Hall of Fame


jerrylawler.jpgAs expected then, Jerry “The King” Lawler was announced on Raw as the next pick for the WWE Hall of Fame after Dusty Rhodes and Curt Henning.

Lawler, a legendary wrestler and commentator, is one of the true legends of the sport and he apparently has held more world championships than any other wrestler in the history of professional wrestling. 111 for those counting!

My first memory of Lawler was at the end of the 1993 King of the Ring. Straight after my favourite wrestler Bret Hart seemingly overcame all odds to defeat the “rested” Bam Bam Bigelow in the final (he got a bye in the semi-final, after Tatanka/Luger went to a draw), he attacked the Hitman and I hated the guy for years afterwards. Lawler’s feud with Hart was awarded the feud of the 1993 in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Me hating the guy, was mainly due to his ability of playing such an awesome heel. There weren’t many performers in the mid 90’s who were able to generate the amount of heat that Lawler could, no matter who he was up against or what part of the country they were touring.

He is probably best known, certainly outside of the wrestling world for his feud with comedian Andy Kaufman which was later revealed to be a total work… more than 10 years after it all took place.

You all know the story probably from the Jim Carrey movie Man on the Moon which Lawler starred in, playing himself. The incident on a 1982 episode of the David Letterman show which led to an on-air fight between the two has truly become a legendary moment in wrestling.

Over the last ten years, Lawler has been used as the main colour commentator in the WWE. I fondly remember him being so pro “heel” in the 90’s and early 00’s that he would get J.R. so enraged that their back and forth banter was fascinating. He has calmed down a bit over the last 5 years or so and is now more of a “face” commentator but he still manages to get over the heels when he can.

Who can forget Lawler’s feud with ECW back in 1997 which led to his famous match against Tommy Dreamer at Hardcore Heaven 97… a match that truly made you wonder if what you were watching was actually real.

In more recent years, I’ve hunted out older matches of Lawler and I’ve watched with amazement at his matches with Curt Henning, Nick Bockwinkel, Ric Flair and Jimmy Valiant…..it’s great to see him be inducted this year.

Lawler is of course the cousin of The Honky Tonk Man and is the father of Brian Lawler who wrestled in the WWE for a good number of years as Too Sexy Brian Christopher and later Grandmaster Sexay who himself was a terribly under-utilized worker and certainly had the talent to go further than the WWE pushed him.

CAREER AND TITLE HISTORIES

Lawler wrestled for various promotions and companies in the Memphis area in the 1970’s to the mid 1980’s including his legendary feud with Andy Kaufman, which truly transcended the sport of professional wrestling.

AWA (1987-1988) 

AWA World Champion (1 time)
AWA World Tag Team Champion (2 times) with Bill Dundee

WWF (1993 – 2001)

Took part in the 1993 Wrestling Observer Feud of the Year against Bret Hart

Took part in a legendary feud with ECW in 1997

Was the lead colour commentator for most of his tenure in WWF, developing a great chemistry with Jim Ross.

He quit in 2001, when his wife Stacy Carter who wrestled as The Cat was released as the backstage guys said she was “difficult to work with”.

WWF/E (Nov 2001-present day)

Lawler returned to take up his positioning on the annoucer table after Paul Heyman and the Alliance were defeated at Survivor Series 2001.

He is still the colour man on Monday nights and is undoubtedly the best in the business these days…. and IMO….. the best of all time.

42zg.jpgAccording to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler will be inducted into this year’s WWE Hall of Fame. 

In my opinion they are both more than deserving as they have been the best announcers in this business for a decade now, if not of all time. There’s little doubt that the success of Raw on Monday nights have been greatly helped by their fantastic chemistry, charisma and love for the sport of professional wrestling.

Of course, if you go beyond their WWE announcing duties, Jim Ross was a great commentator for both NWA and WCW whilst Jerry Lawler was a legendary wrestler for decades. I will have much more on this when WWE make it official.

