Sunday, February 5, 2012
Iron Mike Gets Call From Another Hall
By Rich Mancuso
Mike Tyson got his due last June as a new inductee into the international Boxing Hall of Fame. Now he goes from one Hall of Fame to another, as a new member of the WWE Hall of Fame which will be official the night before the annual WrestleMania event for the Vince McMahon owned wrestling organization.
And though this is not boxing, where Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion, the WWE was instrumental in his fame when he had a stare down with Steve Austin. He was a special enforcer referee at WrestleMania XIV in 1998, the same year he was suspended after taking a bit of the ear of Evander Holyfield in their heavyweight championship bout.
When word leaked out early Monday that Tyson would be inducted into the “Celebrity Wing” of the WWE Hall, boxing fans were not surprised. Neither was the wrestling fan. The official announcement, on the weekly Monday Night RAW- WWE telecast, was already known when WWE publicity personnel sent out an official press release earlier in the day. Like Boxing, wrestling fans seem to have their sources so the word about Tyson adding another accolade to his career came with minimal suspense.
Knowledge of a solid relationship with Tyson and the WWE was known when he earned a reported $1.5 million for his WrestleMania role, the annual and largest pro wrestling pay-per-view event of the year. McMahon has always admired Tyson and was seen at ringside for many of the memorable Tyson championship bouts.
Back then, Tyson, a huge fan of the WWE, since his youth was elated to get the call to work a program with Austin and be a headline at WrestleMania. The PPV received one of the highest buy rates since the WWE got into the pay-per-view industry and the “Guys”, as talent is known as, gave him respect something that is not customary when McMahon brings in a celebrity for the premiere wrestling extravaganza.
Tyson said he was honored and had his most fun when he was with the WWE. Austin, who will attend the Hall of Fame induction, is expected to induct Tyson at the official ceremony the eve of WrestleMania at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on March 31st.
When reached for comment, Austin said “Mike was such a pleasure to work with. We have remained friends over the years and it will be a pleasure to be there and see him get inducted as the newest member of the WWE Hall of Fame.”
Tyson will be in the spotlight with other new inductees that include the famed “Four Horsemen”, Edge, and Rey Mysterio. Other names will be announced in the weeks to come. Austin was inducted two years ago and is still a popular draw when he appears occasionally at WWE pay-per-view events and television programming.
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