Jerry Lawler's eventual return to the WWE broadcast booth after his Sept. 10 heart attack is sure to be must-see TV for the WWE Universe. But it also should usher in a new way of how the WWE books its legends into matches and storylines.
The 62-year-old Lawler's on-air heart attack following a tag-team match in Montreal should serve as a reminder to the WWE creative team that once talent gets to a certain age, they probably do not have any business climbing into the ring to face off against a much younger opponent.
If younger talent is properly booked, then they do not need the older guys to come out and put them over.
Take Sgt. Slaughter, for example. He's 64 years old and a WWE Hall of Famer. He's a former WWF champion whose reputation was based on love for the flag and his country.
So why should the WWE continue to tarnish that legacy by putting him in the ring in order to lose to younger talent in need of a push? Yeah, we all know that gimmick worked once upon a time for "legend killers" Randy Orton and Chris Jericho. But do you really think that people turn out and tune in nowadays to see a young Superstar knocking an old goat around?
Also, how uncomfortable is it to watch 89-year-old Mae Young trotted out in her wrestling leotard as if she were going to get in the ring against the likes of Beth Phoenix?
That's like tuning into Monday Night Football to see today's Dallas Cowboys going against the 1991 Washington Redskins.
Not all legends are improperly booked. Roddy Piper, for example, comes out for the occasional "Piper's Pit." But he never takes it beyond blows.
I'm not saying the WWE needs to completely put these guys out to pasture. They have their place at special events and nostalgia celebrations. Let them connect with the young fans and reconnect with the older ones in a way that does not have the potential to end tragically.
As for Lawler, thank goodness he will be OK and back at ringside very soon. Let's hope it stays "ringside."
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