So, Iron Mike Tyson, the baddest man on the planet, is all set to be inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame.
The second you read that, it was like hearing him say it, right? Come on, it was.
I have to say, I am one fan who really does not have all that much of a problem with this. Maybe it’s the fact that Tyson is one of the most controversial athletes of all time, that he is constantly thumbing his nose at the establishment, that causes me to pull for him.
Who doesn’t like the rebel, right?
Perhaps it’s because Iron Mike is such a fan himself, that anytime he appears on WWE TV, it’s like seeing one of the guys just having fun with the rest of them.
Who knows, if he had taken a different path, he could be entering the Hall as a former WWE Champion.
I suppose all of this is okay with me because, to put it simply, Mike Tyson gets it.
He is a showman. Coming from years in the boxing world in which he saw the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas atmosphere, Tyson was very accustomed to all the hype and grandstanding that went along with selling the sport to the masses.
He may not have been the notorious talker that Muhammad Ali was, but he understood that flexing, trash talking and intimidation, was all part of the game.
So, Tyson was just putting on an act when he threatened to kill Lennox Lewis and eat his children, right?
Yeah, not real sure about that one.
But, wacky psychotic reality breaks aside, Mike Tyson had the perfect demeanor for a wrestling personality, and was perhaps the most well-known sports figure in the world when he first did business with WWE. He brought all of that crazy publicity with him, not to mention the spotlight of the world outside of pro wrestling.
He gave WWE more exposure with other sports fans, people who may have not cared all that much about the business, but chose to turn in when news of Tyson’s presence made SportsCenter. He brought attention, he brought ratings, and he did it all with that goofy grin on his face.
You know that kid in the front row who’s wearing the John Cena hat who’s smiling from ear to ear because he just caught John’s T-Shirt? That was Mike Tyson. He was like a kid who was allowed to hang out with his heroes and be part of the show.
It is that very understanding, that acceptance of professional wrestling as live theater, an over-the-top action movie, that caused Tyson to easily fit in to his surroundings in WWE. He was able to walk right in, as if he had always belonged there.
So, is that all it takes, being able to blend into the sports entertainment world, to embrace the environment, to enter the WWE Hall of Fame?
Yeah, pretty much.
Here’s the part where a lot of fans take issue with Tyson being inducted into the same ranks as Stone Cold Steve Austin and Ricky the Dragon Steamboat.
Tyson, as much as he is a publicity magnet, is also a living train wreck. His life has been one extremely chaotic event after another. An abusive marriage, a three-year stint in prison for rape, and let’s not forget the night he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear off.
That’s a classic "wtf" moment if I have ever seen one. Do people still say that, by the way?
And, now we’re all supposed to just sit back and celebrate the fact that this mess of a man is going to be inducted on the same night as eleven time World Heavyweight Champion Edge, and the legendary Four Horsemen?
Yeah, pretty much.
The thing is, as fans, we all have to keep the WWE Hall of Fame in perspective. Yes, it’s filled with real talent; workers, promoters and announcers, who made solid contributions to the industry, and deserve the recognition for their efforts. For them, the Hall is no doubt an honor, and represents their years of commitment to the business.
But, the truth is, this is not your typical Hall of Fame. The members are not decided by fan votes, or by pro wrestling writers like myself.
This is Vince McMahon’s baby. He is the one who makes the decisions on who’s in, and who’s not. If he wants Pete Rose and Drew Carey in the Hall, then, they are in.
Taking all of that into consideration, why not put Mike Tyson in?
For me, it is a sign of the times, and an obvious acceptance on fans’ part, that there has not been a lot of resistance at the announcement of Mike Tyson into the WWE Hall of Fame. Apparently, I’m not the only one who is able to look at both sides of it.
Wait, professional wrestling fans agreeing on a topic with level-headed opinions? Ludicrous.
Sounded just like him.