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Old 07-12-2012, 11:48 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

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Originally Posted by Greenlawler View Post
Anyone who ranks the greatest of the territorial era without Lawler in the top five is mistaken.
Not necessarily.

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.
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:40 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

Here is where I disagree.

You have mentioned Lawler's lack of quality opponents several times. Saying Lawler did not face the top guys? Well I am certain you did not see a lot of wrestling back then now. (No offense meant) But Lawler did face a who's who....so what he faced them in Memphis? He did face them. Just because a guy wreslted in different territories makes little difference, they were just as "protected" as Lawler. He faced Race, Flair, had long runs with; Bockwinkle, Brisco, Funk etc....Lawler probably wreslted more of the top guys than those guys because he was not restricted to keeping within the old AWA, NWA lines that most of those guys statyed in during long spans of their careers. He wreslted The biggest names of the day; Hogan, Brody, JYD, Snuka, Wrestling 2, Andre, Iron Shiek, One Man Gang, Ventura, Savage, Rude, Bundy, Patera, The Road Warriors, you name them Lawler wreslted them. Sure his signature fueds were with Dundee, LeDuc, Valient, Mantell, and Gilbert....but he had great fueds with Savage, Funk, and Bockwinkle. Heck who were Dusty's greatest fueds in that era? Sullivan, Flair, Blanchard,Mark Lewin, and Pak Song.....Pak who? They all had resumes which included fueds with stars not on their level. Remember the Flair v Ronnie Garvin epic fued or the Koko Ware vs Harley Race tussles?

Those guys faced a higher level of competition? You and I both know wrestling is a work. So saying that just because Flair fueded with Wahoo McDaniel and Barry Whidham does not mean that Lawler's fued with Joe Leduc or Adrian Street was not just as competitive. Maybe in the minds of fans, but once again that is the "false reality" of the wrestling world. I can tell you guys like Dundee, Street, Savage all Lawler foes had work rates on par with the guys the "superstars" collided with.

Just because Lawler wreslted in Memphis maybe is a negative to some, maybe he did not prove himself outside of Memphis, but it should not discredit him as much as it is a credit to a guys longevity. Being able to sell out cards in multiple cities for 30 years? That is something to be proud of. Few guys sold out more buildings than Lawler in those days. Flair could, the NWA title he was given ensured that. But without the belt few of those guys really dominated an area like Lawler did. Just because he was the owner, well he still had to be over with the fans. Ask Verne, Mike Graham, and others who put themselves on top how hard it was to sell out a building every night for 30 years? Heck most guys could only shine for a year or two before fans tired of them.

In perspective I can only think of one guy who stayed on top for as long as Lawler and that was Flair.

Lets look at the total package of your top five. To me I cannot argue Lawler over Flair but if you take work rate, mic skill, and charisma. Who had the total package over Lawler? Would you really rank Funk or Race over Lawler on the mic? Hogan, and Rhodes were great but Lawler was their equal. Lawler was a better worker than Hogan and Rhodes, I admit Race and Funk have him there although if you ask Dusty and Al Snow, who was asked this question they both gave the nod to Lawler as the most under-rated worker of the era. Charisma...maybe Hogan and Dusty have him there but not Race or even Funk. Funk was not a great face until the 90's. Lawler could work both sides well.

Another point no one has mentioned is creativity. Lawler gave us The Rock N Roll Express, Kimala, The Fabulous Ones, and many others. How many shows were Flair and Race writing every week?

In summary it is all a matter of opinion. I would take Lawler in the top 5 over Funk and Race, and even Rhodes by a hair, and really if you are just talking the territorial era...Hogan was not really around for much of it, and when he was he was a novelty act. 1. Flair 2. Lawler 3. Rhodes 4. Funk 5. Race.....just my opinion, good debate bro.

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Old 07-13-2012, 01:04 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

Those aren't my top 5 of the 80s but just some names I threw out there that had great runs in the 80s, on a bigger stage.

The thing that gets me about Lawler is the fact that he won over 50 singles championships in the 80s, majority belonging to Memphis territory promotions or affiliates. Now, I know that really doesn't mean anything but if you're just going to base his greatness on his abilities, who's to say a guy like Bobby Eaton, Bill Dundee, Austin Idol or the Gilberts weren't better?

