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Down but not out: Jerry Lawler makes the comeback of a lifetime

September 14th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments
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On a Monday night at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis in 1978, Joe LeDuc pressed Jerry Lawler over his head and tossed the Southern heavyweight champion from the ring like a ragdoll onto the ringside announcers’ table. My hometown hero took a wicked bump, crashing off the table and crumpling in a heap onto the floor.

I was sure the King was done for.

Indeed, Lawler was really hurt on this night in ’78 . This was no angle— this wasn’t part of the show.

Although he was treated for a leg injury at a Memphis hospital that night, Lawler was back in the ring two weeks later seeking revenge against the maniacal Canadian lumberjack.

I was only 7 years old, and I thought Lawler was Superman.

Over the years, no matter the odds, Lawler always battled back when a dastardly heel like Terry Funk or Nick Bockwinkel had the King on the ropes. Bleeding and reeling, Lawler always rallied in the end, pulling down the strap on his singlet to make his comeback—think Popeye and his spinach—as the rowdy crowds at Monday Night Rasslin’ went berserk.

Wake-up call: Disguised as a mild-mannered announcer recovering from heart surgery, the King enjoys a salad and a Diet Coke…and a huge steak covered in mushrooms.

Thirty-four years later, on the September 10 episode of WWE’s “Monday Night RAW,” Lawler, who had been experiencing chest pains of late, collapsed to the floor near the announcers’ table, where he was doing commentary.

My hero had fallen once again, this time as a result of a massive heart attack. And once again, this was no angle-“…not part of the entertainment,” as his visibly shaken announce partner Michael Cole told the millions watching Monday night.

I again feared my childhood hero was done for. But on the ropes and reeling, Lawler again rallied, pulling down the proverbial strap to make the comeback and overcome his most dangerous adversary yet.

Three days later, with rumors of death and possible brain damage circulating on the Internet, Lawler began showing amazing signs of recovery, joking and laughing with friends and quickly regaining his appetite. Even Lawler’s doctor was reportedly amazed at the shape he was in following surgery.

I shouldn’t have doubted his resolve-the King has made his living triumphing against the odds in heart-stopping action and suspense.

I’m 41 years old, and I still think he’s Superman.

  1. Jeremy
    September 14th, 2012 at 16:57 | #1

    It sucks to see your heroes get old.

  2. Sean D,
    September 14th, 2012 at 19:07 | #2

    Amen, Brother.

  3. Dlc320
    September 15th, 2012 at 09:49 | #3

    Hey world, it’s this type of against all odds rally that makes Memphis’ Jerry The King Lawler the super hero that he is! Yes, he’s changed, and yes, he’s aged but, he has done it better than most (if not all) in his profession and he and we are proud of his work.

  4. ron newman
    September 16th, 2012 at 14:19 | #4

    It’s a shame we gotta get old; but alas it happens to us all; even “The King of Professional Wrestling” must age. Most today know him as a commentator for the WWE; but for a lot of us we can still see him as “The Unified Worlds Heavyweight Champion” ( with more titles than anyonelse ), as he commanded the squared circle against all comers. He beat them all! I must say to see him deliver 2 “flying fists” to Punk & Zigler brought back those glory days (darn I wanting a patented “jackhammer” series of punches delivered to Punk). So glad The King is doing so well. The best of the best, All Hail The King!!

  5. Lance Russell’s Nose
    September 18th, 2012 at 10:45 | #5

    Superman? Don’t you mean…”Super-King?”


  6. Tyler From Charlotte
    September 21st, 2012 at 17:56 | #6

    All of these old guys can at least for a few minutes, remind us of what it was like to be a kid. I remember when Ric Flair “retired” a few years ago, it was like one of the final links to my childhood was gone. I wrote an email to one Scott Bowden (who I have never met and do not know in any way) that night in a slightly inebriated state because I was faced with the fact that I could no longer go home and I had to talk to someone that would understand. Scott you responded with a simple email (that you likely don’t remember at all) basically saying that you got what I was saying and you knew where I was coming from. Tonight I will do the same… Long live King Lawler and all of the little pieces of childhood we each have left…

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