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Muhammad Ali to Be Inducted Into WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2024

Muhammad Ali to Be Inducted Into WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2024

Muhammad Ali, who blended appearances in pro wrestling with his boxing career, will go into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2024. Ali’s widow, Lonnie Ali, will induct “The Greatest” during a televised ceremony on April 5 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fans can tune into the event on Peacock starting at 10 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Central.

Besides Muhammad Ali, other WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2024 inductees include Paul Heyman and Bull Nakano, as well as Mike Rotunda and Barry Windham, who made up the tag team U.S. Express. There might be more names coming ahead of the ceremony itself, which WWE will make public in the ensuing weeks.

Ali, who dominated the heavyweight division in boxing for years, decided to get involved in pro wrestling back in the 1970s. He set up an exhibition match with Japanese legend Antonio Inoki.

Muhammad Ali Stepped Into the Wrestling World

Muhammad Ali’s wrestling career began with a WWWF (pre-WWE) card at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. He climbed up into the ring and danced around Gorilla Monsoon a little bit. Monsoon grabbed Ali, put him on his shoulders, and gave him an airplane spin. He threw Muhammad Ali off like a sack of potatoes, leaving him lying in a heap.

The exhibition in Tokyo against Inoki drew a lot of international attention. Yet the match itself fell flat because Ali and Inoki’s styles didn’t mesh. Ali reportedly suffered blood clots in his legs after being kicked repeatedly by Inoki throughout the match.

In front of a large crowd of fans and cameramen all around the ring, Ali and Inoki fought to a draw. This helped protect both men in their respective worlds. For a bit, though, it damaged some fans’ view of Ali as a boxer. Ali and Inoki would each go on to earn more victories.

Muhammad Ali had an important role in WrestleMania I in 1985 at Madison Square Garden. He was the special guest referee when Hulk Hogan and Mr. T took on “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in the main event. In the end, Ali raised Hogan’s hand in victory.

Ali’s involvement in WrestleMania I played a major role in giving the event name recognition. Of course, celebrities like Cyndi Lauper and Liberace had moments in the show, too. WrestleMania I also hit the right place at the right time, setting the then-WWF on a new business course.

Besides that event, Ali was also involved with the “Collision in Korea” pay-per-view event from North Korea in 1995.

Ali’s Biggest Victories Were in the Boxing Ring

Of course, Ali scored his biggest victories not in the squared circle but in the boxing ring. In 1960, he won a gold medal at the Olympics for the United States. Among his wins during his boxing career included those over Ken Norton, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, and Joe Frazier.

At times in his career, he was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Ali wrapped up his boxing career with 56 wins and 5 losses, which included 36 knockouts.

He also gained a lot of press leading up to his fights. Ali reveled the attention cameras and reporters gave him. He mugged for photos and tossed around creative language lines here and there. Besides being poetry in motion, Ali displayed an ability to connect with fans all over the world.

But it’s also important to recognize Muhammad Ali’s strong stances regarding social matters. He refused the draft for the Vietnam War, which led to him being stripped of his heavyweight titles, banishing him from boxing.

After dealing with a number of health issues, Muhammad Ali died in 2016 at 74 years old.