One of Jerry Lawler’s most famous feuds was with Andy Kaufman, and Lawler recently recalled how he got to work with Kaufman because he was turned down by WWE. Kaufman and Lawler’s rivalry was the focus of last week’s Tales of the Territories and Lawler spoke with Busted Open Radio about his work with the legendary comedian and more. You can check out some highlights below:
On Kaufman getting turned down by Vince McMahon, Sr.: “He went first to Vince McMahon, Sr. You know, Andy was from Long Island, New York so that’s all he grew up seeing was the WWE. And he went to Vince McMahon, Sr. with his ideas that he wanted to wrestle women in front of a wrestling crowd… he said, ‘I want to wrestle in front of wrestling fans.’ And at that time, the reason he didn’t get to for WWE was, Mr. McMahon told him, this is Vince Sr. He said, ‘Andy, our fans are skeptical. I’m just hesitant to involve a Hollywood actor in our wrestling, because then I think it might put in the fans’ heads that we’re all actors.’ And that’s how Andy and I got hooked up because he got turned down by the WWE at that time.”
On Kaufman influencing WWE to work with celebrities: “That was the first thing that tied wrestling and entertainment together. The first time it was accepted, the first time it got national publicity… After we did that, then that’s the moment that Vince Jr. saw how successful that was, and how much publicity it got. He immediately brought in — I think the first was Cyndi Lauper he tied in, and then next Mr. T, and all of a sudden the movie stars got involved with wrestling. And Andy Kaufman was the start of all of that.”
On if he wishes he could have changed anything about the feud: “No, honestly, I don’t. I mean, I do think about it occasionally, the different things that happened. We did so much down that the world — that because it wasn’t on cable at the time, we did so much in Memphis and all around the territory. He just kept coming back and coming back. We did so much that the world never saw. You know, I’m hoping that some of these documentaries that they’re working on now will get to show that all of that kind of stuff. I mean, we had — most people, in most fans’ minds think that we had that one match… and that was it. That was certainly not it.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.
Original posted at 411mania.com