The Jerry Lawler incident on this week's Monday Night Raw brought up questions about when is the time professional wrestlers should retire. The 62-year-old Lawler collapsed during the show and was quickly transported to a Montreal hospital where they determined he suffered a heart attack. The fact that World Wrestling Entertainment is the premiere wrestling company in the world is why Lawler survived. Had the Memphis legend collapsed at an independent show where the medical team likely would have consisted of an ambulance and two EMT's, he might not have been as lucky. That is a story for another time, but the real question is when should these legends hang up their wrestling boots forever?
The professional wrestling industry has seen hundreds of their competitors lose their lives at an early age. Among the legendary performers to lose their lives has been Eddy Guerrero, Road Warrior Hawk, Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude, Big Boss Man, Yokozuna, Owen Hart and countless others. None of those wrestlers reached the age that Lawler is, but the fact still remains that the wrestling business isn't an easy one to be a part of. People often say that being a running back in the National Football League is one of the most dangerous jobs in sports, but they take intense blows 20-30 times a week. Wrestlers take bumps hundreds of times each week, and while they enjoy doing it for the fans, it is their body that loses out in the end.
Lawler is a staple on the microphone and his presence beside Michael Cole will be missed until he makes his return (if he ever can). Because of this, many fans wonder why WWE still has Lawler perform in the ring. Earlier in the night, he competed in a match on Raw, which surely didn't help his episode. I understand Lawler has been wrestling since he was 20. I read his book and actually got into writing after I read it because I enjoyed it so much. I understand that as Michael Cole said during an interview after the incident that Lawler passed all the tests required of him to compete in the ring. That is all fine, but the fact that this man, this wrestling legend, almost died on national television should scare these athletes.
Each week, wrestling icons from my childhood like Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Hacksaw Jim Duggan compete in independent wrestling promotions around the United States. These men, and many others, take the chance each night they compete of losing their life. They should all look at what happened to Lawler and realize that they have more important things left in this world than wrestling.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of professional wrestling since watching SummerSlam 1992 with his father and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jerry Lawler
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- professional wrestling