Home > Uncategorized > YouTube Finds: Austin Idol is a little hot under the collar

YouTube Finds: Austin Idol is a little hot under the collar

Print Friendly

Face-off: Idol was always a little touchy about any potential damage to his mug.

The infamous 1987 feud between Jerry Lawler and Austin Idol, highlighted by the King’s head being shaved in front of a riotous crowd at the Mid-South Coliseum, has been well-documented on this site here as well as here. But the animosity between the two grapplers kicked off on Christmas night 1978, when the Idol ruined the holidays for many a Memphis mark by upsetting the King for the AWA Southern title.

The feud carried over into 1979, including the first-ever card I attended at the Coliseum, with Lawler calling on the legendary Jackie Fargo to defeat the Universal Heartthrob and Mil Mascaras in a stretcher match. (Jim Cornette joked with me years later that it must have been journeyman Pepe Lopez under the hood, but it was indeed Aaron Rodriguez, the so-called “Man of a Thousand Masks and uncle of future WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio, who did the stretcher job that night.)

When Lawler returned from a broken leg in 1981, Idol was a hired gun, one of Jimmy Hart’s bounty hunters paid to put the King back on the shelf. As he had Lawler trapped in his Las Vegas Leglock attempting to rebreak the leg, Idol was met with a fireball to the neck–an excellent counter for just about any move in Memphis.(Ask anyone, at the height of his popularity, Lawler could always be a real pain in the neck.) I always laughed when announcer Lance Russell at ringside would occasionally casually refer to Lawler torching someone as if it were an inside cradle or a sunset flip: “Lawler’s backed into the corner. Ah, and here he comes with a ball of fire. That should do it.”

Obviously, when your whole gimmick is built around being “the Women’s Pet and the Men’s Regret,” your face is an invaluable part of your livelihood. Luckily, Idol escaped permanent disfiguration but he failed to see the bright side. Here, the Idol cuts a hell of a promo, vowing revenge. Love this old-school intensity. Thanks to my buddy Guerin Shea for posting this recently on YouTube.

Never a patient man, Idol would mount his counterattack weeks later during a ceremony honoring the King for being the most popular wrestler in Mexico–a story that’s about as ridiculous as it sounds. The Idol/Lawler “Mexico” angle was inspired by Florida angle weeks earlier featuring Dusty Rhodes and the Assassin, who ambushed the Dream under the guise of the legendary El Santo. While not perfectly executed, it’s still priceless when Lance Russell urges Hector Guerrero to “tell him in Mexican just to get outta here!”

Two years later, another Lawler fireball, this time directly to the face, did in fact cause Idol “to see the light” (as he claimed in a promo) and turn babyface. I guess two fireballs would be enough to rehabilitate just about anyone short-term.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.