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It’s Good to be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story WWE DVD Review

As if it needs to be said, Jerry “The King” Lawler has led an incredible life and career, the latter of which has spanned forty some-odd years. In that time, Lawler has damn near seen it all and done it all. With this set, Lawler finally gets to share those stories and talk about his life in and out of the squared circle in a new set that should not be missed.

Like most of these sets, Lawler starts off talking about his life growing up, his family, etc. As you might expect, he initially got interested in wrestling as a way to bond with his dad, and the two used to attend matches weekly in his hometown of Memphis. During his early years, Lawler also developed an interest in art, specifically drawing/sketching, and during the matches with his dad, would draw pictures of what he was seeing. Eventually, he submitted some of those drawings to the local network that showed wrestling, the art was later shown on TV, and that led to the head of the territory, the now-legendary Jackie Fargo, inviting Lawler to come back and become the official artist for the promotion.

As if that weren’t enough, not only did Lawler later go to school with Jimmy Hart (with the two later on pretty much spending their careers in pro wrestling together), but a local radio network job late at night led to Lawler accidentally becoming a pro wrestler, with him literally lying (by his own admission) about a non-existent career to another promoter in the area-basically a backyard fed before such things existed-and Lawler was just thrown into the sport. Turns out he was kind of a natural.

Without giving away the entire set, that’s kind of how Lawler’s story goes. Turns out he was just naturally gifted in numerous areas, and the doors repeatedly opened for him. Every single chunk of the documentary portion of this set seems to feature a story like that, with Lawler just kind of lucking into his different roles in pro wrestling over the years.

Not that Lawler doesn’t deserve it. Over the course of his career, Lawler has worked exceptionally hard to be considered a true living legend of the sport, and it’s all covered within this set. From his beginnings in Memphis Wrestling all the way to his Hall of Fame induction in 2007, as well as much more. My personal favorite section is, as you might expect, the chunk spent talking about his legendary feud with Andy Kaufman. Not only is it fun to hear him tell these stories (seriously, the Kaufman stuff never gets old), but even cooler is that Lawler is joined by Kaufman’s best friend, Bob “Tony Clifton” Zmuda, as well as his former girlfriend, Lynne Marguiles. The face that both of these individuals wanted to be on the set is awesome, and they add tons of color to the stories of Lawler and Kaufman, and contribute even more throughout the rest of the set.

Although I think I know quite a bit about Lawler’s career, having been following it for at least the last 21 years and going back later on to check out his early work, I still came away surprised with some of the stuff that is discussed, including how he got his own promotion off the ground in Memphis, how he wound up in the WWF in 1993 in the first place, how he and Kaufman originally pitched their feud to the WWF, and more.
The set ends on something of a bittersweet note, as the last main story covered is the now (unfortunately) famous on-air heart attack Lawler suffered in mid-2012. Admittedly, I never could bring myself to watch the footage originally, but it’s mostly intact here, with the added “bonus” of backstage footage of Lawler being revived, as well as both Vince McMahon and Michael Cole understandably breaking down and on the verge of completely losing it the entire time. Needless to say, it’s incredibly hard to watch, and I found myself getting choked up, even though I knew the eventual outcome. Thankfully, we also get to see his emotional return to the company later in the year, and more thankfully, there was no permanent damage. Despite heart disease running in Lawler’s family (it took his father right before his wrestling career was about to start), Lawler has remained extremely healthy his career and recovered quite quickly. Although it’s not mentioned here, Lawler has never drank alcohol, smoked a cigarette or done drugs, essentially making him straight edge before it existed.

In addition to all of this, there are tons of stories from his contemporaries, including all those previously mentioned as well as Jim Ross, his son, Brian Christopher, his girlfriend, school teachers, legendary wrestling journalist Bill Apter, and many more. Plus, in between segments, Lawler does some illustrations of various characters and people who have been important in his life, all the while continuing his stories. In case you’ve never seen Lawler draw, he is good. Exceptionally good.

Although the documentary runs about average for these sets (90 minutes or so), it feels so much longer, thanks to the ridiculous amount of content crammed into that short period of time. And that doesn’t even include the matches. There are two full discs of matches that span Lawler’s entire career, as well as some of his classic promo segments. The matches span 1981 up until 2011, and features a who’s who of opponents, including Terry Funk, Roddy Piper, the Undertaker, Curt Hennig, Kerry Von Erich, and plenty more. Sadly, his ‘Mania match with Cole is also included, but given that it was his first and only ‘Mania match, it can be forgiven. Surprisingly, a lot of content from the “New Generation” era is included here, despite the fact that he didn’t have a lot of memorable matches during that point (although his commentary and interviews were still top-notch). There’s a handful or rare “Attitude Era” matches as well, plus some “legends” matches against the likes of Ric Flair and Tazz, as well as his one-and-only WWE Championship match against the Miz, which, given Lawler’s age at the time and the fact that the Miz will always be terrible, is really better than it has any right to be.

