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Thread: Is Jerry Lawler Top 10 of All Time?

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    Senior Member jmt225's Avatar
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    Is Jerry Lawler Top 10 of All Time?

    I don't think fans appreciate the kind of career Jerry Lawler has had. I've heard Raven and Jim Cornette call Jerry Lawler possibly the greatest ever, and I think 99.9% of wrestling fans would scoff at that notion. But is it really that preposterous to suggest?

    Think about it....

    Jerry Lawler has had a near 40 year career in the business.

    He was a top guy in his region for 15 years that sold out the venue week after week and did tremendous ratings all throughout that time.

    He was a top guy as both a heel and a babyface (very rare).

    He was the first to bring pro wrestling back to the mainstream spotlight since the 1950's with his feud against Andy Kaufman.

    He is one of the greatest promo cutters of all time.

    He was a master storyteller in the ring that could always get the fans emotionally invested in his matches.

    His selling was off the charts.

    His fiery comeback was second to none.

    He owned and booked a VERY successful Memphis territory for many, many years.

    He became one of the most lauded color commentators of all time in the biggest pro wrestling company in history.

    All in all, isn't all of this remarkably impressive? Just ONE of these accomplishments is enough to praise someone's career in pro wrestling, but all of them put together? Nobody has ever come close to having a career like this, and quite frankly... nobody would have the talent, intelligence, and discipline to pull it off other than Jerry Lawler.

    I'm not willing to call Lawler the greatest ever, but thinking about his accomplishments in pro wrestling... I'm very willing to say he's in the top 10.

    What do you guys think? Am I overrating Lawler's achievements? If so, what more would Lawler had to do throughout his career for you to consider him all time great?

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    No because there have been simply many wrestlers who are much better than him.

    Austin, Taker, Hogan, Savage, Bruno, HBK, Flair, Bret, Rock, Cena, etc.

    There's no argument to be made.

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    Member Alex's Avatar
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    For a particular age group sure. All time. Doubt it.

    I know the King as an awesome commentator. I didn't even know he wrestled until i googled him back when I was a teenager. I have watched a few of his matches. They're fine nothing memorable for me. His promos sure they were great (it's what carried over to him being a great commentator) but his wrestling, eh.

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    Senior Member jmt225's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BestSportsEntertainer View Post
    No because there have been simply many wrestlers who are much better than him.

    Austin, Taker, Hogan, Savage, Bruno, HBK, Flair, Bret, Rock, Cena, etc.

    There's no argument to be made.
    I'd rank Lawler over Taker, Savage, HBK, and Bret on that list as far as having a more impressive career overall when you consider everything I said about Lawler and his impact on the business as a whole. Hell, a lot of these names you mentioned got their start in Lawler's promotion.

    Ranking all time greats shouldn't be about who could have the best matches. That's a part of the argument, sure, but just one part. Besides Cena and Hogan, no one can match Lawler in terms of drawing for long term (even if it was just regional). Lawler cuts a better promo than most of the names you mentioned. Lawler's selling was better than all of them except Hogan and HBK. Only The Rock, Cena, and Hogan ever got more mainstream press than Lawler did during his Kaufman feud. And Lawler was successful in the business in other ways than just ring work, from booking to being an all time great color commentator.

    See how when you put it all together, there's an argument that can be made for Lawler?

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    I'm a Charly Caruso Guy #MrScissorsKick's Avatar
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    No. But he is probably in the top 10, top 5 of the best Regional wrestlers, bar none.

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    He had an impressive career sure but most of that was in a company he owned and booked himself to be top guy in.

    An all time great is remembered by everyone for their in-ring work and promos.

    Sure Lawler is a master at getting heat from whatever crowd he's in front of but if you ask an average fan what they remember about Lawler it will be him being a horny old pervert during the A.E.

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    Member LibSuperstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milenko
    He had an impressive career sure but most of that was in a company he owned and booked himself to be top guy in.

    An all time great is remembered by everyone for their in-ring work and promos.

    Sure Lawler is a master at getting heat from whatever crowd he's in front of but if you ask an average fan what they remember about Lawler it will be him being a horny old pervert during the A.E.
    To be fair those average fans would be folks who grew up seeing that version of Lawler. Before the AE he showed flashes of his old Memphis self on The King's Court and was the classic heel color commentator. Plus Ross would occasionally reference his Memphis days in their back-and-forths.
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    I don't really see it as a mark against Lawler with him being successful in a company he ran and booked himself to be the top dog in. If anything this is more impressive since it came with a stigma he managed to surpass.

    I wouldn't argue Lawler's spot in anybody's Top 10. He remained relevant for generations. Sure.

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    Senior Member jmt225's Avatar
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    He booked himself as the top guy because he was the top draw.

    I mean, just think about this.... with Jerry Lawler headlining, they sold out a 10k arena (Mid-South Coliseum) WEEK AFTER WEEK for YEARS from the late 70's until the mid-80's!

    Just think how difficult that is.

    10k is a LOT!

    Look at the numbers WCW and WWF pay-per-views drew in the early 90's. Many of them where nowhere near 10k sold!

    I'm just making the point that when you really put some thought into it, it's downright miraculous the success Jerry Lawler had in his career. He's had a one of a kind run that IMO warrants consideration for him being an all-time great in the professional wrestling business. I don't think most fans will fully appreciate what he did until he's gone.

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    I do think that Lawler gets underappreciated but I wouldn't put him anywhere near the top 10.

    I can't hold Lawler's success against him because....well, the guy was successful. What I mean is that sure he was a big fish in a specific territory but, then again, a lot of guys were. Prior to Ric Flair being given a stranglehold over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship during the 80s, he spent virtually his entire career wrestling as a top star in the Mid-Atlantic territory. Lawler was big in Memphis, though the Memphis crowd sounded like it couldn't have cared less to see Lawler this past Tuesday on SmackDown Live, and he booked himself in the top spot just like most other promoters who wrestled did; Memphis was Lawler's territory, it was his baby, it's where his money was invested and he knew he could count on himself whereas someone else might decide to no show for a big match and hurt the company's reputation. At the same time, however, you can look at it as a negative when you compare him to contemporaries who were big stars in their own pond, or multiple ponds for that matter, yet who weren't the booker/owner. it's why Lawler isn't considered to be on the same level, in the minds of a lot of people, as people like Ric Flair, Bruno Sammartino, Bruiser Brody, Hulk Hogan, John Cena and a whole host of others.

    Lawler was good at psychology and could tell a pretty good story, my problem with him was that he was just so friggin' boring. Practically his entire offense during a match was a succession of right hands and rest holds, with maybe a piledriver towards the end to finish the match. His sustained relevance in wrestling the last quarter century is due to his commentary in WWE; had he just disappeared in the early 90s when the territory system was essentially dead, but still did his own thing in Memphis, I think he'd have mostly faded away by the mid 90s or he'd still be out there like the Iron Shiekd, Abdullah the Butcher and other older guys wrestling in front of, maybe, a hundred or so fans.
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