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post #11 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 02:52 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

I've always said that Jerry Lawler is criminally underrated as a in ring worker and as a mic worker because he was gold at his peak but i wouldn't rank him above Ric Flair, Randy Savage and Tully Blanchard as the best all round in ring performer of that decade. I remember someone saying to me before that had NWA actually gone with a Lawler/Flair feud and series of matches in the middle of that decade they would have been the biggest matches of all time or at least up until Hogan/Andre at WrestleMania 3.

People should go on Youtube or wherever they can to watch Jerry Lawler at his absolute peak and watch how to draw some serious heel heat and also to have the crowd completely behind you as a mega babyface. His in ring work was very good and he had very good in ring psychology which helped him tell a great story when in the ring and build up his feuds regardless of whether he was babyface or heel. The feuds he had with Austin Idol, Tommy Rich, The Moondogs, Nick Bockwinkel and Andy Kaufman are some of the biggest and greatest feuds of their era and many era's since but most people unfortunately only know of Jerry Lawler for his commentary in WWE or feuds with Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Doink and Michael Cole in WWE.

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post #12 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 02:59 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

Lawler is probably the master at getting the most out of very little, his matches are about as simple and true to a straight formula as you'll find but he always connects with the crowd and knows how to wrestle a different match. Part of the issue I have with the current crop of wrestlers is their inability to play up a gimmick match, i.e in a street fight/no holds barred match you'll get fancy choreographed spots and guys hitting their usual signature offence when the stipulation and feud calls for a more violent brawl then their standard match. Lawler like the greats knew how to wrestle a brawl, but also how to wrestle a 10 minute studio match with the emphasis on putting over his younger opponent, that art of versatility in multiple surroundings is just so desperately missed at the moment, where every young guy seems to insist on a go-go-go workrate style instead of learning from the territory greats who not only managed to prolong their careers working a more safe and simplistic style...but actually managed to emotionally connect with crowds on a scale not even the most epic Kurt Angle match could possibly hope to match.

I'd definitely rank Lawler far above Savage in ring, though that's more of a stylistic preference. I can see the argument for Savage over Lawler if you take everything into account, but again I personally would still go with Lawler. Blanchard is a great shout for doing a lot of things Lawler did well, but I just don't think he has the match diversity to rival Flair and Lawler in that category. That being said some of his performances are mesmerising, the Ron Garvin 05/03/1986 match and the Magnum TA I Quit Match being personal standouts.
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post #13 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:45 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

Greatest wrestler of the 80's? I think Ric Flair and Terry Funk would like a word with you.

Great to have you back, Segunda and thanks for posting this. Lawler's great and I really should make an effort to see more of his stuff. I've always wanted to watch more Memphis (along with any territory stuff to be honest) but I don't really know where to start. I'll seek out what I haven't seen on your list.

It's a shame that Flair and Lawler never really had a proper match during their prime. It would of been fucking epic. They clearly had chemistry in their studio match.
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post #14 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:54 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

I think Lawler has the match diversity and catalogue which Funk lacks in comparison especially for the 80s, Funk's best stuff in that time span is incredible and his performances are as stellar and captivating as ever...but to me Lawler comes closer than anyone to matching Flair's legendary catalogue of matches which is no small feat given what Flair was busting out in his prime.

Flair v Lawler will forever be the lost dream match, Lawler is about as good as you get in terms of a pure babyface over with the fans (Morton and Steamboat are arguably more 'clean cut and honourable' than Lawler, but there's no arguing against the reactions Lawler was getting week in week out for well over a decade) and Flair is Flair, able to light up and captivate the most apathetic of crowds let alone the rabid Mid South Coliseum.

I think it just comes down to a stylistic preference, I love a lot of Flair's matches from the 80s against a wide array of opponents and styles, but there's something captivating within Lawler's matches against Funk, Mantell, Dundee, Idol and Bigelow in this decade that I can't help but be enthralled by, and consequently I've shifted from my stance on Flair being the undisputed King of the 80s. Lawler may not have a career year that can compete with Flair's 85 or his 89, but Lawler just does absolutely everything I can ask for in wrestling atm.

