Jerry Lawler Talks Randy Savage Memories, Advice for Newer Wrestlers, Territory Days
– WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler recently spoke with Crave Online. The full interview is at this link. Below are highlights:
CraveOnline: What do you miss most about the territory days?
Jerry Lawler: Probably the fun of the camaraderie you had with the other wrestlers. You spent a lot more time with those guys than superstars get to these days. The spontaneity of territory wrestling [was] to me a little more fun than it is now. The travel now is brutal even though you’re flying. But back in the territory days, you drove to the town you were wrestling in and then drove home after the matches. There was a lot of fun on the road, a lot of ribs, and a lot of practical jokes.
CraveOnline: What were your memories of the Poffo outlaw promotion and do you have any favorite memories from when you worked with Randy Savage?
Jerry Lawler: That was another situation, as you know if you’re from Lexington (KY). Lexington was kind of the headquarters for the Poffos, which of course Randy Savage and his brother, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, their real last name was Poffo, and their dad Angelo Poffo. They started up their own company. That was just one of the things that happened back in the day.
The established company would call it outlaw wrestling … They would have matches in Lexington and then the following week my company would come and have matches in Lexington. You were kind of in a promotional war and it was kind of like the Monday Night Wars except on a smaller scale. The Poffos, they were kind of underfunded so they were hanging on by a thread there towards the end before they finally just called it quits because they were losing money on a weekly basis and they came to us and said “hey, let’s try to work together a little bit.”
… One of my favorite memories of that is when Randy Savage knew that we were wrestling in Memphis and I would leave my home in Nashville like at noon and drive down to Memphis for the matches that night. One Monday, Randy Savage brought a camera crew down to my house in Nashville and he gets out of his car and they’re filming him and he says, “This is Jerry Lawler’s house. Lawler come out here” and he’s banging on my door and he says, “Look at this. This coward Lawler is afraid to come out and face me.” He’s cutting this big promo knowing that I’m not home, of course. Then they went back and showed it on their television show and made it look like he came down to my house and I was afraid to come out. Then he and Bill Dundee actually crossed paths at a truck stop and they came to blows and got in a fight.
They had to be pulled apart or something there so it was a pretty heated rivalry but finally, because of financial reasons, Randy’s dad came to us and said “Look we can’t continue on so is there a possibility of us working together and having some matches together in co-promotions?” and that wound to me and Randy Savage having a match at Rupp Arena. We sold out Rupp Arena, 23,000 people which, at the time was unheard of, in a Loser Leaves Town match. Right after that was when Randy started in the WWE.
CraveOnline: Jerry, with you being a legend, what is the best advice you could give to the new guys in the business?
Jerry Lawler: That’s one of the things I’ve had over the years. A lot of people come to me and ask for advice and I always tell them man, it’s so hard for me to try and tell you what will work for you or what you should do because everybody is not only different. Everybody got into the business in a different way and all of their circumstances are so different so it’s hard to give that umbrella type advice.
I always just say, and this is the main thing and I think it’s really worked for me, I don’t know if it works for everyone else but I always just say “Don’t take yourself too serious.” Don’t take anything you do in this business too serious. It’s not life or death. It’s entertainment. Have fun with it. If you do like I’ve done to do something for a living that you have fun at, you’ll feel like in the end you never had to work a day in your life.
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