Brian Christopher Lawler, son of WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, died on Sunday after attempting to hang himself while jailed outside of Memphis, Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has confirmed. The passing was also confirmed by Lawler’s brother, Kevin, who addressed the matter in a short Facebook post.
Lawler was discovered by corrections officers in Hardeman County Jail, and after they administered CPR, the former WWE star was transported to Regional Medical Center, where he died Sunday afternoon.
Shortly after the news of Lawler’s passing, WWE issued a brief statement.
“WWE is saddened to learn that Brian Christopher Lawler, who is best known in WWE as Too Cool’s Grandmaster Sexay, has passed away,” the 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.”
Lawler began following in his legendary father’s professional wrestling footsteps in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA), located in the Memphis area where the elder Lawler had reached iconic status. After nearly a decade in the USWA as “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher, Lawler began his WWE career in 1997, enjoying a slow rise in popularity along the way.
After competing in the company’s short-lived light heavyweight division, Lawler began teaming with Scott “Too Hot” Taylor, and the following year they adopted the monikers of Grandmaster Sexay and Scottie 2 Hotty under the tag team name of Too Cool. The duo was later joined by Samoan big man Rikishi, and one of the most popular trio acts in all of wrestling during that time period was born. During the run as Too Cool with Taylor, the team captured the WWE tag team championship by defeating Edge & Christian on a May 2000 episode of Raw. Later in the year, however, Rikishi turned heel to feud with The Rock, and Lawler was eventually released by the company for transporting illegal drugs across the United States-Canadian border.
Throughout his full-time WWE stint, it was never officially acknowledged that Brian Christopher was the son of “The King,” though it was comically implied on numerous occasions on commentary.
Following his release, Lawler floated in between bookings, even enjoying a two-year run with TNA Wrestling.
Lawler made two returns to the WWE main roster during this decade. In 2011, he was brought in to further the WrestleMania 27 feud between his father and broadcast partner Michael Cole, playing the role of the long-neglected son. And in 2014, he reunited with Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi during an episode of “Old School” Raw to challenge the 3MB group consisting of Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal & Heath Slater. In February 2014, Too Cool made a surprise appearance as challengers for the NXT tag team championship, challenging The Ascension, on the first-ever live WWE Network special, NXT Arrival.
Sadly, Lawler struggled with his demons outside of the ring, as evidenced by the reasoning mentioned above for his 2001 release. He had found himself on the wrong side of the law more than once, generally dealing with substance abuse issues. His last run-in took place July 7 when he was arrested and charge with DUI and evading police, leading to the incarceration where he would take his own life.