Lawler opens today’s show by informing that he visited the old Mid South Coliseum this past week. It brought back a lot of great memories for him, as that building was the home of many of his wrestling shows in the 70s and 80s. It saddens him that with all the history that took place within those walls, the building is just left unoccupied now.
He thinks it would be great for someone to clean up the building and set up some sort of a museum there. It would probably costs millions of dollars to get the building in the kind of shape that would be required to accommodate events, but some sort of walk-in museum would be much cheaper to accomplish. He thinks fans would love to walk through the old coliseum and stand where all the legends of the past once stood.
Lawler informs that he’ll be travelling to New York for Comic Con this upcoming weekend. He’s really excited about it because it’s one of the biggest Comic Cons in the world. He notes that other WWE Superstars such as Lita, Christian and Sting will also be there.
Lawler mentions that he recently reached out to WWE Executive Producer, Kevin Dunn, to see if he’ll be invited to Smackdown 1000 in a couple of weeks. Dunn responded with, “I can’t imagine you not being there.” Lawler says he hopes to be invited and he’d love to reunite with Jim Ross again.
Lawler talks about the development of Smackdown back in 1999. He notes that he was only working one day a week prior to Smackdown, but once Smackdown started he had to work an extra day which didn’t really bother him because he thought Smackdown was fun. He was one half of the original Smackdown commentary team with Jim Ross when the show debuted.
Once the show got up and running and built a following of its own, the company wanted to separate RAW and Smackdown as much as possible and that resulted in him and Ross being taken off of Smackdown. Ross was famously drafted back to Smackdown during the 2008 draft, and Ross was not happy with that at all.
Lawler thinks Ross was most upset about not being told about the move. To this day, Lawler thinks the entire thing was a rib on Ross, in order to see how he’d react to the news live on the air. Lawler also thinks that move actually helped both shows overall because it put a lot of pressure on Michael Cole at the time, and Cole eventually ran with the opportunity and is still the voice of RAW to this day.
Lawler admits that he had to adjust his commentary style when he started to work with Cole. Ross and Lawler would often scuffle with one another throughout the broadcast, but Cole was somewhat intimidated by Lawler and didn’t always have a comeback for Lawler’s jabs. Lawler could tell that he was making Cole somewhat uncomfortable from time to time and he had to tone it down a bit.
He informs that he’s never been paired with someone who he felt uncomfortable with. He really enjoyed working with Joey Styles and he really appreciated Styles’ ability to control an entire broadcast on his own. Styles did that for years in ECW. Lawler points out that from time to time Ross would be taken out of action and he’d have to carry the broadcast on his own, and those were very stressful moments for him. He says he could feel his blood pressure skyrocketing during those moments.
Lawler mentions that he also loved working with Mauro Ranallo. He says that Ranallo was so much fun to work with because he could play off a lot of the over-the-top things Ranallo would say. Ranallo brings a lot of energy and excitement to his broadcasts, and Lawler had a lot of fun reacting to that.
Lawler adds that Vince McMahon is an underrated play-by-play commentator. He loved Vince McMahon’s commentary, even though it was somewhat over-the-top, and he loves to go back on the WWE Network and watch old shows with McMahon doing commentary. He informs that shows were run completely different back in those days, because McMahon couldn’t have full control over the show when he was doing the play-by-play commentary.
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!