Lex Luger. The epitome of the 80’s-90’s wrestler. That body was fucking incredible, one of the best in wrestling history. I was introduced to Lex Luger as a kid when he debuted in the WWF as The Narcissist. I guess I wasn’t old enough to remember his early WCW stuff or it wasn’t on TV when I was 7, I don’t know, I digress. Bobby The Brain hyped him hard so I was naturally intrigued. The Brain was so damn good at hyping his guys. Of course, as a young kid, when he first showed up I didn’t like him as he was a bad guy and back then I only liked the good guys. But not long after his debut, Vince needed a new star to replace Hulkamania and Lex was that guy. And that is when I became a Lex Luger fan for life. It’s why I still to this day 29 years later, am pissed off that Lex didn’t win the WWF Championship from my Yokozuna (Mr. Fuji voice) at Summerslam 93. The count-out victory and the celebration as if he won the fucking belt still bother me. Lex was THE GUY, Vince should’ve pulled the trigger. I enjoyed Lex the rest of 93 as the American hero and into 94. His finish as co-winner with Bret Hart in the 94 Rumble will always be one of the most memorable finishes of all time. Then who can forget when he just showed up unannounced on the first WCW Monday Nitro. That was so fucking cool because the internet had not ruined wrestling yet. Or what about when he defeated Hulk Hogan to win the WCW Championship on Nitro?!? That crowd went wild!!! Lex has given us so many great moments through the years! Let’s take a look at Lex’s biography and learn some more.
What We Learned
- Lex started his athletic career as a football player. He played at The U, in the Canadian football league, and then the USFL before turning to pro wrestling.
- Jerry Lawler gave him his first shot in Memphis.
- Percy Pringle first introduced him first as Lex Luger.
- Moved to Florida. Quickly became the Florida territory champion.
- His first big match was against Ric Flair. Lex was in awe of Flair and his lifestyle. He wrestled Flair to a time limit draw. Flair was so impressed with Lex he came back to Crockett and had Crockett sign Lex and bring him in as the 4th Horseman.
- Lex got the first ever guaranteed contract from Crockett as he didn’t want to lose him to McMahon. This pissed off the rest of the guys in the back.
- Backstage Lex became training partners and close friends with Sting.
- On-screen he split with the Horsemen and started a feud with Ric Flair. At that time WCW was sold to Ted Turner and Ric Flair had a falling out with the company and went to WWF. He took the WCW World Title Belt with him. Back then wrestlers put a deposit on the title’s so Flair had put 50K down on the belt and he took the belt with him. So when Luger was supposed to beat Flair for the belt he got fucked and had to wrestle Barry Windam. Luger won. But the belt was some knock off looking title.
- Not long after Lex decided he wanted to leave WCW. He had a year left in his contract when he went to work for Vince McMahon’s startup WBF until he was able to wrestle for WWF. WBF was a bodybuilding promotion.
- Not long before Lex was set to debut he got into a motor cycle crash that almost took his life. In the accident he almost lost his arm. Dr. James Andrews put his arm back together for him.
- Once he got to debut he debuted in the WWF as The Narcissist Lex Luger. The character fit him perfectly.
- Not long after his debut, Vince turned him into an All-American character. He debuted by flying in on a chopper for a Yokozuna body slam challenge. Lex body slammed Yokozuna and got over huge with the New York crowd.
- They then made the Lex Express. A bus that would travel the WWE tour schedule. And Lex was now a made man. Or was he?
- Bruce Prichard said right away after one week he knew that Lex wasn’t the guy. Bret Hart said Lex was a great guy but he wasn’t personable so he had to put on an act pretending to be a babyface. Bruce said Lex didn’t like signing autographs and being with the people so it seemed phony. Cornette compared Luger to a statue that you admired but you didn’t have personal feelings toward.
- SUMMERSLAM 93 – The countout victory – Seeing Lex celebrate the countout victory again fucking sucks. Why is there this huge celebration when the title didn’t change hands? It makes no sense. I’m glad to see others had the same reaction. Sean Waltman just said, “Huh.” Kevin Nash said, “For him not to become the Champion was like, really?” Jim Cornette said, “He’s gonna look like a plate full of piss after this and it happened.”
