“Drug testing and baseline medical testing is cost prohibitive, even if they don’t spend the money on advertising or bringing in big names. The industry remains in a state of contraction coupled with a severely depressed economy. Plus, promoters and decision makers tend to have a relatively short-sighted point of view on these matters.”
Paul Levesque, better know to fans as WWE superstar Triple H, stood backstage in his executive position — executive vice president of Talent and Live Events — when Jerry Lawler passed out at the announce table on Raw. Thankfully, WWE has the resources to medically assist their talent, and they also help former wrestlers.
“We’ve said it a million times; we’re all like a tight family,” Triple H said.
Steve Keirn (Fabulous Ones, Skinner, Doink the Clown), president of FCW, the feeder group to WWE, added: “There’s a mutual admiration and respect for everybody in this industry. When one of our guys goes down with a heart attack or something life threatening, it puts us all in that eye awakening situation, ‘That could have been me.’ Jerry Lawler’s only a few years older than me. Anytime anybody could have a serious health issue. So my sympathies are with his family, and my prayers are with Jerry to recover, and I’m sure he will. He’s a really tough guy.”
That night on Raw was eye opening for everyone.
Triple H continued: “You watch somebody [Lawler] who you’re very close with, and something tragic happens to him, and we’re backstage. When something like that happens, there’s mass confusion. No one knows what’s going on, and they’re looking for answers, and they’re watching this guy get worked on, and then he gets wheeled out. Is he going to make it? Is he not going to make it? No one seems to know, and there’s a lot of chaos.
“When you’re in [business] roles that you’re in, you have to hold it together. You have to be that straight line. If they see you panic, then all bets are off.”
• Triple H interview on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlL4XlE-y9Y&feature=plcp.
• Miami Herald pro wrestling editor Jim Varsallone contributed to this story.
• For Part II of this story, go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/24/3018202/how-old-is-too-old-part-2.html.
• Court Bauer’s digital project at www.mlwwrestling.com or follow him on Twitter @courtbauer.
• John Bradshaw Layfield on Twitter @JCLayfield
Learn about his Seven Summit Bermuda Challenge to raise money for the Beyond Rugby Family Centre http://www.beyondrugbybermuda.com/7-summits.html.
• Lance Storm on Twitter @Storm_Wrestling. Visit http://www.stormwrestling.com.
• Shane Hurricane Helms on Twitter @ShaneHelmsCom.
• Sonjay Dutt on Twitter @sonjaydutterson or www.sonjaydutterson.com.
• Dory Funk Jr.’s website http://www.dory-funk.com.
Join Dory Funk and Marti on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube http://www.dory-funk.com/bt-20.html.
• For TNA Impact Wrestling, visit http://www.impactwrestling.com or @impactwrestling on Twitter.
• For Resistance Pro Wrestling, visit http://www.resistancepro.com or follow them on Twitter @Resistance_Pro.
• For FOW (Future of Wrestling), visit http://www.futureofwrestling.com/.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN, http://twitter.com/#!/smFISHMAN, where I post links and information. Opinions expressed reflect no other entity. I can also be found tweeting incessantly during wrestling shows weekly.