Lawler is joined on today’s show by his co-host Glenn Moore.
Lawler and Moore open today’s show by speaking about the attitude era. Moore doesn’t think we’ll ever see anything like the attitude era programming again, and Lawler agrees with that sentiment. He points out that he still receives a regular paycheque from WWE so he doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers by comparing today’s product to the attitude era.
Lawler sometimes wonders if WWE is partly embarrassed by the attitude era given their corporate structure today, and the fact that they’re a publicly traded company now. He wonders if there are some officials in the company that actually wish the attitude era didn’t happen. While some of the content might have been questionable, there’s no doubt that stars such as Steve Austin and The Rock brought the wrestling business to heights never seen before.
He goes on to say that the success of the attitude era has had a trickle down effect on the business, and WWE is bigger and more popular today than it was 20 years ago. He doesn’t think anyone in the wrestling world would have thought WWE would ever sign a television deal worth billions of dollars. Even Vince McMahon himself would probably tell you that those figures were beyond his wildest dreams.
Lawler notes that there’s an entire generation of adult wrestling fans who were too young during the attitude era to remember it. There are 21 year olds who simply don’t remember that content, and that’s why it’s no neat that everything is now on the WWE Network for those fans to go back and watch if they so desire.
Lawler notes that Vince McMahon would wish the worst on Eric Bischoff each week during the attitude era, and that’s why it was so shocking when Bischoff debuted on WWE programming years later. In spite of being in a war for his life at this time, Vince McMahon didn’t show any concern and was always very positive. Lawler notes that McMahon is a very confident man, and always feels like he’s going to be successful with any venture.
Lawler mentions that a lot of fans ask him nowadays if Vince McMahon or other WWE officials approached him and Jim Ross during the attitude era to tell them to be more controversial with their commentary. Lawler informs that nobody ever came to him and Ross to tell them to change their commentary.
He notes that they were given enough freedom to adjust to the product and push the boundaries on their end as well. He thinks their commentary during their attitude helped make the product as memorable as it was during that time. Instead of just calling wrestling moves, they added to the entertainment side of the product.
Moore asks Lawler why he’d often wear his wrestling gear at the commentary booth. Lawler informs that his first night on commentary came about as a result of Randy “Macho Man” Savage leaving WWE for WCW right out of the blue, and McMahon asked Lawler to join him on commentary that night. He went out to the ring in his wrestling gear for what was supposed to be a one-week commentary gig, and that lasted for years.
Moore asks Lawler if competitors would ever give Ross and him a heads up when they planned on using the commentary table during a match. Lawler says that sometimes the guys would give them a heads up, but often times they wouldn’t know anything was coming.
Lawler informs that he kept all the pages of one-liners he used during the attitude era. One page is actually completely covered in Steve Austin’s blood because one night Austin was bleeding and was thrown in over the commentary table, covering Lawler’s notes in blood.
Lawler mentions that he enjoyed working with all his commentary partners over the years. He was actually intimidated by Ross when they began working together because Ross was a legitimate commentator and Lawler didn’t consider himself to be that at all.
By the time Michael Cole came in years later, Lawler thinks Cole was intimidated by him because he’d been in that position for years. Cole was just a young upstart in the company and Lawler wasn’t sure if he’d make it or not, but they ended up having terrific chemistry that even turned into a WrestleMania program at one point.
Moore asks Lawler if he thought WWE ever crossed the line during the attitude era. Lawler mentions that basically nothing was out of the question at that time, and it was an “anything goes” environment. The only thing that Lawler thought WWE went to far with was the Katie Vick storyline.
That sums up this week’s episode of Dinner With the King. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya next week for another recap!