Jerry grabs the machete. That goes nowhere of course so Jason sends Jerry into the post. Back in and Jason hammers away but gets hit low. Jerry rips the mask off and reveals an ugly guy. Jason’s manager Hollywood Jimmy Blaylock comes in with his cane for a DQ.

Rating: A+. This doesn’t require an explanation.

Back to the WWE, where Lawler got a WWE Title shot against Miz in a TLC match on Raw, November 29, 2010.

Raw World Title: The Miz vs. Jerry Lawler

Read that title. At the beginning of the year would you EVER expect this to be a TLC match and the main event of Raw? Riley still has the briefcase. They do a feeling out process to start with Lawler doing his basic stuff. First weapon brought in is a C which is cracked over Lawler’s back. Miz sets up some chairs in the and is almost suplexed onto them. Miz drops Lawler onto his knee and then hits a neckbreaker to put the King down.

Riley gets a ladder but Lawler manages to get a chair and wear Miz out for it. He goes to get his own ladder but has to drill Riley first. Lawler slams the top of the ladder into Miz’s chin and is in control. And scratch that as he misses with a ladder shot and Miz takes over again. Riley takes Lawler down but gets put down and through a table. Miz was dropped on a ladder so he’s still hurt a bit.

Lawler does the slow climb but here’s Miz with the save. Big boot (from Miz? Really?) takes the King down though. Punk: “CLIMB UP THE LADDER! Are you stupid?” Miz destroys him for a bit but gets caught on top while he’s holding a chair. Lawler sets for a superplex but the ladder is in the way. Instead he drills Miz and puts him through a table but Lawler is down.

Cole jumps out of his chair and tries to help Miz up. Lawler is all alone but climbs like a 62 year old man. He’s only 61 if you’re wondering. He starts the climb and COLE MAKES THE SAVE! Lawler finally drills Cole and hammers away at him but Miz climbs up as he hammers his partner. Lawler goes up and Miz is in trouble! Come on Jerry you’ve had enough titles you should know how to unlatch one. Miz is reeling! But he manages to hit Lawler with the belt and climb down to retain at approximately 13:00. A brief celebration ends the show.

Rating: C+. Considering the challenger was a 61 year old that wrestles about three times a year and Michael Cole was the only thing that made the save, this was more or less a miracle. I cracked up at Cole making the save. This was better than I expected and it came off pretty well. No one really bought Lawler having a legit chance so this worked fine, all things considered.

Here’s the rematch from Elimination Chamber 2011.

Raw World Title: The Miz vs. Jerry Lawler

Wow I never thought I’d type that. We even get big match intros. Jerry in white and black with a cape here. That’s rather awesome. The bell rings twice so technically this isn’t happening. Jerry gets a quick backslide and small package for two each. He unleashes his variety of punches as it’s all Lawler so far. Miz gets knocked to the floor and chills for a bit. Riley distracts Jerry though and Miz sends him into the post to shift momentum.

Miz can’t get Lawler in the ring for some reason. He settles for a running knee while Lawler is on the apron for two. Jerry gets a punch and the fans wake up. Running clothesline in the corner and down goes Lawler. Miz goes up and Jerry crotches him so they slug it out on the middle rope. Superplex puts Miz down for two. Riley’s reactions out there are hilarious.

They slug it out again and Jerry gets a pair of dropkicks for no cover. Backdrop and a falling punch get two as Miz is in trouble. We get something close to Cole being civil by saying Lawler is hanging in there. Riley interferes by tripping Lawler and is ejected. I know it’s a long shot and more or less an impossibility but the stars are seeming to align for Jerry to pull this off. Miz misses a charge in the corner and Lawler rolls him up for two.

Miz escapes the Piledriver and gets a big boot for two. Jerry reverses the pin into a rollup for two and then Miz is sent to the floor over the top. Cole is annoying as all goodness here as Jerry rams Miz into the announce table. Cole says he and Miz have a personal relationship which you can make your own jokes about. Jerry throws Miz at the commentators and Miz lands on Cole. Booker cracking up at that is great.

