As WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler wrote in the title of his 2003 autobiography "It's Good To Be The King... Sometimes".

 

After all, Lawler worked with hundreds of wrestling's biggest names over the past 40-plus years. In fact, almost half this list is comprised of fellow WWE Hall of Famers! Lawler has been AWA World Champion, ruled the roost for decades in his hometown of Memphis, Tennesee, acted as commentator on Monday Night Raw and even had a featured match at WrestleMania.

 

Yet, being wrestling's King can have a downside. Many have targeted Lawler over the years, verbally dressing him down, insulting his family and in one case, running him over with a car! And yet, during The King's runs as a heel, he's infuriated just as many babyfaces on the other side.

 

We're basing this list on storyline rivalries Lawler had with wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike, not speculating on what may have happened backstage (although in some cases, these will fall under both categories). 

 

In counting down the Top 50 Jerry The King Lawler Rivalries, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:

 

  • How prominent was the rivarly?

  • What type of stage(s) did it play out on?

  • How memorable were the matches and/or segments?

  • How much did the rivalry do to advance either person's career?

 

If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.


Ready? Here we go!

50.

The Moondogs

Although there have been several different iterations of The Moondogs, it was mostly the team of Cujo and Spike that targeted Jerry Lawler. In 1993, the team of animals feuded with Lawler and Jeff Jarrett throughout Memphis in wild hardcore-style matches; Pro Wrestling Illustrated even voted it Feud of the Year

48.

Harley Race

One of Jerry Lawler's first challenges for a World Title happened in the late 1970s when he battled WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race. Race, who would later became a King in the WWF, was the travelling NWA World Champion at the time, and gave Lawler several title shots while Race was working in Memphis.

46.

King Kong Bundy

One more battle of Kings for now.... in the early 1980s, Jimmy Hart recruited the massive King Kong Bundy to take out his rival Jerry Lawler. This included a series of matches in Memphis, including one match where Lawler received $1,000 for every minute he lasted in the ring with The Walking Condominium.

44.

The Road Warriors

Early in their days of building up their reputation as monsters, WWE Hall of Famers The Road Warriors tested their mettle against Jerry Lawler and Austin Idol in the Mid-South Coliseum. While the Memphis favorites came up short against Hawk and Animal, it provided them with their first "real" competition.

42.

The Godfather

WWE Hall of Famer The Godfather has gotten under the skin of Jerry Lawler with several personas. First, he feuded with Lawler as The Soultaker in Memphis. Years later, he returned to the USWA and battled The King, but this time as Papa Shango. And as The Goodfather, he opposed Lawler as part of Right To Censor.

40.

Sid Vicious

In between stints for WCW and WWF, Sid Vicious spent a year in the USWA in 1994, injuring Jerry Lawler and taking his USWA Unified World Championship. The King received several rematches, but it wasn't until the following year that Lawler regained the title.

38.

Koko B. Ware

The bad blood between Jerry Lawler and WWE Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware happened before Ware even had the "B" in his name, when both were in Memphis in 1979. Years later, after a run with the WWF, Ware returned home and feuded with Lawler over the USWA Unified Championship circa 1992.

36.

Lance Russell

Announcer Lance Russell was the person responsible for bringing Jerry Lawler into wrestling, displaying The King's illustrations on the air when he was just a kid. But later on, as Lawler became the top heel in Memphis, he constantly harassed the announcer on air, constantly referring to Russell as "Banana Nose."

34.

Brian Christopher

In the early 1990s, USWA mainstay Brian Christopher was often pitted against Jerry Lawler, despite being Lawler's legitimate son. That fact wasn't acknowledged on air, and only hinted at when both were in the WWF. In 2011, Michael Cole brought Christopher to WWE to badmouth his dad.

32.

Rocky Johnson

At a time when his son Dwayne The Rock Johnson was only a toddler, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson was being billed as a boxer in Memphis (which wasn't true) to hype a feud with Jerry Lawler in Memphis. The two men had a series of big matches in the Mid-South Coliseum, made to look like a shoot fight.

30.

