The SmarK Rant for Jerry Lawler’s Classic Memphis Wrestling – Episode 2 (06.27.18)
I really enjoyed the Bill Dundee episode of this show, and there’s only three of them posted by the local Memphis TV station that produced them, so we might as well finish these off and then I bid farewell to Memphis until the Network puts some stuff up.
Hosted by Jerry Lawler and “Dangerous” Doug Gilbert, with the topic of conversation this time being Doug’s brother Eddie.
Doug takes us back to “This Is Your Life Jerry Lawler” from Memphis TV, as Eddie Gilbert presents what I’m sure will be a fair and respectful tribute to Lawler’s career. So the first mystery voice is Eddie’s father Tommy Gilbert, who lost the Southern title to Lawler via hidden chain to kick off Lawler’s first title reign. So Eddie brings out his dad, who confronts Lawler for cheating. Next up, “Playboy” Frazier (the future Uncle Elmer) who complains that Lawler made a fool out of him.
Back in the present, Lawler cuts off the footage because Doug Gilbert is already trying to make him look bad, and we take a break. We return and Lawler wants Doug to leave, but Doug refuses because HE BROUGHT VIDEOS. And he promised not to use the baseball bat that he brought and he’s a man of his word. Meanwhile, Lawler accuses Eddie of wanting to copy all of his stuff, like wearing a crown and throwing fire.
Jerry Lawler v. Tommy Rich (March 88)
Back at the Mid-South Coliseum, although we don’t see any of the match because Doug Gilbert runs in and double-teams Lawler along with Rich, as they deliver a spike piledriver. And then Eddie Marlin calls for help, so Tommy Gilbert lays out Marlin and then Eddie hits the ring and slaps Lawler around before throwing a HUGE fireball in his face. Lawler is less offended at getting burned in the face than he was at Gilbert stealing his shit.
Later, on the TV show, Eddie drags Jerry Jarrett out from the backstage area and accuses him of protecting Jerry Lawler while throwing Jeff to the wolves so he can get hurt by the Gilberts. Jerry suggests that Eddie should tell his dad to retire, so Tommy attacks him and then Eddie throws fire at Jerry and the locker room clears out to make the save.
Back at the studio, Lawler explains that with both Jarrett and Marlin now out thanks to the Gilberts, they had to bring Randy Hales in to book the matches and run the show. So it’s off to the next week’s show, as Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt come out and immediately start mocking Hales and accusing Lawler of being a CHICKEN and not showing up to confront him. Lance tells Eddie that it’s none of his damn business why Lawler isn’t there, but Eddie makes it clear that it’s because Lawler took such a beating at the Coliseum that he’s now scared to show up. Gilbert hurt his fist from beating on Lawler’s thick skull so much! Missy Hyatt arrogantly snickering in the background is pretty great here, long before they decided she should talk and thus ruined the character.
Later on, Eddie tries to push Randy Hales around for not booking him in matches that he wants, so Hales cuts a promo on him and then the Gilbert family heads out and Eddie throws fire at Hales, too. Man, they’re really BURNING through authority figures here!
Back in the present, Lawler notes that Randy Hales now manages a restaurant for him, so he survived the fireball. Doug compliments Hales on being such a good maitre’d and then notes that Bill Dundee is the “short order cook”. Quality burn there.
The next week in 1988, Lance is on the phone with Jerry Lawler, who is recovering at home, but Eddie Gilbert grabs the phone and cuts a promo on Lawler for being a gutless coward and then hangs up on him. Lance has had enough of this crap from Eddie and calls him RUDE for grabbing the phone. So Eddie reminisces about all the legends he’s put out of pasture lately, such as Lawler and Dundee and Jerry Jarrett. But that just leaves Lance Russell on his hitlist and he goes for the fireball in his pocket, but then Lance reveals that he wasn’t calling Lawler at home…he was calling Lawler BACKSTAGE. And Jerry comes out and beats the shit out of Eddie, destroying the set and triggering a crazy brawl with Gilbert as Eddie goes flying all over the studio and Lawler chases him right out of the back door and into the parking lot. That was GREAT.
We take a break and return with them still fighting in the parking lot, as they fight on the hood of some poor fan’s car and Eddie slams him through the windshield. Lawler notes that they kept the glass place in business because every time they did a parking lot brawl they’d have to take a car right over and pay for the damages. So Lawler comes back and chases Eddie away.
So finally, they have the blowoff at the Mid-South Coliseum in March 88, the night after Wrestlemania IV and Clash 1.
Jerry Lawler v. Eddie Gilbert
Lawler gets the first punch in the corner and Eddie runs away, then offers a truce back in the ring. Lawler of course continues punching him in the face in response, so Eddie runs away and milks the count before heading back in. Gilbert slugs Lawler down, but Jerry pokes him in the eye and fires away, prompting Gilbert to escape to the floor again. Back in the present, Doug Gilbert briefly breaks character to talk about his real-life relationship with Missy Hyatt, as Eddie was completely blinded by her but he kept warning him that she was a gold-digger and they never got along as a result. Finally Eddie undoes the rope from the turnbuckles and chokes Lawler out for two, as it’s no-DQ. Gilbert clotheslines him with the rope and continues to choke him out, and then ties Lawler’s neck to the corner with rope and beats on Jerry while he’s helpless. Present day Lawler concedes that he was a “notorious slow starter” because he would take a beating for a long time before pulling down the strap and taking care of business. Gilbert beats him down as the heat is tremendous for this, but the knots come loose and Lawler PULLS DOWN THE STRAP, as Lance declares that it’s KATIE BAR THE DOOR and Jerry makes the comeback. Like the whole match is incredibly basic and simple but the crowd is just going nuts for all of it. So Lawler pounds on Gilbert and hits a piledriver (because it’s no DQ) and then goes up with the fistdrop, but that misses. Eddie asks for one of Missy’s shoes to use a weapon, but Lawler throws a GIGANTIC fireball in Eddie’s face to get his revenge and Eddie runs away and gets counted out at 10:50. A tremendous grudge match made better by all the buildup. ****
Next up, we move to 1990, as Eddie Marlin fires Eddie and Doug and then follows them out to the parking lot to make sure they leave, but Eddie shoves Marlin down and Lawler has to come out and back him up. So the Gilberts run him over! Hell of a bump from Lawler there. In fact, the angle was so effective that people watching actually called the police to report the Gilberts attempting murder, and Lawler had to go on TV and explain that it was just an angle!
Oh man, Lawler v. Gilbert. Good times! People throwing fireballs at each other and running each other over in the parking lot. It is rather sad to see what a genius that young Eddie was, but at the same time also sad because he was so desperately trying to be Jerry Lawler and couldn’t ever match up to him. Regardless, it’s hilarious hearing Doug Gilbert completely refuse to break character for the whole show, and this is definitely worth checking out.