When WWE lead commentator Michael Cole stunned the WWE Universe by announcing live on WWE Monday Night Raw that his broadcast partner, Jerry The King Lawler, was stretchered to the back for medical attention, the tone of his voice and look in his eyes made me feel this was far from some Brian Gewirtz storyline.
First reminded me of the night when Owen Hart died tragically during a WWE pay-per-view, and then lead commentator Jim Ross did his best to relay the sad news to fans watching, discerning fact from fiction.
This was real, too, and a somber Cole delivered the shocking news. The King was receiving CPR backstage.
I took to Twitter.
The amount of support for The King from fans, wrestlers and those in the profession grew to epic proportions with each passing minute -- all wishing him well and/or praying.
During the live three-hour WWE Monday Night Raw broadcast on the USA Network from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Lawler collapsed to the floor while commentating a match. He received medical attention immediately.
Later on Twitter, former WWE superstar The Hurricane Gregory Helms tweeted þ@ShaneHelmsCom , “While I’m sure people are gonna attach Lawler’s age while wrestling to his “possible” heart attack, however we should be thankful it happened at a WWE event with a trained medical staff on hand!!!”
Truer words were never spoken.
How many indie shows (and there are many around the country) have trained medical staff available?
Matt of The Young Bucks tweeted @MattJackson13 , “Thank God Lawler’s heart attack happened in an arena full of EMT’s & not later tonight, alone in his hotel room.”
Lawler is 62, but he wrestles occasionally, and this is not the first time he’s done double duty, commentating and wrestling, on Raw. He partnered with Randy Orton against WWE champ CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler. Orton and Lawler won. A happy moment for fans, especially when The King is on the winning team.
Lawler is one of the most beloved personalities in the history of the business. A career that spans five decades, he has done just about everything in the profession -- announcer, booker, owner, promoter, referee, trainer, wrestler. Road Dogg Jesse James said the word “puppies,” and Lawler made it famous.
Last year to promote WWE WrestleMania 28 Miami, I did a phone interview with Lawler, and he felt so fortunate and lucky to have accomplished so much. His passion came through, and through it all, he continues to have fun. That’s not always easy to do in this business at a high level.
WWE CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon even paid Lawler a tremendous compliment.
Lawler said: “Honestly, I’m not trying to blow my own horn, because I feel lucky moreso than anything, but Vince McMahon once told me, ‘I think you’re the most all-around talented guy I’d ever met in this industry.’ Then [McMahon] explained, ‘You’ve done everything and done everything well. You’ve owned a wrestling company. You started out as a referee. You’ve wrestled. You’ve booked. You’ve done payrolls. You’ve done commentary. You still wrestle.’
“It’s just one of those things. It’s like that baseball movie ‘The Natural.’ Wrestling and anything involved with it has always come natural to me. I never took things too seriously, and I always had a great time and fun doing it.”