Performance artist, actor and former ‘Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World’ Andy Kaufman will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Kaufman joins Rey Mysterio Jr. and The Great Muta in the 2023 class of inductees.
Kaufman shot to stardom in the US with his performances as an ‘anti-comedian’ on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. His foreign man character was the basis of his role of Latka Gravas on Taxi.
Kaufman was a performance artist who constantly antagonized his audiences and television executives.
At the height of his fame, he christened himself the ‘Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World’ in the early 1980s.
Andy Kaufman to be Inducted into WWE Hall of Fame
Wrestling Feud With Jerry Lawler
Kaufman offered $1,000 to any woman who could pin him. Kaufman drew the ire of the US public during this time for his obnoxious and chauvinistic actions playing bad guy wrestler. He claimed to defeat more than 400 women.
Jerry “The King” Lawler began a public spat with Kaufman over his treatment of women and for his belittling of people from the south of the US.
Kaufman claimed to have suffered a broken neck at the hands of Lawler. The two had an infamous on-air fight on Late Night with David Letterman in 1982. At the time, people believed the feud to be real.
Man on the Moon
It was later revealed to have been a work between Lawler and Andy Kaufman. The feud was a large portion of the Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon starring Jim Carrey in the titular role. Danny Di Vito – a former colleague of Kaufman on Taxi – played his manager George Shapiro. Lawler played himself in the 1999 movie.
Kaufman continued to make appearances for Lawler’s Memphis-based Wrestling up until the time he was diagnosed with cancer in 1983. He passed away on May 16, 1984. Many people at the time believed Kaufman to have faked his death.
Lawler has said it was one of the greatest things to ever happen to his career. He has also gone on record to say that Kaufman did a lot to the benefit of wrestling.
The angle was also reportedly offered to then WWF owner Vince McMahon Sr. but was turned down.
Kaufman was a playable character in the Legends of Wrestling II video game. A Kaufman wrestling action figure was also released as part of a double pack with Lawler.
The Hall of Fame 2023 ceremony will take place on March 31, following Friday Night SmackDown.
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