Lawler joined WWE in December of 1992, a few months before that WrestleMania. JR recalled how Lawler ended up joining the Raw commentary team in 1994 after Randy Savage left to go to WCW.
Highlights from the discussion, and the full podcast, are below:
On if there was discussion of Lawler joining in on commentary for WrestleMania IX: “No, no. At that time, he was strictly coming in as an in-ring talent as I recall, and as I remember best.”
On Lawler ending up on the Raw commentary team: “The only reason that Jerry got on Raw was because Savage walked. And it was one of those old classic deals, we didn’t know they were gone until they were gone-type deal, and you know, subterfuge in wrestling and the mistrust and the paranoia.
And all the normal bulls**t. And so when they realized that Savage was not going to be at the taping that night, on site, it was suggested that Lawler do it. You know, it might have been Bruce that suggested it, I don’t know who did it.”
On Lawler’s mindset at the time as a worker: “But anybody that had been around Jerry, that had watched any amount of territorial TV, that had local syndicated television knew how good a talker he was.
And that in any environment, he was going to excel. He’s like a lot of guys, he’s got that driving force that he doesn’t want to be the joke of the card. He’s like Stone Cold used to be. If he didn’t go on last, he was pissed off.
I’m not saying that about Jerry, but Jerry was a very proud guy that knew he could still work as well as anybody in the company at that time. And I’m not gonna disagree with that at all. But I think that was the deal.
Savage walked, Vince got a recommendation, and all of a sudden, Lawler is working with McMahon and it was seamless. From day one, it was good.”