Before we get to this busy weekend of wrestling, Achilles Heel would like to send his thoughts and prayers to Jerry Lawler. For those who missed it, “The King” suffered a heart attack during RAW on Monday. He stopped breathing and had to be revived.
There were some scary moments when Lawler’s life was in serious jeopardy. Fortunately, the medical staff was quickly on the scene. Without the medical personnel being in close proximity to Lawler and being able to reach him so quickly, we might have been mourning the loss of The King.
Lawler was rushed to a Montreal hospital, where he had emergency heart surgery. Amazingly, despite having stopped breathing for a reported 10 minutes, Lawler did not suffer any brain damage. (I’ll let the sharp-tongued King insert his own joke here.) By Wednesday afternoon, he was speaking and in good spirits. Lawler even sent out a Tout (video message) on Thursday, thanking WWE fans for all their support.
The Greek god of wrestling is not a doctor, and I won’t play one here in Heel Turns. But I would recommend that the 62-year-old Lawler, who was involved in a tag team match earlier in the show, retire from wrestling for good.
Lawler’s fans have numerous memories of his matches and feuds, including the celebrated feud with comedian Andy Kaufman that broke through to a mainstream audience. The memories are wonderful. We don’t need new ones.
What we need is The King to stick around to reminisce about his career for many more years.
NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS: Overshadowed, and rightly so, by the concern for Jerry Lawler was the buildup for WWE’s “Night of Champions,” a pay-per-view that takes place Sunday in Boston.
The main event features C.M. Punk defending his WWE Championship against John Cena. If Cena fails to beat Punk again, the overriding theme will be that Cena can’t beat Punk. Cena’s long run (for him) without the WWE Championship could become part of his storyline, making Cena seem more vulnerable.
A Punk victory would also keep him strong until he faces The Rock at the Royal Rumble. I like that direction better than having Cena beat Punk, setting up a potential Cena-Rock WrestleMania rematch at the Royal Rumble.
World Heavyweight champion Sheamus once again tries to fend off the challenge of Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio got Smackdown general manager Booker T to ban Sheamus’ “Brogue kick,” which would seem to give Del Rio an advantage. But Sheamus has been using the Texas Cloverleaf submission maneuver recently. A title change here wouldn’t be shocking, particularly if Punk retains his title.
In a match that doesn’t quite fit the theme of Night of Champions, Randy Orton battles Dolph Ziggler in a match without a title on the line. These two had an excellent match on RAW two weeks ago. I expect nothing less this Sunday, and I have a feeling Ziggler will come away with the victory.
One of the more intriguing matches at Night of Champions was created on RAW when Daniel Bryan and Kane won a No. 1 contenders match against The Prime Time Players, earning a shot at tag team champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. Bryan and Kane have been pure gold together. I would have them win the tag team championship, adding luster to those belts while continuing their uneasy and entertaining relationship until the inevitable breakup.
Layla is defending her Divas Championship against Kaitlyn in a match practically nobody cares about. Kaitlyn was elevated to the spotlight by accident when Eve fell to the floor during a battle royal instead of remaining on the apron, leaving Kaitlyn as the surprise – even to WWE officials – winner. Needless to say, I believe Layla will retain her title … unless Eve costs Layla her title then beats Kaitlyn the next night on RAW.
There will be a pre-show battle royal, which will stream live on wwe.com, YouTube and Facebook, to determine the No. 1 contender for Antonio Cesaro’s United States Heavyweight Championship. The winner will face Cesaro at Night of Champions. Potential winners include Brodus Clay, Sin Cara, Christian and former champion Santino Marella.
There also is the likelihood of an Intercontinental Championship match being added to the card. The logical matchup would be The Miz vs. challenger Rey Mysterio. Based on what happened on RAW on Monday, I have a hunch that Cody Rhodes may be added to make this a triple threat match.
Overall, Night of Champions looks like a good event. Except for the Divas match, there should be any duds on this show. And there’s enough uncertainty about the winners in most of the matches to keep fans interested.
