Yesterday, the wrestling world mourned the tragic loss of Brian Christopher Lawler, son of Jerry “The King” Lawler, best known perhaps for his time as one-half of the WWF tag team Too Cool. Lawler—as Grand Master Sexay—saw his career reach new heights in one of the most improbable ways possible.
Lawler arrived in the pro wrestling scene with near unattainable expectations as the son of Jerry Lawler. Expectations were so high that Brian took the name Brian Christopher as to help him grow into his role before being directly compared to his superstar father. Also, Lawler, still a top star in Memphis at the time, didn’t want the local audience to think he had a son that old.
While people may have known that Christopher was Lawler’s son—there was unmistakable family resemblance—he charted his own path and began his own career, outside of his father’s shadow. In Memphis, Christopher feuded with Jeff Jarrett, Bill Dundee, Tom Prichard, the Moondogs and many more of USWA’s top stars winning the USWA Heavyweight Title a record 24 times.
In 1997, Christopher joined his father in the WWF, debuting in time for the WWF’s relaunch of the Light Heavyweight Championship. Once again, the family relationship between Lawler and Christopher wasn’t explicitly mentioned but references in commentary, chants of “Jerry’s Son” and Lawler straight up helping his son win matches made it fairly obvious to anyone watching.
Christopher floundered in the WWF’s fledgling Light Heavyweight division failing to win the inaugural title tournament and spinning his wheels until WrestleMania 14.
It was during WrestleMania’s tag team battle royal that Christopher formally began teaming with fellow Light Heavyweight flameout Scott “Too Hot” Taylor. The team, dubbed Too Much, were self-aggrandizing pretty boy wrestlers who were very enamored with themselves and each other. They hug one another on the way to the ring, gazed upon each other’s beauty and frankly never get enough of the other. Too Much was your typical young and handsome pro wrestling tag team, one that would have probably been a mega babyface act in another era. In the more gritty, grimy WWF—one in the midst of their Attitude Era—they were hated heels.
Christopher, now dubbed Brian “Too Sexy” Christopher and Taylor teamed through the spring of 1999 but never seemed to click with the audience. A staple of WWF Shotgun Saturday Night, Too Much weren’t quite jobbers but were never taken seriously as a threat in the tag division.
In the fall, history changed for Christopher.
After a few months away from the company, Too Much became Too Cool. Scott “Too Hot” Taylor was Scotty 2 Hotty and Brian “Too Sexy” Christopher became Grandmaster Sexay. The former pretty boys had become the worst “b-boys” of all-time. Dressed in baggy clothes, size XXXL jerseys and bucket hats, Too Cool debuted to a tepid reaction.
Initially brought in as heels, the duo elicited disgust from the likes of commentators Michael Cole and Jim Ross who couldn’t believe they had to call a match featuring something named Grandmaster Sexay.
The act stunk and nobody seemed to care. But they stuck with it and it’s a good thing they did. Slowly but surely the crowd took to these dancing idiots. They weren’t good at dancing, they dressed like extras from Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” but the crowd saw something in the duo. Boos slowly became cheers. In December, Too Cool launched into a new stratosphere when they added a member to their stable: Rikishi.
The former Fatu and Sultan returned to WWF in late 1999 as a badass heavyweight killer named Rikishi. While Rikishi ran through the lower half of WWF’s roster, the crowd didn’t care and this appeared to be yet another dead end push for Fatu.
In December, Rikishi teamed with Too Cool to opposed The Holly’s and Viscera. Too Cool and the Hollys had their beef, Rikishi and Viscera had theirs. Lump them in a random six-man tag and move on. Except, they didn’t move on. There was undeniable chemistry between these dancing idiots Too Cool and the big man Rikishi. One random six-man tag became a regular thing. Finally, in December, Rikishi became a full-fledged member of Too Cool donning his glasses for the first time.
Once Rikishi possessed the powers of his sunglasses, he became a dancing idiot just like the other two. Before the glasses reached his face, Rikishi was a killer. It was the best of the both worlds as Too Cool maintained their comedy edge while Rikishi still maintained an aura of destruction. When they would win a match—usually thanks to Rikishi—he’d put on the glasses and dance.
The act became an overnight sensation. Christopher, Taylor and Rikishi became one of WWF’s most over babyfaces acts and an ongoing threat to the main event heels at the time: D-Generation X and the McMahon-Helmsley conglomerate.
No match better exemplifies how over Too Cool was than the February 7, 2000 match between DX and the recently-debuted Radicalz against Cactus Jack, The Rock and Too Cool. In this match you have a whos-who for stars of the era: The Rock, Cactus Jack/Mick Foley, Triple H, Chris Benoit and others. Yet, there is Too Cool right there step-for-step with the greats of the era. The crowd explodes at the sight of Taylor’s Worm and pops for every movement of Christopher, who was arguably the star of the match.
For a brief period, Christopher had officially exited his father’s shadow and became a star in his own right.
In May, Too Cool defeated Edge and Christian to win the WWF Tag Team Titles, the one and only WWF Title reign of Christopher’s career.
Tragically, the momentum of Too Cool was stalled when Rikishi turned heel, revealing himself as the man behind the wheel of a car that hit “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at Survivor Series 1999. The story made no sense then, makes less sense today but at least gave us the famous “I did it for The Rock” promo, Rikishi’s badass heel theme and this spot at Armageddon 2000:
— Allan (@allan_cheapshot) December 10, 2017
This would effectively end Christopher’s run as an important part of the company. Taylor was sidelined for much of 2001 with injury so Christopher would transition into a team with the stoic Steve Blackman but it didn’t stick.
Christopher was released later in the later for illegally carrying drugs across the United States-Canada border. Christopher would wind up back in the WWE numerous times over the next handful of years including one particularly cringey segment in 2011.
Though Christopher’s last appearance on WWE television was an all-time bomb and his career could be looked at overall as a missed opportunity for the son of a wrestling legend, you cannot deny the impact Christopher had on WWF viewers in 1999 and 2000. In one of the WWF’s most successful years, Christopher was one of its top stars.
For children (such as myself), Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay were among our favorite characters. Yeah, we knew it was stupid but that era was all about embracing the stupid. Too Cool was pro wrestling personified. A goofy collection of guys playing their characters with the volume turned up to 10. When I became engrossed in e-wrestling and e-feds, my character’s “pic base” was Scotty 2 Hotty. The team left an indelible mark on my fandom and yesterday’s news struck a chord with me and many fans of my age group.
The team didn’t have longevity to be named an all-time great team and Christopher’s career was filled with dead ends and tragedy. Still, we’ll always have Too Cool. We’ll always have the pop of Grandmaster Sexay putting on his hideous sunglasses and hitting the Hip Hop Drop. We’ll always have the that February 10-man tag match.
I won’t get into the other dynamics of Christopher’s life and death. He was at times a tragic and misunderstood figure who no matter what would always be living in his father’s shadow. He made his fair share of bad decisions along the way but the news of his death was undeniably tragic. No matter how it ended, I’ll always remember the positive memories I, and so many my age, had with Christopher, Taylor, Rikishi and Too Cool.
Rest in peace Brian Lawler.