Jerry Lawler and Other Questions the WWE Must Answer Moving Forward
Now that we have all had the last 24 hours to soak in everything that has happened on Raw, the lead up to Night of Champions and the undeniable mark Jerry Lawler’s heart attack left on the wrestling community, it will be hard to not link the events together on Sunday.
The good news is, according to a report from the L.A. Times, that the 62-year-old Lawler is in critical but stable condition after under going heart surgery.
Lawler's ex-wife, Stacy Carter, confirmed the angioplasty procedure in a Twitter post: "He had a stint & a balloon put in. Right now he is still heavily sedated"
That does not change the fact that the WWE landscape has been altered in a way that has left questions to be answered by the company hierarchy.
Here are a few questions the WWE may now be faced with as Lawler recovers and the company moves on toward the Night of Champions.
Should Raw Have Continued After Lawler Fell Ill?
Oddly enough, yes, it should have continued.
This was a television show that was leading up to an important PPV event. The obvious parallel here would be the fatal incident involving Owen Hart in 1999, when he plunged to his death after trying to perform a stunt during a match.
Yet the only difference here is that Lawler did not die from Monday's incident. Was it life-threatening? Yes. Did we as fans grasp it all on the screen? Maybe, maybe not.
Unfortunately, the need for ratings, money and fan support make Night of Champions a very important PPV event. The WWE needs to hit a home run with this one since SummerSlam—arguably the second most important PPV event in the company—fell flat.
Not keeping a “go home” Raw on television would have killed cable buys.
Should Lawler Been Involved in a Program with CM Punk?
I say no, and I know I will be in the minority here.
CM Punk had bigger fish to fry and the WWE, cashing in on its success with the return of veterans leading up to the Raw 1000 program, hit a home run with former greats taking on Heath Slater.
Slater sure as hell isn’t Punk, and while Lawler was in good shape and has been wrestling off and on in other programs over the course of the last few years, I still did not like the angle.
Who Should REplace Lawler Behind the Microphone?
I think there are a few logical people who could fill these shoes—most notably Jim Ross—but then again, Ross and Michael Cole—who did a tremendous job Monday night holding everything together—aren't a good pairing in my opinion.
We could also see guest commentators, which makes a lot of sense. Personally, I would love to see wrestlers who have a prominent place in the show’s program. For PPV events, the company should bring back veteran wrestlers. For example, Mick Foley may be a natural here.
And by the way, Road Dogg Jesse James would be awesome behind the microphone.
Should Veterans Be Included in Current Wrestling Programs?
Maybe this is the biggest question that needs to be answered. While it looked like Lawler could hold his own in the ring in other programs with Cole and Jack Swagger, as well as during an incident with Mark Henry, the program with CM Punk looked different to me.
I stand by my opinion that this should have never happened.
While veterans have come back to Raw on a consistent basis and have been used in different angles, I am still cautious about doing that, and the WWE should be as well.
At times, it does work, and Lawler was part of angles in the past. Whether the last few weeks of being in the ring affected Lawler and his health is not known yet, but at 62 years old, there comes a time when maybe you have to hang it up (OK, I know this is where the comments will come).
We have seen wrestlers like Sting, Ric Flair, Terry Funk, Roddy Piper, who are all over the age of 50, get in the ring and give their all.
Still, I think the events of Monday night will change the course the WWE is willing to travel when using older superstars?
Will Lawler Come Back to the Announcer’s Table?
He should. In time.
Lawler is a voice like no other, and he and Cole make a great combination. I still wish Jim Ross was sitting next to “The King,” but nonetheless, it is a decent harmony.
I think if the WWE took Lawler away from these duties if he is able to fulfill them again in the same capacity as before then that would be a major error on the company’s part and it would infuriate the fans more than they realize.