CHIKARA TRIPLE THREAT: CHIKARA’s King of Trios tournament takes place Friday-Sunday at The Palmer Center in Easton. King of Trios is CHIKARA’s biggest event of the year. To gain an understanding of the magnitude of this event, I recommend – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – reading Eric Fisher’s article prior to last year’s event.
The first-round pairings Friday (7:30 p.m.) are: Team Extreme (Tommy Dreamer, Jerry Lynn, Too Cold Scorpio) vs. Team WWF (Tatanka, Aldo Montoya and, yes, the 1-2-3 Kid); Ring of Honor (The Young Bucks, Mike Bennett) vs. The Faces of Pain (Warlord, Barbarian, Meng); Team JWP (the all-woman Japanese team of Commando Bolshoi, Tsubasa Kuragaki and Koari Yoeyam) vs. The Throwbacks (Young Lions Cup winner “Mr. Touchdown Mark Angelosetti, Dasher Hatfield, Matt Classic); The Spectral Envoy (Hallowicked, Frightmare UltraMantis Black) vs. the “four-man trio” of the Submission Squad; Osaka Pro (Kikutaro, Ebessan, Takoyakida) vs. F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano, Icarus); two-time defending champions The Colony (with AssailANT joining Fire Ant and Green Ant instead of Soldier Ant) vs. Team Sendai Girls (Dash Chisako, Meiko Satomura, Sendai Sachiko); Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Manami Toyoto vs. The Swarm (CombatANT, DeviANT and the aforementioned Soldier Ant); and Scott Parker, Shane Matthews and Gran Akuma vs. The Batiri (Obariyon, Kobald, Kodama).
There are quite a few intriguing first-round matchups in this wildly unpredictable tournament. I don’t think The Colony will win for a third straight year. My top contenders to win King of Trios are, in order, The Spectral Envoy, the winner of the first-round match between The Swarm and Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Manami Toyota, and The Throwbacks.
The quarterfinals will take place Saturday (7:30 p.m.), along with Grand Champion Eddie Kingston defending his title against Tadasuke. There will also be a Fan Conclave at the Palmer Center on Saturday afternoon (2:30 p.m.). The King of Trios semifinals and final take place on Sunday (4 p.m.).
RING OF DISHONOR: Ring of Honor hosts “Death Before Dishonor X,” an Internet pay-per-view, on Saturday night in Chicago Ridge, Ill. The Ring of Honor tag team championship tournament will conclude Saturday. The remaining teams are Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino, Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman, Rhett Titus and Charlie Haas, and Jay and Mark Briscoe. For me, the mismatched team of Haas and Titus would be the most interesting champions.
Ring of Honor World Champion Kevin Steen defends his title against Rhino. Adam Cole defends his World TV Championship against Mike Mondo. Matt Hardy and Davey Richards are also scheduled to appear.
BUSY WEEK: This is a very busy time for local wrestling fans. In addition to King of Trios and the WWE and Ring of Honor pay-per-views, TNA will be in the area for shows in Bethlehem on Saturday and Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. On Tuesday, WWE Smackdown comes to Wells Fargo Center.
HART TO HEART: Monday’s RAW will forever be remember for Jerry Lawler collapsing and having a heart attack. Before that happened, however, there was a wonderful moment, as Bret “The Hitman” Hart returned to Montreal in a WWE ring for the first time since the 1997 “Montreal Screwjob” against Shawn Michaels. The Montreal fans welcomed Hart back with a long, emotional ovation.
KEIBLER-CLOONEY: There were some premature reports of a breakup between Stacy Keibler and George Clooney. I knew those reports weren’t accurate. But I wouldn’t share that insider information with you peons.
HARDY BOUND FOR GLORY: The big news out of TNA’s “No Surrender” is that Jeff Hardy won the Bound for Glory Series, setting up a title match with champion Austin Aries at Bound for Glory. Some may criticize me for burying TNA’s pay-per-view report at the bottom of this column. My retort is that TNA buried No Surrender all by itself by failing to announce any matches until within days of the event.