Random Thoughts from the Office: September 11, 2012

It is a very strange, very sombre sort of day today and not just for the obvious reason. There seems to be some sort of a pathetic irony that as we remember in our own ways the tragic events that happened 11 years ago that many of us as wrestling fans are waiting and praying that Jerry "The King" Lawler pulls through this, his greatest challenge and survives and even continues to thrive.

Now I'm not going to sit here and go through all the events one by one and how there is that weird Owen Hart vibe going on. Blah already did that better than I could. What I want to do is talk about how I saw it watching on TV and how I really feel sitting here today waiting as many of you are, waiting for any news, be it good or (I pray it's not) bad.

You see, Jerry Lawler to me is one of the final, tangible links to my childhood. I grew up as a wrestling fan, I've watched since I was 3 years old and so many of the heroes of my past are either dead or somewhere I can't see them any more. I spoke a little about that when Randy Savage passed away last year but while I was distraught over the Macho Man's death, I still had one very close piece to hang onto, that being Jerry "The King" Lawler.

It seems amazing that he has such a hold on people when he was so hated when he first came into the then WWF and began a fued with Bret "Hitman" Hart over his victory at King of the Ring. Lawler had something so few people ever get in this business. REAL heat. Tangible Heat. I myself always call it "Total Dickhood" after a famous angle in Japan featuring Dick Togo; you get the crowd so riled up that they almost want to kill you and thus will pay big money to see the babyface beat you up. In another twist of irony the example I always bring up of this is Jerry Lawler's cousin, The Honky Tonk Man, who did it so well when he was Intercontinental Champion.

But through the years as he transitioned from a full time wrestler to an announcer who occasionally wrestled on TV and the like, Lawler grew to become liked, respected, in some cases even loved. The reasons for this are many but I personally think that he says a lot of the things the audience are thinking, especially during the Attitude Era. By doing that and showing just as much emotion as he always has, Jerry became one of the key things, not just for me but for all of us. You can see that just by the reaction of Michael Cole when he was giving the updates last night.

The fleeting images we saw of Cole during the matches that followed that moment were perhaps the eeriest of all. I have no doubt that the people in the back were keeping him updated as things went on and you have to wonder how you would've done in that situation. I don't know if Cole and Lawler were close, I'd imagine they'd have to be for Lawler to allow him to get offense on him and do so well in some of their matches, so there is at least a mutual respect there. I think there's more than that though. Sean Coulthard was a man who covered the Yugoslav Civil War, he covered the Siege at Waco, he's seen true tragedy, true suffering, pure evil and when he saw a friend, a man he's worked alongside for so long, collapse, he did two things that if you take nothing else out of this, speaks wonders for the type of human being Mr. Coulthard is. He kept things professional; even as EMT's rushed the table just meters away from him, Michael Cole was able to call the match, keep things together enough until he knew the full story and carry on.

He also allowed the emotion, the fear to come. THIS is where I differ from Blah slightly. You see I go back to the night Owen Hart died and it always seems somewhat surreal to me and I think last night I finally understood why. You hear the old cliche about the "Owen Hart Voice", where an announcer will drop his octaves down to almost a whisper as he announces bad news or something like that. I look back on JR and Lawler from that night and it almost seems like I'm watching robots (I admit that may be my memory blocking it out as I haven't watched Over The Edge since that night, nor do I ever want to). Cole let his emotions show and by doing that he let you know that this wasn't story, this WAS real. The image of Cole sitting silent at the table with his head in his hands will stick with me for a long, long time. But make no mistake, whether you want to call him Michael Cole or Sean Coulthard, he did more than most of us will ever hope we could do if we were put in that situation. Last Night was the night Monday Night Raw no longer was JR's former show, it became Michael Cole's. Love him or hate him you have to respect him for what he did.

So as we wait for news we pray and hope things will be okay. As I went to bed last night, my prayers were with Jerry Lawler. However my thoughts for the most part were not with him, they weren't with Michael Cole either, as much as I have a new found respect for him. They weren't even with wrestling.

They were with Fabrice Muamba

For those of you who don't know the name, Fabrice Muamba was a soccer player. He had a dream, just like Jerry Lawler, just like so many who enter the sport of wrestling to be the best he could be, and he made arguably the biggest league of them all, the English Premier League, playing first for Birmingham and then Bolton. He was a lot like Jerry Lawler, doing the thing he loved the most and being damn good at it.

Till one day it all changed.

On March 17 this year while playing in a League Cup Semi Final, Muamba collapsed, much like Lawler did on Raw, just like Lawler his heart stopped. But unlike Lawler, Muamba was not (allegedly) revived after 20 minutes, he wasn't revived after 30 minutes, he wasn't even revived after 60 minutes.

Fabrice Muamba's heart was stopped for 78 minutes.

It was only through not giving up and determination that Muamba was brought back and while he will never play soccer again. Muamba's life is for the most part normal, he will be able to be happy and healthy because people never gave up on him.

Yes my thoughts were with Fabrice Muamba and through his story it gave me hope that maybe Jerry Lawler will survive this too; he is in for one hell of a fight but a fight is something "The King" has never back down from. I believe that like Muamba, he'll come back and win as well.

Clarence "Showstealer" Mason

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