Jerry 'The King' Lawler

Jerry 'The King' Lawler (Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc. / July 19, 2012)

Contemporary wrestling fans know Jerry “The King” Lawler as the voice of the WWE.

But those who have followed Lawler’s career through the past four decades have witnessed the evolution of a true journeyman and icon of the professional wrestling industry.

Whether competing in the ring, promoting a wrestling show, battling celebrities or calling the action from behind the announce table, Lawler has left an undeniable mark on the business, even transcending the boundaries of wrestling and becoming a pop culture icon with a little help from one Andy Kaufman.

Through his career, “The King” has amassed his fair share of treasure, holding nearly 170 championships in companies of yesteryear and today. But though he has already crafted a legacy for the ages, the 62-year-old wrestling monarch isn’t prepared to slow down yet.

As WWE’s flagship program, Monday Night Raw, prepares for its historic 1,000th episode this coming Monday, Lawler took time to talk with Ring Posts’ Adam Testa about his tenure in WWE, past, present and future. Here is what he had to say:

What should fans expect from this show?

When you talk about 1,000 episodes, that’s just such a historic milestone. No other weekly episodic television show in the history of television has ever done this many episodes. That alone lets you know that this milestone has to be very, very special, and believe me, the WWE is going to pull out all the stops.

At last count there are almost 30 superstars from these past 1,000 episodes that are going to be coming back and joining us for the 1,000th show. Even apparently leaked some information about a guest commentator on the show that night, as well. How could you do a 1,000th episode without having good ol’ J.R., who was my broadcast partner for so many years, come back and call a couple matches. So I’m hoping that’s who that’s going to be.

There’s just going to be some many things that take place Monday night. There’s no telling who all is going to be there and what all is going to happen. It’s just going to be a huge celebration of this big milestone.

What part of the show are you most looking forward to yourself?

I love seeing these superstars come back to the show. The past few weeks, we’ve had appearances by Vader, Diamond Dallas Page, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper brought Cyndi Lauper back, Doink the Clown, Bob Backlund, Psycho Sid.

I love seeing these guys that were huge stars and part of the 1,000 episodes of Monday Night Raw come back and the fan reaction. The fans love to see these names and faces from the past that have provided so many memorable moments and that have provided so many great memories for the fans.

The common link between all the legends who have come back has been Heath Slater, who eliminated you in a tag team match during the Nexus invasion. Might we see you seek revenge?

That’s our catchphrase on Monday Night Raw — “Absolutely anything can happen.” I always have my gear. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up on a Monday night and maybe an hour before we’ve gone live on the air, someone comes up to me and says, “Hey King, did you bring your gear? We’re thinking of putting you in a match tonight.” I always have it; I’m ready; I’m always excited and happy to get in there.

I would love to square off with Heath Slater. He’s the guy that personifies the saying “youth is wasted on the young.” He’s a guy who doesn’t have a clue and doesn’t have any respect for people who laid the groundwork for him to get the worldwide exposure he’s getting right now. So it’s really exciting for me to see these guys give a young punk like him a little bit of a comeuppance.

And I would love to get in that long line and show him why for the past 40-plus years they’ve been calling me the king. You never can tell; that might take place, who knows. That would be fun, though.

Through the years, you’ve worked with a number of different commentary partners. What has it been like working with such a cast of characters?

I first started as a color commentator when I took the place of “Macho Man” Randy Savage when he jumped ship during the Monday Night Wars. He was doing the commentary with Vince McMahon at the time. I’ve got to tell you; I really, really enjoyed calling the matches with Vince McMahon.

He was so much fun to work with. He never really came out and said it, but he was the perfect foil for me. This was before he was the overbearing CEO of the WWE. I got to make so much fun of him. He even perpetuated the myth that he wore a toupee. Every week, I would say something about his toupee — which of course he didn’t have; he always had a healthy head of hair. I would make fun of him in all sorts of ways and he was so gracious and went along with it. I really enjoyed working with him.

Then, of course, it switched to me and good ol’ J.R. for years and years and years. Man, I don’t know if there’s ever been or will ever be anyone who’s as good at wrestling play-by-play as good ol’ J.R. Nobody who’s going to be more prepared, nobody that’s going to know any more, know all the facts, know all the history, know all the statistics.