JERRY "THE KING" LAWLER VS. "THE UNIVERSAL HEARTTHROB" AUSTIN IDOL
APRIL 27,1987---MID-SOUTH COLISEUM---MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
AWA SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH---HAIR VS. HAIR IN A STEEL CAGE
Throughout his career, Jerry Lawler has had some solid matches, but I think this one was one of the greatest ever. It told a great story, roped the fans into it, in fact to the point there was a near riot. It wasn't a technical classic like a Flair vs. Steamboat, but it definitely brought the roof down in Memphis.
Over the years, Lawler and Austin Idol had been partners, friends, and also bitter enemies. In early 1987, Idol and Lawler went to battle over having a chance to wrestle AWA World champion Nick Bockwinkel, an honor usually reserved for the Southern heavyweight champion, which was Lawler at the time. Lawler was injured in an attack by Idol, Tommy Rich, and Paul E. Dangerously. Lawler actually injured his testicles when the trio pulled him into the ringpost. It gave people the chance to hear "testicle" on TV.
Idol would win the vacant Southern title in a tournament in February, 1987. Lawler returned and vowed revenge. In fact, the week before the big one, Lawler beat Idol on April 20 in Memphis to regain the title. So, it was all set to finish this feud in a huge way.
The following week, on April 27, Lawler put his Southern title on the line against Idol in an anything goes, steel cage match. Both wrestlers also put up their hair. In fact, Idol one-upped the whole thing by putting up $50,000 of his own money. He said that if he was to lose and have his head shaved, he would refund every single paying fan's money in the building.
The cage has the look of today's HIAC. I wouldn't be surprised if Vince got the idea from Lawler for this structure as Memphis used this structure quite a bit. It wasn't the most scientific match, but the intensity of the story put out by both men makes up for it. The fans are well-invested into this battle.
The final moments of the match definitely make this encounter off-the-chain. Idol piledrived referee Jerry Calhoun, which was legal. As Lawler seemed to be on the brink of getting the W, Tommy "Wildfire" Rich crawled out from under the ring and jumped Lawler. Both men proceed to spike-piledrive Lawler and get the win for Idol.
After the match, they tie Lawler to the barber's chair for the shaving of the King's head. Fans actually start getting unruly, and a handful of fans even get close to climbing the cage. The arena was on the verge of a full-scale riot and Memphis police had to call for reinforcements. That's how real they felt this shit was.
Overall, it was a well-told match. You won't see a lot of scientific wrestling, or a near 60 minute battle. But I would give the whole thing 4 out of 5 stars.