Andy Kaufman to Join WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2023
The legendary Andy Kaufman is set to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2023, alongside other honorees, including Rey Mysterio and The Great Muta, as reported by Variety.
From Stage and Screen to Wrestling Ring
While best known for his role as Latka Gravas in the hit sitcom “Taxi” from 1978-1983, Kaufman significantly impacted the world of professional wrestling. He famously declared himself the Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World, offering cash rewards to any woman who could pin him during his act. This led to a well-known feud with fellow WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler in the Continental Wrestling Association in Memphis, Tennessee.
A Convincing Feud
Despite being friends, Kaufman and Lawler convinced audiences they were bitter enemies. Kaufman claimed Lawler broke his neck when Lawler performed a piledriver on him, appearing in a neck brace afterward. The two appeared together on “Late Night with David Letterman” in 1982, trading insults before Lawler slapped Kaufman, knocking him out of his chair.
A Varied Career
In addition to his wrestling exploits and role in “Taxi,” Kaufman toured comedy clubs and colleges, appeared on the first season of “Saturday Night Live,” and starred in the 1979 ABC special “Andy’s Funhouse.” He also infamously appeared on the ABC comedy-variety series “Fridays,” where he staged a fight onscreen during his first appearance. Despite being a lifelong nonsmoker, Kaufman passed away from lung cancer in 1984.
Movie Tribute: “Man on the Moon”
Kaufman’s life and career were immortalized in the 1999 film “Man on the Moon,” with Jim Carrey portraying Kaufman. Lawler and Letterman appeared as themselves in the movie.
Who will induct Kaufman into the Hall of Fame has not yet been decided. While Lawler has frequently attended Hall of Fame ceremonies over the years, he suffered a stroke in February, and it is unclear if he will be healthy enough to attend.
The 2023 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony is set to air on March 31 at 10:30 pm ET on Peacock, broadcasting from the Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles after that week’s episode of “SmackDown” and the day before the first night of WrestleMania 39.