Home > Uncategorized > YouTube Finds: Ken Patera muscles in on Memphis wrestling with strong debut, no-sells Jerry Lawler’s piledriver

YouTube Finds: Ken Patera muscles in on Memphis wrestling with strong debut, no-sells Jerry Lawler’s piledriver

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While the piledriver was often viewed as just another legal maneuver in most NWA territories and the WWF, Memphis wrestling portrayed the deadly looking hold as lethal as a handgun and cause for an automatic disqualification. The psychology behind that reputation was further cemented when Jerry Lawler apparently nearly broke Andy Kaufman’s neck with two piledrivers in April 1982.

Brains and brawn: Jimmy Hart and Ken Patera nearly dethroned the King.

To help get the Road Warriors over as unstoppable forces, Lawler instructed Hawk (the late Mike Hegstrand) to not sell his now-infamous hold and pop up from his finisher as if it were nothing during one of their first meetings at the Mid-South Coliseum during a no-DQ tag bout on February 6, 1984, pitting the Roadies vs. the King and Austin Idol. (The Warriors returned the favor that night by allowing Lawler to get a fluke school-boy rollup three-count on a match restart–a rare loss for Hawk and Animal in those days.)

For years, when their paths crossed backstage, Hawk always went out of his way to thank Lawler for allowing the musclebound Warrior to shatter the aura of the King’s bread-and-butter maneuver, footage of which was shown numerous times in various territories as part of an ill-fated Warriors music video…in which they actually, um, sang. (And you thought the Doomsday Device was devastating.)

However, until the following footage popped on YouTube recently, I’d forgotten that Hawk wasn’t the first man to get the rare rub from no-selling the piledriver on the King’s home court. Ken Patera, one of Kaufman’s bounty hunters, was the first to achieve that distinction, which fit the storyline perfectly since it was the piledriver that had “injured” the Taxi star to begin with. Patera was supposedly sent in by Kaufman to injure Lawler with his dreaded swinging neckbreaker.

Although he was a powerful force inside the ring, Patera was never a strong promo; in fact, he made my list of the 10 worst interviews of all time. But on May 16, 1983, he might as well have been Superman in the eyes of Memphis fans when he shook off the effects of the only barred hold in the state of Tennessee to dethrone the King for the International title. Even the humbled Lawler had to admit in defeat that Patera was indeed the “World’s Strongest Man.”

  1. Chris C
    August 9th, 2011 at 15:28 | #1

    I remember this angle well. I think the bigger surprise looking at this in 2011 is the amount of blood on the ring mat. In today’s culture they would change that mat.

  2. admin
    August 9th, 2011 at 19:17 | #2

    Yeah, I’ve always likened that blood-stained mat to an abstract painting–only fitting for an artist like Lawler to work on that canvas (so to speak).

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