Going Ringside Ep. 68: Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler

The legendary wrestler and commentator joins the show to discuss his career and health

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – On this episode of “Going Ringside” we’re joined by arguably the greatest pro wrestling color commentator in history: Jerry “The King” Lawler. Alongside Jim Ross (who appeared on the first episode of Going Ringside) the two comprised an iconic duo through WWE’s “Attitude Era” when pro wrestling was hotter than it ever had been.

But that was all after a lengthy pro wrestling career where Lawler dominated the Memphis territory.

Lawler, of course, got the country’s attention on Late Night with David Letterman. In 1982 when legendary comedian Andy Kaufman decided to try his hand in pro wrestling, he feuded with Lawler. That feud ended with the infamous slap where Lawler slapped Kaufman, who was wearing a neck brace, on Letterman’s show.

That incident is one of the most legendary things to happen to pro wrestling ever. It was closely guarded as a real-life incident or “shoot” (in wrestling parlance).

But several years later the incident was publicly disclosed to be a planned stunt. In fact, it was portrayed in the movie “Man on the Moon,” starring Jim Carrey in 1999, when Lawler and Carrey (portraying Kaufman) recreated the incident.

But the Kaufman incident was only the early portion of what became an iconic career for Lawler, who has remained relevant in pro wrestling and popular culture ever since.

Eventually, Lawler was lured from Memphis by WWF (today’s WWE) Owner Vince McMahon to be a wrestler and commentator.

In our interview, Lawler discusses McMahon bringing him into the company and how his role morphed into a legendary announcer.

Now Lawler, who’s in his 70s, is facing real-life health issues. We discuss his ongoing health battles along with his relationship with other famous performers like Jim Ross and Trish Stratus.

About the Author

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.

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