|USA Wrestling stars treated fans to a high-flying and surprise-filled night of fun led by the return of Jerry “The King” Lawler in Bolivar on April 26 at the Bolivar National Guard Armory.
Brian Christopher defeated Derrick King in the closing match of the night. Christopher, with his signature move of the flying leg drop, proved too much for King.
Lawler was there to kick off the night’s matches by welcoming the crowd and thanking his childhood art teacher and local resident, Helen Stahl, for her support.
“I am so thankful that Jerry is doing so well,” said Stahl. “He just looks great.”
Lawler, who suffered a heart attack while commentating on live television September, 2012 in Montreal, returned to live action for the first time in Bolivar since his recovery.
Lawler was interrupted during his opening by Doug Gilbert, who carried a baseball bat and taunted the audience before attacking Lawler and choking him. When Lawler took the upper hand he proceeded to punch Gilbert repeatedly. Gilbert then took a fall and ran out of the ring.
“I was happy to see Jerry ‘The King’ back in the ring and I can’t wait to see him wrestling again,” said Matt Boyce, wrestler.
Clay Moore, USA wrestler, said Lawler has gained admiration and love from across generational gaps.
“He achieves respect from a generation that doesn’t want to give it,” said Moore. “The boys respect him and his history.”
High profile matches created cheers and jeers throughout the night.
“Superstar” Bill Dundee, former NWA heavyweight champion, was the victor against “Dangerous” Doug Gilbert with a roll up pin to close the bout.
“We had a great crowd, I love seeing the kids come out to support us,” said Boyce, who won his match against Christopher Hayes by applying a neck breaker and closing with a flying body cross.
Boyce (who has fought in almost 5000 matches over seven years) said he looks up to Lawler, Brian Christopher and Derrick King who helped him fulfill his childhood dream of training under and wrestling with Lawler.
Moore’s wrestling role models are Brett Hart and Chris Jericho because of their technical skills and entertainment value. He said he enjoys bringing something new to the table. However, Moore was defeated by the “New Nature Boy” Kevin White when White cheated in the match by pulling a chain from his tights and then hit Moore before pinning him.
“The kids had a ‘super time’ and the fans were fantastic,” said Super Brown who emerged mid-match wearing Superman attire and won the battle against KC Rush. Rush later accused him of cheating.
The closing match brought out Brian Christopher, known as “Grandmaster Sexay”, who went head to head with Derrick King. The popular Christopher took the win with his finishing move, the flying leg drop off the top rope.
When asked if he had a message for his young fans, Christopher talked about the importance of school and being drug free.
“I’ve met numerous children through wrestling events, school events and church functions. I want the young boys and girls around the area to know that school is vital to their success in life,” said Christopher. “Children should stay in school and say no to anyone who offers drugs.”
Christopher has been living in the Bolivar area for two years since moving from Memphis.
“My younger brother attends school locally and I have seen firsthand that the school system here is committed to their students’ success,” said Christopher.