Two weeks ago, Jerry "The King" Lawler suffered a heart attack on live television.
In the time since, websites have reported and speculated on Lawler's condition and the events surrounding the incident, which played out on live television.
On tonight's episode of Raw, fans had the chance to hear from The King himself, who shared some shocking details about his condition immediately after awakening at the hospital.
Lawler did not even remember being part of a tag team match on that episode, let alone the events that followed. He initially believed he was still in Aruba, where he had been on a tour the weekend prior.
Seeing Lawler in good spirits, and the evident joy on Michael Cole's face as he interacted with his partner, was an uplifting moment. Lawler's voice was still raspy from having a ventilator in his throat, but he seemed genuinely positive and upbeat.
I give props to WWE for allowing Lawler the chance to appear before the WWE fans on television. Next weekend, he is scheduled to make his first public appearance at an independent wrestling show in Tennessee.
But while the WWE deserves praise for allowing Lawler the opportunity to speak, company officials should also be questioned for their decision to show some of the pictures of Lawler that they did to promote the interview.
Showing The King receiving CPR and being carted out of the arena brought back mental thoughts of that night. At the time, WWE did an amazing job keeping those visuals off of television, and it would have been better had the majority of fans never seen them.
Yes, everything is much better now and the situation has improved, but there are surely people who were offended or shaken by those images. There were certainly other ways to promote the interview.
Maybe it's chastising too much, but in my opinion it was unnecessary and bordered on exploitation.
But, at the end of the day, what matters most is that Lawler is doing well. I think he's as anxious to return to return to the commentary table and the ring as the fans are to see him do so.
** The opening segment with Punk, Heyman, AJ and referee Brad Maddox was just awkward all around. It featured everything from horrible references to the NFL referee situation, sophomoric one-liners about what happens when you assume, sexual innuendo and a faux marriage proposal. While this was a refreshing change from the traditional show-opening promo, it was a little too awkward to really click. It seemed like they were trying to run many different directions rather than settling on one.
** Punk's night continued -- and picked up a lot of steam -- at the top of the first hour, when he found himself in the ring with Mick Foley. There's no one better to put over a Hell in a Cell match than Foley, and he and Punk put together a tremendous segment that may have been one of the best promos Foley has ever done, certainly one of the best since he's retired from full-time appearances. Foley's closing, in which he pointed out the in his three reigns as WWE Champion he only held the belt for 29 days, was epic and accurate. Some people can rattle off statistics but the common fan is more likely to remember the legacy-securing moments.
** Punk's night came full circle when he closed out the show in the ring with John Cena. Cena started off being serious, but quickly went back to his hat of corny jokes before Punk emerged and talked down to Cena. Cena challenged Punk to a rematch at Hell in a Cell next month, but Punk tried declining and kicking Cena out of his ring. Cena unveiled a pipe and used it as a weapon to take the champ down. The oddest part was that he then declared, "Real men wear pink." Punk's normal gear is pink, and he's worn it for months before WWE made Cena the cancer campaign poster boy. I hope Cena is allowing himself time to really heal and not rushing back for this match. I know he's a company man and all, but there's a line.
** The closing scene of the show may have been the biggest "WTF" moment of recent WWE television history. Punk took Foley down and started walking away. When he stopped and turned around, Ryback was standing there having an apparent asthma attack, and Punk looked scared. This was the oddest moment on a show with several of them.
** This week's skits featuring Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan -- now officially known as Team Hell No, courtesy of the WWE fans - were a mixed bag. They didn't live up to the ones of recent weeks, but the second one featured a very funny and well-timed Mae Young cameo, which elicited a good chuckle. When the champs were in the ring on the live show, they were jumped by Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, who are now calling themselves Rhodes Scholars. Awesome. WWE finally seems intent on focusing on having a solid tag team division once again, and that's only going to be good for business.
** Sometimes it feels like WWE is ribbing the fans by continuing the "Best of 501 out of 1,000" series between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. But on tonight's show, these two set out and did exactly what they wanted to do: steal the show. They have such great chemistry and put on one heck of a television match. This is why these two are paired together so often; they make magic together. And the right man won. Hopefully this is the beginning of Ziggler's rehabilitation.
** The Prime Time Players defeated Santino Marella and Zack Ryder in a quick pedestrian match. The action looked smooth, but that was nothing to make this match stand out from any other. Ryder and Marella would make a good tag team to bolster an already developing division. Titus O'Neil and Darren Young continue to be rebuilt to title contention, so it's good to know WWE hasn't given up on them yet.
** World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus teamed with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara to face Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez in a surprisingly good, fun match. They kept the action fast-paced and entertaining and all the men clicked together. It was nice to see Rodriguez wrestling someone other than Marella. I still hope one day he'll get a shot on his own as a babyface singles guy.
** The plot thickened -- or something to that effect -- in the "Who attacked Kaitlyn" injury angle after a tag match pitting Divas Champion Eve and Beth Phoenix against Layla and Alicia Fox. After a short-but-solid match, Kaitlyn emerged and said security footage showed her attacker to be a blond. Eve blamed Phoenix and then laid the Glamazon out.
** Ryback pretty much manhandled The Miz in a non-title match. Is it required that the Intercontinental Champion job to everyone on the roster? The match made Ryback look better than he has, as he beat an actual contender and a champion, but it still remains to be seen if he can handle a competitive back-and-forth match.
** Big Show randomly returned and laid out Tensai, who recently had the advantage over Randy Orton in a match, and Brodus Clay, who had been positioned as a challenger to the United States Championship. That was... odd.
** Wade Barrett continued to look good, while I continue to question why Tyson Kidd can't get a more meaningful role. Barrett should be moving up the card, maybe even into World Heavyweight Championship contention, soon.
Dolph Ziggler d. Kofi Kingston
Darren Young and Titus O'Neil d. Santino Marella and Zack Ryder
Ryback d. The Miz
Wade Barrett d. Tyson Kidd
Sheamus, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara d. Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez
Eve and Beth Phoenix d. Layla and Alicia Fox
Tensai vs. Brodus Clay went to a no contest
This was certainly an odd episode of Raw. It seems lately that when WWE teases an angle, they’re then taking it a completely different direction. Some of that is good to throw fans off the trail, but it can hurt continuity in the long run. Anyway, there was some good wrestling on this show and some good storytelling. Much like Daniel Bryan and Kane were the featured attractions on last week’s Smackdown, CM Punk was the focal point of tonight’s show. WWE has certainly built some interest in seeing where things go from here.
Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3 Cents (www.my123cents.com) and All American Pro Wrestling (www.aapwrestling.com) to bring you From the Rafters Radio,(www.facebook.com/RaftersRadio) a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing from 8-10 EST every Thursday on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net (www.wggh.net).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun