Jerry “The King” Lawler collapsed tonight live on WWE Monday Night RAW emanating live from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
During the Daniel Bryan and Kane versus Prime Time Players tag team match, the commentary went strangely silent as Lawler had apparently collapsed at the announce table next to Michael Cole. WWE personnel and medical staff were on hand almost immediately. They carried Lawler away from ringside and out of camera view while Cole picked up commentating the bout by himself.
After commercial an Alberto Del Rio-Tyson Kidd match aired, with Cole on commentary alone. Finally after that match and commercial break, Cole told the viewing audience that The King passed out and CPR was being done on him backstage.
The show continued with a Sheamus-David Otunga match, where Cole remained completely silent during the match and post-match storyline.
Before Rey Mysterio’s match with Cody Rhodes, again Cole did an on camera update, saying reiterating Lawler’s condition and that it was not a wrestling storyline, but real life. He then said there would be no more on-air commentary for the rest of the show, out of respect. Cole did remain ringside however.
Post-match, Cole updated everyone again, saying that Lawler was now at a Montreal medical facility and was in isolated ER, responsive to light movement and was awaiting a CT Scan.
The show then ended with an absolute home run ending with Bret “Hit Man” Hart moderating a confrontation between WWE Champion CM Punk and John Cena. The three pros delivered an amazing segment despite the circumstances as they did their jobs to build up Sunday night’s Night of Champions pay per view.
Finally after the segment ended, Cole was again on camera, looking much better physically himself, saying that Lawler’s condition had stabilized. He was breathing on his own and his heart was beating on his own as well.
Earlier in the evening, Lawler left the commentary table to save Randy Orton from a storyline attack by Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk. This led to an impromptu tag team match with Lawler and Orton defeating Punk and Ziggler. Lawler then returned to the commentary table until his unfortunate collapse.
Naturally social media worked in the company’s favor on this night as eyewitnesses in the arena, including wrestling reporter Arda Ocal who was providing up-to-the-minute eyewitness reports. WWE also posted an official report on the collapse as well.
The night was set to be a joyous one for the company and Canada and the wrestling world as it was the first night Bret “Hit Man” Hart would appear in a WWE ring since the infamous Montreal Screwjob 15 years at Survivor Series ’97. He received a hero’s welcome on his appearance, but unfortunately by the time he had come out for the main event segment everyone’s mood had naturally soured. All the credit in the world goes to Punk, Hart and Cena for delivering an absolute knockout of a main event interview segment that would have been remembered in such a favorable light in other circumstances. The three were absolute pros and showed why they are “main eventers.” They were clearly hurting as well, as it certainly showed on their faces, as well as any performer that came out after Lawler was taken away. It was the right segment and the wrong time.
The night was also supposed to an Appreciation Night for Montreal native and WWE legend and Hall of Famer Pat Patterson. The celebration would have happened off camera after the RAW broadcast ended. Naturally that was cancelled.
But all the credit in the world tonight goes to WWE’s lead play-by-play man Michael Cole. Fans have long derided his on-air character and his commentating style, but tonight he showed why he is an award winning, war reporting, legitimate journalist. The man was tasked to give reports on his colleague who sits next to him week after and week and entrusted to deliver news, no matter how bad or good, to millions of fans all across the country with class and authority. He delivered in spades, despite the obvious pain and hurt that showed his face and body language.
As of this writing Jerry Lawler is still in a medical facility in Montreal getting care.