Jerry O'Neil Lawler (born November 29, 1949 in Memphis, Tennessee, United States) is a professional wrestler and wrestling commentator. He currently works for World Wrestling Entertainment as a color commentator for its RAW brand (with Jim Ross), and still infrequently wrestles for the promotion.
He is perhaps best known not for his considerable wrestling skills, but for a much-publicized feud with Andy Kaufman that was later revealed to be completely contrived ("a total work" in wrestling parlance). This feud included a widely-seen confrontation between the two on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Lawler unified the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title (defeating Curt Hennig on May 9, 1988) with the WCCW World Heavyweight Title (defeating Kerry Von Erich on December 13, 1988), creating the United States Wrestling Association Unified World Heavyweight Championship. He was a co-owner, along with Jerry Jarrett, of the now-defunct promotion. From its start in 1989 to its end in 1997, Jerry Lawler held the USWA heavyweight title a total of 27 times. Of course, this statistic must be interpreted in the light of how professional wrestling operates. He left the Memphis-based USWA for the WWF (now WWE) in 1993.
Jerry Lawler has made history as being the wrestler with the most championship reigns of all time. He has had more than 200 titles in his career. This includes the USWA title.
In 1999, perhaps inspired by fellow wrestler Jesse Ventura's successful run for the governorship of Minnesota, Lawler ran for mayor of Memphis, finishing third in a field of 12 candidates.
Earlier in his career, like many wrestlers, Lawler took his turns as both face ("good guy") and heel ("bad guy"). Perhaps the best gimmick of this period was his on-and-off feud with an erstwhile tag-team partner, Aussie wrestler "Superstar" Bill Dundee. A celebrated "grudge match" between the two at Memphis' Mid-South Coliseum represented a rare example of theatrical make-up blood actually being found in use at a pro wrestling event, since the match was being taped for an NBC television program documenting the rise in popularity of pro wrestling. Most blood in professional wrestling has traditionally been real, the result of "blading."
Jerry Lawler is responsible for Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart entering professional wrestling. Lawler wanted to record a wrestling album with him singing and, since they had gone to school together, he called Hart and asked him to be a part of it. So close are the two men that on April 2, 2005, when Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Lawler performed Hart's induction.
Throughout most of his stay in World Wrestling Entertainment, he has served as a color commentator, first with the promotion's syndicated programs and later on WWE RAW. Like many professional wrestling color commentators, Lawler often roots for the heel wrestlers. However, there are several heels Lawler despises and often shows a code of morality in his commentary--that is, unless one of the WWE's valets are involved, in which case he often uses innuendo to hype the valet (e.g., "Puppies!")and has been nicknamed "Puppy Patrol." Lawler's commentary began as far back as 1988, while with the CWA, and during the time, Lawler was responsible for some of the most hilarious one-liners in recent wrestling memory.
His son Brian, who has previously wrestled in WWE, is now performing in independent promotions. His ex-wife Stacy "The Kat" Carter also made a few in-ring appearances.
American Wrestling Association
United States Wrestling Association
World Class Championship Wrestling
Continental Wrestling Association
Maryland Championship Wrestling
Memphis Championship Wrestling
Smoky Mountain Wrestling
Pro Wrestling Illustrated