Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler has had an incredibly long career in the pro wrestling biz. The 'King' of the Memphis territory, he was a master showman and promoter. His feud with Andy Kaufman was a brilliant crossover, gathering mainstream attention years before Vince's WrestleMania.
Lawler really was the king. By the time he left the territories behind for good and joined forces with the WWE, he had won a staggering 168 championships! What the heck was going on down there in the south? It must have been just him and Honky Tonk Man swapping the titles back and forth.
Lawler got by on his business smarts and showmanship. In those pre-internet territory days he befriended wrestling journalists like Bill Apter, to make sure his mug was plastered all over their magazines. He never had the chiseled body, but his brain sure wasn’t flabby.
Lawler gave back though, giving many wrestlers their first break. Long before he was Kane (or even Isaac Yankem), Glenn Jacobs got his start in one of Lawler’s promotions. If you can believe it, it was actually a worse gimmick than his evil dentist phase. Lawler decided he would use the marketing power of Santa Claus to sell some more tickets. He dressed up the gigantic Jacobs in an obnoxiously ugly green suit and called him the “Christmas Creature”. Check that one out and more in my ‘20 stupidest ring names’ piece (conveniently located on this entertaining site!)
Lawler was exactly what the WWE needed. As they transitioned from the old guard of Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, they needed another comical heel commentator. With Vince and JR handing the play by play, Lawler fit in seamlessly. The benefit was that he could still wrestle a match, which added a great physical dimension to his feud with Bret Hart.
After the New Generation, Lawler evolved with the company into the Attitude era. His dirty uncle infatuation with the divas fit the racier content the company was producing. Lawler and Jim Ross would form arguably the WWE’s strongest ever announcing duo in their most popular era.
But time moves on, and so has Jim Ross. Although Lawler remains, his comical heel banter is gone and he’s even been downgraded to SmackDown. But we’ll always have the memories.
So let’s take a stroll down Memphis lane and Puppies place for the best of Jerry Lawler!
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15 "Good job, Pineapple head"
The Rock ripped through the WWE, becoming one of its biggest ever stars and also managing to lay a verbal smackdown on almost everyone that got in his way. In the high school of the WWE, he was the jock, class clown, and prom king all rolled into one.
But The Rock wasn't always so cool. Before the expensive shirts and sunglasses, he had a much dorkier style. His Prince Rocky Maivia costume looked like a mix of the Ultimate Warrior and Damien Demento. And the hair....
Lawler's pineapple head was one of the few burns that got through to The Great One. And in typical Lawler fashion, calling a guy with a Samoan background a pineapple head is not the most PC thing he could have went with.
14 "Know why it's the heartland of America? Because there is no brain!"
As a west-coaster I love this one. Lawler sticks it to the hard workin' middle section of the U.S.A. The King knows where to jab the knife as the Midwest is home to a plethora of wrestling talent. Growing up on a farm throwing hay and wrestling farm animals must have that effect.
Lawyer would continue his attack on anything farm-related with his relentless campaign against the Godwinns!
13 Cody Rhodes eats dogmeat!
"Let me tell ya what kind of a rotten kid Cody Rhodes was. When he was eight years old, he told his mom he wanted a dog for Christmas...she said no, you'll have turkey like everybody else."
No wonder Stardust is such a deranged individual. After being denied a doggy bag for Christmas he must have scoured the neighborhood streets feasting on strays. If Cody Rhodes moves in next door better make your hound an inside dog!
12 Oozing machismo and oil
Razor Ramon, the Scarface inspired bad guy with the toothpick and oil-slicked hair. Lawyer had this to say about Scott Hall's preferred hair care.
"I'll bet every time he gets in the car the oil light comes on."
I wonder how Lawler chose between using this on Razor or his rival (with equally wet hair) Bret Hart.
This line could be used on almost any other wrestler considering the amount of oil they lather themselves up with.
11 Ahmed Johnson's kidney
When one of the WWE's loyal, hard-working wrestlers has a personal or medical issue, there's nothing like better than to exploit it for all its worth. Jake Roberts' alcoholism, Jim Ross' colonoscopy, and Ahmed Johnson's real life kidney issues have been all made fodder.
Even though I don't agree with most of the use, I did love this line Lawler had. Jim Ross updated the fans on Ahmed's whereabouts, and The King offered his own valuable insight.
Jim Ross: "Ahmed Johnson is home watching the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Title tournament."
Jerry: "Ahmed Johnson is probably home eating a big ole bowl of kidney beans."
