It’s easy to be an armchair booker. A lot of times, what we pontificate about on Twitter or here on blogs like this one is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Our critiques don’t matter on more than a closed-circuit level. Monday night wasn’t one of those times however. Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack at the announce desk, an attack that Michael Cole reminded us was “not part of [that night’s] entertainment.” For the second time in the last fifteen years, WWE had a real matter of life and death on their program.
I would like to invite those people to sit on a railroad spike. They miss the point of what should be commented upon.
A man nearly died on a telecast of RAW. A lot of times, we humans think arrogantly that it’s something that we can prevent. Sometimes, it is. In this case, I doubt that Lawler wasn’t going to have his cardiac arrest if he didn’t participate in a match where he really didn’t see much time. Heart disease isn’t instantaneous. It’s the result of genetics first and foremost, and after that, it’s the result of a lifetime of choices, both dietary and activity-wise, from the person who suffers it. We don’t know what Lawler’s eating habits were, but the man spent his life in the ring doing strenuous physical activity. Even when he wasn’t doing it in the public eye, he was working Broadways in Memphis and other wrestling hubs where people were glad to have him on the show.
This is certainly not to put blame on Lawler in the pejorative way either. He lived his life the way he wanted to, and that should be commended. People his age are also still active in life, as they should be. A body is meant to continue to move, and exercise should always be welcome.
However, I’m not sure commendation or scorn should be reserved for WWE in their handling of the show after Lawler took ill. They were in a difficult, some might say impossible, situation. To criticize them for going on with the show is not to understand the weight and dynamics of the situation. The truth is, no matter what they would have done, Lawler would still have been in whatever situation he landed in. I guess I can understand the concern here, but if the first thing that pops into someone’s head after something like this happens is the action of a corporate entity and not the safety of the guy who just had a heart attack, then that person’s priorities are messed up.
Honestly, the only thing I think we should be concerned about in this situation is the health of Lawler. This isn’t even like the Owen Hart tragedy. Hart’s death was wholly preventable in that there is no reason for someone to rappel down from the ceiling on a wrestling show. If Lawler’s heart attack was preventable, it wasn’t through the short term actions of himself or his employers. He would have had to have changed his lifestyle from childhood, and even then, maybe that heart attack was something genetic. People can have high cholesterol production naturally in their own bodies. I’m in that boat myself.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.
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