The Cahoon Run Down: Jerry Lawler and the Reality of Wrestling

Hey everybody, Geddy Cahoon here after a one week break with another edition of The Cahoon Run Down. With school starting up again and things in my life a little bit more hectic than usual, I always preface my articles with a sort of disclaimer that the consistency of my writing may falter just a tad in the coming months. Each week I’ll always attempt to crap something out, but I’d rather not write at all than phone it in.

Anyways, this past Monday on RAW fans in attendance as well as those at home suffered through a horrifying show on which beloved commentator Jerry Lawler had a heart attack. I just want to talk about some of the implications about wrestling fans in general that I drew from Lawler’s accident, my reaction, and so forth. You’ve probably seen a million articles like this over the past few days, but I wouldn’t have felt right NOT writing about it.

Two nights ago on Monday Night RAW, we basically sat through a bland show just like any other. One of the matches saw CM Punk take on Randy Orton, in a match that ended up becoming tag team fare involving Jerry Lawler and Dolph Ziggler. During this match, everything really seemed fine. Lawler has done this kind of thing a million times before, and as far as Monday went compared to some of his other matches over the past few years, let’s just say he’s been in more heated competitions.

So the match ended and Lawler returned to commentary, as is his wont. Everything was running smoothly (And rather blandly because hey, this is RAW) when it came time for my beloved Prime Time Players to face off against my beloved Daniel Bryan and his partner Kane. During the match, the commentary abruptly stopped and Charles Robinson began anxiously looking to his right. The crowd broke into a chant of “JERRY! JERRY!” The match continued as planned, and immediately afterward Michael Cole addressed the crowd/viewing audience. Jerry Lawler had passed out during the previous match, and was now being rushed to the hospital.

First of all, I wasn’t actually in the room when this match occurred (I was re-piercing my nose with a thumbtack… Long story). When I walked back in, my brother’s first words were “So apparently Jerry Lawler passed out.” I chuckled for a second at what I assumed was a hokey, ridiculous attempt to continue the Punk/Lawler storyline. However, I noticed the serious look on my brother’s face and meekly blurted out “For real…?” He shook his head. I kind of wasn’t sure how to react, but I made it a point to stay in the room the rest of the night and not miss another second of RAW.

All throughout the rest of the show, no commentary was played, and RAW definitely took on an eerie quality. Periodically, Michael Cole updated us on Jerry’s condition, and I don’t think I was the only one waiting, terrified, to hear that Jerry Lawler had passed away. I’m not a religious guy by any means, but I was PRAYING for that not to be the case. Ultimately, Lawler’s condition by the end of the night was stable, and things looked much better than they had an hour ago.

Obviously, this whole occurrence was scary as hell. In the end however, I think it kind of renewed my faith in both wrestling fans and the people within the business. It showed that through all of the arguing and vastly different opinions, wrestling is a business and fandom that care about their people. As an obvious example, I’m not the biggest Jerry Lawler fan. In fact I kind of hate his onscreen character. A lot. However, I was terrified during that last hour of RAW. Absolutely terrified. I would never wish anything that horrible upon anybody, and I don’t know that words can adequately express my relief at the stabilization of Jerry by the night’s end.

The fan reaction to this event was insanely heartwarming. The uproarious cheers of “JERRY! JERRY!” upon King’s passing out were comforting in a time of potent fear. The most uplifting thing I took away from the incident (And believe me, it’s hard to use the term “uplifting” in any context during this situation) was the fan reaction/support to Michael Cole. Usually the subject of scorn and hatred by 90% of wrestling fandom, Cole apparently received a massive, uproarious standing ovation when he entered at Tuesday’s SmackDown taping. It really showed the amount of unity that, at the end of the day, we as a wrestling fan subculture possess.

Ultimately, this close call was just a pseudo-grim reminder that wrestling personalities are people. Real people, that care about each other and that we care about in the end, whether we hate their on-screen character or not. As much as I complain about Jerry Lawler, I can’t imagine WWE without him. I’d rather complain about his character week in week out than not have him here at all. At this point, all we can do is keep King in our thoughts (And prayers if that’s your preference) and hope that we never have another close call like this again. Get well Jerry, so I can go back to booing you.

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