Who knows maybe I'll find a few rare Flair matches and be so impressed by his style and ability again I'll revert back to the Flair camp, but for know Lawler and his Memphis brawls will forever be the pinnacle of pro wrestling to me.
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post #15 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

Nah, Backlund/Flair and Flair/Murdoch are THE lost dream matches . Stop getting me in the mood to watch 80's stuff anyway, I need to really catch up on the MOTD 00-09 poll .
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post #16 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 05:33 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

Jerry Lawler: Best wrestler of the 80's?

I think Ric Flair would say otherwise.
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post #17 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 05:36 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

Would the pro Flair fans care to elaborate beyond just simply stating he's in their eyes a more fitting candidate? I get Flair doesn't exactly need a thesis in why he stands to be considered the best in the 80s, but it would be nice to have more answers akin to Kingcal and Walk-In and Dave1981 who at least offered explanations as to why Lawler wasn't as good as Flair to them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KingCal View Post
Nah, Backlund/Flair and Flair/Murdoch are THE lost dream matches . Stop getting me in the mood to watch 80's stuff anyway, I need to really catch up on the MOTD 00-09 poll .
Watch that Lucha match I nominated in the Mexico 2000-2004 thread, total Memphis bloodbath and something I could totally see you loving based of your fondness for the Memphis style.

And don't remind me of that lost Murdoch/Flair broadway, that just sucks so fucking bad.

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post #18 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 05:47 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

The reason I say Flair was better because he ruled most of the 1980's on a national level, fighting anybody who was somebody at that time, in professional wrestling. Nothing against Lawler, as he was a beast in Memphis but that was his territory. He wasn't constantly selling out big arenas, going 60 minutes every night with some of the best wrestlers in the world.

Flair had so much charisma. The guy was more entertaining but could still get down to business. His matches told a great story. His successful run of the 80's, IMO, is mostly responsible for the success of Starrcade and JCP/NWA/WCW. Without Flair, that promotion would have truly struggled.
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post #19 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 05:57 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

See that's what I was hoping to see, a good argument for Flair and whilst I agree he was key in the success of the NWA and JCP I was strictly talking on an in ring basis, rather than charisma, promos, drawing ability, championships etc.

Your point about Flair's matches and their story is a good one however. Flair perfected the travelling Champion formula and was instrumental in managing to make hometown heroes up and down the country look like the best wrestlers in the world when facing him, whilst in no way diminshing his credibility as the World Champion and the man who everyone wanted to beat. Its also quite funny when people argue he was a one trick pony, when a) he has enough diverse matches against an array of different styles/sizes and b) the reason he continued with a formula was the tremendous success he had with it in interacting with a crowd and manipulating them into believing he would lose to the hometown wrestler and the fact it achieved the perfect balance of making his opponent look like a star but ultimately making Flair look even better in surviving the babyface's onslaught.

Another trait of Flair's is his ability to make all manner of holds interesting, one of my personal favourite matches of his is against Butch Reed on 22/09/1985 in Mid South. The first 25 minutes consists of Reed locking on one of the most vicious side headlocks I've seen in a wrestling ring and Flair's constant running battle to escape the hold and build some momentum, but ultimately failing on each occasion and making his eventual escape and subsequent transition onto offence that much more dramatic and hard earned.
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post #20 of 61 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 06:03 PM
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Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

As for an in ring basis, he's record speaks for itself. It's nearly impossible to put on classic matches with the likes of Ricky Morton, Barry Windham, Nikita Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Kerry Von Erich, Sting, Magnum TA, Lex Luger, Terry Funk, Great Muta and countless others on a nightly basis on the level that Flair did.

And the crazy thing is, the fans interest remained in his matches every night, despite his matches often containing the same formula. Flair was good in keeping the crowd hooked on his matches.
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