RAW now officially has a three-man broadcast team, and apparently longtime
color commentator Jerry Lawler was the last to know. WWE.com caught
up with “The King” via cell phone in Memphis, Tenn., to
get his take on the change of format:
In an interview conducted with Coach earlier in the week, your new partner
said, “They wanted the broadcast team to get a little younger
and a little better looking.”
Jerry “The King” Lawler: I would say that he’s probably
right in the respect of wanting the broadcasting team to get a little
younger. You can’t blame anybody for that. It may be a good idea.
But if Coach thinks that he’s better looking, well, beauty and
contact lenses are in the eye of the beholder. He’s full of himself.
He thinks he’s the hot guy with all the girls since doing the
Diva Search, but I know for a fact that Coach is really a bust-out with
the broads. He couldn’t get a hickey from a leech. You can tell
Coach that if he’s so much better looking, then why aren’t
we getting any more face-time during RAW?
He also said that he has been taking crap from you and J.R. for six
years, but now you two realize that he’s here to stay.
King: Well, I would just tell Coach that he can just look around at
what happened with WWE within the last month, and he probably should
realize that nobody’s here to stay. I would suggest that he just
enjoy it while he’s there.
Coach also said about the three-man booth that “we’re making
each other better every week.” Is Coach making you better in the
King: Well, that’s one of those things. He needs to speak for
himself on that. I think certainly he should be improving every week,
but I don’t know if he’s making J.R. and I any better. I
would have my doubts about that.
J.R. said, “There tends to be a higher value placed on looks and
youth rather than talent and experience.” Do you share that view?
King: You know who told me something very similar? Jim Carrey, when
we were doing the movie (about comedian Andy Kaufman called, “Man
on the Moon”). We were sitting around one time and Jim Carrey
said, “The thing about Hollywood is that they value youth over
talent and ability.” We are in sports-entertainment. That’s
a fact of life. Vince McMahon told me one time, “Youth must be
served.” So, that’s just part of (management’s) way
of thinking, and I have no problem with that.
WWE.com: When did you learn that Coach was joining in the announce booth?
King: Well, to be honest with you, I don’t think anybody even
actually came to us and officially told us that it was going to be a
three-man booth. I think I heard from Coach. He just said, “Hey,
I’m going to be out there with you guys tonight.” And I
didn’t think anything of it at the time because from time to time
Coach has been out there, but not on a permanent basis. So, I just thought
that it was a one-time thing. I had no problem with it; I didn’t
really think about it. But nobody really ever came and said, “This
is the way it’s going to be from now on.”
Does that bother you that no one took the time to talk to you about
King: Not really. J.R. and I don’t run the show. We’re just
working there, so they’re going to do whatever they want to do.
J.R. is still doing play-by-play, but you and Coach both do variants
of color commentary. Was it tough at first to find a rhythm in that
King: It certainly is a little more difficult than doing it with J.R.
because J.R. and I have good chemistry and we’ve been together
for so long that it’s second-nature. But with an extra guy added
to the mix, I have to concentrate a little more on allowing all three
of us to have a chance to talk. So, that means that I would be talking
a third less than I was before.
tell you, one of the things that I’m not crazy about is it seems
that it’s non-stop talk. In other words, somebody’s saying
something all the time. Sometimes I like to let the action to the talking.
Honestly, I love working with Michael Cole. I have all the respect in
the world for him and Tazz, but my only criticism of the job they do
is that (SmackDown!) is like a machine gun. When I watch SmackDown!,
it’s almost like I get the feeling sometimes that they’re
doing the broadcast for radio, not television. In other words, people
can see with their own eyes what’s going on. You don’t have
to bombard them, and now that’s sort of what I feel like is happening
here on RAW.
Is there anything you can do about that, or is that the nature of a
King: I think that J.R. and Coach and I probably need to sit down and
talk about that particular issue, but that’s really my only concern.
Just because there’s three of us out there, that doesn’t
mean that we have to add more talk. I think it gives J.R. and I the
opportunity to not have the pressure of talking so much, which can be
a good thing. You get a little bit of a break, rather than trying to
come up with something to say all of the time.
other thing is, you’ve got J.R. who’s just the consummate
professional play-by-play guy who tries to call it right down the middle,
but he still sides with the fan-favorite as opposed to how I sometimes
play the devil’s advocate, but I still have fun with it. Coach,
however, seems to just be totally opposite J.R. all of the time.
It sounds like you’re making an adjustment because of the way
Coach is approaching his job.
King: Not really because it gives me an opportunity to do more than
what I was able to do with J.R. because J.R. leans toward the fan-favorites,
and I wanted to play devil’s advocate to that a lot of the time.
I think you need conflict to a certain degree. Now, with Coach doing
that, it frees me to take either side of an issue at any time. When
it comes to someone like “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters,
then Coach and I are going to agree. But then at the same time, Coach
was also ribbing me, saying now that he’s doing the Diva Search,
I won’t be able to get women, or something like that. So, of course
in a case like that, I’m going to fire back at Coach. I’m
also clearly not going to agree with J.R. all the time, either.
How do you feel about Coach being the one chosen for the three-man booth?
Do you like the guy? Do you think he was a good pick, or is there someone
else you would have rather seen in that spot?
King: Oh, no. I like Coach. I really do. That’s the one thing,
when you look around the WWE, there’s not a lot of other people
who have Coach’s level of broadcast experience. I get along real
well with Coach, and I think he does a good job. But it’s still
hard to stick a third guy in there with two guys who have been doing
this as long as me and J.R.