- By Wrestlemania X Vince had changed his mind, moved on to Bret Hart and Lex was now just one of the guys.
- Lex and WWF couldn’t work out a new contract/character. He ran into Sting and asked if he could speak to Eric Bischoff to for him. Eric said he didn’t want him back but Sting vouched for him. Bischoff offered him 150,000 dollars and hoped he’d turn the contract down. When Lex left WCW he had been making 750,000. But Lex took it as a challenge.
- MONDAY NITRO DEBUT! Lex didn’t let Vince or WWF know he was going to WCW. Lex came out during the Sting vs Flair match to a huge surprise.
- The Total Package Lex Luger era – Main event player, instantly popular. Great attitude, raised the energy in the locker room. Right away Bischoff sat down with him and renogtiated his contract for him.
- Big Show and Goldberg talked about how great that Lex was and instrumental in their careers. Big Show since Lex was in the position he was currently in at one time in the locker as he was the guy the other guys were envious of and Goldber in a similar situation and with the football background.
- August 4th, 1997 Lex Luger vs Hollywood Hogan – AND NEW!!! This crowd was fucking HOT!! Luger racks Hogan and wins the WCW Championship! What a moment!!!! Now it’s time to really celebrate!! He won in the same building he wrestled Yokozuna in at Summerslam 93. What a moment!!
- Loved the Monday Night War era both in and out of the ring. While it was good the partying started hard toward the middle to end of 1998. Alot of drinking and pills. While the partying was hard, Lex never missed a work out and didn’t miss a beat on screen.
- Lex started to date Miss Elizabeth off screen but was hidden because Lex was married.
- When WCW was sold he didn’t dwell on it because he had a 3 year guaranteed contract. According to Sting it got really bad for Lex. There was no getting through to him.
- Lex and Elizabeth continued to see each other and party hard as Lex’s family fell apart. Alot of alcohol and drugs. Lex was arrested for DUI and was the first of many arrests, including a domestic with Elizabeth.
- Elizabeth passed away of an overdose while with Lex. The 911 calls were played during the show. Incredibly sad. Lex thought she was going to make it. Lex was arrested for drug charges.
- Lex’s life became a train wreck. He tried independent wrestling. Drugs. Alcohol. Jail time. Another DUI. More drugs. Contemplated suicide.
- Lex saw the chaplain at his jail. Built a close relationship with Pastor Steve. Lex came clean to God and asked for forgiveness. Felt changed for the first time at 47 years old. Sting baptized Lex.
- In 2007 on a plane he turned his neck and it felt stiff. He woke up the next morning with a pain in the shoulders where he couldn’t move from the neck down. Lex lived in a bed for a year.
- He was able to recover to live independently. Work out a little bit.
As always A&E delivered with this biography. The documentary told a great story of Lex in the ring and both his fall from greatness outside of the ring and his climb out of a drug and alcohol spiral. To be honest I didn’t know Lex was that far gone. I knew the unfortunate passing of Miss Elizabeth happened at his house but I didn’t know how deep he was into everything. I’m glad that he was able to get his life turned around. That’s about all I will talk about outside the ring. Watching these documentaries I’ve noticed a common trend. Alot of these guys were football players, ran through Memphis with the King, and had an interaction with Percy Pringle (Paul Bearer). Lex did all of that. Lex was a badass who had some great moments but ultimately had great moments taken from him. Both his first WCW World Title win and the WWF World Title run that never was could’ve been so much more. And you know what? Even after watching the documentary and hearing Bruce Prichard say what he said about Lex ‘s interactions with fans and Bret Hart saying Lex wasn’t personable…I don’t fucking care! Vince made a huge mistake not putting the belt on Lex at Summerslam 93 and I will die on that hill. Why have that huge celebration and not have a title change? That should’ve been his moment. Especially hearing Sean Waltman, Kevin Nash, and Jim Cornette’s reactions validating that I wasn’t the only one who was screaming what the fuck?!?!? With that being said, we still got the WCW World Title win on Nitro over Hollywood Hogan and that will never be forgotten.
Overall, this was another impressive showing by A&E and I’d highly recommend checking it out.