Lawler has a real heart attack; Fritz and Andre had fake ones

This world of wrestling we watch sure is a weird form of entertainment sometimes.

On Monday Night Raw, Jerry “The King” Lawler was taken out on a stretcher during the live broadcast after suffering a real-life heart attack.

Lawler’s woes are serious health concerns, and Michael Cole’s updates were somber.

But wrestling’s foolishness at times is brought upon by itself, so it’s no wonder that given Lawler’s very real circumstances, I am still thinking about the fake heart attack gimmicks I remember:

  • In 1988, after Jake “The Snake” Robert threw Damien onto Andre the Giant,  Andre clutched his chest and collapsed. I seem to remember manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan even trying to revive Andre by pounding on his chest. The announcer never said “heart attack,” but it was clearly implied.
  • In 1987, promoter Fritz Von Erich staged his own heart attack as an angle for the struggling World Class Championship Wrestling. Ring announcer Mark Lowrance went as far as to announce the hospital Fritz was allegedly in. The Von Erichs lived in a kayfabe bubble thanks the Fritz, so this angle was no surprise.

Let’s hope Lawler is OK. Unlike with Andre and Fritz, we can’t tune in to see where this real-life plotline takes us.


  1. Pingback: The WWE had low-brow angles and gimmicks long before CM Punk mocked Lawler’s heart attack « Boston Garden Balcony
  2. Atlee Greene

    Michael Cole was a true professional and gained a lot of respect with the fans. It’s going to be hard to continue with him as a heel after this. Another heart-attack angle people forget about was on the 12/4/98 episode of WCW Monday Nitro where Ric Flair collapsed in the ring. I don’t think they said the word “heart attack” but that’s what it was promoted as since Flair was clinching his right arm as he fell in the corner. WCW got so much heat for the story line, they changed it a week later saying Flair was poisoned.

  3. J.Cee

    I recall reading that Dory Funk, Sr had a heart attack at the conclusion of a match in Texas. So it can be a risk for anyone to be stricken. Best wishes to Jerry and those close to him. He’s a fighter, so if the Lord wills it, then he’ll be back with another wisecrack and a smile.

  4. Joe Lowry

    I was not home to watch Monday Night RAW the other night but when I heard the news reports coming out of WWE via Twitter, TMZ and all the other media outlets about Jerry “The King” Lawlers heart attack, it brought me right back to that terrible Sunday night of May 23, 1999. For those of you who do not recall this date, this was the night that Owen Hart died in a horrible tragedy on live Pay Per View. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were calling the show that night. You could see how visibly shaken both men were when trying to report on live TV of what was happening. I can only imagine what Michael Cole was going through during Lawlers collapse. If you have ever been behind the microphone for any event you can sympathize even more. When your on live TV and something of this nature takes place, it is extremely difficult to “stay in character” and not lose yourself. My heart goes out to Jerry Lawlers family and friends. My heart also goes out to Michael Cole who no doubt has never been in this type of situation, especially on live tv. Part of me wanted to believe this was a storyline of sorts, but as it turns out, real life interrupted and changed things for a bit. Lets hope The King makes a speedy recovery and gets back behind the mic.

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