“The King” is having health problems again. Jerry “The King” Lawler, who became one of the WWE’s most beloved color commentators after a wrestling career filled with iconic moments, more than 170 championships and a 2007 induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, was rushed to a Fort Myers (Fla.) hospital Monday after suffering a massive stroke, according to his own Twitter account.
Lawler, 73, who lives in Fort Myers, was out to lunch with friends when he became ill. Friends commenting earlier this week on social media said they had spoken to Lawler after he underwent surgery and while he was weak and unable to speak well, he was recovering. Especially encouraging was his ability to move his arms and legs.
Then came really good news Thursday. In a post on Lawyer’s Twitter account, it was reported that “Jerry is out of ICU and will return to his Florida home for outpatient rehab for his limited speech and cognitive skills. Doctors (are) hopeful for a full recovery and Jerry is looking forward to returning to his fans very soon.”
There were no indications that Lawler’s health had taken a turn for the worse. He was at the announcer’s table wearing his crown, as usual, Jan. 28 at the WWE’s Royal Rumble. Just last weekend, he was signing autographs for fans at the Charlotte Harbor Event Center in Punta Gorda, Fla. In recent Twitter posts, he talked about getting stem cell injections into his knees last month, having a crush on recently deceased actress Melinda Dillon when he saw her in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and finally getting around to watching a 1984 episode of the “Wonder Woman” TV series during which a picture of him on the front page of a wrestling magazine is shown.
Televised Heart Attack
This isn’t the first time Lawler’s health has become the talk of the pro wrestling world. While he suffered a stroke in 2018, WWE fans won’t forget the night in 2012 when Lawler suffered a heart attack while he was announcing during a Monday Night Raw show. Reports said he was clinically dead for 30 minutes before he was revived. Only a year earlier, Lawler won the Raw Rumble. Lawler returned to the announce table after his heart attack but he hasn’t been a full-time announcer since 2020.
Thirty years before his real-life heart attack, Lawler had a phony feud with comedian Andy Kaufman. Lawler famously slapped Kaufman after Kaufman spit on him when the two appeared on the “Late Night with David Letterman” show.
How ‘The King’ was Crowned
So how did Lawyer get his name “The King”? According to Lawler’s website, the name was bestowed upon him in 1974 when he defeated Jackie Fargo (his real-life trainer) in a match for the NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship and he was declared the “King of Wrestling.”
Lawler could have been called mayor. He ran for that office in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., in 1999. While he received only 11.7% of the vote, he beat 12 of the 15 candidates. He ran for mayor again in a special election in 2009 and got just 4% of the vote.
Here’s something else that not many know about Lawler: his cousin Roy Farris is the former professional wrestler The Honky Talk Man.