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Jerry Lawler talks chicken, road to recovery

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(WMC-TV) - The images were broadcast on television around the world as Jerry "The King" Lawler collapsed outside a wrestling ring.  He was the victim of a sudden heart attack.

What many people never saw is what happened behind the scenes the night "The King" went down.  

"My heart didn't beat for 20 minutes and had to be shocked back to life," said Jerry Lawler.  "Had I not been where I was, on television, worldwide television with a physician right there ringside then I would literally be dead right now."

Lawler went into sudden cardiac arrest in Canada during Monday Night Raw.  He had just wrestled in a tag team match when he sat down at the announcers' table and slumped over.

That was six months ago.

"Honestly, Janice, the weird thing about it is I have not had one ill aftereffect. I've not felt bad," he told Action News 5's Janice Broach.

Lawler says there was very little scarring or damage to his heart.

He says his heart attack was not caused by blocked arteries. It was textbook cardiac arrest.

Jerry Lawler's father died at age 59, after seven heart attacks.  His brother is on a list for a heart transplant right now.

"When you have that kind of a history, it's about 90 percent chance that you're gonna have some sort of heart problems," explained Lawler.

He continued, "I ate a lot of fried chicken."

But that is an understatement.

"Being the good ol' southern boy that I am, I'd eat fried chicken five times a week," he admitted.

Lawler says he still eats fried chicken - but now, he eats it in moderation.

"I miss it, I miss it so bad," he said.

"The King" also had to cut back on sweets.

His diet was not very good, but he is a wrestler, so he must have done a lot of exercising, right?  False.

"I never worked out. Never ever went to the gym or worked out a day in my life," he said.

But that too has changed.

Since the heart attack Jerry Lawler has started exercising.

"For Christmas, my girlfriend, Lauryn, and I got bikes, bicycles, so we started just the other day," he said.

Lawler says even a short ride through his neighborhood puts the hurt on a man who never exercised before.

His ultimate goal is to get back to what he loves - wrestling.

"The one thing I've not done since the heart attack is get back into the ring and wrestle," he explained. "And, Lauryn says that I've been, the one thing that's different about me since the heart attack, she says, 'You're depressed.  You're going through depression.'  Which I don't feel it. I don't think it. But, yeah, I certainly do miss the wrestling and I do want to go back and do it some more."

For now, Lawler is focused on his health as he waits for clearance from doctors with the WWE.

One of the reasons he cannot wrestle right now is because he is taking blood thinners.  If he got cut in the ring, the consequences could be bad.

And speaking of bad things - Jerry told me he has never tasted alcohol, done drugs, or smoked cigarettes.  Fried chicken was his only vice.

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