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Jerry Lawler

Jerry "The King" Lawler

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Jerry O'Neil Lawler (born November 29, 1949) is a professional wrestler and wrestling commentator, known throughout the wrestling world as "The King". He currently works for World Wrestling Entertainment as a color commentator for its RAW brand. He is also known as a WWE legend. He also wrestles for the Memphis Wrestling promotion and occasionally commentates.

Career as a wrestler

Jerry Lawler has made history as being the wrestler with the most championship reigns of all time. He has won 112 titles in his career; 42 of which were the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship. In fact, between them, Lawler and his son Brian have held a combined 68 Southern Heavyweight Championships.

Earlier in his career, like many wrestlers, Lawler took his turns as both face ("good guy") and heel ("bad guy"). Perhaps the best-known gimmick of this period was his on-and-off feud with an erstwhile tag-team partner, Australian wrestler Bill Dundee. A celebrated "grudge match" between the two at Memphis' Mid-South Coliseum represented a rare example of theatrical make-up blood actually being found in use at a pro wrestling event, since the match was being taped for an NBC television program documenting the rise in popularity of pro wrestling.

Lawler's matches in Memphis usually had two common elements: First, there was very little emphasis on the part of Lawler on technical wrestling skill, often appearing proud of himself for pulling off what might be considered common moves at that time such as a dropkick. Most of the time, particularly later in matches he relied mostly on punches. This lack of technical skills was emphasized against him in the plotline of his first ascent to the AWA World Championship in a several-month war with Nick Bockwinkle. Second, particularly during the times he went face, he would almost always appear to fall far behind in a match, only to seem to gain his second wind in a comeback attempt, which would be initiated by pulling down the single shoulder stap on his uniform, much to the delight of the fans. This would be followed by a flurry of fists to be finished off by a flying fist of the top turnbuckle or a piledriver, when allowed by the association he was wrestling in at the time.

Lawler unified the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title (defeating Curt Hennig on May 9, 1988) with the WCCW World Heavyweight Title (defeating Kerry Von Erich on December 13, 1988), creating the United States Wrestling Association Unified World Heavyweight Championship. He was a co-owner, along with Jerry Jarrett, of the now-defunct promotion. From its start in 1989 to its end in 1997, Jerry Lawler held the USWA heavyweight title a total of 28 times. He began working for the WWF in 1992. Entering the federation as a heel, Lawler soon began a lengthy feud with Bret "The Hitman" Hart over the latter's winning of the inaugural King Of The Ring tournament. The feud ended when Hart defeated Lawler in a "Kiss My Foot" match at King Of The Ring 1995. Despite some brief feuds with other faces, such as the The Ultimate Warrior and Jake "The Snake" Roberts, in 1996, Lawler gradually began to settle into a role as the primary color commentator for WWF TV telecasts.

"Feud" with Andy Kaufman
Lawler may be best known for a publicized feud with Andy Kaufman, that was later revealed to be completely contrived (kayfabe or a "total work" in wrestling parlance).

On the television show Late Night with David Letterman in the early 1980s, Jerry was in an interview with comedian Andy Kaufman. The two engaged in a shouting match, and Jerry got up and slapped him (a video can be seen here). No lawsuit was filed. It was later stated by The King in his book "It's Good To Be The King....Sometimes" that the entire incident was staged, at the request of Andy, in order to further the wrestling angle between the two.

The continuous bad blood between the two men seemed so convincing that it came as a surprise when in 1999 it was revealed that it was all scripted.

As a singer
Lawler has recorded some material. Among these are two late-70s 45 recordings: "Cadillac Man/Memphis", and "Bad News". During his feud with manager Jimmy Hart (Jerry Lawler is a factor for "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart entering professional wrestling. Lawler wanted to record a wrestling album with him singing and, since they had gone to school together, he called Hart and asked him to be a part of it). in the mid-80s, Hart became known as "The Wimp", a nickname given to him by Lawler and chanted by fans, and was the subject of the song "Wimpbusters", which was sung by Lawler to the tune of the popular hit "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr.; a music video was also made featuring Lawler, legendary announcer Lance Russell, and wrestlers such as Savage, Jimmy Valiant, Dutch Mantel, Tommy Rich, and Rufus R. Jones, along with footage of "The King" beating Hart and his "First Family" (a very young Brian Christopher also made an appearance as a young child being bullied, and another child is seen wearing a replica of Tully Blanchard's West Texas State jersey).[1] He also recorded a CD called, "Memphis' Other King".

As a commentator

Lawler often shows a code of morality in his commentary; for example, even when he was decidedly pro-heel at the announcer's table, he would show respect for a face wrestler who was legitimately injured. His tune has always changed, however, when one of the WWE's valets are involved, in which case he often uses innuendo to hype the valet ("Puppies!") and has been nicknamed "Puppy Patrol." Lawler's commentary began in 1988, while with the CWA, and since that time Lawler's core routine has not changed.

