The celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame is sometimes more fun to think about than the actual wrestlers going in. In some years it’s someone like Drew Carey or Arnold Schwarzenegger or we’ve even had Pete Rose. This year that line gets blurred between wrestler and celebrity with Andy Kaufman finally making it in. Kaufman will be inducted alongside the current honorees that include Rey Mysterio and The Great Muta.
Kaufman was an actor and comedian who starred in Taxi and is known for his eccentric comedy. His wrestling career began when he declared himself the Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World. He offered money to any woman who could pin him as part of his act. That all led to a feud with WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler in the Continental Wrestling Association in Memphis, TN.
Like professional wrestling, no one knew what was real and what wasn’t with Kaufman. Despite playing bitter rivals on-screen, Kaufman and Lawler were great friends behind-the-scenes. Kaufman convinced audiences that Lawler broke his neck with a piledriver, and he appeared with a neck brace thereafter. They famously (or infamously) made an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman in 1982, trading barbs, before Lawler slapped Kaufman out of his chair.
Kaufman and Lawler brought mainstream recognition to professional wrestling and gave the business a much-needed shot in the arm. Andy Kaufman died in 1984 from lung cancer.
Jerry Lawler inducting Kaufman into the WWE Hall of Fame would seem to be the smart choice, but ‘The King’ suffered a stroke in February, and might not be healthy enough to attend. It’s unknown who’ll induct Andy Kaufman at this time.
The 2023 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony will air on March 31st at 10:30 PM ET on Peacock. The Ceremony is being held at Crpyto.com Arena in Los Angeles right after Smackdown.
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