Hello again everyone and welcome to another edition of Melo Out. I'm sure by this point you have all heard or read by now about what happened to Jerry "The King" Lawler this past Monday on RAW. I didn't want to talk about it too much, but the fact of the matter is it's all anyone has really been talking about all week, which is understandable for many reasons. I mean how often do you tune in to an episode of RAW or any wrestling show for that matter and have that sort of real life element of surprise unexpectedly present itself without warning? Definitely once in a blue moon I would say.
It's not every day a commentator that you have been listening to for almost 20 years suddenly goes silent because he is suffering an actual heart attack on a live broadcast. And a beloved wrestling figure who is and has been an icon for almost 40 years now. Say what you want about how stale his commentary has become over the years and that RAW needs a new broadcast team. Say what you want about Michael Cole and how he is better suited as a manager instead of hearing his voice each and every week. But the fact that this happened now and live on television has changed certain things and how we look at it in my opinion.
I mean think about it. Most of what I have been reading about or hearing about this week isn't the Night of Champions pay per view taking place this Sunday. If anything, the only two things the majority seem to be talking about besides the whole Jerry Lawler incident is the ending segment with John Cena and CM Punk as well as this whole team friendship tag team between Kane and Daniel Bryan, which I am really starting to like by the way. But as much as you may be tired of hearing or reading about it by now, I want to talk about what happened with Jerry "The King" Lawler and how it has affected the wrestling community.
When I was watching RAW this past Monday night, I got a text message on my cell phone from a friend informing me that something was wrong with Jerry Lawler and that it was all over Twitter and was all everyone was talking about. Now for those of you that don't know, I'm from Canada, so RAW starts an hour later here and isn't exactly live. But once I was found out, I was shocked because at that very moment, Jerry Lawler was in the ring on my television screen in what just became a tag team match after coming to the aid of Randy Orton. Before anyone knew exactly what was going on, I immediately thought of a heart attack and feared for the worst just like everyone else.
I quickly checked Twitter on my phone and to my surprise, #prayforlawler was trending worldwide. I was surprised because WWE is so good at reminding us what is trending every 10 minutes on RAW. But instead, I waited and watched. Then when it happened and the commentary suddenly went silent, I was sitting at the edge of my seat and for all the wrong reasons. Usually this only happens if I am marking out, but in this case, a real life situation was unfolding in front of all of our eyes and all we could do was sit and hopelessly wait and pray.
"The wrestling business is one giant happy, sometimes dysfunctional, family. Promoters, wrestlers and fans. We are in this crazy professional wrestling business together." - John Canton.
I remember reading that in the RAW deal the next day and thinking man did John ever nail what I was feeling and thinking right on the head. He also said how it's important to separate the character from the man and it made me realize something that I have fallen victim to time and time again. We can't hate on wrestlers or the commentary. After all, hate is such a strong word. They are like family to us. We are in fact all one big family. The fact that Michael Cole was so annoying at one point that I almost had to resort to watching RAW on mute because of how over the top he was wasn't the real Michael Cole. It's just someone he is playing on television. He is just doing his job. He is doing his job so good in fact that he made me legit hate on his commentary style, even though it's a character he was being told to play. When Vickie yells "Excuse Me" out of nowhere and I frown in displeasure, it's a character that she has basically mastered at this point at attracting an insane amount of heel heat. I still don't think I need to see her on my screen when I am trying to watch wrestling but it does not mean I would ever wish death on the woman or anyone for that matter because as the late Biggie Smalls would say, there ain't no coming back from that.
When Jerry Lawler is promoting something he obviously has no idea what it is or something that makes him seem out of place because he is far older than the typical target audience, he is just doing his job. He has to promote whoever and whatever product is sponsoring WWE at that given time. Obviously it is not because he wants to but because he is just doing his job. Has his commentary been on par from what it once was years ago? Of course not.
The point is it is easy to look at all the negative and forget to separate the character from the person. I myself have got a lot of heat for being overly negative in my columns. In my defense though, I point out the negative because I want to see the product get better. We all do from time to time. We can all agree that wrestling is nowhere near where it use to be as far as fan interest is concerned. This week my idea for the column was to point out everything that I like about WWE right now and be positive, but instead I came to realize just how much the wrestling family really cares when faced with the prospect of potentially losing one of their own and I really wanted to try and empathize that.
It goes without saying that Jerry Lawler is very lucky that he had the heart attack when and where he did because had it happened later on in the evening he might not have been so lucky. I am very thankful he has survived this and will be around to hopefully announce matches again one day and possibly give us one last match. The amount of support for him and reading all the new amount of respect for Michael Cole and all the wrestlers and everybody who handled the whole situation as it unfolded has been interesting to read about as well. We almost lost Jerry Lawler this past Monday, but thankfully we didn't.
I still remember when I heard from a friend that Eddie Guerrero passed away. I was at work and it hit me as if it was an actual family member. He was one of my favorite wrestlers and it honestly felt like someone just told me my uncle or someone that close to me had just suddenly passed away. The following day, my car got broken into. Talk about the cherry on the cake, but I was so saddened in hearing the loss that I didn't even care. It felt like family. We are a family indeed. We may not be related but we all have the same thing running through our blood and that is our love, devotion and passion for wrestling. The outpour of support for Jerry Lawler has served as a reminder of this to me. The respect level for Michael Cole is something that will be good for business going forward and like him or hate him, he has earned that and it is well overdue when you really stop and think about how long he has been with the company. It's just a shame all it took was a massive heart attack assist from Jerry to get him there. My hat's off to everyone in WWE for handling the whole situation as best as they could under the circumstances.
One last thing that can't be overlooked was the way RAW ended. Man did John Cena ever tear CM Punk a new one or what? If I didn't know any better I could have sworn that Cena went on TJRWrestling.com and read my first solo edition of Melo Out because basically everything he said to Punk was what I touched base about in that column. In my opinion, this is without a doubt one of the best promos that John Cena has ever cut on anybody to build a match and given the circumstances, it definitely should not go unnoticed. When he told CM Punk that all he meant by claiming he wanted change was to make CM Punk a star, I got a huge smile on my face because it's basically the truth when you really think about it. And man does the truth hurt because really what has changed? Did that pipebomb shoot promo he cut back in June 2011 really change anything?
I said it in my first column and I'll say it again in this one... it might have had he stayed away for a longer period of time instead of coming back right away. By coming back right away, it only validates Cena's claim does it not? I also loved the part about how he claimed even CM Punk didn't know who CM Punk was because he borrows colours from hall of famers and stole the elbow of the late Randy Savage. I thought that line was great. Cena did exactly what he was supposed to do here and that was to get more fans interested in this match on Sunday and I think he accomplished this task very well, especially given the circumstances that occurred earlier. I hope he does win so that my Wrestlemania 29 fantasy card that I talked about last time on Melo Out can begin to unfold. It's wishful thinking, but you never know. Let's hear it for friendship!
I saw the above photo earlier in the week. I can't credit for it as I'm not sure who created it but I think it's fantastic and it gave me the idea for the one below which I can take credit for.
As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Until next time, sit back, relax and Melo Out... because that's what wrestling is all about.
And on a personal note, learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow.
Steve “The Melo Man” Melo