Superstar Spotlight: Wrestling With Reality

Bill Pritchard

Superstar Spotlight

I don't really know what else to write about besides what happened to Jerry Lawler this past Monday on RAW. I don't really think anything else seems more important right now, either. I didn't really have much interest in Night of Champions before, and I don't have much of a reason outside of CM Punk versus John Cena to care. Lawler's friends and family have been giving periodic updates on his condition, and while they don't have to, it is much appreciated by a lot of people. It was a scary situation for people in the arena and for people watching at home, but Lawler is getting the help he needs, and that should be the biggest thing to remember. Nothing can be said about what will happen to him going down the road, we just need to wait and find out, and pray for the best.

Michael Cole deserves all of the credit in the world for keeping his composure and updating the fans on what was going on; you could tell it was really getting to him. I don't blame him at all, either, since he was sitting right next to Lawler and although it doesn't show on camera, they are good friends. Cole gets a lot of crap for his character, but he is a company guy and the ultimate professional, and it was a nice gesture to cease his commentary duties out of respect for his colleague. The silence was absolutely noticeable, and I think you need to give Cole, and Lawler, and all of the commentators praise for adding to the broadcast. We may not all like everyone who has the job (there's a split on almost everyone, especially Booker T) but they do add excitement and passion to it, and I applaud them for that, too. 

I noticed a bit of silence during the broadcast, but I didn't really grasp it until Cole appeared on-screen by himself. He didn't need to tell me something was wrong because I could see it in his face. He wasn't joking, something bad happened. Throughout the rest of the night, I was waiting for good news, and I guess we got the best we could hope for right now. I never watched Over The Edge '99, so I don't have the unfortunate benefit or displeasure of remembering what happened to Owen Hart. I remember the following episode of RAW, and the events immediately after, but I don't have that "I remember where I was" feeling. I think I may be fortunate for that, but I also think that feeling brings more people together, and it helps them deal with the pain or sadness if someone can share it with them. 

One thing really came to light after all of this, and it's that wrestling fans and its family sticks together in tough times. Wrestling has really been beaten up over the past several years with the deaths due to drugs and steroid use, but there hasn't been any negativity surrounding this event. Everyone has been encouraging and offered their support, and it shows that wrestling fans have feelings and we aren't weirdos who watch a fake sport. Yes, it is scripted, but we watch it for entertainment and I don't care who knows it.

I'm sure many of us have been met with the following response: "Wrestling… so you still watch that?" Or, better yet, "You know it's fake, right?" Who cares, I watch it to have fun, and I have since I was a little kid. Everyone has their reasons for watching, but when you get down to it, it's mostly to blur the lines between reality and to have some fun. Monday night got a little too real, but things will get better and the show will go on. At least this time, we can ask Lawler if he would want the show to go on. If the responses from his friends are any indication, he would have wanted them too. Lawler needs to worry about himself and get well, but he needs to do it for himself and no one else. He gave the fans everything he has, and he doesn't owe anybody anything. Jerry Lawler loves wrestling and it loves him back. If he ever can come back, or decides to, we will all be there waiting, greeting him with a 'JERRY' chant.

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