Jerry Lawler was one of the first pro wrestlers to gain mainstream notoriety. His feud with comic Andy Kaufman and appearances on The David Letterman Show exposed Lawler to a big new audience.
Back in the pre-cable days, I had heard of Lawler, but had only seen him on some syndicated wrestling shows. I heard a lot about "the King," however. He was like royalty in the Memphis area (hence the King). He did not wrestle for the major companies at the time, but his connection with Kaufman changed all of that.
To this day, it is still debated as to the legitimacy of their feud. It is one of the very few wrestling mysteries left. The business has been exposed and shown to the mass audience. The Kaufman-Lawler feud though stands apart from all else.
Eventually, Lawler made his way to the WWE. He was nearing the end of his in-ring career though. He would never win a WWE title. He did become a very popular announcer for the WWE.
We met Lawler at C2E2, where he was helping promote Headlocked, a comic book series for which he did some of the cover artwork. The multi-talented Lawler is also a very accomplished artist.
I always say that comic cons are great places to meet wrestlers. While they draw good crowds, the lines are nowhere near as long as when they do wrestling shows. Because of the number of other celebrity guests, prices are usually much better, too.
For his part, Lawler was great with the fans. He patiently and willingly got into conversations about virtually every part of his career. If I had stayed next to him the entire day, I probably would have heard eevery good story he had. I still wouldn't know the whole Kaufman story though!
Matt Parker, Jerry Lawler and me in Chicago, IL-April 2014.