The SmarK Rant for Jerry The King Lawler Volume 2: The Early Years
By Scott Keith on 3rd July 2023
The SmarK Rant for Jerry Lawler Volume 2: The Early Years
Hosted by Jerry Lawler
This is the second volume of the VHS releases in Memphis in 1986, as apparently “Wrestling Royalty” was a big enough hit to justify another go. The footage here would actually be from the era before Jerry Jarrett took control of Memphis, during the Gulas era.
We start with a montage of Lawler talking trash in the studio show, during his heel period. “Lance Russell had a death in his family today. One of his Baxter suits died.” Also we get a weird promo with Lawler and partner Plowboy Frazier (Uncle Elmer) cutting up a watermelon and sharing it with Dave Brown.
NWA Southern title: Tommy Rich v. Jerry Lawler
We’re way back in the early days of Lawler’s career here, as Lawler beats on rookie Rich in 1976 in the studio. Lawler with a slam and a headbutt off the middle rope, but he misses a second one and Rich makes a fired up comeback, punching Lawler down for two. Ref is bumped on a blind charge from Rich, and Lawler tosses a huge cloud of powder in Tommy’s face and drops the elbow on him for the pin and the title. This brings out Plowboy Frazier for the beatdown on Rich as the heels celebrate the title change, and it just turns into a complete battle royale crazy brawl until Rich fights off the heels and chases them back to the dressing room.
Jerry Lawler is out for a match on TV, but rookie Mike Start is sitting at the commentary desk with Lance Russell and Lawler is getting annoyed about it. Apparently he was a football player at the time trying to break into the business, which naturally offends the King. So he takes a seat and demands to see what Start actually knows about wrestling. Also he points out that Start supposedly hurt his knees and can’t play football, so now he’s gonna be a WRESTLER? Lawler is skeptical. Lance doesn’t want any further confrontation but Lawler won’t shut up, so Start decides to walk away peacefully, and Lawler hits him in the knee with a chair from behind. “Your knee can get hurt wrestling too!” Man’s got a point. Later on, Start hobbles out while Lawler is wrestling and smashes a Coke bottle on Lawler’s head to get revenge. Obviously Start never actually went anywhere in wrestling.
Jerry Lawler is running his mouth at the desk as usual, this time about Rocky Johnson, so Rocky comes out to answer him and Lawler immediately hides behind the desk and demands a match right now if Rocky will put his title on the line.
NWA Southern title: Rocky Johnson v. Jerry Lawler
Lawler chokes him out on the ropes and we’re clipped to Johnson making the comeback and bumping the ref by accident. So Lawler loads up the chain and knocks him out for the pin. After the match, Rocky asks for another five minutes to regain his title, and offers to put Lawler’s stolen crown on the line after he retrieves it from his car. So as promised he brings it out and they’re off again.
NWA Southern title: Jerry Lawler v. Rocky Johnson
This time we dono’t even get started, as Phil Hickerson and Dennis Condrey immediately hit the ring and hold Rocky down while Lawler whips him with a leather strap, and then Lawler heads to the desk and grabs both the belt and the crown.
Jerry Lawler joins Lance for a Christmas special episode, but he’s dressed like Sgt. Slaughter instead of himself, and forms Jerry Lawler’s Army to terrorize the territory. This leads to a “dream sequence” with Lance Russell switching places with Lawler while Lawler wears a huge prosthetic nose pretending to be Lance.
Jerry Lawler & The Scorpion v. Jerry Jarrett & Rough-House Fargo
Way back to 1973 now, nearing the beginning of Lawler’s Memphis career. Lawler and Scorpion slowly double-team Jarrett and pin him after shenanigans behind the ref’s back. This was a very different style than the territory would become known for.
NWA Southern title: Jack Brisco v. Jerry Lawler
Huh, didn’t know they crossed paths. We’re in the Mid-South Coliseum for this one, picking things up with Brisco getting the figure-four, but Lawler reverses the move and Jack has to make the ropes. So this would be 1976, and I actually thought that the figure-four reversal wasn’t popularized until Ric Flair came along on a national level. Lawler beats Brisco into the turnbuckles, and goes up for the fistdrop, then pins him to win the title.
Bill Dundee v. Jerry Lawler
This is the finale of an elimination tag match from the Coliseum, as Lawler drops the fist on him for two, but Dundee fights back and slugs away in the corner. Lawler pulls out the chain and nails him, but Jackie Fargo hits the ring and saves Dundee, triggering a giant brawl. Fargo throwing punches on Lawler in the corner is just CHEF’S KISS. If you need a reason to watch this, seek out Jackie Fargo’s worked punches and hopefully show it to every wrestler you know.
Jerry Lawler & Tojo Yamamoto v. The Mummy & Sam Bass
The Mummy is doing an actual undead mummy gimmick, stumbling around the ring and no-selling everything. This is from 1974 at the Coliseum. Lawler and Tojo are the babyfaces here and throw dropkicks on the Mummy. I think the Mummy was Eddie Marlin, because Eddie also played Frankenstein in a similar deal, but I’m not 100% sure. Sam Bass finally has had enough of dealing with the supernatural and walks out on his creation, leaving Lawler to double-team the Mummy and pin him.
Jerry Lawler & Mongolian Stomper v. Rocky Johnson & Jackie Fargo
Lawler isn’t exactly thrilled to be teaming with the Stomper and keeps refusing to tag him in, trying to avoid dealing with Rocky Johnson, so Stomper hauls Lawler in and turns on him, then puts Rocky on top and counts the pin himself. So Lawler turns on the Stomper again and beats him down with the chain.
NWA Southern title v. Hair: Jerry Lawler v. Bill Dundee
More from these two later in the 70s, with Lawler using a chain to torment Dundee during the match and bust him open. Lawler stashes the chain with his manager and continues slugging away on Bill, but Dundee won’t quit and fights back until Lawler puts him down with a low blow. Lawler chokes him out in the corner and just hammers him in the corner and Dundee can barely stand under his own power. So Lawler throws these awesome Fargo punches and won’t let him fall down, so the ref finally calls for the bell because Dundee can’t defend himself. Sadly we don’t get the haircut afterwards.
Later on, Lawler does his victory promo at the studio, declaring that Bill’s old lady told him not to come home after losing because she doesn’t want to see his ugly face without his hair. So Dundee’s wife storms the studio and attacks Lawler, and he laughs it off like a complete dick.
Hair v. Hair: Jerry Lawler v. Jean Louie
Louie was a big guy from Quebec who mostly ended up as a WWF enhancement talent, and Lawler puts him away here and shaves his head.
And we get a musical montage of Lawler facing big stars to end things.
Yeah this is totally the kind of thing I would have been all over in my tape trading days. Kind of wish we had more classic Lawler studio promos rather than the exceedingly random matches chosen for this, but it’s worth a watch and easy to find on YouTube.