Tommy Rich

Tommy Rich's rivalry with Jerry Lawler dates back to the late 1970s, when both were starting out in the business. During Rich's time in Memphis, the two had a series of barbed wire and steel cage matches, and later in the rivalry, Rich and partner Austin Idol teamed up with Paul E. Dangerously to attack The King

28.

Doink The Clown

Although Doink The Clown was initially cast as Jerry Lawler's "court jester" in storylines, that relationship fell to the wayside when Doink turned babyface. This led to a prolonged feud between th e two, including a match at Survivor Series 1994, where each man had three wrestlers of short stature backing them up.

26.

Kamala

Behind the scenes, the Kamala character (originally Kimala) was developed by Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett to create a cannibal character in Memphis. Kamala destroyed The King during their feud in the early 1980s and returned a decade later to successfully challenge Lawler for the USWA Title.

24.

Plowboy Frazier

Wrestling fans will most likely remember Plowboy Frazier as the WWF's Uncle Elmer, although he began in the Mid-South as a partner of Jerry Lawler. Eventually, Frazier (who also competed as Giant Hillbilly Elmer, The Lone Ranger and Kamala II) rebelled against Lawler, feuding with him extensively.

22.

Tazz

When ECW invaded Monday Night Raw in 1997, Tazz and Jerry Lawler had a pull-apart on camera. Three years later, the two squared off in a grudge match at SummerSlam 2000, with Lawler defending Jim Ross' honor. They faced each other again at ECW One Night Stand 2006 over the old WWF vs ECW rivalry.

20.

CM Punk

In 2011, CM Punk was proclaiming himself "The Best In The World" and was infuriated that Raw commentator Jerry Lawler refused to go along with it. Lawler was eventually goaded into battling WWE Champion Punk in a series of matches that only ended after Lawler (legitimately) had a heart attack on live television.

18.

Tommy Dreamer

As part of the rivalry between ECW and the WWF, Jerry Lawler showed up at an ECW pay-per-view in 1997, attacking Tommy Dreamer. The feud continued through ECW and the USWA, culminating in a match at ECW's Hardcore Heaven show. The two have since wrestled many times on independent shows.

16.

Paul E. Dangerously

The rivalry between Paul E. Dangerously (a/k/a Paul Heyman) and Jerry Lawler goes back to Memphis, where Lawler legitimately broke Dangerously's jaw during a feud with his clients Austin Idol and Tommy Rich. Years later, Lawler and Heyman had a heated debate on Raw over the WWF-ECW rivalry.

14.

Ric Flair

In 1982, tWWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair traveled to Memphis as NWA World Champion. During an interview segment, Jerry Lawler challenged Flair to an impromptu title match. Although The King took The Nature Boy to the limit, Flair later put a $10,000 bounty on Lawler's head to keep him down.

12.

Jake The Snake Roberts

In 1996, Jerry Lawler targeted WWE Hall of Famer Jake The Snake Roberts, who had recently declared himself a recovering alcoholic. Taunting Roberts every chance he could about "turning the other cheek," Lawler even poured a bottle of whiskey down his throat during their big match at SummerSlam 1996.

10.

Vince McMahon

Believe it or not, Vince McMahon had an on-air feud that pre-dates his Mr. McMahon character by several years. As part of a co-promotional agreement, McMahon traveled to Memphis to berate Lawler (who was a fan favorite there but a heel in the WWF) and even sent several of his WWF stars after The King.

8.

Randy Savage

In the early 1980s, WWE Hall of Famer Randy Savage and his family invaded Jerry Lawler's CWA and the two feuded for several months. The Macho Man began teaming with The King after a while, only to turn on him. The two had a Loser Leaves Town match in 1984 in Memphis, which Lawler won.

6.

Michael Cole

Towards the end of 2010, announcer Michael Cole began showing heel tendencies, which rubbed co-host Jerry Lawler the wrong way. Things spiralled out of control until their match at WrestleMania XXVII, and even then the two announcers clashed on the next two PPVs until their rivalry officially ended.

4.

