I was at the Raw showing the other day.

And if things had gone as planned I would have written about something completely different than what I am about to write today (though it may very well come quite similar to that). I would have written about how the whole show was as awful as the current inhabitant Habitant. I would have written about Bret Hart returning to the Centre Bell for the first time in a wrestling capacity in 15 years just to stand around the ring and look bemused. I would have written about another 'exciting' Divas match. (in the buildup to the one at a PPV no less!) I would have written about the usual back and forth between combatants that just gets old after a little while.

But I won't. Because something else happened that trumped all that.

I hate parroting the news from other places, but I feel it is needed again here for my benefit in my writing. After being randomly involved in an improper tag team match (one of what felt like twenty that transpired that evening), Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack while commentating on a tag team match featuring the unlikely tandem of Daniel Bryan and Kane. (Which was unrelated to his attack, if such a thing can have some positive angle.)

I saw the thing all unfold in front of my very own eyes too while following the typical boring commentary on a separate feed. He faded out, collapsed in his chair, brought the rather fatigued crowd to him away from the ring (and the alarmed looks of fear from the combatants), got the VERY prompt arrival of the WWE and Bell emergency crew. Then after a few minutes of Michael Cole all alone, he brought out the news in his Owen voice of what had happened to those at home. How it was "not part of the show".

I was certainly not the only one raising an eyebrow at that 'development'. This is WWE after all, Vince would do just about anything to get more people interested in his work.

The silence then arrived.

It left a sour feeling in me that has yet to fully be gone by the time I write this. It was the fear of having the hammer fall, that it was indeed the worst of things, of hearing the news that someone had passed on right in front of us on what was supposed to be a good time for all.

It DEFINITELY brought back memories of Owen Hart; which is ironic. Lawler was there to see his tragic fall, Vince made the decision to have the show go on (which is something I am sure Lawler would have agreed with also), the man of the (three) hour Bret was severely affected by it...and then later he suffered a stroke.

It is still too early to say though. All signs seem to put Lawler in a much more favorable position than previously thought, thank God. He seems to be slowly recovering and fighting for it, as I know he probably would. The long term effects of this have yet to be seen, obviously - that is the more worrying part. Anything from this could pop up later down the line; I guess it's something we have to deal with on its own terms.

But this is not the reason I wanted to write this. Partly because I would be terrible in writing about it, but also because some have already done it better than me. The John Report (by John Canton obviously) summarized the show and his similar hazy watching of what went on better than I would have had, and I was there in person. The Masked Man David Shoemaker already wrote about his reaction to what transpired. With Leather's Brandon Stroud is honest in not liking the character, but in wishing the man a healthy recovery. "The heart is usually a best part of a wrestler," he so eloquently stated.

No, the whole thing and how it reminded me so much of the Owen tragedy reminded me of how absurd wrestling can be, and as such as a microcosm of life as a whole.

Now obviously I'm not going to off on a long spiel of how life reflects wrestling and vice versa. That would take too long and I'm a terrible philosopher. But even without that and the obvious responses of "why yes, wrestling IS crazy and absurd, where have you been living all this time, Mars? Did you come to Earth through that exploring robot whom you befriended?", having the incident combined like a sudden and impulsive ingredient only made things even more so. And this is on a personal level rather than just writing on something that has a more larger impact. Hell, I was stuck with an absurdly bad radio progrem for nearly seven years, so I know my absurd when I see it.

Let me count the ways.

  • The rather silent crowd. (Almost more silent than the silent commentary we had.) This is rather surprising considering how emotional Montreal can get. (*AhemRichardRiotAhem*) I haven't seen that much initial apathy from the crowd in general than from a recent average home loss to Toronto or so, despite their Oles and various chants and the like. (Though they did chant for the fallen King of course, which I can give them for.) They did pick up by the end with that whole debate, but the fire had less been taken out of them than it wasn't really much there to begin with. That's what I like about our crowds - we can get emotional (in a good way) about just about anything. Not so here for some reason, and perhaps a portent of things to come.
  • To Kick or not to Kick? Forget the unfunny taped segment we had then (in which during another damn year of Linda running for Senate you can fire someone for making a bad joke but it's perfectly acceptable to make fun of an entire ethnic group); it's rather funny having the always great Rodriguez being 'hurt' by a kick that's at the same strength as just about any other kick you see in the ring these days (he sells it well though, so I can't complain).
  • The impromptu tag team match that the King was involved in. First it was just a normal (but good moving) fight, then Dolph Ziggler jumps in, then Lawler jumps in because, why not? It's got to be better than doing commentary with Cole...then it's just a two-on-one handicap style match because Punk is as bored with the show as the audience is, and he doesn't want to look bad before his PPV. (I know, he's 'bored' due to focusing on his title defense story-wise, but whenever he does bored he can't help but keep showing it in some sort of perverse manner, like even he KNOWS he finds this all funny.) So it's once again the old timers dominating the new blood. And I thought TNA had that market cornered.
  • Paul Heyman comes to 'confer' with Punk to further the furthered storyline. At this point (from what I saw of the match through my online feed while I was there), the cameraman COMPLETELY forgets about the match in the ring to focus on these two...talking. I know it is to add 'mystique' into a match that desperately needs it, but this is akin to someone making a film (say, about the First World War) where there's this huge battle going on...in the background, while we focus on two guys in the trenches just talking about the weather.
  • Speaking about talking about the weather...the mike also has to be close to catch Ms. Guerrero try to excuse herself into the duo's conversations to wonder what on earth is going on. Of course, she is promptly rejected and the two soldier on. Now obviously they have to pretend to be talking about the upcoming PPV and all that; they could be actually talking in jibberish (although I can definitely see Heyman talking in Latin because he can)/ Unfortunately the sound guy stands a bit too close rather than just pulling out and watching from afar, as the two continue to 'discuss' their strategy...which involves Punk asking Heyman if there are any good places to eat in Montreal. I was saddened Paul didn't tell him that he has to eat at Schwartz's, the jewel of the St. Laurent Boulevard. For all we know they may have continued by having Heyman ask him to be on his show or something. But that sort of unintentional break of the fourth wall totally took me out of it. 
  • The silence on the commentary. I never pay attention to these things much and I certainly didn't here, but the absence certainly struck me, bringing a new strangeness to things. It was almost as if I was watching that one time when NWO took over Nitro and ran things their way, with similar results. I would not be sure if I liked or disliked it, but I don't think I can make an opinion on this instance due to the circumstances that brought such a thing to be. Silence was the only appropriate thing to do here, and it succeeded.   
  • One thing that the show has nothing to blame for: I do find it absurd that Lawler would be extremely healthy for a guy at his age (about as straight-edge as Punk here, not smoking or drinking or doing anything untoward unhealthy despite being in his 60s, his only vice being his love for Coca-Cola, a love I also have). Of course, heart disease is something that can affect anyone at any time regardless of physical and mental condition, and we all know a friend or family member that's suffered through such a thing, but the fact that it had to strike right now at such a time and place (during a live show in action no less!) does seem...cosmically bizarre. On the other hand, at least he had all those emergency personnel right there to help him immediately; if it weren't for their promptness I don't think he would have been alive right now. For this we must be thankful.
  • The absurd notion that someone has been injured for our entertainment. Again, I'm not being worldly philosophical here (that would be hard), but you would think this sort of injury, fight-related or not, would not happen in this day and age. But it does, and we hope the ramifications aren't too deadly or worrying. We still have a while to go to solve that problem.

