Normally in this column I’d open up with a paragraph or two, denouncing some aspect of the WWE and its strange habit of recapping things endlessly, or what have you, but tonight is a very different night than usual, for reasons all of you who watch WWE,already know. Usually, I watch Raw live, and during that viewing I take notes, and then format them all into the article you’re currently reading. Which means my notes tend to be very spur of the moment, and generally can range anywhere from serious, to joking, and all spectrums in between. Well during the last 1/3 of tonight’s show, something happened that took me by shock, and suddenly the page full of notes criticizing Jerry Lawler’s character, and his commentary seemed wildly inappropriate.
So for those of you who read this column but don’t watch Raw, (who are you?), during the middle of a match between Daniel Bryan and Kane, and The Primetime Players, Jerry Lawler seemed to pass out, seemingly suffering from some unknown condition. As of this moment, 8:56 PM (west coast time), there are no further updates on his condition, other than he’s responsive, stable, and breathing on his own. He was assisted onto a gurney and wheeled out of the Montreal stadium and taken to a local healthcare facility, where they’re administering CAT scans and what have you, in an attempt to diagnose how serious his condition is. Right now, that’s all the info that is known from watching Raw and from WWE.Com.
Times like these make it difficult as a fan, and as a writer, to determine what’s appropriate when such an event so greatly overshadows almost everything else that happened on the show. Suddenly all of the story lines and feuds lose all meaning, in the wake of a tragedy befalling such an esteemed, long lasting, established person in Raw and WWE history as Jerry Lawler. I know, I know as recently as last week I was giving him tons of shit, but as a fan, there’s a crucial distinction between “going along with kayfabe”, and being a true fan of this sport. Of course I’m aware that Jerry Lawler is supposed to be a master of propaganda, and is supposed to say dumb things, because that’s his character now, and he does it well. So well in fact, I sometimes forget that it’s all just a show. Things like that are a testament to just how good they are at making us care about these characters, and having them really develop into superstars and legends we care about, or love to hate.
This incident with Jerry Lawler is a shocking way to be reminded that it is in fact, all just a show, and these people are literally out there killing themselves for our entertainment, day in and day out. There isn’t enough thanks I can give all of them, especially Jerry Lawler, for providing us with the entertainment, sport, and past time we all love and enjoy. I can only hope that Jerry Lawler turns out okay from all this, and this night will be remembered as an unfortunate moment in The King’s career, rather than a dark moment in the WWE, as yet another life tragically lost.
Normally I’d post several videos, following with my criticism or praise of their content, but unfortunately after tonight, I don’t believe it would be respectful, to try to ignore the significance of tonight, nor lessen the true impact that these events have had on the WWE Universe. Respect is a word that’s been ballyhooed around a lot in the WWE, and tonight, Jerry Lawler gets mine. Writing a series of snarky jokes about the matches tonight, the story segments, and anything in between seems incredibly petty. As much as I’d have loved to be able to sit down, and write everything I was thinking during the first 2 hours of tonight’s show, I’m not the one who’s going to sit back and try to pretend like what happened didn’t matter, or worse, as I’ve seen on twitter, some suggest it’s all a work, which I find insulting, and ridiculous.
I’ve just recently lost my father, and have had to report a lot of bad news, to a lot of people I cared about. Seeing Michael Cole have to do the same, on a national level, to millions of people, was excruciating, and brought up a lot of emotions that are still very much active within me. To suggest it’s not real, is to not understand the pain, fear, worry, and self doubt that comes with having to directly and confront the terrible in front of you, and worse yet, tell others, and have to watch them react the same way in turn, as they process and deal with that information themselves. It’s this that I saw tonight, in Michael Cole’s eyes as he relayed the terrible news of what happened to Lawler, and explain why his and Lawler’s commentary suddenly dropped to a standstill.
Worse than that, was rewinding the broadcast, and watching Lawler hunched over, clearly receiving aid from a stage hand nearby, and the fast footwork of many officials and medical technicians rushing to help Lawler, all the while a wrestling match went on, with the cameras doing their best to avoid any sensationalization of what was going on around the match being shown. One look at the audience in the background told the tale, as everyones eyes were transfixed on the Announcer’s Table, and not the match happening in front of them. I found myself doing the same, too troubled and shocked to continue my normal barrage of WWE related tweets, or even taking any further notes on the show. Hearing all of the outpourings of opinion amongst the myriad sources of social media, has been massively cathartic and reassuring, as the WWE Universe collectively stands back in shock at tonight’s events. A notable Facebook Community I visit and comment on frequently, is Facebook’s We Hate John Cena Page, a page that shares the shocked sentiment of the WWE Universe tonight, as we all stand back, hope and pray that Lawler turns out okay.
Needless to say the last half hour of the show was resolutely quiet, and as I anxiously waited to hear any updates on his condition, suddenly the feud between John Cena and CM Punk seemed a bit less important. You could notice the seriousness in their eyes, and the emotion on their faces, as they, and all the others who unfortunately had to perform after such an event, made sure the show would go on, as I’m positive Lawler would have preferred. Personally, seeing Michael Cole’s reaction brought up memories of Owen Hart’s death, and the gravely serious tone in which Lawler and JR spoke about Owen Hart’s tragically fatal condition. Michael Cole’s words seemed grimly reminiscent, and all the while until the very last shot of the show, I kept expecting that update to come, and we’d receive the dire news of Jerry Lawler’s fate. Fortunately it seems as of yet, Lawler is still stable. All of my, and the WWE Universe’s wishes, prayers, and hopes are with him, his friends, and family for a full recovery.