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Fame and celebrity

Brian Christopher dead: former WWE star ‘Grandmaster Sexay’ of Too Cool, and son of Jerry Lawler, dies after suicide attempt in jail

Life support turned off for 46-year-old son of WWE legend Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, a day after he tried to hang himself in Memphis jail cell following July arrest for driving under the influence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2018, 2:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 2:25pm

Former professional wrestler Brian Christopher Lawler, the son of WWE legend Jerry “The King” Lawler, has died after attempting to hang himself in a jail cell.

The 46-year-old was placed on life support on Saturday night after the suicide attempt at the Hardeman County Jail outside Memphis, Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has confirmed. His life support was turned off after his family, including his father, had arrived at the hospital to pay their respects.

Lawler had been arrested on July 7 for driving under the influence and evading police, and was also arrested in June for reportedly leaving without paying a bill at a Hampton by Hilton hotel.

Corrections officers found Lawler in his cell at the weekend and administered CPR, before the ex-WWE star – who performed as “Grandmaster Sexay” for the American company between 1997 and 2001 – was taken to Regional Medical Centre. He died there on Sunday afternoon.

“WWE is saddened to learn that Brian Christopher Lawler, who is best known in WWE as Too Cool’s Grandmaster Sexay, has passed away,” a WWE statement read.

“Lawler, who is the son of WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, competed during the height of the Attitude Era. WWE extends its condolences to Lawler’s family, friends and fans.”

In WWE, Lawler was part of the “Too Cool” trio, along with fellow performers “Rikishi” (Solafu F. Fatu Jnr) and “Scotty 2 Hotty” (Scott Garland), that entertained audiences with their slick dance moves just as much as their moves in the ring.

They found popularity during WWE’s “Attitude Era”, a period of heightened success for the pro wrestling industry in terms of pay-per-view revenue, television ratings and pop culture appeal.

With Garland, Lawler won a tag team championship in 2000, but was released by the company the following year for transporting illegal drugs across the border between the United States and Canada.

Lawler began his pro wrestling career in 1988 following in his father’s footsteps in the Memphis area – where Jerry Lawler is an icon – with the United States Wrestling Association (USWA).

He performed in the USWA for nine years as “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher before joining WWE, where his father worked as a ringside commentator for its Raw and SmackDown television shows as well as pay-per-view broadcasts.

Lawler returned to the independent wrestling scene after his WWE release before a two-year spell in Total Nonstop Action, another American company.

He returned to WWE in May 2004, but wrestled only four matches and was released again a month later.

On the March 14, 2011 episode of Raw, Lawler took part in a segment with his father, who was involved in a storyline with his fellow commentator Michael Cole. Playing the role of the neglected son, Lawler sided with Cole, saying he felt his father was ashamed of him. The elder Lawler said that his son was “a bigger screw-up than Charlie Sheen”.

The younger Lawler had a history of substance abuse issues. He was arrested in February 2009 for disorderly conduct, and in June 2009 for public intoxication. A month later he was jailed for 30 days after failing to attend an inpatient treatment centre as part of his plea agreement.

Lawler came back to WWE again on the January 5, 2014 episode of Raw, an “Old School” edition of the programme, alongside Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty.

He made what would be his final WWE appearance on the NXT Arrival show in February 2014, wrestling a tag team match with his old partner Scotty 2 Hotty, who now works as a coach at WWE’s Performance Centre.

The professional wrestling world has paid tribute to Lawler following his death.

“My deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Brian Lawler, aka Brian Christopher, after his passing,” tweeted WWE star Matt Hardy, who arrived in the company with his brother and tag team partner Jeff at the same time as Too Cool.

“He was SO talented. We learned from him. Godspeed, Grandmaster Sexay.”

“Incredibly sad news about the passing of Brian Christopher. A tragic loss of life,” tweeted WWE performer and executive Paul “Triple H” Levesque.

“Brian had so much talent, such great charisma,” wrote WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley in a tweet. “At one time Brian, Scotty and Rikishi were as hot as anyone,” WWE producer Michael Hayes wrote.

WWE legend Hulk Hogan tweeted: “RIP Brian Christopher thank you for always stealing the show my brother”.