Bulldog's Bookshelf

It's Good to Be The King... Sometimes

Author: Jerry Lawler with Doug Asheville

Published: 2001

Pages: 384

Synopsis: The autobiography of WWE Hall of Famer and Memphis legend Jerry Lawler.

As the crowd started to file out of the building, Jim (Carrey) sprinted to the center of the ring and grabbed the ring mike. "Listen! Let me tell you people something! I wanted to take the suplex and I wanted to take the piledriver, but Jerry Lawler is so afraid of the movie studios that he won't do it. He went and told...." And at that point, someone cut the power to his microphone. Carrey's standing there yelling into a dead mike and no one's hearing a word.

 

Now he was really mad. His face turned a bright red and the veins were popping out on the side of his neck. He threw the microphone on the floor and screamed at the top of his lungs, "I HAVE WORKED ON BROADWAY AND I DO NOT NEED A MICROPHONE TO BE HEARD!!"

This book is probably one of the most underappreciated among the WWE-published autobiographies. I say that because, in recent years, Jerry Lawler has become an oversexed caricature of his himself, and therefore his book never saw the success some of his colleagues had.

 

 

Lawler has a fascinating story to tell, if you think about it. He never had any formal training. His physique (for the wrestling business) was always average at best. He was never given a break on the basis of who he knew or was related to.

 

And yet... Lawler is a geniune icon in Memphis and may become the city's next Mayor. He's faced most of the biggest names in the past four decades.  And he's largely responsible for one of the longest-running territories in recent memory. He has some fantastic anecdotes to tell about his life and really, the entire wrestling business. 

 

Many of them are about the wild Memphis promotion he ran along with Jerry Jarrett, some discuss early interactions with legends such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Andre the Giant, and others detail his infamous womanizing. Yet Lawler approaches the subjects with a surprising level of wide-eyed innocence. Many wrestlers that have been around as long as he has tend to be bitter towards certain promoters, or wrestlers, or even aspects of the business. It's not evident here.  

 

Of course, Lawler goes into great detail about his career-defining feud with comedian Andy Kaufman (and the odd continuation of that, years later, with Jim Carrey). I remember CNN and other news outlets reporting right after this book was published that Lawler had finally admitted that the feud was fake, as if that was a surprise to anyone who had read Bob Zmuda's book on Kaufman. Or to anyone who'd seen the "Man on the Moon" movie. Or to anyone who's watched even two minutes of professional wrestling in their lifetime.  

 

One uncomfortable aspect of the book: I don't like how much he harps on his relationship, marriage and subsequent divorce to Stacy Carter (a/k/a The Kat). Sure, I feel tremendously sorry for the guy, and I understand from personal experience how awful infidelity can be.

 

Yet his accounts just become pathetic after a while -- how much he misses her, how he gave up a plum career for her, and how a Hollywood friend tried to help him find female "companions" to replace her. An editor really should have trimmed these chapters down a bit, if for no other reason than to preserve Lawler's dignity.

 

 

Rating: Oh Hell Yeah! I honestly became a bigger Jerry Lawler fan by reading this. True, it's not as gripping and dramatic a tale as, say, Ric Flair's or Mick Foley's, but it's definitely worth a read.  

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