Jimmy Hart

WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart began his in-ring career as Jerry Lawler's manager; the two had even attended the same high school together. But when Lawler was injured, Hart created his First Family to replace The King, setting up a lengthy feud between Lawler and members of Hart's faction when Lawler returned from his injury.

2.

Eddie Gilbert

Growing up as a child, Eddie Gilbert idolized Jerry Lawler, so when he began his wrestling career in Memphis, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable feud began. The most memorable moment in Lawler's feud with Gilbert came in 1990, when Hot Stuff ran into The King in a parking lot, flattening him with his car!

49

Duke The Dumpster Droese

While Duke The Dumpster Droese was never a huge name in the WWF, he managed to get under the skin of Jerry Lawler. During one incident on Raw in 1994, The King hit Droese in the head with his own garbage can, and attacked Droese a week later when he was forced to apologize.

47.

Owen Hart

While Jerry Lawler was often supportive of Owen Hart, the two Kings had their share of run ins. During Hart's run in Memphis in the early 1990s, he dropped the USWA Championship to Lawler, and the two also had a series of matches when both were part of the WWF.

45

Jack Brisco

In order to build up Jerry Lawler's battle with WWE Hall of Famer Jack Brisco in the late 1970s, The King had to go through a series of "top ten" challengers to the NWA World Championship. After he was successful with the challengers, Lawler battled Brisco in Memphis, but was unable to wrest the title away from Brisco.

43.

The Ultimate Warrior

When WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior returned to the WWF in 1996, Jerry Lawler buried him on commentary and even made fun of his new comic book. To settle things, Lawler drew a portrait of Warrior and framed it, before smashing the glass over Warrior's head, leading to a match at King of the Ring.

41.

Paul Orndorff

WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff began his post-football career wrestling in the Memphis territory, and one of his first feuds was with none other than Jerry Lawler. In June of 1977, Mr. Wonderful defeated The King to win the Mid-Southern Heavyweight Title, dropping it back to Lawler a few months later. 

39.

Nick Bockwinkel

In 1982, Jerry Lawler challenged WWE Hall of Famer Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA World Championship and appeared to have pinned the champ. However, the controversial decision was reviewed and the rematch was set for Memphis. Bockwinkel retained the gold due to the unlikely help of Andy Kaufman.

37.

Andre The Giant

In 1975, WWE Hall of Famer Andre The Giant traveled to Memphis to take on Jerry Lawler in one of their first matches. While reports vary on who won the bout, wrestling magazines printed that a "midget" had defeated Andre that night, leading to heat between Lawler and WWWF head Vince McMahon Senior.

35

Jackie Fargo

Another person responsible for Jerry Lawler's rise in the wrestling business was Memphis legend Jackie Fargo, who got him an opportunity to compete in the territory. While the two were often allies in the ring, they began with a vicious rivalry in Memphis, leading to Lawler's proclamation that he was The King.

33.

Rowdy Roddy Piper

When WWE Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper returned to the WWF in 1994, Jerry Lawler was one of the first people to criticize him. Lawler even interviewed a scrawny Piper impersonator on his King's Court talk show to infuriate Hot Rod. The two battled at that year's King of the Ring, with Piper standing tall.

31.

Superstar Billy Graham

Shortly after he lost the WWWF World Championship, WWE Hall of Famer Superstar Billy Graham traveled to the Continental Wrestling Association where he quickly won the CWA Title. A month later, Graham dropped the belt to Jerry Lawler and was unable to regain it in several of their subsequent rematches.

29.

The Snowman

No, not Frosty.... this The Snowman was a local worker in Memphis who began doing a worked shoot angle in the early 1990s, claiming Jerry Lawler and the USWA were racists by discriminating against hiring him. This led to a series of matches between Lawler and Snowman that began a focal point for the USWA.

27.

Dutch Mantel

In the early 1980s, both Dutch Mantel and Jerry Lawler were fan favorites in Memphis, but began feuding. Over the years, Dirty Dutch would lock horns with The King many times, including a barbed wire match in 1982 that saw Lawler regain the Southern Championship.

25.

