BIO: Jerry "The King" Lawler
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Signature Moves: Flying fist drop, piledriver
WCCW/USWA Dallas Titles Held: WCCW World Heavyweight title (twice); USWA Unified World Heavyweight title (three times prior to September 1990, 28 times total); USWA Texas Heavyweight title
Notable WCCW/USWA Dallas Feuds: Kerry Von Erich, Eric Embry and Jeff Jarrett.
Need to Know Facts: Born on November 29, 1949, "The King", long before becoming a staple on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) programming as a wisecracking heel color commentator, was a superstar in his hometown of Memphis and would go on to make a huge impact on World Class Championship Wrestling.
Trained by his childhood hero, Memphis wrestling legend Jackie Fargo, Lawler made his pro debut in 1970 and is the all-time record holder for most title wins in the sport. He has won 112 titles in his career, including 43 reigns as the Memphis territory's Southern heavyweight champ, and is one of the few wrestlers who can lay claim to pinning such wrestling legends as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Kerry Von Erich, Nick Bockwinkel and Curt Hennig.
Lawler first became famous on a national level in the early '80s as a result of his classic feud with the late comedian Andy Kaufman (which has since been immortalized in the documentary I'm from Hollywood and the Jim Carrey biopic Man on the Moon, in which Lawler played himself). Kaufman had first appeared in Memphis to wrestle women from the crowd, a continuation of the "Intergender Champion" schtick he had originated as a guest on Saturday Night Live. When one woman who had been trained by Lawler received an especially brutal manhandling from Andy, "The King" stepped in and challenged the comic to wrestle him. The resulting match, which took place on April 5, 1982, saw Lawler completely annihilate Kaufman, who found himself on the receiving end of two piledrivers and wound up in a local hospital.
Eighteen years into his already storied wrestling career, Lawler captured his first world title by defeating AWA World Champion Curt Hennig on May 9, 1988 in Memphis, TN. During the AWA's waning days, Lawler attempted to bring back some of the prestige that the title had had during the promotion's heyday, by challenging the world champions of other promotions (which included the NWA's Ric Flair, the WWF's Randy Savage and WCCW champ Kerry Von Erich) to a unification bout.
As part of Superclash III, a joint PPV produced by the AWA, World Class and Memphis territories, Lawler and Kerry wrestled in a no-disqualification title unification match. The bout occurred in Chicago (unfortunately in front of a sparse crowd) at the UIC Pavillion, and became an instant classic, with Lawler winning the bout to unify the WCCW and AWA titles when the referee stopped the match due to Kerry's excessive bleeding.
Lawler would defend the title in both the Memphis and Dallas/Fort Worth regions, holding off challenges from Kerry, Eric Embry, Jeff Jarrett and Bill Dundee. Due to a pay dispute, Lawler refused to appear for several title defenses in the AWA, forcing the organization to cease recognizing Lawler as its titleholder. However, he would remain champion in both World Class and Memphis, which would ultimately merge to become the USWA (United States Wrestling Association). From the USWA's inception in 1989 to its demise in 1997, Jerry Lawler held the promotion's heavyweight title a total of 28 times.
In 1993, Lawler became employed by the WWF, a company he had publicly denounced throughout the 1980's. Working initially as a heel, he feuded with the legendary Bret "Hitman" Hart (who had just won that year's "King of the Ring" tournament), until Hart ultimately defeated Lawler in a "Kiss My Foot" match at King of the Ring 1995.
After briefly feuding with likes of the Ultimate Warrior and Jake "The Snake" Roberts, in 1996, Lawler gradually began to settle into a role as the primary TV color commentator for WWE. He has also been involved in some of the post-USWA attempts to keep the Memphis wrestling tradition alive, including a brief attempt at promoting in 2010. In September 2012, Lawler had a major health scare, suffering an on-air heart attack shortly after wrestling in a tag team match during a live episode of RAW. Thankfully, he recovered in miraculously quick fashion and, after only two months, made an emotional return to the WWE announcers' desk, where he continues to provide commentary today. .