First wrestler I ever met was Jerry “The King” Lawler.
It was in LA’s Fashion District, he was doing some shopping before that night’s Raw taping at the Staples Center. My brother was nice enough to let me skip school that day & go to the box office to see if there were any tickets for that night’s show & luckily we got 2. One helluva birthday gift. Since we were Downtown we said on a lark lets go shopping & not even 10 minutes after parking we’re walking past the 1st of many alleys & my brother turns to see none other than Jerry The King Lawler leaving a shop of perfumes & colognes. “Oh shit, it’s King!" he exclaims.
In the split seconds it took my brain to register the image of the man who dared interrupt Bret “The Hitman” Hart’s coronation ceremony at the King of the Ring, the man who attacked the Ultimate Warrior, the man who would take on schlubs on WWF Superstars while preforming his own commentary on mic during the match, the man who actually dared to invade ECW on his own without any WWF wrestlers to even watch his back, the guy who since then had moved alongside Jim Ross on the announce table to commentate, who together helped make moments that defined my fandom in professional wrestling even better by their spectacular work on the headset, the guy who would later have me dying of laughter on episode of Smackdown for his commentary on a Mae Young/Miss Kitty vs Moolah/Terri match, who would bum me out by leaving the WWE because his then wife was released but thankfully return to the booth at the end of the WCW/ECW Invasion much too my surprise & relief.
That much-larger-than-he-seemed-on-my-television man was standing before me & before I could even think of anything to say had already extended his hand for a handshake & greeted the both of us with “Hey fellas! Hope you guys got tickets for tonight’s show”. My brother informed him we had just gotten some & he said “Glad to hear it, hope you’ll enjoy the show then. See ya later tonight” & excused himself. I had just met one of the men who I had grown up watching/listening to & was too awestruck to say a simple thanks.
Its why I decided to write this up. To simply say: Thanks. For everything, good & bad, you did in that ring & on that headset. And the handshake.