Wrestling fans, nostalgia lovers, and all The King's men can breathe a sigh of relief with some very good news out of Memphis today. Jerry "The King" Lawler, a seminal figure in professional wrestling who suffered an on-air heart attack during a live broadcast of Monday's "WWE RAW", has been removed from sedation, is no longer attached to a ventilator, and has no signs of brain damage. His condition is stable.
Wait, is wrestling even a sport, and do developments in the WWE deserve to be covered on this site? No it is not, and yes they most certainly do. I imagine that most of us would admit (though perhaps behind closed doors) that pro wrestling was an instrumental factor in our developmental years, and the vast majority of us have retained great fondness for Lawler.
While we knew the Lawler had survived his heart attack Monday night in Montreal, there had been questions whether his heart having stopped would cause permanent brain damage. Some reports, after all, indicated that Lawler had been clinically dead for 20 minutes while CPR was performed on him. When I think of attacks in wrestling, I want them to involve folding chairs and foreign objects -- not a guy's circulatory system.
Lawler's recovery, though, is confirmed by WMCTV of Memphis and FOX 13's Tealy Deveroux. Lawler's ex-wife Stacy Carter notes on her Facebook page that , "The docs are removing his ventilation & taking him out of sedation. He is responsive, which is great!:
Lawler is one of the great transformational figures in professional wrestling, helping grow the "sport" from high school gymnasiums to gigantic global pay-per-view events. Old folks like me were introduced to wrestling via Lawler's infamous feud with Andy Kaufman. Lawler has held title belts on an astonishing 168 occasions, and has feuded with nearly every contemporary wrestler of note. Lawler has recently done promotional activities for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Far from retired, Lawler had actually wrestled in a tag team match the evening of his heart attack -- at the age of 62! Long live The King, indeed.
Jerry "The King" Lawler is going to be OK, everybody!