In Memphis, Tennessee in the mid-70s two things were utterly inescapable: Elvis Presley and wrestling. There was a time when those two things almost came together in a big way. As legend has it, The King of Rock and Roll was all set to step in the squared circle with Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Elvis Presley was, of course, huge in the seventies, especially in Memphis. This was also the time period in which The King was studying martial arts. He was all over TV breaking bricks and demonstrating his skills. He was also working some sweet Kung-fu into his live shows.
At the same time, pro wrestling was incredibly popular. In fact, half the city would tune in for wrestling when it aired on Saturday mornings. It was only a matter of time before the two crossed paths. Jerry “The King” Lawler was the man who was going to make that happen.
Folk musician, storyteller, and historian Otis Gibbs broke down the story in his latest video.
The story starts on the road. It was 1977, in the spring or summer. Lawler and his manager Mickey Poole were traveling to Kentucky and talking about Elvis. The fact that Elvis was on TV showing off his martial arts skills got Lawler to thinking. What if he could get Presley in the ring? How awesome would that be?
So, Mickey Poole turns to him and says, “I’ll have my brother ask him if he’d want to do that.” Lawler was taken aback. Apparently, Poole’s brother was the president of the Elvis International Fan Club and had been for nearly a decade.
Not only that, he knew Elvis personally. The guy was a regular at Graceland. Thinking his manager was full of hot air, Lawler told Poole to set it up. Chances are, he forgot about the conversation shortly thereafter.
Elvis Presley VS Jerry Lawler Would Have Happened
The next day, Poole informed Lawler that his brother would run the idea by Vernon, Elvis Presley’s dad, and see what he thought. If Vernon liked the idea, they would pitch it to Elvis. They were a step closer to getting the two Kings of Memphis in the squared circle together.
Vernon tried to call Lawler a couple of times but kept missing him. Finally, they scheduled a phone call and were able to sit down and discuss the idea. Vernon told Jerry that Elvis Presley loved the idea of getting in the ring. They were on. Almost.
Before the call was over, Vernon said that Elvis Presley wasn’t in the best shape. However, he was about to start working out and getting ready for his upcoming tour. Once the tour was done and Elvis was in better shape, they would put the match together.
However, before Elvis Presley could finish his final tour he passed away at his home on August 16, 1977. The wrestling match to decide the king of Memphis would never happen.
When asked how the match would have gone down, Jerry Lawler said, “I’ve thought about that many times. Like, what would we have done? I can tell you honestly, we would have done anything that would’ve made [Elvis] happy.” Spoken like a true King.