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Jerry Lawler Talks About Incident with Andy Kaufman 30 Years Ago

Jerry Lawler recently discussed his legendary feud with Andy Kaufman on WWE’s Website. Here are some highlights.

WWE CLASSICS: Out of all the great rivalries in wrestling and all the great pop culture moments, what is it about this one incident that 30 years later people are still so fascinated by?

LAWLER: It was the first time something like that had happened. I don’t know if I should tell this or not, but one night I was flying back on the plane with Vince McMahon. And he said, “You know, King, I’ve never told you this before, but I was so jealous when you got Andy Kaufman and did all that stuff with him down there in Memphis. Because he was from New York, and I thought we could have done all that stuff up here.” But he also said, “But I’ll be honest with you. There’s no way on Earth we could have done it as well as you guys did it.”

WWE CLASSICS: Wow. It would have been a totally different dynamic.

LAWLER: Yes, but it would have been a first. Vince loves firsts. To this day, you hear on Monday Night Raw that you’re going to see something for the first time ever. That’s big. And this was the first time any big deal Hollywood star was involved to that extent in wrestling. Vince realized, everybody realized, because it got so much national exposure. Everything back then was still regionalized. Cable TV hadn’t hit yet. The country was divided up into wrestling territories because of TV coverage. Once Vince saw you could use a Hollywood star to get that nationwide exposure, here comes Cyndi Lauper with Captain Lou and Wendi Richter, and then Mr. T gets brought in. The ball got rolling, and it hasn’t stopped to this day. Just in the past year, Hugh Jackman was in there punching Dolph Ziggler.

WWE CLASSICS: Yeah, you really could argue that Andy Kaufman is responsible for all of that.

LAWLER: I really feel, in my heart of hearts, that he was responsible for that. I certainly believe that Andy Kaufman deserves a spot in the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Without a doubt, we would not be where we are today without his involvement. I really feel that way. Even at Raw 1,000, we had Charlie Sheen challenging Daniel Bryan to a match. It’s Andy Kaufman revisited as recently as last night.

  • mabry

    the reason this worked so much, was because no one knew if it was actually real or fake. As Poko said, the way Kauffman sold the character was genius, plus, it wasnt something that came out of nowhere, as it is today, Kauffman was doing that wresstling woman segment, which started it all. Man i wish i could have lived that live, must have been so awesome, i mean its awesome today, just imagine it back than. Some Superstars should take note on how to portrait a Heel by watching Kauffman doing it…

  • poko

    Totally different environment back then. Most wrestling fans were still half-convinced that it was real. And Kaufman sold his character better than any celebrity ever has or ever will. He was incredibly over as a heel. People literally hated his guts. That bit on Letterman blew me away, and is still an iconic moment in the history of wrestling. Kaufman was crazy, but he was also a genius.

  • voice of reason

    i honestly didnt know much about the whole andy kaufman thing until i was flipping through a friends dvd collection one night & i found the movie man on the moon & i decided “yep this looks intereesting” so i watched it & fell in love with it, theen i did some youtube research & yep it was pretty accurate.

    i say to anyone hire or download man on the moon what a great movie.

  • moo

    Andy Kaufman was hella funny.