Jerry Lawler Discusses His Heart Attack, Hulk Hogan, Kaufman, Wrestling Elvis Presley & More
|By Jay Calderon | January 31, 2013 | Comments|
On having his heart attack on live television back in September: "Fortunately, I think fortunately, I really have no memory of that. We were doing a live broadcast, Monday Night Right, world-wide television. I had a match, a tag team match with myself and Randy Orton wrestling Dolph Ziggler and our WWE champion C.M. Punk. We went in and had a match that lasted about ten minutes long.
"Then, from the match, I came over and we went to commercial break and we started doing commentary. Literally, the next time I opened my eyes, I'm in the hospital with a ventilator down my throat and all these I.V.s in me and wires going everywhere.
"...That was the real deal. Apparently, I had a cardian arrest and my heart just stopped beating for twenty minutes. ... They did CPR for 20 minutes and they shocked me seven or eight times and got me back."
On whether or not he was faking his heart attack like Andy Kaufman claimed he wanted to fake his death: "That was on the one thing that Andy said would be his ultimate prank or hoax. That's what Andy was, he was a great performance artist. He hated to be called a comedian, he said, 'I've never told a joke in my life.'
"The thing that he was fascinated about wrestling was because as a kid, he watched wrestling and 'Nature Boy' Buddy Rodgers was his favorite. He said, 'It fascinated me that someone could go on television and intentionally try to make people dislike him or hate him but still be so popular.
"Once Andy became a performer, that's really what he wanted to do. If you watched any of his shows, he really tried to make people dislike him."
On slapping Andy Kaufman across the face during an interview with Dave Letterman: "Actually, when we got there that day to be on Letterman's show, Andy would not be seen with me. He wouldn't go anywhere with me. So, seperately, they brought us back with the segment coordinator and the guy said, 'Here's what we want to do. You guys are going to be on for two segments. Dave is going to have you try to be a little antagonistic.'
"I said, 'How antagonistic?' He said, 'Just a little bit during the first segment. During the second segment, Andy will apologize for making fun of wrestling and doing whgat he did and then you apologize to Andy for giving him the piledriver. Then, Andy is going to sing 'What The World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love.'
"That was what was supposed to happen. That was early in the day because we taped at 5:30 in the afternoon and Andy called me at about noon and he said, 'You met with the segment coordinators?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'What do you think?' I was just happy to be on network television. I said, 'All that's going to do though, Andy, is end our feud forever once we apologize on network television.'
"He said, 'Yeah...I wonder what would happen if you just hauled off and slugged me?' And I said, 'Well, first of all Andy, they probably wouldn't show it. Second of all, I'll probably get arrested. So, I don't know if we should do that or not.' He said, 'Yeah, you're probably right.' And literally, that's the way it was left. I didn't see or talk to Andy until we went on the air."
Lyle contributed to this article. Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.