Jerry Lawler and Terry Funk were involved in a feud in 1981 which led to an empty arena match in Memphis. Lawler talked about this past Monday Night Raw on his podcast, The Jerry Lawler Show, and compared his experience with Funk in Memphis to the shows today.
"It made me harken back to the time Terry Funk and I had our match in Memphis," Lawler said. "We went to the Mid South Coliseum, the whole place was set up already for Monday night, a ring in the middle of the coliseum and 11,500 empty seats. Terry and I came together and we had a match. I just remember how weird and unusual, to me at the time I had said 'Oh my gosh, I feel so stupid'. I just felt dumb being out there throwing each other into a bunch of empty chairs. Actually doing the match just felt so surreal, it wasn't something you enjoy."
Rey Mysterio faced Andrade this past Monday night on RAW in the only first-run match on the show. Despite not having a storyline with anyone involved in the match, Asuka was brought out for commentary. Lawler said that the move was made so that she can "make things as loud as possible."
"That's what I noticed on [Monday Night Raw], we had Rey Mysterio and Andrade in their match, I really felt for those guys. Even though they put on a heck of a match, they did as good as possible. If the place had been packed the people would've been going crazy, but it was empty so it was total silence. They put Asuka out there to help with the commentary and just to try and help make some noise and make things as loud as possible so it wouldn't just be silence, so that helped a lot. It's a tough go, and I felt sorry for Rey and Andrade and Zelina and all of them, they still did great but it was a whole unusual experience.
"It was different of course, but I was trying to focus more on Asuka and her commentary than I was on the match. I was looking at her more than I was the match, she was ranting and raving and being against Rey and I was just trying to make everybody believe I knew exactly what she was saying. I think I said one time 'Byron, she said your suit looks cheap'. I left the calling of the match to Byron and Tom and just focused on Asuka. She was the hit of the show, everybody seemed to love Asuka on commentary."
Lawler also described getting to the WWE Performance Center that day and the testing he and the wrestlers had to go through before entering the building due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
"When I got there to the arena, they had everything closed down, there were security guards that met you there out in the parking lot and they escorted me up to the front door," Lawler said. "I didn't get there till about 2:30 in the afternoon, everybody had already been there before me. They stuck a thing in your ear to take your temperature and mine was 98.6, which I think is about perfect, and they said 'Okay you're cool', so I went inside. They had it to where everyone was kept apart and away from each other.
"I just hung out in talent relations, we went around and did some rehearsals and where things were going to be. I talked to Undertaker and Steve Austin a lot and to Vince, I was sort of surprised Vince was there, but it was like a regular Monday Night Raw. They just had people go through the motions because it was so different in where the camera men were gonna be and how things were going to be staged."
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin closed the show on Monday with a beer bash and Stunner to Byron Saxton. Lawler was asked about Austin closing the show with Byron Saxton and the low blows he received before the Stone Cold Stunners.
"Me and [Tom Phillips] were just sitting back there laughing for poor Byron," Lawler said. "I don't know what happened with those Stone Cold Stunner kicks, but I mean everyone of them were a little below the belt it looked like. Of course to me and Tom that was really funny, I don't know if it was funny to Byron but Byron's a funny guy.
"It was really unusual for Byron because he's so laid back and quiet but all of a sudden Byron comes walking out and he's holding a bag of ice between his legs and he's standing there and all of a sudden this song starts playing and he drops the bag of ice and he gets a little more and more animated. He had no idea he was going to end up getting drowned in beer. Byron had a real nice suit, he was so proud of his red socks and the way he was dressed but of course it all got ruined with the beer bash."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Jerry Lawler Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.