Please. Jerry was a big star in his territories particularly memphis and later on with the AWA but come on he is no way as big as Flair Who was in the 80s the biggest star of the second biggest promotion, Jim Crockett Promotions which later became WCW.
When Lawler reached his height as being somewhat of a national star when he beat the late great Curt Hennig for the AWA World title, the AWA was already degraded as the third biggest wrestling promotion.
lawler was always used as a job character and later an announcer, while Flair got the topstar treatment in his WWF run in 1991. That pretty much says it that Flair is the bigger star here.
A couple of things; first on Lawler/Flair, then on Flair himself.
I admit Flair is the bigger star, but do not discount Lawler. Lawler's greatness was not just in the ring. Dusty I do not understand your dislike for Lawler. I doubt you got a lot of Memphis wrestling where you grew up. No disrespect intended but I did. I saw it, I watched it, for a 15 year period Lawler was easily one of the ten biggest names in the sport. How many guys can you say that about? Maybe 5?
Sure Lawler booked himself often, but understand how hard it is to keep selling out buildings in one of the largest territories. The fact is the entire Memphis territory grew up around Lawler, who was not a booker at the time, because he was so popular the Memphis end of the old NWA Mid America territory was able to break away and build a new more dominant territory around him. The classic matches, his mic work, creativity, etc...Lawler may not be Flair but he is in the conversation, no doubt about it. Any decent record of the territories would include multiple Lawler moments as some of the greatest ever. The Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl is given credit for being the fore-runner of extreme. He and Funk wrestled in the empty arena years before Mankind and Rock. His fued with Andy Kauffman stuff of legend. He wrestled them all from Flair, Fargo, Thesz, Wrestling 2, Savage, Rude, The Road Warriors, Bockwinkle, Brisco, Andre, Von Erich, Hogan, even the Rock. Heck even the concieded and no selling, but legendary Mil Mascaras did a stretcher job for Lawler. He discovered a Hall of Fame list of guys himself, and made them stars. Even in the WWF, in the third, fourth, and fifth decades of a legendary career, saying Lawler was a job character is a stretch. He notched several high profile wins, and was used with younger stars because he had legit heat. In fact according to guys like Al Snow and Flair himself the reason they used a 50year old plus Lawler was because he was one of the few guys who could get a "hot match" out of some of the youngsters. I do conceede Flair was a bigger star than Lawler, but not by much, and that is more because Flair is the gold standard. Comparing anyone to Flair during that era is a stretch. Lawler from 1976-1992 was consistantly in the top ten conversation. By the time he went to the WWF he was already a first ballot hall of fame shoe in.
As far as Flair goes, this once again boils down to a generational thing. For a period of twenty years Flair was on top. Occasianlly someone would join him on that pedestal but Flair was always there. Guys like Steamboat, Rhodes, Funk, and Race advanced their careers during their rivalries with Flair.
If you grew up a Hogan mark, or grew up on the AE, you are likely to have a bias against Flair being called the GAOT, which includes most of the posters on this forum. I know I probably cannot convince you otherwise. As I have said numerous times I never really liked Flair myself, but as a wrestling fan I understand his greatness. I hate the Yankees too but I know they are the GOAT baseball franchise.
Stone Cold, Rock, even Hogan can boast excellent careers. Heck top ten careers, I watched everyone of them from their start to finish, but my non biased opinion is that none of them had the impact, longevity, in ring talent, or career that Flair did. I look forward to the day when some kid comes along and keeps throwing Cena in the IWC's face and them crying foul that Rock and Austin were way better....then you will know how this feels. You can't tell them they are wrong, they won't believe you, but you know because you watched them all.