If mic skills are all it takes for Lawler to be viewed as the best of the 80s, then it's plenty who rank above him. Wrestling wise, it's plenty that rank above him. Lawler truly stood out for his plentiful title reigns.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:15 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

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Originally Posted by Trouble Trouble View Post
Those aren't my top 5 of the 80s but just some names I threw out there that had great runs in the 80s, on a bigger stage.

The thing that gets me about Lawler is the fact that he won over 50 singles championships in the 80s, majority belonging to Memphis territory promotions or affiliates. Now, I know that really doesn't mean anything but if you're just going to base his greatness on his abilities, who's to say a guy like Bobby Eaton, Bill Dundee, Austin Idol or the Gilberts weren't better?

If mic skills are all it takes for Lawler to be viewed as the best of the 80s, then it's plenty who rank above him. Wrestling wise, it's plenty that rank above him. Lawler truly stood out for his plentiful title reigns.
Well we will just have to disagree, but I never ranked Lawler based on soley his championships or mic skills (which I also disagree with you on...there were VERY few better). His in ring phychlogy was supurb, his creativity was beyond just about any guy out there, his charisma well at the top of the list.....You kept saying "he never wrestled top competition" but he did. I just don't think you can throw anyone out there except Flair who was better. Sure there are some guys (very few) who you could argue were on the same level but not better. Anyways I respect your opinion you obviously have some knowledge of the old school, and I respect that.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:36 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Default Lawler's Best Matches

I've spent most of my life as a wrestling fan but have rarely deviated from the mainstream WWF/WWE product (with only a passing interest in WCW and TNA) but at the moment I'm trying to explore some of the smaller territories. I'd quite like to check out some USWA, particularly during their talent exchange with WWF in 1993. Those matches are relatively easy to find on youtube, so I'm all set. Could somebody give me a comprehensive list of the best USWA matches, because I'd also like to check out some of their history. I'm also looking for some of Jerryy Lawler's matches from his prime, so if anybody could list a few classics for me to check out I'd be really grateful.

I really like this Classic Wrestling section because, rather than the usual contrary nonsense that people talk on these forums, the Classic section seems to have a pretty decent ethic to it where people prefer to happily recommend good stuff rather than just trash the bad stuff. There's a lot of knowledable folks out there, so give me some recommendations. Cheers guys.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:44 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lawler's Best Matches

As for how highly I think of his work, well I'd put him without into a top 10 of all time worldwide, including Europe, Lucha, Japan and US wrestling. Undoubtedly one of the best brawlers in history, capable of working a variety of wrestlers in all shapes and sizes and getting good/great matches out of them, ridiculous consistency from the late 70s till even today where he regularly works the indy scene in Memphis and still puts on some great matches. Has maybe the best timing in wrestling history, paces and structures his matches to perfection, is an all time great bumper and seller and may be the best wrestler ever at getting the most out of very little (though Funk and Murdoch could also have valid claims to that effect).

Last edited by Clique : 08-24-2012 at 12:19 AM. Reason: merged threads
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:50 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lawler's Best Matches

^spent many hours going through the OP of that thread a while back, great stuff.
So sad the current generation of fans only know Lawler as crappy face commentator, one of the true giants of wrestling history.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:57 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lawler's Best Matches

Agreed, all time great promo, amazing as a face/heel, mastered the main event formula, extremely adaptable at working TV Studio matches in Memphis and relying on his character work to make sub 10 minute matches feel important, very good in the WWF working with less time but still getting good matches out of various wrestlers, an excellent old veteran wrestler as shown by the Miz match last year and just generally a wrestler with very few noticeable poor performances.

You can see the greatness in Funk and Lawler when both men can put on a potential MOTYC last year on a small indy show without having to rely on anything more than personality, charisma, working a crowd and bringing their characters into the matches, as well as their textbook brawling and selling.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:35 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Default Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

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Originally Posted by HankHill_85 View Post
To each his own. I've never been a fan of Lawler, to be honest. Just something about that Southern, good ole boy wrassling style that never appealed to me.
I just saw this post again and it made me laugh, because so many people confuse southern wrestling with southern people. Fact is ECW and the WWE since 1990 are the southern style.

Last edited by Greenlawler : 08-23-2012 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:37 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Default Re: Jerry Lawler: Best Wrestler of the 1980s

Not even close.

Ric Flair was the best wrestler of the 80s. And he didn't have to book his own promotion to do it.
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