For the past month or so, Jerry "The King" Lawler has been stepping away from the commentary booth and into the ring, competing alongside the biggest names WWE has to offer. That includes people like John Cena, Randy Orton and most notably, The Miz, who he came incredibly close to beating for the WWE Championship in one of the better matches of the year.
This week on RAW, after being placed in a battle royal to determine the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship, Lawler was confronted by Ted DiBiase, who accused him of stealing the limelight from younger superstars such as himself, and demanded that he give up his place in the match.
Lawler's response was very interesting. He noted the remarkable fact that he had never wrestled at WrestleMania, and consequently refused to give up his spot in the match, arguing that although he had had a storied career, he felt he needed to accomplish this final feat: a match, 'the big one', even referring to the later match as the start of his personal 'Road to WrestleMania'.
That story is too evocative and prepared to not have anything behind it, so I believe Jerry Lawler will be entering a storyline about his road to this year's WrestleMania, and will eventually find a way to wrestle at the big dance.
So who could he take on? Well, there are already a few options:
1: Ted DiBiase
It was Ted, after all, who confronted Jerry this week, triggering his 'Road to WrestleMania' promo. At the minute, it is unclear what, if anything, Ted will be doing at WrestleMania, and with his father being a contemporary to Lawler, there is currency for a storyline there. It would also be excellent for Ted, who could do with a good storyline to get stuck into.
2: Legends vs. Future Stars
With the success of Diesel and Booker T's returns at the Royal Rumble, these two could be booked to back up Lawler against some of the young heels, such as The Miz, who target King, angry at him for stealing the spotlight. Obviously, Miz will probably be busy defending the WWE title at WrestleMania, but Alex Riley won't be. Team Riley up with DiBiase and another (Tyson Kidd?) and book them against Lawler, Booker and Diesel.
3: Alex Riley
With Lawler booked to challenge The Miz for the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber, and it being obviously too far to actually let Lawler go over, it remains to be seen how Miz will go about retaining his title. Alex Riley is ubiquitous at ringside when Miz defends the title, so it's a safe bet that Riley will play a part in costing Lawler the title.
This will of course 'cost' Jerry not only the WWE title, but his match at WrestleMania. That is unless he seeks revenge against Riley (which could also remove him from Miz's match and help Cena take the title).
4: Michael Cole
OK, so unlike my other suggestions, this wouldn't be any high-quality wrestling match, and would in fact probably more resemble Bret Hart's beating of Vince McMahon at last year's 'Mania. Nonetheless, Lawler is so beloved, and Cole so hated, that it would rile up a lot of emotions and would make for a good spectacle.
There is currency for this match too, with Lawler currently unable to hit Cole on pain of termination from WWE. Maybe Lawler could agree to retire in return for his shot at Cole and his dream of wrestling at WrestleMania.
To me, all of these scenarios would be great to see. But could Lawler's 'Road to WrestleMania' also be his final stop on the road to retirement? This storyline has the feel of a crescendo for Jerry's career, with him realizing the few remaining dreams of his illustrious career. Add to this the fact that management is obviously (and quite rightly) high on Josh Matthews as an announcer, and seem to like his pairing with Cole on RAW, and there seems to be more reason to believe that Jerry isn't too much longer for the WWE world.
If that is the case, no doubt Jerry will do it with class, putting on great matches that befit such a legendary career, and eliciting a lot of appreciative emotion from wrestling fans across the age brackets and across the world.