Perhaps the one most absurd thing from all this? My re-evaluation of Michael Cole. Many people have already said this but I feel I should also add to this; the professional/emotional way he handled this was absolutely phenomenal. From trying to take over commentating duties when Lawler was first afflicted, to trying to contain his crying when the worst hit, to breaking character to relate the first news and show his true feelings about his broadcast partner rather than just kayfabe it, his few updates on his condition, his broadcast silence while still remaining at the broadcast booth watching the proceedings and obviously being so racked with emotions (there's the one photo of him with his head in his hands, obviously completely distraught at what transpired), to doing his level-headed best in such an awful situation (remember he was a war correspondent, he should have been in worse than this but it so deeply shook him; yet he still worked through), pulling through and staying and doing his duty in his silent vigil...

There are few words I can use to describe my absolute respect I have for Sean Coulthard right now. He handled this extremely well despite the circumstances. People may still be divided over his Cole character; hell, the 2011 Gooker was all about the awful stuff he was involved in, including his feud with Lawler, and they may still like or hate him and they may have to change how they perceive him after this. (I myself am still not sure if I could ever be a Cole Miner.) But I've always had a respect for Mr. Coulthard, and that has increased from seeing how he did here, and the showing of his true friendship with Lawler. It would probably be hard for him to remain a heel for the time being (Lord knows WWE may still try), especially if he can continue with Lawler or not, but there's no denying he easily was the best man out there on that fateful night. If somehow he is reading this (and why should he?), sir, I tip my hats off to you.

As for Lawler? Although I also am on the fence about his commentating and if it changes now after this, I also deeply respect the man behind the gimmick and all that he's done over the years, and like many I also hoped that this will not be his last ring-related appearance. It again will probably be hard for me to hate his character now, so when he does recover it would be something to see how WWE would handle this. I would hope he gets better quickly and in tip top shape soon; even though it may not be the best commentary in the world, it would sorely be missing without it.

After I returned from the Bell I prayed. (I'm not much of a religious man, but I can't deny the power prayer has on a person's soul.) I prayed for Lawler to get well soon, of course. I prayed for him to make a full recovery as soon as he can, to be forgiven for whatever wrongs he may have done, and that he becomes a better man out of this. I didn't ask for him to become all religious though (where would the fun be in that?) but that he comes out of this stronger than he was, and still lives a long life without having another major situation like that one, and passes on doing what he does best.

I also prayed for Mr. Coulthard. I asked God to bless and forgive him due to the good work he did and the professionalism he maintained, and to hope he never goes through that sort of torture again. I also prayed for his success in general, not just with WWE but with his life as a whole. Strange, I know, but I felt it was fitting for the man.

I then prayed for myself. I asked for forgiveness and the hope that I will not see myself or anyone I know suffer the same situation or sickness, and I prayed to get through this still as myself, albeit also stronger for it too.

Does the Lawler attack change how I enjoy wrestling? It's too early to say. I would hope not, especially seeing how it turns out in the long haul. It would be a shame if so, because I actually do like the industry. I hope to see it succeed and be better than it is, be more accepted than it is, be more healthier than it is. I don't want to see ring legends get hurt and pass on without a proper send off, and I don't want to get to the point where I feel guilty following because I don't know if someone will wrestle their last match or not due to injury and hurt. Then it would truly be an absurd thing to do with myself.

I hope it doesn't come to such a thing, and I pray that it doesn't. I hope that you will too, reader.


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