Badseed's Bottomline Supplemental #19
Jerry The King Lawler It's Good to be the King...Sometimes
Written By: Jerry The King Lawler with Doug Asheville
This Article Was Republished With the Permission of YBFREE.com
Jerry "the King" Lawler is probably one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and many people didn’t even know he existed until over 10 years ago when he first entered the WWE as his in-ring career started to wind down. Since joining the WWE, we like to think we know his life story from what we read on the Internet, but we don’t. It’s Good to Be the King…Sometimes gives us the true story of the making of a legend and then fills in the blanks of what really happened during some of the tumultuous years in the WWE.
The true King of Memphis takes us on a voyage throughout his life and a look at his humble beginnings in Tennessee. A great artist who could have drawn the artwork on Magic cards like Greg Hildebrandt or for a story in Heavy Metal Magazine, Lawler parlayed his art success into the wrestling business when he created artwork of the legendary wrestler Jackie Fargo. Shown on a live wrestling program, Lawler’s art work was recognized by Fargo who allowed the future King to hang around with him and work as a DJ on his radio station. Lawler would eventually use that gig to promote an outlaw company’s shows (A promotion that would try to run against another established promotion in its home area. Referred to as outlaw because it was/is attempting to "steal" fans) and eventually get his break in the ring.
Lawler's tale of wrestling life was not marked by success from the beginning. In fact, Lawler was what most people would refer to as a jobber, the guy who always loses. However, as Lawler started to work his way up in the tag-team rankings and a natural charisma helped propel him to moderate success before starting a feud with his mentor, Fargo, and saying that he would beat Fargo and become the true King of Memphis. He’s been wearing a crown ever since.
Lawler was not only an exceptional wrestler winning more championships than any wrestler I can remember; he was a great booker, too. Teaming with NWA-TNA owner Jerry Jarrett, the duo kept the Memphis territory alive while the WWF ate up the rest of the country. Lawler became the top draw in Memphis, a fact he honestly states could be due in part to the fact that he was the head booker, but his great wrestling ability could not be questioned and his superiority on the mic has made Lawler even more successful today than he was in the past. Sports Entertainment is in this guy’s blood!
The King provides some very entertaining stories including how many wrestlers rose through the ranks of his USWA and Memphis promotions, like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Jimmy Hart, Paul Heyman, The Undertaker, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. We get extensive coverage of his feud with Andy Kaufman, one that even many wrestling know-it-alls were not sure if it was real or not. There is even a brief, but interesting story about how there was once a match setup between Lawler and Elvis that never happened because Elvis died. Readers will also be interested in learning how the NWA territory system worked before the WWF made the U.S. one territory, why Lawler broke off from the NWA and moved aligned his company with the AWA where Lawler finally won his first singles World Championship. You will also discover why after resisting all those years, the USWA became a part of the WWF as a developmental system. That is where Lawler became the premier color commentator in the wrestling business.
While these historic tidbits were more than enough to fill my thirst, I still felt something was missing from this book. I wish Lawler elaborated more on his only world title win his feud with ECW, his lengthy battles with Bret Hart and those of "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert (a legend taken from us too soon). I would also like to know what he thought when he was announcing the matches after the accident that claimed Owen Hart’s life. Still, I enjoyed the behind the scenes information of a promoter, including an incident when a wrestler was arrested for real and they turned it into an angle on live television.
Of course, this book would not be complete without the tale of Lawler’s troubles with the WWE and the subsequent separation between the King and his Queen Stacey Carter (a.k.a The Kat). New insight is placed on this dramatic event and while “The King” did some desperate things, often pathetic things to win her back, we have all been through what he has been through and done some of the same things. Lawler admits to not being a great husband (married three times) or great father (two kids, one of which we know as Grandmaster Sexay). However, when it seemed he truly loved someone, she left him. How could you not relate?
But Lawler moves on, continues to wrestle and still announces for the WWE. So many more stories to be told, but this book satisfies the reader for now. Complete with fascinating stories, honesty, humor, sensibility and a great look into the wrestling world that is not only the WWE, this book marks another success for Lawler, that of a writer. I am more of a fan now than before. It’s good to be a fan of “The King”…period.
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