Andy Kaufman’s momentous stint in wrestling was undoubtedly enough to warrant a position in the WWE Hall of Fame, and the comedian’s time has finally arrived. The late Kaufman was inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame last night as a part of the 2023 class and, though a recent stroke prevented him from appearing in person, the moment would not have been complete without involvement from Kaufman’s notorious in-ring rival, Jerry “The King” Lawler. Lawler has long been campaigning for Kaufman to be inducted, and he was finally able to see it through this year.
“One of [the] most memorable moments in my career certainly involved Andy Kaufman,” Lawler said, speaking from his home. Lawler was likely referring to the onscreen tussle that took place on an episode of “Late Night with David Letterman” in 1982 during the pair’s ongoing wrestling feud. In a pre-recorded video, Lawler stated that tonight would have been the biggest night of Kaufman’s life, and then introduced fellow Memphis veteran Jimmy Hart to induct the legendary comedian.
Kaufman and Lawler engaged in a heated rivalry during Kaufman’s time in the Memphis territory in 1982 and 1983, with Kaufman acting as a despised heel who preferred to wrestle women, and Lawler stepping in as a hero who aimed to take Kaufman down a peg or two. At the time, many viewers were fully convinced of the feud’s reality, though Kaufman and Lawler were actually close friends who were working together to put on as entertaining of a performance as possible. Devastatingly, Kaufman passed away from cancer just a short time later in 1984. However, his brief foray into the world of professional wrestling spawned a lasting legacy that’s influential to this day.
Source: Wrestling Inc.