Throughout most of his stay in the WWE, Lawler has served as a color commentator, first with the promotion's syndicated programs and later on WWE RAW. Originally in the WWE, Lawler would often root for the heel wrestlers. During this time, whenever he would walk down the aisle, whether to wrestle or go to the commentator booth, the fans would chant "Burger King" at him (in regards to this, in 2005, Lawler dressed as The Burger King for the Halloween edition of RAW).

As the years have gone by he has become more and more face than ever, causing some fans to question the lack of heel announcing on RAW and therefore having two face announcers instead of one and one split. Some people feel that JBL has overtaken him as the number one heel commentator in WWE programming. This can be attributed to Lawler having had feuds with various heels (most notably Daivari, an Arab-American heel who insulted Americans) often defending fellow RAW commentator Jim Ross; and the rise of Jonathan Coachman as the heel color commentator on "WWE RAW." Looking back on Lawler's broadcasts from a decade ago, one can notice that today he has become much less acidic and mean-spirited, and slightly more level headed and fun-loving. A notable exception was during the Booker T/Triple H championship feud of 2003, when Lawler showed an almost racist streak against Booker T, praising Triple H. This racism, however, was part of going back to the mean 'King' character and acting in kayfabe rather than it being Lawler's own views.

On May 1, Lawler briefly returned to his classic heel-style color commentary (in Coachman's absence), culminating in a segment where he played along with the Spirit Squad's insistence that play-by-play announcer Joey Styles proclaim Kenny as the new WWE Champion with the proper "spirit" should Kenny win their title bout. (Styles would have to wear a cheerleader outfit on the next RAW episode if he was found to not be showing the proper enthusiasm). Styles refused, began insulting Lawler and slapped him. Lawler knocked down Styles, who angrily retreated to the back of the arena. Lawler quickly apologized to the crowd, insisting his kidding around was all in good fun, but Styles refused to accept Lawler's apology or rejoin him on commentary. Instead, Styles delivered a hard-hitting shoot-style promo, where he bashed WWE, Vince McMahon, sports entertainment and the fans before saying he was quitting. Joined by Todd Grisham, Lawler returned to his current face-praising routine for the rest of the broadcast. It was announced on May 3, 2006 that Lawler would be rejoined at the RAW announce table by former partner Jim Ross. On May 22, 2006, Lawler reverted to his status as a tweener personality, rooting for heels, yet somewhat rooting for the faces.

Other statistics and notes
He quit the WWF on February 21, 2001 in protest over then-wife Stacy "The Kat" Carter's dismissal, and was rehired on November 19 of the same year, some time after he separated from her.

Lawler holds the record for most times appearing on the WrestleMania commentary team. He has done color commentary at every WrestleMania since 1994, except WrestleMania X-Seven. In a Byte This interview before WrestleMania XIX he stated that he's yet to do it all till he wrestles a match at WrestleMania.

So close are Lawler and Jimmy Hart, that on April 2, 2005, when Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Lawler performed Hart's induction.

Lawler hosted the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony on April 1, 2006, in lieu of regular ceremony host "Mean" Gene Okerlund, who was being inducted that night.

Feuds as a commentator
In 1997, as part of a WWF cross-promotional deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), Lawler insulted the credibility of ECW as a commentator on RAW. Later in the evening, ECW owner Paul Heyman personally called him over the air and gave a rebuttal. This led to several ECW wrestlers making appearances (and even wrestling matches) on WWF television, with Lawler all the while insulting ECW and its wrestlers. He was booked to wrestle Tommy Dreamer at ECW's Hardcore Heaven pay-per-view in August 1997, and lost.

Lawler was involved in a feud with Gregory Helms, whom he defeated at New Year's Revolution 2006 with a diving fist drop from the top rope. He also faced The Coach in a Royal Rumble 2006 qualifier, which he lost due to interference from the debuting Spirit Squad.

Lawler was defeated by Tazz at ECW One Night Stand 2006 after passing out from the Tazzmission. Lawler, however, slapped Joey Styles once again during this event.

Lawler has recently played a minor role in the recent feud between Randy Orton and Hulk Hogan, in favour of Hogan, although his involvement in the feud was started by accident (Orton rudely nudged Lawler, without apologizing afterwards; Lawler returned the favor and threw Orton into the ring towards a mad Hulk Hogan). On the July 31, 2006 episode of RAW, Randy Orton slapped Lawler in the face while he was doing commentary. A few minutes later, Lawler challenged Orton to a match, and on the August 7, 2006 episode of RAW, Lawler wrestled Orton in Lawler's hometown, Memphis, Tennessee. Lawler lost the match to Orton due to the fact that Orton kicked him in the groin without the referee watching.

