WWE announced the legendary comedian Andy Kaufman as the next inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2023. WWE confirmed the news Monday (Mar. 20) following an initial report by Variety.
— WWE (@WWE) March 20, 2023
Andy Kaufman To Be Inducted Into WWE Hall Of Fame
Kaufman is the third inductee announced for this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. The first inductee was current WWE Superstar and longtime veteran Rey Mysterio, followed by another wrestling legend, The Great Muta, aka Keiji Muto.
Kaufman was a talented comedian best known for his work on “Taxi” and “Saturday Night Live.” However, Kaufman also had a love of wrestling and portrayed a pro wrestling bad guy, or “heel” as in wrestling terminology, to WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, as depicted in the 1999 biopic, “Man on the Moon.” The movie saw Lawler portray himself in the segments involving Kaufman’s foray into pro wrestling. The film starred Jim Carrey as Kaufman and was directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Milos Forman.
In a September 2020 interview with WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin on “The Broken Skull Sessions,” Lawler noted that he had difficulty working with Carrey on the set of “Man on the Moon.” Lawler noted that Carrey acted like Kaufman and Lawler hated each other in real life when they were friends, simply playing out a storyline on television.
Lawler and Kaufman famously played out their rivalry during a “Late Night with David Letterman” appearance in July 1982. The segment saw Lawler “slap” Kaufman in the face out of his chair during the talk show segment. Kaufman was feigning an injury and wearing a neck brace.
Kaufman’s iconic feud with Lawler helped pave the way for crossover Superstars and celebrities to mix it up with professional wrestlers, a tradition that still lives on. Last year at WrestleMania 38, “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville paid tribute to Kaufman with his ring gear for his match against Sami Zayn.
Kaufman tragically passed away in 1985 at 35 due to lung cancer. However, his comedy and professional wrestling legacy has continued to endure. As noted by Variety, it’s unknown who will be inducting Kaufman into the Hall of Fame this month. Lawler might be unlikely to attend the ceremony as he is recovering from suffering a stroke last month. It is unknown if he can make the trip to participate in the event.
Another potential candidate to induct Lawler would likely be WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart, who also had a rivalry and was involved in matches with Kaufman in the 1980s in Memphis Wrestling. Hart, a former onscreen WWE talent and music composer, has maintained a good relationship with WWE and has experience inducting wrestlers and talents into the Hall of Fame.
WWE likely has two or three more spots for this year’s Hall of Fame class, so it will be interesting to see who else makes the cut.
WWE is set to hold its Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Induction Ceremony on Friday, Mar. 31. The ceremony will be held following “Friday Night SmackDown” at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be streamed live on Peacock starting at 10:30 pm EST. The induction ceremony will be available on the WWE Network for fans outside of the United States.