By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Jimmy Blaylock wanted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his business in a big way on Friday.
So he brought royalty – well, wrestling royalty – to his gift and novelty shop, Fun World, on South Green Street.
Scores of people waited in a long line to get photos of and autographs from Jerry “The King” Lawler, an iconic wrestler and commentator popular in World Wrestling Entertainment.
“He was here for our 10th anniversary, and I wanted to bring him back for this,” said Blaylock, a big wrestling fan.
Lawler, 64, was born in Memphis, and rose to popularity in the 1970s after getting his start in regional wrestling promotions in the mid-South. He joined the then-World Wrestling Federation in 1992.
Fans of all ages lined up as much as an hour early to get a chance to meet Lawler, who signed books, programs and even scraps of paper for free.
Professional photos of Lawler were on sale for $10 as well.
“I came to see Jerry Lawler,” said Chuck Herrington, who stood behind at least 100 people. Herrington had a copy of Lawler’s book, “It’s Good to be King,” for the wrestler to sign. “I remember watching him when I was in high school. … he’s a legend.”
Briley Merchant came with his parents and siblings as well to meet the king. Merchant didn’t have a book or photo of Lawler, however – he had his action figure.
It was clear Blaylock was happy to draw a big crowd to join in Fun World’s anniversary celebration.
“Not very many businesses can say they’re 30 years old, and I’ve been blessed by the good people of Northeast Mississippi through the years,” he said. “I’m a big wrestling fan myself, and it had been a long time for a lot of people here in Tupelo to see him and I’m glad he could come back.”