Boxing legend and pop culture icon “Iron” Mike Tyson will be inducted into the WWE's 2012 Hall of Fame class on March 31 in Miami, WWE announced to major media markets throughout the nation Monday. Among the most decorated pugilists in history, Tyson established his place in WWE lore in 1998 when he served as a special “outside enforcer” for the WWE Championship main event of WrestleMania XIV between Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Long before his appearance on The Grandest Stage of Them All, however, Tyson made his name in boxing, initially taking the sport by storm in the 1980s. Within the first two years of his professional career, Tyson amassed a 22-0 record, winning 21 of those contests by knockout.
In 1986, at age 20, “The Baddest Man on the Planet” captured the World Boxing Council title to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history – a distinction that stands today. The very next year he became the sport’s first Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion, winning the top prizes in both the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation.
Tyson’s first foray into sports-entertainment – a memorable appearance on Raw in January 1998 – produced one of the most indelibly chaotic scenes in WWE's history, as an icy staredown with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin dissolved into a wild pull-apart brawl. Often credited with ushering in WWE’s Attitude Era, that incident led to Tyson’s involvement in the WrestleMania XIV main event between Austin and then-champion Shawn Michaels.
Although all signs heading into the championship bout suggested Tyson would align with Michaels, the boxing great defied expectations, counting the pinfall that made Austin a WWE Champion for the first time. When Michaels disputed the decision, “Iron Mike” floored The Showstopper with a knockout right.
Upon his return to WWE in January 2010 as a special guest on Raw, Tyson officially competed for the first time in a WWE ring. Teaming with Chris Jericho against Michaels and his D-Generation X cohort, Triple H, Tyson surprised his teammate and revealed himself as an honorary member of DX. That night, it was Jericho who wound up on the wrong end of Tyson’s staggering punching power.
In recent years, “The Baddest Man on the Planet” has emerged as a looming figure away from the squared circle, performing scene-stealing cameos in The Hangover series in addition to running a clothing line and starring in a gaming app.
The WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on March 31, the eve of WrestleMania XXVIII, at the American Airlines Arena. Alongside Tyson, WWE legends Edge, The Four Horsemen and Mil Mascaras have already been announced as inductees.