Jerry Lawler reacts to Jim Ross' return at Saturday Night's Main Event
WWE.com: How do you feel about J.R. returning at Saturday Night's Main Event?
The King: Honestly, I couldn't be more excited. I'm thrilled for myself and for the fans. But most of all, I'm happy for J.R. because I probably know better than anybody other than J.R. how being away from WWE television has affected him. J.R. lived for Monday Night RAW and to be broadcasting WWE on television, and he was just devastated when he wasn't on there. And now, he has a chance to come back. I'm thrilled. It's not that things have gone badly with (Jonathan Coachman) and Joey Styles; I think that we've improved and gelled as a team. But I also feel that you could never replace the chemistry that J.R. and I had. It was just a natural, and it's something that can't be duplicated.
WWE.com: Were you shocked to hear the news of his return?
The King: Well, I was shocked in a sense because I've kept in close contact with J.R. I've talked to J.R. every single week since he's been gone. I lot of the fans probably think that someone like myself would know everything that's going on behind the scenes in the company, but that's just not true. I come in and do Monday Night RAW, and sometimes I don't hear anything from anybody until the next Monday. So, I'm not always kept in the loop, so I was just hearing what J.R. was hearing — and that was nothing. I would call J.R. and ask him if he's talked to anyone at WWE about coming back, and week after week, he'd say, "Nope. Nobody calls. I'm just sitting here watching football and eating barbeque." So, I was shocked when I found out.
WWE.com: What are your reflections on the way J.R. left, and how might that affect things in the booth going forward?
The King: I was in Corpus Christi, Texas, yesterday making an appearance, and every single person who came up to me mentioned "this is where J.R. got fired." I felt like I was returning to the scene of the crime. I don't know. It may have been good television; it may have been entertaining. But when you have a personal relationship with the person bad things are happening to, it affects you differently than it would the average TV viewer. So, I felt really bad for J.R. Really bad. I knew what he was going through, and it was very upsetting to me.
WWE.com: Sometimes, when a traumatic event like this happens to someone, it changes them in some way. Do you foresee what's happened changing the dynamic in the booth or affecting his choices as a broadcaster, or will this be the "Good Ole J.R." we all remember?
The King: Well, without a doubt it's going to be Good Ole J.R. because if there's one thing J.R. is, it's a professional. I don't think he'll let his personal feelings be detrimental to his performance. But at the same time, J.R. is so passionate. And that's the great thing about J.R.: He's sincere. That's the word I can use to describe him best. And if what's happened sincerely puts some bitterness into J.R., then yeah, it's going to come out during the broadcast. I don't think J.R. will have any problem letting the fans know what he thinks of the McMahon family when he comes back. But by the same token, what do the McMahons expect? I think they have to realize what's coming.
WWE.com: What does this mean for you? Is this another curveball that makes things more difficult, or is this helpful? How is "The King" doing with all this change?
The King: Well, that's another thing that J.R. and I used to talk about. We've both been around this business for a number of years and we've both seen a lot of people come and go. And we've just rolled with the punches and gone with flow. And we're both good at that. We've both been here long enough that you can tell that we're pretty much survivors. What I mean by that is no matter what curveball is thrown at us or what comes down the pipe, we will deal with it. I pride myself on trying to make the most of whatever hand I'm dealt. I'm just looking at this right now in a positive light. I'm looking at it as a very good thing that J.R. is coming back. I know that I'm going to be really upbeat about it. And if there is some sort of curveball connected to his return — and I certainly hope there's not — but if there is, I don't know about it but I'll deal with it.
WWE.com: What does this mean for Saturday Night's Main Event in terms of the viewers' experience watching the broadcast?
The King: With Saturday Night's Main Event, we're going to be reaching a lot of fans that don't normally see Monday Night RAW because we'll be on a different network. I think there will actually be a lot of fans who don't know what happened to J.R. But I'm sure most of them will have at some point have seen a past broadcast with myself and J.R. In that respect, I think it's good that WWE is putting out a known commodity to the viewing public. There may be some people who tune in to Saturday Night's Main Event, and if it were me and Coach and Joey Styles, they may be saying, "Where's the guy with the cowboy hat that I used to like?" So, I think that's one aspect.
WWE.com: While you have a chance to voice your thoughts on WWE.com, is there anything else you'd like to say about this issue?
The King: Well, it's been a tough time. It's reminiscent of the time when I quit and left WWE. All of a sudden, J.R. was left kind of high and dry. Then, they brought in Paul Heyman to do the broadcast with J.R. and the program continued on. And I continued to talk to J.R., and he said it was tough time for him simply because none of us like change; we get comfortable in a situation. J.R. and I doing a broadcast together is easy for us. We've done it for so long and so well together. In that respect, you get this comfort level. When things change, it doesn't feel quite as easy as it once was. I have to work harder to make the product as good as it was when it was easy. I know J.R. struggled with that when I was gone, and now the shoe is on the other foot. I've been struggling with the fact that J.R. was gone and having to work harder without him. So, I'm excited that he's coming back. By the same token, I enjoyed the product with Coach and Joey Styles. So, it's the old saying, "There's nothing certain in life but change." There's always going to be change, and this is just another change. We'll see how we all work though this and see what happens. That's one of the exciting things about WWE. I used to hear Vince McMahon say all the time, we used to say at least once per broadcast that "anything can happen in WWE." This is just another one of those unexpected things.