Last Saturday afternoon on MemphiSport Live, we discussed the late Andy Kaufman and his contributions to professional wrestling. Being a part of one of the most famous segments in Late Night with David Letterman history, his ongoing feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler made national headlines. Recently, The King even tweeted his thoughts on Andy Kaufman going into the Celebrity Wing of WWE’s Hall of Fame.
This week’s Throwback Thursday dates all the way back to 1982. Before the footage hits WWE Network, let’s take a look at the segment that not only helped put Memphis Wrestling on the map – but it was also what Lawler calls “one of the best things in his career.” This clip will not only show the segment from Letterman in its entirety, but also highlights of interviews, attacks and so much more from the epic feud between the two.
* Caution – Mature Language *
One of the greatest feuds in professional wrestling history started right here in Memphis, TN. It is amazing that this feud is so highly regarded among fans and experts, with Kaufman not even being a wrestler. That shows you just how talented Kaufman truly was. As for Jerry Lawler – well, he is The King after all.
Andy Kaufman was indeed a Hollywood celebrity. But he absolutely loved professional wrestling. He starred in numerous television shows and specials, including his most popular run on the hit television show Taxi. My personal favorite skit was his rendition of “Mighty Mouse” on Saturday Night Live. Kaufman’s love of Memphis apparently ran even deeper than just wrestling. Have you seen Andy’s Elvis Presley impersonation on the Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show?
With the Memphis Wrestling video library headed to WWE Network, maybe then The King will get his wish of Andy Kaufman being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Do you think Andy Kaufman deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?
Fun Facts: Most thought that the Lawler vs. Kaufman feud was legitimate for many years. It wasn’t revealed until 10 years after Kaufman’s untimely death from lung cancer that Lawler and Kaufman were actually friends who were simply putting on a show. Kaufman was so sneaky and secretive, many actually thought Kaufman faked his sickness with cancer and even his own death.
A movie based on Kaufman’s life was made in 1999 entitled “Man on the Moon.” Jim Carrey starred as Andy Kaufman. Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross were also featured in the film. It is a must-see.
“Throwback Thursday” is a weekly Memphis Wrestling post at MemphiSport.com.
Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.