Star Trek actor William Shatner is receiving the huge honor of being inducted into a Hall of Fame. It is not, however, for Star Trek. It’s for wrestling. If you’re sitting there thinking, “Ummm, what?” then you definitely are not alone.
Yesterday, USA Today brought word (via MovieWeb) that WWE is inducting William Shatner into its esteemed Hall of Fame. As random as this may seem, it actually makes some sense. Not much, because it is an obscure fact that only hardcore wrestling fans will remember, but still, some sense is all the folks at WWE need to make it work.
Back in 1995, William Shatner bested the “villainous” wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler with a wrestling move following the latter’s taunting of him in front of the crowd. Lawler was inducted (by Shatner personally, no less) into the WWE Hall of Fame back in 2007. Apparently, Shatner’s brief display of skill and showmanship warrants an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Hey, we won’t question it. In addition to it being a monumental honor, it is also just free publicity for the guy.
Brief tenure as a “wrestler” aside, William Shatner is best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series, but he has appeared in numerous other roles as well. On the film side of things, he has appeared in Miss Congeniality, Osmosis Jones, and many others. On the television side, he has shown up in more shows than is possible to list here. My personal favorite was his appearance on a 2003 episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast titled In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. The point, though, is that he has been in countless shows and movies, and now that you know he once kinda wrestled, you can add that to your list of favorite things the actor has accomplished.
And since William Shatner helped set a precedent for future captains with his generation-defining performance on Star Trek: The Original Series back in the 1960s, we have gotten a number of high-quality, franchise-expanding shows, movies, and books that enrich the Star Trek universe in some pretty incredible ways. Heck, there’s even a Star Trek comedy that may be getting a movie in the near future. Shatner may no longer be a part of that world, but he has absolutely left his mark. And it won’t ever go away.
William Shatner helped kickstart an incredibly popular, unbelievably lucrative multimedia franchise, but everyone who knows who he is was made aware of that a long time ago. At this point, his smaller accomplishments are far more interesting and deserve more attention. And, as is the case with this particular honor, something that, at the time, seemed small and inconsequential actually ended up impacting him in a big way nearly 30 years later. Who would have thought?
Fans can tune in to the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony via Peacock when it streams on April 6.
Will you be watching William Shatner’s historic induction into the WWE Hall of Fame?