Originally published at Andy Kaufman to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame
Andy Kaufman is the latest inductee for this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class.
The late actor and comedian was confirmed by Variety on Monday as being part of the class, which includes Rey Mysterio and Keiji Muto.
Kaufman had national fame from his work on “Taxi” which aired for five seasons between ABC and NBC from 1978 until 1983.
He was a huge pro wrestling fan that would attend shows in New York, but when pitching Vince McMahon Sr. on working with the group, he was referred to Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett in Memphis, who would be more open to the idea. It was Bill Apter that reached out to Lawler and established the connection that led to the famous feud.
After Kaufman fought multiple women on television, it culminated with the interaction with Lawler and an April 1982 match at the Mid-South Coliseum. The match did raise attendance from what the territory was averaging but subsequent meetings went down.
In the match, Lawler allowed Kaufman to take advantage by offering his head, which led to Lawler lifting Kaufman and slamming him to the canvas before hitting a pair of piledrivers and being removed by stretcher. Kaufman sold the neck injury as legitimate.
On July 28, 1982, Lawler and Kaufman appeared on Late Night with David Letterman on NBC and shot their big angle. The initial premise was for both to apologize to one another and Kaufman would sing Dionne Warwick’s “What the World Needs Now” and they would have a happy ending to the feud. Instead, they came up with an idea Lawler clocked him with a slap prompting Kaufman to return to the set and cut an obscenity-laced promo and throw coffee at Lawler.
It was a major moment in the history of Letterman’s show and the clip was included in his farewell montage when Letterman stepped down from “Late Night” in 2015.
They continued to feud over the next year but in Lawler’s 2002 book, he noted that attendance went down and realized it has run its course.
Kaufman was diagnosed with lung cancer and died in May 1984 at the age of 35.
His feud with Lawler was turned into a movie in 1999 with “Man on the Moon” directed by Milos Forman and starring Jim Carrey as Kaufman and Lawler as himself.
The Lawler vs. Kaufman feud was also covered on Tales from the Territories on VICE TV last year.
The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will take place Friday, March 31st at the Crypto.com Arena.