Jim Ross opened up about filling in for Jerry Lawler after The King suffered a heart attack on live television.
The September 10, 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw saw Jerry Lawler team up with Randy Orton in an impromptu match against the team of CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler. Later in the night, disaster struck as Lawler suffered a heart attack during the live broadcast, causing Michael Cole to mute his microphone and call for help. Thanks to quick action from the ringside physician, Lawler was able to be revived later in the night after being clinically dead for about 20 minutes.
Speaking on a recent episode of Grilling JR, Jim Ross recalled the terror of watching his longtime friend suffer such a serious medical event, not knowing whether he would survive.
“I was scared to death. I remember so vividly Jan, my late wife, was just beside herself — she was trying to figure out if it was TV angle. I said, ‘I don’t think so, honey. I think this is the real deal.’ And it was the real deal, unfortunately. But fortunately, Jerry survived.”
Jim Ross Says It Was “Really Special” To Fill In For Jerry Lawler
Just hours after Jerry Lawler was hospitalized, Jim Ross received a call from Kevin Dunn, who asked if he would be willing to take on the role of color commentator in Lawler’s place. Ross said the call felt “so strange” and “came out of nowhere” when he was still reeling from fear for his friend’s life, but he also felt it was an honor to be able to call WWE action while Lawler recovered from his heart attack.
“Just for me to be able to sit in his chair ringside was really special. I think it was a good call, and I appreciated Kevin Dunn’s confidence in me. I was just excited that A, Jerry was still alive, and B, they were giving me the opportunity to sit in his spot.”
Lawler was able to return to Monday Night Raw the following November.