Jerry Lawler has discussed his relationship with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and why he thinks he doesn’t suffer the same treatment as his fellow announcers.
Depending on your age the name Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler is synonymous with different things in wrestling. Whether as the undisputed king of Memphis wrestling, Bret Hart’s chief antagoniser, or one of the voices of Raw, Lawler has done more than most in the industry.
Now The King has sat down with Inside The Ropes’ own Findlay Martin for issue 2 of Inside The Ropes magazine. During the conversation, talk turned to Vince McMahon’s penchant for speaking his mind to the announcers through their headsets, sometimes in less than respectful tones. For Jerry Lawler, he says he’s lucky enough to not have experienced the full wrath of the boss while on commentary:
“I can honestly say that in all the years since 1992—and JR talks about this all the time and Michael Cole does too. I don’t know if it’s the fact that Vince respects the fact that I’ve been in the business as long as he has. Vince once told me, and it was the best compliment that I’ve ever received from anyone, ‘King, you are, in my eyes, the most all-round talented person that I have ever met in the wrestling business. You’ve done it all, you can do it all, and you do every single facet of the wrestling business well: from wrestling to commentating to promoting to owning a territory.’ I don’t know if it’s that kind of respect that he’s had but, over the years, I’m not going to say he’s never come on and said, ‘King, we don’t need to say that.’ But never once has he ever yelled at me through the headset or berated me in any kind of way.”
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sitting there with Michael Cole or JR and, during a commercial break, one of them would look over and say, ‘Oh, my gosh. Is Vince wearing you out tonight?’ And I would say: ‘No. I haven’t heard one word from him.’ And they would go, ‘Oh, my God. He’s killing me.’ Let’s face it: Vince is the owner of the company, and he’s sitting there watching every move that everybody makes. And that’s the one thing that makes Vince so special: every aspect, everything that goes into these shows, every minute, every second of it, he wants it to be perfect. He wants it to be as good as it can be. He feels that it’s his obligation. If something is not like he wants it, he’s going to let you know about it. That goes to wrestlers, commentators, cameramen—everyone all the way down the line. Everything about that show: he wants every second of it to be perfect in his eyes and, if it’s not, he thinks it’s his job to let you know about it.”
Over the years, Lawler’s erstwhile commentary partner Jim Ross has discussed McMahon’s reactions while trying to broadcast live. It was dealing with the Chairman on commentary that caused Mick Foley to walk away from his stint as a commentator in WWE in 2008.