Anyone who ranks the greatest of the territorial era without Lawler in the top five is mistaken.
I mean, if you rank based on the '70s-'80s, I'm sure the majority won't have Lawler in their top 5. I mean, it's easy to appear as if you're doing legendary things when you limited yourself to the same areas for over 30 years. But, when you take guys like Flair, Dusty, Hogan, Harley Race or even Terry Funk, those guys went everywhere and faced a higher level of competition than what Lawler did.
Yeah, Lawler made an impact on the Memphis territory the hardest but placing him top 5, eventhough he was pretty much restricted to that area and it's sister promotions, is like placing Shane Douglas top 5 of the 90s, solely on how he dominated the Philly scene for years. And I understand that Lawler did more and had more experience but it's only so much you can do in the same area for over 30 years.
And 168 championships? Lawler booked himself to look strong, nothing wrong with that. But, when you look at guys like Flair, Hogan, Dusty, Harley and Funk, they had matches with a who's who of pro wrestling back in those days, whereas Lawler was often competing with the Jimmy Valiants, the Austin Idols, the Eddie & Doug Gilberts. Now, they were big in there time but limited to there territories. Lawler always came out on top, which I think doesn't justify him as being top wrestler of the 80s, especially with such limited, well known competition.