There may not be a more excited fan than myself that Jerry Lawler makes his triumphant return to Raw on Monday night.
As a fan of Lawler's, dating back to the late 1970s, I am excited to see one of my heroes back on television. In my estimation, Lawler's career is just as important in many ways to that of Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and others in the NWA and the business.
I know, let the comments begin.
Lawler's return to the commentator's table is great for Lawler, who suffered a heart attack that nearly killed him, but at the same time, the return of "The King" could have its consequences in terms of continuity and the future of the "three-man" team the WWE has been using.
It also lends to questions about older veterans being used in other angles on WWE programming. I am sure we won’t be seeing Lawler in the ring or in any type of situation that would lend to him being in danger of becoming ill again.
But wouldn't it be awesome to see him in the ring with CM Punk, this time with Lawler exacting revenge in some way? A story line of Punk being responsible for Lawler's absence was something I thought may happen, but I pray it is never brought up.
Lawler’s return also means a bit of a return to the "norm" in terms of the back-and-forth between the announcers that we have come to enjoy and expect.
With a catch.
Maybe the greatest thing about Lawler’s absence is that we have had a chance to see just how good Michael Cole is behind the mic. His “game” has really stepped up and he has now become a face and the voice of the company, which has been a good thing paring up with JBL and Jim Ross.
While JBL has been a man who has not held back and has added something to the programs and another insight outside the ring, Jim Ross has not been the same charismatic voice we have come to know and love. Hopefully being reunited (and it feels so good) with his long-time partner and his friend will add something to the golden tones we all love.
Please come back JR.
Lawler’s place in wrestling history is important. His growth and development of the Memphis territory was crucial to the development of Randy Savage, Scott Levy (Raven), Jeff Jarrett and Austin Idol.
While he does not get the credit because of bigger names in the business, his work with Jerry Jarrett, Tojo Yamamoto and Jackie Fargo was key to helping the NWA in its glory years when a traveling champion made his way throughout territories, showcasing his talents to the local stars.
While Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan were traveling the roads across the country defending titles, Lawler was actually building a wrestling foundation in the south. He is as iconic in the southern cities like Memphis and Nashville. He also was a former AWA Champion and his feud with Kerry Von Erich was a last attempt to save World Class Championship Wrestling.
Seeing Lawler in any other capacity right now than behind the table on Monday is just not the same in my opinion. His charisma is needed to work “with” Cole and hopefully bring Ross back up a notch or two.
If all works, then Lawler’s return—in that respect—is a success. If not, then the WWE will work to see if it can tweak the situation. It is also my hope that Lawler will still be the jovial, cartoon-ish type we all love. I assume (since I too have had a heart attack), things will be slow and move at his pace. We cannot expect complete magic or a trip back in time where everything is perfect.
But just having Lawler behind the mic means a lot for the continued story lines of the WWE. And it also makes this writer happier than wrestling fans out there know.