Eric Embry

In the early 1990s, Eric Embry was cast as a top babyface who bridged the collapse of World Class and the creation of the USWA. Embry was quickly pitted against Jerry Lawler, who at the time was the top heel in Memphis. The two had lumberjack matches and even steel cage matches over the USWA Championship.

23.

Hulk Hogan

Some of WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan's earliest matches were in Memphis, where, as Terry "The Hulk" Boulder, he often teamed with Jerry Lawler. But by 1981, Hogan was a constant challenger for Lawler's CWA Championship. The two were set to wrestle as recently as 2007 in Memphis, but WWE nixed the match.

21.

Jeff Jarrett

WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett began his career in Memphis as a protege to Jerry Lawler, given Lawler's business partner and friend was Jeff's father Jerry. But by the early 1990s, the babyface Jarrett challenged the heel Lawler throughout the USWA. The two wrestled as recently as 2018 at a basketball game halftime show!

19.

Terry Funk

WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk's rivalry with Jerry Lawler was so intense in 1981 that the two had to settle their score in the infamous "Empty Arena Match" that was taped for commercial video release. The match ended after Funk stabbed himself in the eye, but Funk and Lawler have battled many times since.

17.

Ravishing Rick Rude

In 1984, WWE Hall of Famer Ravishing Rick Rude was a member of Jimmy Hart's First Family. At one point in the Family's rivalry with The King, Lawler was set to be a referee in one of Rude's matches.... so The Ravishing One took a baseball bat to the windshield of The King's car to intimidate him.

15.

Austin Idol

In 1987, Jerry Lawler had a heated rivalry with Memphis veteran Austin Idol, which led to a hair vs. hair steel cage match in the Mid-South Coliseum. With help from Paul E. Dangerously and Tommy Rich, Idol won the CWA title during the grudge match, which ended with the trio cutting The King's hair.

13.

The Miz

In 2011, Jerry Lawler took exception to how WWE Champion The Miz was berating legends. Lawler won a special Royal Rumble on Raw which let him challenge Miz for his first WWE title shot. At the Elimination Chamber PPV, Lawler lost the match because of interference from Michael Cole.

11.

Curt Hennig

Jerry Lawler had battled WWE Hall of Famer Curt Hennig (a/k/a Mr. Perfect) before, but in 1988, the match was for Hennig's AWA World Championship. If Lawler lost, he vowed to retire. The championship match was held at the Mid-South Coliseum, with Lawler winning the title in front of his hometown fans.

9.

Jimmy Valiant

For much of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Jerry Lawler was embroiled in a vicious feud with WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Valiant over the Southern Heavyweight Title. At one point in the rivalry, Handsome Jimmy ran to ringside during a match and smashed The King over the head with a beer bottle.

7.

Kerry Von Erich

The main event of AWA's only pay-per-view Super Clash III featured Jerry Lawler defending the AWA World Championship against World Class Champion and WWE Hall of Famer Kerry Von Erich. Lawler badly bloodied Von Erich, leading to an interpromotional feud between the two in the early 1990s.

5.

Superstar Bill Dundee

Although Superstar Bill Dundee and Jerry Lawler were often portrayed as friends and tag team partners, they were just as likely to feud with each other in Memphis. In fact, the two faced off in no less than SIXTY matches between 1977 and 2014, with most bouts taking place in, of course, the Memphis territory.

3.

Bret Hart

Immediately after WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart won the first (televised) King Of The Ring tournament in 1993, he was ambushed by Jerry Lawler, who claimed that he was the real king of the WWF. This led to a prolonged rivarly between the two, including a Kiss My Foot match on WWF PPV and matches in the USWA.

1.

Andy Kaufman

Jerry The King Lawler's greatest rivalry wasn't with a wrestler, but rather with Andy Kaufman, a comedian and actor best known for his work on the television show Taxi. In 1982, Kaufman took his act as "Intergender Champion" to Memphis, wrestling women as a joke. Lawler got involved and challenged Kaufman to a match, which many outsiders thought was a shoot. The feud even included an all-time classic spot on Late Night With David Letterman.

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Wrestling Merchandise and Memories podca
Wrestling Historian Mike Rickard