Bell to Bell: A Few Words on Jerry Lawler
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
On last night’s broadcast of Monday Night Raw Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack while calling a match on live television. He’d only finished competing in a wrestling match an hour or so earlier. When I first read that headline I was certain it was a work, what with the angle Lawler’s in with CM Punk right now. But it’s entirely legit. That’s kind of how it is when something all too real happens during a pro wrestling show, isn’t it? Over the years we’ve seen so many performers selling pretend injuries, and even being carted off on stretchers. So when something like this happens, we’re inclined to think that it’s all part of the show. Hell, the following segment featured Ricardo Rodriguez selling a pretend neck injury.. Such is the downside of a show that, even with all its inherent corniness, blurs the line between fantasy and reality so greatly.
For the second time in two weeks, I’ve got to take my hat off to Michael Cole for being a pro at ringside as his partner literally collapsed next to him on live TV. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like for him, and then to have to look into a camera just a few minutes later and talk about it. I’ve got a new respect for him as a broadcaster. And of course, kudos to the performers who went out there and continued doing their jobs despite what happened.
A few weeks ago I said something in this very column that seems appropriate to say again right now: “I think one of the reasons fans love Jerry Lawler so much is because for years, we invited him into our homes simply by turning on Raw. He’s been with us through all the highs and lows. Every week he’s one of the few characters on the show that spoke to us directly, who guided us through the action, who helped narrate the stories for us. To an extent, to attack Lawler is like attacking the fans directly.”
I had written a lot of things down about this episode of Raw. But it doesn’t really seem appropriate to share them now, does it? When I watched my first episode of Raw back in 1996, Jerry Lawler was on commentary, last night his life was in jeopardy. He’s been a part of all our lives for so long. I suppose the least I can do for now is to hang up for this week, out of respect for what he’s gone through in the last several hours.
We love you, Jerry.
Front page image from tattooexpo.wordpress.com. Lawler image from bleacherreport.com.