02nd Jun2015

‘WWE: It’s Good to be King – The Jerry Lawler Story’ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings

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Before Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler became one of the signature voices of WWE he was one of the greatest competitors in all of sports entertainment. For the first time ever, get a glimpse into The King’s illustrious career as he gives insight into all of his most memorable matches and moments. From his early days performing in Memphis to his legendary feud with comedy icon Andy Kaufman, to his arrival in WWE, this set is a must-have for any fan of sports entertainment. With a successful career spanning over four decades, it’s easy to see that it’s good to be The King.

Since 1993, Jerry “The King” Lawler has been in the WWE as both a wrestler and a commentator, and for the first time, here, in this release, WWE put out a set based on the career and life of one of the best of all time. This set doesn’t just cover Lawler’s successful and storied WWE career though, it goes into his past as “The King of Memphis” and “The King of Wrestling”, with Jerry and other’s talking about how he got into the business of pro-wrestling, his first matches, his early feuds, his high-profile and publicised grudge with actor Andy Kaufman, all the way to his entry into the WWF in 1993, his work in the ring and his famous work at the announcers booth.

Jerry Lawler sits, sketching various wrestlers and personalities at his drawing desk, as he talks about his career. It’s an interesting format and also shows off Lawler’s obvious talent for art. He talks warmly about his entry into professional wrestling and how his art helped open the door for him, and his work as a late-night DJ also helped him become one of the best talkers in wrestling history. The release covers his early wrestling feuds in Memphis, and the non-documentary discs include some of these matches, which is a great addition. We hear from people who have worked closely with Jerry through the years, such as Jim Ross, Jerry Jarrett, Vince McMahon, Jimmy Hart, Brian “Christopher” Lawler, Stacy “The Kat” Carter and many others. They really pulled out all the stops with the talking heads, with all of them having interesting things to say about Lawler and his career.

Once the Memphis era and his well-known spat with Kaufman is covered, we see memorable footage from his WWE stint. His feuds with Bret Hart, Michael Cole, Jake Roberts and others are covered in the documentary and with matches. It’s the talking stuff though, the coverage of the promo-work and announce-work of Lawler, that truly stand out for me as a fan. His commentary team with Jim Ross in the 90’s and early 00’s was one of the best, if not THE best, announce team in pro-wrestling history, and looking back on it shows how magical it was. The chemistry between Lawler and Ross is undeniable, and it is enjoyable to look back on it all. Seeing Jerry enter the Hall of Fame, and get his first WWE Championship match (agains The Miz in RAW) and WrestleMania match (against Michael Cole) is fantastic and heart-warming.

The shocking thing about the documentary portion of this release is the coverage of the night that Jerry Lawler had a heart attack at ringside during a live broadcast of RAW in which his heart stopped. The release shows clips of the ringside commotion as it happened, as well as backstage footage of EMT’s working on Lawler and massaging his heart and giving him emergency aid. This shocked me. I hadn’t expected WWE to show such graphic visuals of such a terrible moment in the career and life of Lawler. It’s sad and frightening to see, but also very moving when Lawler makes his eventual return to WWE television and I greeted by his friends Michael Cole and Jim Ross in the ring.

The matches are a mixed-bag, like usual with these sets, but very enjoyable and a great look at the in-ring career of Lawler. Matches with names like Bret Hart, Terry Funk, Bill Dundee, Kerry Von Erich, Jake Roberts, Tazz, Michael Cole and The Miz, all go to show the kind of career he has had. It’s about time this release happened, and it’s an enjoyable one too. A solid look at one of the best of all time, and one that is long overdue.

It’s Good to be King – The Jerry Lawler Story, is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from FremantleMedia.

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