MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 13: Professional wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler address the fans prior to to Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers at FedExForum on May 13, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
I'm not really sure how to go about this column today. Typically, it does good numbers and has quickly become a staple of the site, so I feel it's necessary to post something in this space. But things are different after last night.
Things just feel weird.
Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack during a tag team match between Kane and Daniel Bryan and the Prime Time Players. Learning later what was going on, the silence during this match and the stilted, broken up commentary from Michael Cole is downright scary. We know now it was because Lawler was literally having a heart attack right there at the ringside announce position sitting right next to Cole, who was trying his best to do the right thing for all involved parties.
By the end, Cole proved himself to be a consummate professional, delivering updates and keeping WWE fans appraised of the situation despite the extremely difficult circumstances, especially considering his personal stake in all this.
As news continued to trickle out and word got around that Lawler had, in fact, suffered a heart attack, shock rang throughout the pro wrestling world. Life happens within the confines of this pretend world, and so does death. Being reminded of that in such an abrupt, heartbreaking manner served as a reminder that we should remember these are real people who go through real life problems.
WWE continued on with the show. They always have, after all, and it was no different here. There's no telling if things would have been different had Lawler died and really, speculating on as much is less than worthless. The company handled it as well as it could have, all things considered. The decision was made to do no commentary while the matches and promos went forward.
That may have seemed callous and cold but in tragic situations such as this, oftentimes it's best to simply do what's normal. You can't just stop and do nothing, not really. Life moves forward and art imitates life, so art moved forward, difficult as it may have been.
In a way, it brought a bit of relief to an extremely tense situation. Fans in the arena were unsure of how to react, visibly shaken from the scene. But Bret Hart, CM Punk, and John Cena turned in performances of a lifetime in the main event segment that had some of those same fans cheering and booing and doing all the things they would normally do at a pro wrestling show where a beloved figure didn't suffer a heart attack.
It still felt weird but it was a distraction, if only momentarily, from the horrifying nature of reality. And isn't that what pro wrestling is supposed to be?