Jerry Lawler Not Ready to Stop Wrestling
Though he's held countless championships in the wrestling world and long served as the color commentator on the WWE's flagship program "Raw," Jerry "The King" Lawler is still best known for his feud with comedian Andy Kaufman.
Lawler and Kaufman infamously had it out on the set of "Late Night With David Letterman" in the early '80s and it wasn't until years later that their "feud" was revealed to be a put-on.
Since Lawler couldn't get Kaufman, who died in 1984, to induct him tonight at the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony -- many believed his death to be a hoax -- Lawler got the next best thing: William Shatner.
Here's what Lawler said last week about his career, Shatner and Kaufman.
What does it mean to you to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?
Well, to be perfectly honest with you, it kind of makes me feel old. I don't feel that my career is over. I still wrestle on a pretty regular basis and I still want to wrestle on a regular basis. But it's a great honor, when you think about the talent and the performers that are already in the Hall of Fame, just to be considered in the same light as those guys. That in itself kind of blows me away.
I've always been a great fan of this business and wrestling in general, but I never really took it or this business all that serious. That's one of the reasons I have so much fun doing it, and one of the reasons I have so much fun doing color commentary in the manner that I do it.
(Wrestling) is something that I never thought I would be able to do. The first match I ever had was like a dream come true, in the sense that I just wanted to see if I could do it, and that would be it. It's almost like skydiving. I did that one time and I pretty much got my fill of skydiving. I almost thought that wrestling was going to be the same way, but then of course, here I am 35 years later, still doing the same thing.
I hate to trivialize it by saying it's something that comes so easy to me, but I don't have to work, so to speak, at it. And not jus the wrestling part, every facet of it. I've done everything from refereeing to help set up the ring to owning a wrestling company to promoting to matchmaking to wrestling to being the world champion. There's not many things I haven't done in this business, and it's all just sort of been second nature to me.
I don't like to let that out because I'm afraid Vince McMahon will say, "Hey, we're overpaying this guy. He's having too much fun!" This is the true thing: When I started, I would have paid them to let me wrestle. I don't know if you should write that or not.
Speaking of not taking yourself too seriously, you've got William Shatner inducting you in the Hall of Fame.
Going back to 1995, when he and I had that little encounter in the ring, when I spoke to him last week, he told me people still mention that to him from time to time. I don't know if it was the Vulcan Monkey Flip, that "Star Trek" monkey flip that I'd seen him give so many aliens throughout the years, but to actually have that delivered by Captain Kirk on me was one of the highlights of my career.
And how many other wrestlers can look around, pick up a phone to Hollywood, California and get one of the biggest stars in the history of Hollywood to come in and induct him in the Hall of Fame. That, to me, is as big an honor as getting into the Hall of Fame itself.
But to be quite honest with you, when they said find somebody to induct you, naturally my first thought would have been Andy Kaufman. Andy would have loved to have done something like this had he still been with us.
He might still be!
I got a funny phone call about 1:30 in the morning last week, it was from a guy I know, and a lady that he was vaguely familiar with called him up and said her brother called her and had this dream. In the dream he was conversing with Andy Kaufman, and he said, "I want you to get in touch with Jerry Lawler, and tell Jerry I'm very interested in this big upcoming event he's going to have." And he said tell Jerry to hire 25 Andy Kaufman look-a-likes for this event and have them in the audience.
Are you going to hire them?
I don't know where I could come up with 25 Andy Kaufman look-a-likes!
You're the one with the powerful phone book!
I know, but what would that be under? K? L?
A few years ago we really scoured around and were looking for Andy Kaufman look-a-likes and we were unable to come up with even one, so I don't know where I'd find 25.
Now if I look out in the audience and there's only one Andy Kaufman look-a-like, I'm really going to be nervous. I'll have to point him out and introduce him.