It appears that Iron Mike Tyson will be going back to WrestleMania, well weekend that is. Tyson will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, thus bringing Tyson back to WrestleMania for the first time since WrestleMania 14.
Tyson will likely be this year’s one and only celebrity or non-wrestler Hall of Fame induction. He certainly isn’t the first professional athlete to go into the WWE shrine. Tyson joins Bob Uecker, William Perry, and Pete Rose with those honors.
More importantly on that famous night, the WWE had big success in the ratings. WWE RAW generated a 4.0 rating as opposed to WCW Nitro’s 4.5. While the WWE did lose the battle that night, the event is credited as helping turn around the war. It was the first rating above a 3.6 in close to six months. It was less than three months later that the WWE finally beat WCW on a Monday night in the ratings. This moment was also critical to elevating Steve Austin and garnering mainstream interest for the WWE. All in all this was one of a handful of moments that helped turn the corner and the fortunes of World Wrestling Entertainment and Vince McMahon around.
In my opinion, the days of getting outraged over WWE celebrity Hall of Fame inductees are over. It is something that will happen every year and just something you have to get used to. In the case of Tyson, he probably has more business being in there than some of the wrestlers. If you take into consideration what he did for the WWE in 1998 for business, it is more than a lot of the fringe professional wrestlers in the Hall have ever done.
Let’s face it. The speech itself should be one of the greatest WWE Hall of Fame speeches of all time. This guy isn’t filtered and he certainly doesn’t have to worry about saying something that will bury himself to the office. I think it is a big coup by the WWE because Tyson’s celebrity with The Hangover hasn’t been as big as it is today in well over a decade.
All I know is somebody better keep a backstage camera on Flair and Tyson!