More HALL OF FAME TIDBITS….

Legendary wrestler and promoter Larry Henning will be inducting his late son Curt (Mr. Perfect) into this year’s HOF, which is a fitting tribute.

The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) have agreed to be inducted, which sounds right as WWE inducted the tag team of The Blackjacks last year, so one team a year seems likely. Again, more on this if/when it’s confirmed.

Probably the greatest wrestler that ever lived, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair is expected to be the leading wrestler for next year’s Hall of Fame. My understanding is that the only reason he hasn’t been inducted as of yet is because the company and the wrestler don’t want to be inducted whilst he is still an active part of the roster.

source – gerweck.net

200px-wwf_mr_perfect.jpgIt was announced on Raw that Mr. Perfect, Curt Henning would be the second inductee into this year’s WWE Hall of Fame.

It’s been just over four years since Curt Henning passed away, at the age of 44 and it’s little surprise that he is to be inducted this year as the WWE are planning a DVD set on the legend to be released later this year.

One of my favourite wrestling events of all time was Survivor Series 1990, which was one of the first events I ever saw. I didn’t start watching wrestling till 1992, but I had this on tape and burned it out all the way through the 90’s. In that event I got my first glimpse at Mr. Perfect and I loved him straight away.

He was the leader of “The Perfect Team” along with Demolition who took on “The Warriors” that were The Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado and Legion of Doom. The match eventually boiled down to Perfect against both Tornado and Warrior and I loved (i know it’s silly, but when your young the simple things effect you!!) how Perfect outsmarted Tornado and coaxed him into getting into the ring, where he jumped on him, kicked his ass and eliminated him with The Perfect Plex.

He eventually lost the match to The Warrior, who actually kicked out of Perfect’s finisher. Everytime I watch the match I’m cheering for Perfect to get the three count but obviously he never does!

I loved his matches with Bret Hart at Summerslam 1991 and King of the Ring 1993 (second ppv I saw live), his loser leaves Raw match with Ric Flair and even his match with Shawn Michaels at Summerslam 1993 which disapointed many, including HBK who said so in his book.

After some largely wasted years in WCW and XWF, Henning surprisingly returned in early 2002 for one last WWE run, re-debuting at the Rumble and unbelievably making it down to the final 3. During this match, I was re-living my childhood once again, begging Henning to win the match, and I couldn’t believe how close he came at the time.

Some dream matches against Steve Austin, Tazz and Rob Van Dam occurred in his last 4 month run in the WWE before the famed “plane ride from hell” back from the UK where an amateur match between him and Brock Lesnar took place in the clouds!! I was actually at a UK event in Birmingham that the WWE were touring at the time, and it was a personal pleasure of mine to see Perfect live in the ring. Although the match itself is something to quickly forget about…

It was Perfect and Molly Holly teaming against Trish Stratus and Jerry Lawler!!!

Henning died in 2003 from a “acute cocaine intoxication” leaving behind a legacy of one of the greatest athlete and performer’s the wrestling business has ever seen. His initially silly gimmick of being the “perfect guy” at every sport (like throwing a basketball into a hoop from the half way line with his  back turned every time!) he ran with and made into something special because he wasn’t just a great guy on the mic, but he had the look, charisma and abilites to make something special out of it.

I’m personally thrilled Henning got the nod this year, the only sad thing is that he won’t be attending the event.

CAREER AND TITLE HISTORIES

AWA (1979 – 1988)

AWA World Heavyweight Title (1 time)

AWA World Tag Team Titles (1 time) with Scott Hall

WWF (1988 – 1996)

WWF Intercontinental Title (2 times)

WCW (1997 – 2000)

WCW United States Title (1 time)

WCW World Tag Team Title (1 time) with Barry Windham

WWE (Jan 2002 – May 2002)

Came third in the 2002 Royal Rumble

TNA (2002 – 2003)

Lost some world title matches to Ron Killings and Jeff Jarrett