The Baltimore Sun is featuring an interview with Jerry “The King” Lawler, who was promoting Monday’s 1,000th episode of Raw. Here are some highlights.
What fans should expect from the show: “When you talk about 1,000 episodes, that’s just such a historic milestone. No other weekly episodic television show in the history of television has ever done this many episodes. That alone lets you know that this milestone has to be very, very special, and believe me, the WWE is going to pull out all the stops.
“At last count there are almost 30 superstars from these past 1,000 episodes that are going to be coming back and joining us for the 1,000th show. Even WWE.com apparently leaked some information about a guest commentator on the show that night, as well. How could you do a 1,000th episode without having good ol’ J.R., who was my broadcast partner for so many years, come back and call a couple matches. So I’m hoping that’s who that’s going to be.
“There’s just going to be some many things that take place Monday night. There’s no telling who all is going to be there and what all is going to happen. It’s just going to be a huge celebration of this big milestone.”
Co-workers in the announce booth: “Through the years, you’ve worked with a number of different commentary partners. What has it been like working with such a cast of characters?
“I first started as a color commentator when I took the place of ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage when he jumped ship during the Monday Night Wars. He was doing the commentary with Vince McMahon at the time. I’ve got to tell you; I really, really enjoyed calling the matches with Vince McMahon.
“He was so much fun to work with. He never really came out and said it, but he was the perfect foil for me. This was before he was the overbearing CEO of the WWE. I got to make so much fun of him. He even perpetuated the myth that he wore a toupee. Every week, I would say something about his toupee — which of course he didn’t have; he always had a healthy head of hair. I would make fun of him in all sorts of ways and he was so gracious and went along with it. I really enjoyed working with him.
“Then, of course, it switched to me and good ol’ J.R. for years and years and years. Man, I don’t know if there’s ever been or will ever be anyone who’s as good at wrestling play-by-play as good ol’ J.R. Nobody who’s going to be more prepared, nobody that’s going to know any more, know all the facts, know all the history, know all the statistics.
“That’s just J.R.; he was perfect. He made my job so easy in the fact that I just had to show up and off the cuff come up with a few hopefully witty remarks. J.R. did all the groundwork; he did all the real hard work on the team.
“Now, of course, I’m working with Michael Cole, and he’s a different kind of character. He’s sort of taken the place of what I was years ago when I worked alongside J.R. He’s the devil’s advocate, so to speak. He’s not out there trying to win any popularity contests with the fans. He tells it like it is in his view.
“He’s easy to work with, and one thing that I can do with Cole that I never would have done with good ol’ J.R. is if Cole gets too out of line and too annoying, I can just look over and just say, ‘Shut up, you idiot.’ And so it’s not too bad working with Michael Cole.”
His rivalry with Michael Cole: “It’s had its definite ups and downs. He started this thing off with some disparaging remarks about my mom right after she passed away. That was kind of tough to swallow and tough to live with, but by the same token, that led into something that may be my crowning achievement as long as I’ve been in the WWE. That led into my first ever WrestleMania match.
“I’d called a lot of WrestleManias but never actually wrestled or performed on a WrestleMania until I got to have the match with Michael Cole the year before last. That was my biggest financial payday that I’ve ever made in the 42 years of my wrestling career.
“That was very gratifying, so it’s hard for me to say too many bad things about Michael Cole because so much good for me personally has come out of that rivalry.”