10 Curl up by the fire with a good book...or Sunny
"Sunny, she wants me. I can read her like a book, but I prefer the braille edition"
Ah, classic Sunny was incredibly hot. Lawler somehow turned the method in which blind people read into a perky joke, god bless him.
While he was most likely wrong about her wanting him, he was definitely right about the viewers wanting to feel her bumps.
9 Lawler vs. children
(The camera is on a plucky young fan at a WWE show)
"Look at her, now I know why animals eat their young"
John Cena looks out into the crowd, sees the youth watching, and wants to push a nice gentle product that all the little kiddies and their families can enjoy.
Lawler sees cute kids and can only imagine a lazy old lion brutally eating its own cub.
8 Jerry's thoughts on ECW
"This Bingo Hall (ECW Arena) should be built out of toilet paper because there's nothing in it but s**t!
Tell us how you really feel Lawler. After so many years away from Memphis in the WWE he certainly feels no love for the little wrestling promotions anymore. Lawler loved insulting the ECW's use of weapons and blood.
Of course they all can't be as quality as Memphis wrestling, with such great ideas like Ta-gar, Lord of the Volcano!
7 Sometimes he's just weird
LAWLER: Do you know why puppies have wet noses?
ROSS: No King, why?
LAWLER: 'Cause I lick 'em, Ha! Ha! Ha!
I don't know which image I find more disturbing. Lawler and Debra's puppies or Lawler licking the actual nose of a puppy. I also don't know which one I would feel worse for.
6 The King outranks the Prince
"Prince Albert respects the Big Boss Man so much he'd give him the hair off his back."
And he'd still have enough leftover to knit a nice pair of winter mittens.
Matt Bloom has been: Baldo/Prince Albert/A-Train/Giant Bernard/Lord Tensai/Sweet T/Jason Albert
Bloom was the epitome of loyal WWE soldier as Vince repackaged him more than Bryan Adams (Crush, not the singer). The hard work paid off as Bloom has taken a larger role behind the scenes as the newly promoted head trainer for NXT.
5 More of Lawler's thoughts on women
"Women! Can't live with'em, no resale value."
Sure Jerry, I suppose if you're just paying for the night....
Anyway, Lawler's jokes have always felt like he was the ultimate dad-joke comedian. He must browse used book stores for any '1000 gags and fall-down funnies' to add to his repotoire. But this one at least added a unique twist.
Maybe Lawler should go talk to the Godfather about his female financial situation.
4 Lawler picks on Jack Tunney
"I have a note right here from President Jack Tuney to Dink. I can tell it's from Jack Tunney because it's written in crayon."
The WWE has a hilarious history of trotting out empty figureheads like Tunney, Gorilla Monsoon, and Triple H (ho ho). In the cartoon world of Doinks and Dinks, Tunney contrasted perfectly as the dry, old businessman that fans could take seriously.
So what's a better image than elder statesman Tunney in his giant oak-laden office, scratching out official declarations with crayon?
3 Lawler goes scientific
Jim Ross mentions he has two daughters
Lawler: "Not packing enough chromosomes, huh? I'm sorry Ross!"
It's a classic and easy joke to attack the manhood of your rival. But for Lawler to tie chromosomes to JR's human contribution is beautiful scientific comedy.
Who knew Lawler had the chromosomes to come up with something so brilliant?
2 Lawler with evil dentist humour
On Henry Godwinn's teeth
"He needs a sign in his mouth that says 'Next Tooth, One Mile"
"Henry Godwin has got so many missing teeth, it looks like his tongue is in jail"
It's always been easy to pick on the good ol' hog farmers. But be careful King, X-Pac has been known to contribute to that slop bucket of theirs and your crown won't protect you from slop shower.
Speaking of good ol' boys. Lawler had another great quote about people in Alabama. "If your mother and father get divorced, would they still be brother and sister?"
1 3-time title loser!
"Being a 3-time Intercontinental champion doesn't make you a great wrestler, just like Larry King having 9 wives doesn't make him a great husband."
It's funny because it's true. When I was a lad, Hulk Hogan won five World Heavyweight Championships and it MEANT something. This is the man who headlined nearly every single PPV for close to 10 years! The Hulkster was a dominant force in the WWE and he had five hard-fought titles to show for it. This was a time when titles were held on long enough for it to mean something. The champion would go on a nice long run and it would benefit not only the wrestler, but the title itself. My how things have changed.
John Cena and Triple H have a few things in common. They both headlined the WWE during the down years post-Attitude era. They both have plenty of fans calling them overrated. And they both have won about a billion titles.
If the WWE wants the fans to care about the titles, they need to show they care just as much.
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