Overall, this set is one of my favorites to come along in a long time, and one I consider a must-own for fans of all ages. Lawler is a rare breed who has not only lived through nearly every major era in professional wrestling, but contributed to each one in a number of ways. Not only that, but he pretty much did it all on his own as a self-made man.

While his commentary work the last few years has been questionable in its quality, it can’t diminish the fact that Lawler is truly a legend in the business who deserves the respect of everyone, from the fans all the way up to the promoters, and if this set doesn’t prove that, I don’t know what will.

DISC 1:

Documentary:

Intro
Early Years
High School
Growing up a Memphis Wrestling Fan
Father Passes Away
Jerry’s Art Teacher
Jerry’s Start in Wrestling
Passing the Torch
Family Life as a Wrestler
Building a Star
A New Beginning for Memphis Wrestling
Andy Kaufman
Memphis Wrestling in the 1980s
Jerry’s Start in the WWE
Announcing Career
Running for Mayor of Memphis
Leaving & Returning to the WWE
Hall of Fame
1st WWE Title Match
WrestleMania XXVII
Heart Attack
Closing

DISC 2:

Empty Arena Match
Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk
Memphis Wrestling • April 25, 1981

Jerry Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman
Memphis Wrestling • April 5, 1982

No Disqualification, Loser Leaves Town Match for the Southern Heavyweight Championship
Jerry Lawler vs. “Superstar” Bill Dundee
Memphis Wrestling • June 6, 1983

Jerry Lawler vs. Eddie Gilbert
Pro-Wrestling USA • October 20, 1984

Jerry Lawler vs. Curt Hennig
AWA Championship Wrestling • March 12, 1988

Jerry Lawler on Being AWA Champion
AWA Championship Wrestling • May 29, 1988

AWA & WCCW Championship Unification Match
Jerry Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich
World Class Championship Wrestling • September 24, 1988

Jerry Lawler’s WWE Debut
Prime Time Wrestling • December 7, 1992

Jerry Lawler vs. Jim Powers
RAW • April 5, 1993

King’s Court with Giant Gonzales
Wrestling Challenge • May 23, 1993

Jerry Lawler interrupts Bret Hart’s coronation
King of the Ring • June 13, 1993

King’s Court with Tiny Tim
RAW • July 19, 1993

Jerry Lawler vs. Owen Hart
Wrestling Challenge • July 25, 1993

Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
RAW • July 26, 1993

King Foolish
RAW • April 11, 1994

King’s Court with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
RAW • June 6, 1994

Jerry Lawler vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
King of the Ring • June 19, 1994

Casket Match
Jerry Lawler vs. The Undertaker
White Plains, NY • September 28, 1994

DISC 3:

King’s Court with William Shatner
RAW • January 9, 1995

Kiss My Foot Match Training #1
RAW • June 5, 1995

Kiss My Foot Match Training #2
RAW • June 12, 1995

“Kiss My Foot Match”
Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart
King of the Ring • June 25, 1995

Jerry Lawler vs. Al Jackson
Superstars • March 23, 1996

Jerry Lawler vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
SummerSlam • August 18, 1996

The Great Debate – Jerry Lawler vs. Paul E. Dangerously
RAW • March 10, 1997

Jerry Lawer & Rob Van Dam vs. The Headbangers
Shotgun Saturday Night • June 14, 1997

Jerry Lawler vs. Tommy Dreamer
ECW Hardcore Heaven • August 17, 1997

Jerry Lawler & Brian Christopher vs. Flash Funk & Scott Taylor
Shotgun Saturday Night • October 14, 1997

Jerry Lawler vs. Tazz
SummerSlam • August 27, 2000

Legends Match
Jerry Lawler vs. Ric Flair
RAW • November 29, 2004

Jerry Lawler – Hall of Fame Induction
Hall of Fame • March 31, 2007

TLC Match for the WWE Championship
The Miz vs. Jerry Lawler
RAW • November 29, 2010

Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole
Special Guest Referee: Stone Cold Steve Austin
WrestleMania XXVII • April 3, 2011

BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES:

Stories:

Meeting Jimmy Hart
Jerry’s First Match
The King Gets His Crown
Mid-South Coliseum
Life on the Road
Sam Bass
The King vs. The King?
Living Clean
Jim Ross
Brian Christopher: Mexican Shooter

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Ric Flair vs. Jerry Lawler
Memphis Wrestling • August 4, 1982

Wrestler vs. Boxer & Manager Match
Jerry Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman & Jimmy Hart
Memphis Wrestling • November 21, 1983

King’s Court with Jerry Lawler interviewing himself
Wrestling Challenge • June 27, 1993

Jerry Lawler & Nova vs. The Prototype (John Cena) & Sean O’Haire
OVW Wrestling • June 28, 2002

After Raw Birthday Celebration
RAW • November 29, 2010

WWE: It’s good to be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Dustin Nichols

Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out my mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

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