WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler has revealed the story of how he almost had a match with another legendary King, the ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, Elvis Presley.
On ‘Stories with Briscoe and Bradshaw‘, Jerry Lawler recounted the incredible story of how the man best known for hits including Jailhouse Rock and Suspicious Minds came tantalisingly close to entering the world of professional wrestling. The WWE Hall of Famer recalled it all started with an innocuous joke about how such a match would be a cool thing to do.
Amazingly, the idea reached Elvis Presley and his father, and even more astonishingly, they were keen to make the idea become a reality. Unfortunately, Elvis would pass away before the bout could happen.
“We’re driving to Louisville and an Elvis Presley song came on. And I said ‘You know what would be cool?’ Because the news was out then that Elvis was doing this martial arts stuff, with Kang Rhee who was a famous karate instructor down in Memphis. So I said to Mickey Poole [Lawler’s driver] ‘It would be cool if we could somehow get hold of Elvis Presley, and do a wrestler vs. karate match.’ They’d already done Muhammed Ali and Inoki match.
“Just crazily out of the blue he said ‘Well I’ll tell my brother to ask him if he wants do that.’ He said ‘Yeah my brother is the president of the International Elvis Fan Club and has been for seven years. He hangs out at Graceland.’”
Lawler went on to say that he didn’t believe his driver’s story, but a few days later he was told that Elvis and his father Vernon were open to the idea and that they would contact him. Lawler missed two calls from Vernon Presley in the days that followed before finally getting to speak with him.
During their conversation, Vernon Presley said Elvis loved the idea and planned to get in shape for it.
“Phone rings, I pick it up, ‘Jerry this is Elvis’ father Vernon Presley… They got to us with the idea of you and Elvis doing something at the Mid-South Coliseum, and he loves the idea. Elvis loves it. But I’ll be honest with you Jerry, Elvis is not in too good shape right now but he’s fixing to start working out and he’s got this tour coming up next month. He’s going to work out for that and as soon as we get back from the tour, we’ll get in touch with you and put this thing together.’
Then of course he died before he even did the tour. That would have been before Andy Kaufman. If I’d have had that I don’t know if I’d have got to do the Andy Kaufman match later on.”
Jerry Lawler and comedian Andy Kaufman publicly feuded in 1982. During one of the most famous feuds of all time, Lawler even punched Kaufman in the face on Late Night with David Letterman, bringing a lot of mainstream attention.
H/T to Inside The Ropes for the above transcription.