Exploiting The King
A little over 2 months ago, I was watching an episode of Raw when I noticed that the commentary had gone dead silent. The camera showed Michael Cole at the announce table, but missing was Jerry "The King" Lawler. Like most wrestling fans, I feared for the worst and wondered if I had possibly watched Jerry Lawler wrestle his last match and do speak his final words on commentary for my very own eyes. Jerry "The King" Lawler had a heart attack, and all we could do was pray that this wasn't the end for him. It ends up, of course, that the King survived and he would take some time off to recover. I was glad to know he was going to live as I remember watching Jerry Lawler matches for USWA on ESPN and had always been a fan of his. Then the next week, WWE had clearly started to find a way to make some money off of a bad situation by making "Long Live the King" T-Shirts. I had hoped that this would be the beginning and the end of WWE exploiting this tragedy for marketing purposes. If you have been watching WWE as long as I have, then you should know that we were all wrong if we thought this was going to be the end of it. This is the same company who exploited the death of a Eddie Guerrero and even created a story-line out of his death along with making "RIP Eddie T-Shirts" (No lie, I received one as a Christmas gift that year). So WWE hypes this past Monday's episode of as the return of the King, and that's when the exploitation begins. They recapped the whole thing by basically showing his heart attack for everyone to see amid some dramatic music and fans are forced to watch this moment once again, we also were treated to a recap of his recovery and all that gushy stuff. So Jerry Lawler makes his long awaited return to commentary and, of course, he gets a heroes welcome upon his return. He truly deserved this moment because a lot of people don't survive that first heart attack. The King begins to make a heartfelt speech before being interrupted by CM Punk the WWE Champion along with the dastardly Paul Heyman. This in itself isn't all that bad because it's simply being done to get Punk some heat, then how do they end the segment? With Paul Heyman having a fake heart attack! It was totally tasteless and uncalled for. Once again, WWE deemed it fit to exploit a real life tragedy all in the name of ratings. That segment drew no money, did nothing ti really push Survivor Series (remember the PPV they have coming up this Sunday?) and a lot of fans simply found the whole damn thing disturbing. Now a lot of folks will say "Jerry Lawler wanted it this way", with Jerry Lawler being the old school professional that he is; he wasn't going to show his true feelings regardless and was going to do whatever his boss wanted him to do. I find it very sad that this whole exploitation happen just to satisfy an "audience of one". Some 67 year old, jacked up megalomaniac, who plays with his wrestlers like action figures the way I used to play with mine when I was 9 years old. I don't blame any of the puppets involved, but I do blame the puppet master pulling the strings in the Gorilla position. Will this stop me from watching WWE? Of course not, but it does make me wonder why I do watch it when they decide to do stupid shit like this. I understand ratings have been in the toilet for sometime, but this didn't do anything to move the needle. They want kids to "Be A Star" but the person behind that is pro wrestling's biggest bully... As always, you can email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also follow me on Twitter @whosantcox. Until next time, God Bless.