Lawler is in control here and goes up top as we’re back in the ring. Top rope punch to a standing Miz gets a very close two. Crowd is INTO this. Miz gets a thumb to the eye but can’t get the Finale as Lawler shoves him off. Jerry gets a DDT and Miz is reeling! He looks at the Mania sign and goes up for the middle rope punch. With a point to the sign and the strap coming down, Jerry gets the fist but Miz gets his foot on the ropes. My heart jumped into my throat there.

As Booker talks about Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog for no apparent reason the Piledriver is reversed into a rollup by Miz for two. Jerry reverses that into one of his own for two but Miz gets a kick to the head. And there’s the Skull Crushing Finale for the pin. It was a nice dream while it lasted but at the end of the day I think we all knew this was coming. Still though, INCREDIBLE job here by WWE of making us think it could happen.

Rating: B-. The match was weak from a technical standpoint but they NAILED the drama here. Jerry is a master at working the crowd and he had me believing that it was possible. He made us believe that he could actually do this and put on a passable match at the same time. I really hope this results in Jerry vs. Cole or Riley at Mania, but still this was a great performance and the whole thing worked.

Cole celebrates like crazy and poses with Miz in the ring. Jerry gets up and is like well I tried. He gets a standing ovation and they play his music to take him out. Cole of course WILL NOT SHUT UP and let Lawler have his moment. If this doesn’t end with Jerry piledriving Cole through the floor then it fails. Still though, great moment and incredible storytelling by WWE there.

For reasons that continue to elude me, Lawler would lose the showdown with Cole at Wrestlemania. Here’s his next chance at Over the Limit 2011 in a Kiss My Foot match.

Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole

Remember that Cole has promised some kind of surprise all night. Cole comes out in a suit and limping. You can tell it’s officially an injury because he has a doctor’s note. Or maybe he’s reading his lines. Apparently it’s because of infected athlete’s foot. If Cole’s foot goes into Lawler’s mouth Lawler might contract foot and mouth disease. He gives the note to the referee and the referee rips it up. RING THE BELL!

Lawler drills him into the corner and pounds away and there go Cole’s pants. SOLID right hand and a dropkick send Cole to the floor. Josh says vintage. Cole manages to send him into the steps a few times and Cole takes the shoe off. This ticks Jerry off and LAWLER THROWS HIM THROUGH THE COLE MINE!!!!! Lawler celebrates the thing exploding which is a legit funny moment. Middle rope punch brings the strap down and WE ARE DONE! That made me smile. No rating as it was total domination but still, awesome moment as Jerry destroyed him.

Jerry starts unzipping his boot but has an idea. He waves someone out and here comes Eve. She drills him with a moonsault as this is turning into exactly what it should have been. Lawler still isn’t done as he waves out JR! Appropriately enough JR has barbecue sauce. He pours it into Cole’s mouth until it overflows and all over his face. This is great. Cole gets to the floor and tries to leave and says that he’s not a loser. It’s Lawler and all the people that are losers. He’s not going to kiss his……..BRET HART IS HERE!!!!!

THIS is what I mean when I say they need to give old school fans something special. And before you ask, remember that it was Bret and Lawler in the first kiss my foot match. Sharpshooter goes on the pencils that Cole calls legs and it’s time to kiss the feet, complete with barbecue sauce. Cole is left totally destroyed and Bret’s music plays us out. PERFECT ending to this segment as Cole is completely and utterly destroyed.

Where do you want me to start? It’s Jerry Lawler, the guy who has been around FOREVER and has won something like 200 titles in his career. He had a remarkable career but is also known as one of the voices of Raw. Jerry is one of the most entertaining wrestlers of all time, even though he had fewer moves than a John Cena stereotype. He could work a crowd like no one else and would be a GREAT psychology teacher to young wrestlers. Watch his Memphis stuff if you want to see how to get people to hate you in about fifteen seconds.

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1 comment

  1. Sroxy says:

    No mention of the Andy Kaufman feud? Arguably the most famous angle of his career.