WWE’s Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler improving after stroke, thanks fans

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pro wrestling Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler continues to improve after suffering a stroke on Monday in Florida.

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Lawler, 73, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007, is recovering at a hospital in Fort Myers, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon. Lawler owns a condominium in the Fort Myers area. Lawler was hospitalized following a medical episode in Florida, according to Wrestling News.

Photographs on Lawler’s Twitter account showed him in a hospital bed, visited by longtime WWE wrestling manager Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart.

“His speech is limited, but with rehabilitation will regain a full recovery,” Lawler’s tweet stated. “He thanks everyone for the continued prayers and will be back in the near future.

Jerry O’Neil Lawler, who was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on Nov. 29, 1949, got his start in pro wrestling in his hometown in 1970. He is currently known for his commentary with Jim Ross on “Monday Night Raw,” but his brawling style in the ring made him a fan favorite. He began his career as a “heel” but later became a “babyface.”

Lawler was a fixture in the Mid-South and Memphis territories during the 1970s and ‘80s. He won the AWA heavyweight title on May 9, 1988.

He joined Ross as a commentator on WWE telecasts beginning in 1993. Lawler’s sharp wit and squeals when the action got intense endeared him to pro wrestling fans.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Ross said he briefly spoke with Lawler.

“He’s obviously weak but I could understand his affected speech,” Ross wrote. “Jerry’s prognosis is positive but he needs all our thoughts and prayers.”

Lawler had many rivals during his career, but his most famous adversary was comedian Andy Kaufman.

In 1982, the pair staged a “work-shoot,” in which Kaufman would wrestle as a cowardly character who would only compete against women, according to Bleacher Report. Lawler, naturally, took exception to Kaufman, and it led to a memorable exchange between the two on “Late Night With David Letterman.” Lawler knocked Kaufman off his chair, and the feud was on.

But like most storylines in pro wrestling, the incident was staged. After Kaufman’s death in 1984, the “feud” was revealed to be a well-executed stunt, CNN reported.

Lawler would later play himself in the 1999 film of Kaufman’s life, “Man on the Moon,” according to

He published his autobiography, “It’s Good to Be the King ... Sometimes” in 2002.

In 2012, Lawler went into cardiac arrest during a live telecast of “Monday Night Raw,” according to Bleacher Report and Fox Sports. He later said his heart stopped for 22 minutes, Fox Sports reported.

Lawler also suffered a stroke in 2018, WHBQ-TV reported.

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