Legendary pro wrestling manager, promoter, and commentator Jim Cornette has come out in the defense of fellow legendary wrestler, promoter, and commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler after Lawler came under fire for a racist joke made on WWE Monday Night Raw last night. Referring to a diving senton performed by Japanese wrestler Akira Tozawa against Austin Theory, Lawler said the move looked like "a ramen noodle moonsault." Ramen noodles are a popular Japanese cuisine. The comment was censored from WWE's YouTube version of the match.
Jerry Lawler Faces Cancellation
Immediately following the comment, social media exploded, with even fellow WWE superstar Rachel Evans condemning the joke. "Just a casual reminder that being a racist is not ok," Evans tweeted. "Thanks for listening to my Ted talk. Have a great night." Evans was joined by a legion of fans who felt the joke was in poor taste, though some fans defended Lawler as well (check out a clip from the match below).
To be fair, professional wrestling has a complicated history with matters of race, gender, and sexuality, all of which have been flagrantly exploited by the business over the decades to garner heat from marks. However, the industry has also struggled with the very real matters of inequality and discrimination. Furthermore, WWE has pivoted in the last decade alone from blatantly racist gimmicks like Cryme Tyme and the exploitation of its female stars to touting its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Comments like Lawler's are not only wrong, but they also undermine WWE's corporate image, even if that image isn't necessarily consistent with reality (see: WWE bringing back Hulk Hogan despite a notable lack of real apology for his own racist comments).
Lawler himself was a stalwart of WWE's most exploitative era as a commentator during the Attitude Era. Lawler frequently lusted over female competitors, squealing about their "puppies," a term used to describe breasts. The 70-year-old King returned to the commentator booth for WWE Raw last year after Smackdown moved to Fox. Lawler did not call WrestleMania 36, being kept off the show by WWE due to health concerns about the coronavirus. In addition to his age, Lawler had a heart attack live on an episode of Raw in 2012.
Jim Cornette to the Rescue
All of this created a perfect storm for one controversial wrestling to speak out in Lawler's defense. Jim Cornette, who parted ways with NWA after also making a racist joke on commentary, defended Lawler on Twitter. "So now people are mad at @JerryLawler for telling a joke," Cornette tweeted. "Now I understand why modern wrestling sucks, because most modern wrestling fans are such whiny little pussies they don't DESERVE good wrestling. How do these people go out in public without breaking out in tears? #WHINE"
Earlier this year on an NWA broadcast where he was serving as commentator, Cornette described wrestler Trevor Murdoch as "the only man I've ever known that could strap a bucket of fried chicken on his back and ride a motor scooter across Ethiopia." Cornette voluntarily parted ways with the company afterward to spare them the backlash. Cornette continues to comment on wrestling on his podcast and social media, where he has a dedicated fanbase that applauds his anti-progressive take on all things about the sport.