Elvis Presley almost stepped into the ring of pro wrestling.
In a recent interview with Stories with Briscoe and Bradshaw, pro wrestler Jerry Lawler revealed that he almost fought The King himself. The idea came about when he was driving to Louisville, Kentucky and one of Presley’s songs came on the radio.
“And I said ‘You know what would be cool?’ Because the news was out then that Elvis was doing this martial arts stuff, with Kang Rhee who was a famous karate instructor down in Memphis. So I said to Mickey Poole [Lawler’s driver] ‘It would be cool if we could somehow get hold of Elvis Presley, and do a wrestler vs. karate match.’ They’d already done Muhammed Ali and Inoki match,” he shared.
How Jerry Got in Contact With Elvis Presley
The kicker? His driver had an actual connection to Elvis Presley. His brother was the president of the International Elvis Fan Club and is always at Graceland. At first, Lawler didn’t believe him. However, just a few days later, he was told that Elvis Presley and his father Vernon were interested and going to set up a phone call with him. Two days later, Vernon called him and said that his son “loved the idea”.
“Phone rings, I pick it up, ‘Jerry this is Elvis’ father Vernon Presley… They got to us with the idea of you and Elvis doing something at the Mid-South Coliseum, and he loves the idea. Elvis loves it. But I’ll be honest with you Jerry, Elvis is not in too good shape right now but he’s fixing to start working out and he’s got this tour coming up next month. He’s going to work out for that and as soon as we get back from the tour, we’ll get in touch with you and put this thing together.’
Elvis would want to get back in shape and finish his next tour before he agreed to the match but would have liked for it to take place. Unfortunately, he passed away before the tour on August 16, 1977.
His Passion For Martial Arts
When Elvis Presley was serving overseas in the Army, he was exposed to karate for the first time in 1958 when he was stationed in Germany. His very first instructor was shotokan stylist Juergen Seydel who taught him at their base. When Presley got his paid vacation leave, he went to Paris. During the trip, he learned under one of the best teachers, Tetsugio Murakami.
He returned back to his base where he began breaking boards. Elvis Presley then trained under Rex Mansfield. After his time in the military, he continued to train during any downtime. On July 21, 1960, he reached Black belt status.