William Shatner will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next week as part of the Class of 2020. Because last year’s ceremony was canceled, WWE will be simultaneously inducting two classes this year, recognizing different groups of talent for the Classes of 2020 and 2021. Various celebrities have been inducted through the Hall’s “Celebrity Wing” in years past, and now Shatner will take his place among them with his official induction.
Shatner’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame is not as random as it might seem to those who weren’t watching pro wrestling in early 1995. At the time, wrestling villain Jerry “The King” Lawler was hosting a televised segment called the “King’s Court” when Shatner appeared as a special guest. After Lawler began taunting William Shatner, the Star Trek star ended up taking down “The King” with a wrestling maneuver in the ring.
A week after slamming Lawler, Shatner returned to WWE television by standing in fan favorite Bret “The Hitman” Hart’s corner for a match against another wrestling villain, Jeff Jarrett. When Jarrett’s manager Road Dogg attempted to interfere, Shatner decked him with a solid right before then ramming the wrestler into the turnbuckle. Maybe if things hadn’t worked out so well with Star Trek, Shatner could have taken up a career in pro wrestling.
Over a decade after their television scuffle, Shatner made his way back to the WWE Universe to personally induct Lawler into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. At this time, it’s unclear who will be inducting Shatner at this year’s ceremony, but having Lawler do the honors seems most appropriate if you ask me.
The fun didn’t stop there, as Shatner also appeared as a special guest host of WWE RAW in February 2010. A part of his appearance included the actor performing a dramatic interpretation of various WWE Superstars’ entrance themes. His night also included a run-in with WWE chairman Vince McMahon, with Shatner once again rooting for Bret Hart to come out on top with his feud with McMahon. Many guest hosts appeared on RAW during this time period, but Shatner was certainly among the most memorable.
Shatner currently hosts the History Channel series The UnXplained and appears in the romantic comedy Senior Moment, which is now playing in theaters and on demand. Behind the scenes, he has also been commended for his charity work, which includes his annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show to raise funds for children’s and veterans charities.
The other members of the WWE Hall of Fame include John “Bradshaw” Layfield, The British Bulldog, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, the New World Order (Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman), and the Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie Bella. Joining the hall alongside them as the Class of 2021 will be Nora “Molly Holly” Benshoof, Eric Bischoff, Glenn “Kane” Jacobs, The Great Khali, and Rob Van Dam. Other names will likely be announced soon.
Shatner’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame can be seen on Tuesday, April 6, on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else. This news comes to us from WWE.