Michael Cole: Jerry Lawler 'in great spirits'

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September 13, 2012

WWE.COM: Can you take us through what was going through your mind once you realized Jerry was in trouble?

COLE: We were in the middle of calling the match between Kane & Daniel Bryan and The Prime Time Players, and I didn’t see anything different about Jerry. He was actually cracking his old jokes and we were talking about [Kane & Bryan’s] anger management process. I work from a monitor on my right at the table and Jerry works from a monitor to his left, so a lot of times while we’re calling the action we don’t have much eye contact with one another. We’ve worked together for 15 years and we know each other so well that we don’t have to constantly be looking at each other. When I was looking down at the monitor, all of a sudden I heard what sounded like snoring. For a split second, I thought that it was part of the show. I thought that maybe Jerry was just — like I used to do back in my WWE NXT days — pretending to be bored with the match and was snoring like he was sleeping through it. So I took my headset off and looked at him like “What are you doing?” All of a sudden, his head dropped to the table and his arm started shaking. At that point I realized we had an issue on our hands.

Immediately realizing that he was in trouble, I think instinctively — just because of my news background — I hit my “mute” switch. I didn’t want our fans at home, especially if Jerry’s girlfriend and family were watching, to go into an unnecessary panic because I obviously didn’t know what was wrong with Jerry at the time. Perhaps he had just fainted, we didn’t know.

I jumped up and I started screaming for Dr. Michael Sampson, our ringside doctor who was just about three feet away from Jerry, and our production assistant Mike Mansury. They jumped out of their seats and came over, and at that point Jerry had slumped to the floor. Within 20 or 30 seconds, probably a half dozen security guys jumped over the barricade and were literally carrying Jerry out of the ringside area and placing him onto a stretcher. At this point, my focus returned to the action in the ring, and I decided to continue calling the match as if nothing was going on. Again, I had been ordered not to panic anyone.

During the commercial break when I was getting information from our producers and directors that Jerry was undergoing CPR, was when we made the decision to start updating the fans on the condition of Lawler. And also, it was a team effort to make the determination to suspend commentary for the rest of the broadcast out of respect for Jerry.

I was lost in my emotions and knew that I had a job to do and a duty to fulfill for the members of the WWE Universe, and that was to keep them informed of the health status of Jerry Lawler. I took that duty seriously. This was something that didn’t happen backstage, didn’t happen in the parking lot, it happened live on television to a man who is an icon to not only people in the wrestling business but also people in pop culture and entertainment worldwide. This was a major news story. And I don’t think I nor WWE should have handled it any other way. (LATEST UPDATE ON JERRY LAWLER)

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