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Muhammad Ali Joins the WWE Hall of Fame

Muhammad Ali, the legendary three-time world heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist, is set to receive yet another honor posthumously. Widely known as "The Greatest," Ali's charisma, confidence, and skill inside the boxing ring made him an iconic figure not only in sports but also in the broader cultural landscape.

Muhammad Ali

Next month, Ali will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, adding to his already impressive list of accolades that includes being a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His influence extended far beyond boxing, as he was also known for his activism, artistry, and larger-than-life personality.

While Ali is primarily remembered for his boxing career, he also left a lasting impact on sports entertainment. In a groundbreaking exhibition match on June 26, 1976, dubbed "The War of the Worlds," Ali faced off against WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki at the Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo, Japan. The match, fought under unique rules, ended in a 15-round draw and was witnessed by 32,000 fans in the arena and 33,000 more at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York, via closed-circuit television.

The event was a significant success, attracting many new fans to the industry and foreshadowing the rise of modern mixed martial arts. Ali and Inoki developed a close friendship following the match, with Inoki adopting Ali's theme music and catchphrases as his own.

After retiring from boxing with an impressive record of 56 wins, 5 losses, and 37 knockouts, Ali made a memorable return to the ring as the special guest referee for the main event of the inaugural WrestleMania in 1984. During the match between Hulk Hogan & Mr. T and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper & "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, Ali intervened with his trademark right hand to restore order.

Although Ali passed away on June 3, 2016, at the age of 74, his legacy as one of the greatest athletes of all time endures. His efforts to modernize and globalize professional wrestling played a pivotal role in bridging the worlds of sports and entertainment, leaving an indelible mark on both industries.


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