Brian Christopher Lawler, who performed in WWE under the names Brian Christopher and Grand Master Sexay, has died after hanging himself in jail on Saturday night.
Lawler’s mother, Kay, told TMZ Sports that Lawler passed away today surrounded by family and friends after being placed on life support last night following a suicide attempt in jail. He was surrounded by his father, Jerry Lawler, his brother, Kevin, and other family members.
TMZ Sports was told that Lawler died around 3:40 p.m. Central Daylight Time.
A representative for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed in a statement that Lawler died after hanging himself at Hardeman County Jail in Bolivar, Tennessee. At the request of the District Attorney’s office in Memphis, Tennessee, an investigation has been opened into the circumstances surrounding Lawler’s death.
The statement reads (H/T Pro Wrestling Sheet).:
“At the request of 25th District Attorney General Mark Davidson, TBI Special Agents are investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident involving an inmate at the Hardeman County Jail. On Saturday evening, Brian C. Lawler (DOB 1/10/72) was found hanging in his cell. Corrections officers administered CPR until paramedics arrived. Lawler was transported to Regional One Medical Center in Memphis where he died Sunday afternoon. The investigation remains active and ongoing.”
He was 46 years old.
There were conflicting reports earlier in the day on whether Lawler had actually passed away. According to Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline, he was pronounced brain dead this morning.
While family friends said that the decision was made to pull Lawler from life support and that he had passed away, others family friends at the hospital said that he was technically not dead and that life support had not yet been pulled. He was pulled off life support this afternoon after his immediate family members saw him, including Jerry Lawler, who flew to Tennessee today from an appearance in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Lawler was in jail after being arrested earlier this month in Tennessee for DUI and evading arrest.
According to official documents obtained by TMZ Sports, cops spotted Lawler speeding and swerving around 1:00 a.m. on July 7.
Cops attempted to pull him over, but Lawler failed to stop — because, according to police, he was trying to make it home.
Once Lawler finally stopped, cops say he reeked of booze and had an open 12 ounce can in his center console. So, they arrested him on the spot.
Lawler was taken to a nearby police station, where he was booked for DUI and evading arrest. He was held on $40,000 bond and bond wasn’t posted to release him.
This arrest came one month after Lawler was busted for leaving a Hampton Inn hotel in Memphis, Tenneessee without paying.
The manager of the hotel flagged down police and said that two men stayed in a room without paying.
Lawler and a man named Terry Teague used a company credit card to stay in the hotel, however, it did not have enough money on it, the arrest affidavit said.
Police said the suspects told the manager they did not have the money to pay the $802 for the room.
Lawler was charged with Theft of Services $1000 or less.
Jerry Lawler and a family friend had been working on getting Brian to a rehab center, but Brian didn’t know when he was going to be released from prison.
At the age of 16, Lawler began wrestling in 1988 under a mask for the United States Wrestling Association in Memphis, Tennessee. After unmasking, Lawler adopted the name “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher since Jerry Lawler didn’t want to be seen publicly as someone old enough to have a son wrestling, thinking it would age him in the eyes of fans. In the USWA, he worked as both a face and heel and feuded with such wrestlers such as Jeff Jarrett, Bill Dundee, Tom Prichard, The Moondogs, and even his father (though he was never revealed as Lawler’s son while in the USWA).
During the final years of the USWA (which ceased operations in 1997), Brian and Jerry Lawler were the top two stars in the promotion. Brian held the USWA Heavyweight Championship 26 times.
Lawler is best known for his career in WWE, which started in 1997 and occurred at the height of the Attitude Era. Scotty Too Hotty and Lawler (under the name Grand Master Sexay), were among WWE’s most popular tag teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Collectively known as Too Cool, the over-the-top tandem proved there was more to them than just whacky dance routines when they defeated Edge and Christian for the World Tag Team Championship in May 2000. That same year, they also competed at WrestleMania 2000, where they teamed with Chyna to defeat The Radicalz in a Six-Person Intergender Tag Team Match.
Prior to teaming with Scotty 2 Hotty, he was known in WWE as Brian Christopher. The dynamic wrestler reached the finals of the 1997 Light Heavyweight Championship tournament, where he ultimately fell to Taka Michinoku.
WWE released Lawler in May 2001 for illegally conveying drugs across the Canada–United States border. He returned to the independent circuit, and from June 2002 until early 2004, worked for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the name Brian Lawler. He formed a group called Next Generation with fellow second-generation wrestlers David Flair and Erik Watts. They were involved in a rivalry with Dusty Rhodes and harassed him with a replica of the NWA World Title belt that he wore when he was champion. He most notably lost matches to B.G. James (aka Road Dogg) and Sean Waltman (aka X-Pac) in late 2003.
In April 2004, Jim Ross signed Lawler back to the WWE roster as his last act as head of Talent Relations. He was released within a few weeks, which coincided with John Laurinaitis taking over J.R.’s role.
Following his second and final release, Lawler primarily worked independent shows but made three more surprise appearances for WWE.
In March 2011 on Raw, Brian verbally humiliated his father heading into the WWE Hall of Famer’s match with Michael Cole at WrestleMania XXVII.
In January 2014, Too Cool and Rikishi reunited to defeat 3MB in a Six-Man Tag Team Match on an “Old School” edition of Raw.
The following month at NXT ArRIVAL, Too Cool unsuccessfully challenged The Ascension for the NXT Tag Team Championship (Too Cool worked the show as mystery opponents).
Lawler had a number of arrests over the years and according to Meltzer, his drug and alcohol issues dated back decades. He had stints in rehab in the past and had periods where he was clean, but they never lasted. Meltzer said that “his life had spiraled out of control in recent years.”