WWE legend Jerry "The King" Lawler drew attention on Sunday with a post on Instagram. He showed himself at a packed meet and greet in Jackson, Tennessee, while celebrating half a century in professional wrestling. However, the photo sparked critical comments from fans concerned about COVID-19.
"Great turnout last night in Jackson Tennessee for my 50 year wrestling celebration! Hey, look! It's Good Ole J.R." Lawler wrote in the caption of his Instagram post. The image showed him waving to the camera while sitting behind a table. Longtime commentator Jim Ross joined him for the meet and greet. Many wrestling fans expressed excitement about the reunion between the two WWE stars, but others pointed out that very few people in the photo were wearing facemasks.
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"Only in America, there is no mask in sight in the middle of a pandemic," one person commented after looking at the photo. Others said that they "can't believe" that there were no mask requirements at the meet and greet. As one person said, they "care about" Ross and Lawler and want them to wear masks to protect themselves.
While many of the fans on Instagram focused on the lack of masks, others took a different approach. They praised Ross and Lawler for "living their lives" and enjoying time with other people. They called out the "mask police" for their comments while laughing about the situation.
Ross and Lawler were not the only superstars on hand for the meet and greet. Kane, AKA Knoxville Mayor Glenn Jacobs took part, as did Sgt. Slaughter, Scott Steiner and Lex Luger. Road Warrior Animal was scheduled to make an appearance for the event, but he died on Tuesday due to natural causes.
The meet and greet happened while Lawler was celebrating 50 years in the wrestling industry. The 70-year-old also took part in a wrestling match at The Ballpark at Jackson, facing Matt Riviera. Lawler entertained the crowd by entering the park on horseback while holding his crown in the air. He then entered a four-ton steel cage and took part in the Thunderdome Cage Match.
Lawler sparked criticism with the packed meet and greet, but the event actually followed him taking part in a June video to promote mask-wearing. Lawler posted a photo of him in Memphis in which he had his face covered. "Shooting a commercial for a Memphis Mask campaign. 'In Memphis We Wear Masks!'" Lawler wrote in the caption of his post. Weeks later, he hosted a meet and greet in which barely any people wore masks.