The make-believe world of professional wrestling took a sobering turn toward reality during a live WWE telecast.
"Monday Night Raw" announcer Jerry Lawler had a heart attack and collapsed while on-air and was transported to a Montreal-area hospital. Lawler, who wrestled in a tag-team match earlier in the show, was stricken while calling the action in another match and was carried backstage at the Bell Centre.
Broadcast partner Michael Cole addressed the television audience and said that the situation is "serious," but that Lawler was breathing on his own.
"Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler suffered a heart attack while commentating during last night’s broadcast of Monday Night Raw in Montreal," the WWE said in its statement. "We are hopeful Jerry makes a full recovery and returns to WWE in the near future. Our thoughts are with Jerry and his family."
Jerry Lawler’s ex-wife and ex-WWE performer Stacey "The Kat" Carter announced from her Twitter account (StaceyCarterKat) Tuesday morning: "Just got a @JerryLawler update. He had a stint & a balloon put in. Right now he is still heavily sedated. Will update when I know more."
The fact medical personnel were at ringside allowed Lawler to receive immediate treatment, a source said. It’s believed Lawler needed CPR before being placed in an ambulance.
Lawler, 62, is a "Raw" announcing mainstay and 40-year pro wrestling veteran who has continued to step into the ring on recent WWE shows. Lawler also has achieved mainstream acclaim for his connection with the late comedian Andy Kaufman during the 1980s, which was featured in the 1999 biopic "The Man in the Moon."
In an eerie coincidence, Lawler was at WWE’s announcing table when another accident occurred: the 1999 death of grappler Owen Hart following a fall from the Kemper Arena ceiling in Kansas City, Mo. Hart’s brother Bret was one of the featured performers on Monday night’s show.
Following in the WWE’s show-must-go-on tradition, "Raw" continued with its scripted storylines Monday but without commentators calling the action. The company did cancel an "appreciation night" ceremony set for former WWE matchmaker and wrestler Pat Patterson when "Raw" was off the air on USA Network.
"I’m shaken by the news of my friend Jerry Lawler’s medical emergency in Montreal," tweeted longtime broadcast partner Jim Ross. "Hands shaking. Prayers for the King. I feel helpless."
Tweeted former WWE wrestler Shawn Michaels: "I’ve just heard about Jerry Lawler!! Time for prayer everybody!! We’re here for you King, God Bless!!"