Lawler and Booker headed for crown chaos?

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July 22, 2007

"Jerry, I must say I have respected you for many years. And it really anguishes me to say this, but I must. As a sign of respect, I am asking you to remove the word 'king' from your name."

King Booker's request at Raw in Corpus Christi, Texas, stunned WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler.

The Raw announcer stared in shock as Booker and his Queen Sharmell approached the announce table. They were actually asking him to renounce his ring name that he's made famous over his storied championship career.

Lawler has been known as "The King" since the 1970s, when he borrowed the moniker from another wrestler, Bobby Shane, who he frequently was a tag-team partner with. Lawler's kingly title was later made a household name after his battles in Memphis with actor/comedian Andy Kauffman. He then went on to further solidify his King status by turning back nearly every challenger during his Hall of Fame career, including Bret Hart, Nick Bockwinkel and Curt Hennig.

Lawler admitted to being a fan of Booker's career, but he told WWE.com he could not understand the monarch's insistence on him dropping his familiar title, especially since he doesn't flaunt his crown.

"I'm long past flaunting the kingly moniker like Booker has," Lawler explained. "There was a time where I wore the robes and the big crown and that sort of stuff. I'm a little bit past that."

But, when pressured further by King Booker, Lawler was willing to concede to the younger royal. He promised not to refer to himself as "The King" anymore, out of respect for the former World Heavyweight Champion.

"I understand where Booker's coming from. He wants everybody to see him now as the only king in WWE," Lawler said. "But the problem with that is it's just not reality."

Despite Lawler's offers to drop his kingly moniker, he believes Booker is fighting a losing battle to lay sole claim to the "King" name -- and not just from him.

"I think after 30 years, habits like that are hard to change. I would say 99 percent of our WWE Superstars when I pass them in the locker room, at the hotels or rental-car places or at airports, they don't say ‘Hey Jerry.' They all say ‘Hey King,'" Lawler explained. "I'm synonymous with that name and I don't think anyone is going to change their minds.

"Triple H has decided to call himself the ‘King of Kings.' And who is to say that Triple H can't refer to himself as the ‘King of Kings?' When he comes back, is Booker T going to get in his face? I don't think so."

King Booker pressed further with his attacks against the former World Champion at The Great American Bash. After a promotional video announcing The Game's return at SummerSlam, Raw's resident royal was incensed.

"Triple H, you are NOT the King of Kings. You are not the king of anything! As I stated, there is only one king in the WWE, and it is I, King Booker," the regal proclaimed.

Now, with King Booker calling Lawler's defiance "an act of treason" at The Bash, the long-time king sees this clash of regals going to the mat.

"No pun intended, but the crown has gone to [Booker's] head," Lawler said. "We're not seeing eye-to-eye on this thing, and I can't see any other way to resolve this thing than in the ring."

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