As a politician
In 1999, perhaps inspired by fellow wrestler Jesse Ventura's successful run for the governorship of Minnesota, Lawler ran for mayor of Memphis, finishing third in a field of twelve candidates.

In wrestling
Finishing and signature moves
Royal Fist Drop (Diving fist drop) (typically preceded by "taking the strap down" of his attire)
Dirty attacks
Lawler was known for his myriad of illegal attacks during his career. Most notably:
Foreign objects (including "phantom foreign objects" removed from either his tights or a hidden area in the ring which an opponent would sell as if they had been attacked by brass knuckles, or cause a referee to "reprimand" Lawler allowing him to set up yet another dirty move)

Championships and accomplishments
American Wrestling Association
1-Time AWA World Heavyweight Champion
2-Time AWA World Tag Team Champion (with Bill Dundee)
40-Time AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion
Continental Wrestling Association
1-Time CWA Tag Team Champion

3-Time CWA/AWA International Champion
2-Time NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Champion
1-Time CWA World Heavyweight Champion
1-Time CWA Heavyweight Champion
11-Time AWA Southern Tag Team Champion (4 with Bill Dundee, 2 with Jim White, 2 with Plowboy Frazier/Uncle Elmer, 1 with Jos LeDuc, 1 with Austin Idol, and 1 with Big Bubba)
Winner of 1988 CWA Lord of the Ring
Jersey All Pro Wrestling
1-Time JAPW Heavyweight Champion
Maryland Championship Wrestling
1-Time MCW Heavyweight Champion
1-Time MCW Tag Team Champion (with Bruiser)
Memphis Championship Wrestling
2-Time MCW Southern Heavyweight Champion
National Wrestling Alliance
1-Time NWA United States Junior Heavyweight Champion
1-Time NWA Polynesian Pacific Heavyweight Champion
Power Pro Wrestling
1-Time PPW Tag Team Champion (with Bill Dundee)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
1988 Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year
1992 Feud of the Year (with Jeff Jarrett vs. The Moondogs)
1993 Feud of the Year (vs. Bret Hart).
1993 Most Hated Wrestler of the Year
1995 Most Hated Wrestler of the Year
PWI ranked him # 23 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003. He was also ranked twice in the best tag-teams of the "PWI Years." He was ranked # 56 with Bill Dundee and # 78 with Jeff Jarrett.
Smoky Mountain Wrestling
2-Time SMW Heavyweight Champion
United States Wrestling Association
27-Time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion
2-Time USWA Texas Heavyweight Champion
5-Time USWA Tag Team Champion (3 with Jeff Jarrett, 2 with Bill Dundee)
2-Time USWA Southern Heavyweight Champion
World Class Championship Wrestling
2-Time WCCW Heavyweight Champion
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
He is a member of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (inducted in 1996)
1987 Feud of the Year (vs Austin Idol and Tommy Rich)
1992 Feud of the Year (with Jeff Jarrett vs The Moondogs)
1993 Feud of the Year (vs Bret Hart)

Personal life
Lawler has been married three times. He has two children from his first marriage. His son Brian, who has previously wrestled in WWE (as "Brian Christopher" and "Grandmaster Sexay"), is now performing in independent promotions. His other son, Kevin, has dabbled in professional wrestling as both a referee and wrestler. In his book It's Good to Be the King ... Sometimes, Lawler says he believes Kevin's short physical stature has prevented him from reaching success similar to Brian.

In late 1993, Lawler faced accusations of rape and sodomy from an unnamed minor. He was removed from WWF TV for a short period (and replaced in his Survivor Series match by Shawn Michaels). The charges were later dropped when the accuser recanted her statement, and Lawler returned to the WWF without incident.

His third ex-wife Stacy "The Kat" Carter also made a few in-ring appearances. His second ex-wife Paula was dragged into a feud with him for the Memphis Wrestling promotion. Currently, his girlfriend Renee has appeared with him in under the "Queen Renee" moniker for Memphis Wrestling.

Jerry claims to have never touched alcohol, preferring Coca-Cola instead. This has led to his extensive Coca-Cola merchandise collection. This seems to contradict his after-match celebration with Jim Ross after the latter beat Jonathan Coachman in a Whipping Match in late 2003, in which Ross and Lawler shared a beer, but it could be an instance of kayfabe (maintaining character in the wrestling world).

Lawler is a Cleveland Browns fan and has often said on WWE TV that outside of his hometown of Memphis, Cleveland, Ohio is his favorite city to visit.

Lawler is a cousin to Wayne Ferris, better known as the Honky Tonk Man. (Credit: Wikipedia).


Jerry "The King" Lawler official website


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