Jerry Lawler On Hulk Hogan, Not Recognizing The Rock’s Heritage In Memphis, Sting, Ultimate Warrior

Recently, WWE Superstar and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho interviewed professional wrestling legend, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. Among other things, ‘The King’ talked about some of the major players that rolled through the Memphis, Tennessee territory. According to Lawler, he doubted whether Sting, The Ultimate Warrior, and Hulk Hogan would find stardom in the world of professional
wrestling. Conversely, ‘The King’ said that he recognized The Rock’s potential early on.

During the show, Lawler claimed that one of the first stops for Sting and The Ultimate Warrior when they were breaking into the professional wrestling business was Memphis.

“Oh my gosh, there were so many guys that came through [Memphis] that I didn’t think we’re going to make it. I mean, we had a tag team come through that literally had their first couple of matches with us here in Memphis and I went back and told Jerry [Jarrett], I said, ‘oh my gosh, these guys are so green. I mean, they’ve got good bodies and everything, but they could barely walk around in the ring, much less have a match with somebody.’ And, of course, it turned out to be Sting and The Ultimate Warrior. But when they came to us, as I think, The Blade Runners or something like that, they were awful, but just because they were so green. They were just getting started. Nobody is great when they start. And, yeah, we had a lot of that, of guys that just didn’t look like they were going to be very promising.”

As for Hogan, it would appear that ‘The Hulkster’ was interested in securing work for his friends even at the outset of his professional wrestling career.

“Hulk Hogan, he came right there and started with us. He had been playing bass guitar in a band down in Florida. Jerry Jarrett and I co-signed for his first car that he ever had when he was right there,” Lawler recalled. “He was nowhere near a polished worker yet and the thing that really held him back, I think the reason we kind of had to let him go, was because he was bound and determined for us to use this kid that he brought with him. He called him Dizzy Hogan, which I think may have turned out to be, I don’t know if it was Brutus Beefcake. And he was horrible! But that was the deal. If we used Hulk, we had to use this other kid, his best friend.”

Unlike the WWE Hall Of Fame performers discussed above, Lawler always saw big things for The Rock.

“The Rock, Flex Kavana, yeah, that was his name. He had a haircut [and] it looked like a pineapple. It was crazy. But, yeah, we knew that he had tremendous potential, simply because he was the son of Rocky Johnson and we had Rocky here. Rocky was a huge star in our territory down here in Memphis. But the funny thing was we didn’t play on that. We didn’t play that up. He was Flex Kavana. We didn’t even mention that he was Rocky Johnson’s son at that time. They didn’t do that until he got into WWE.”

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