Theodore 'Teddy' Long to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame

Teddy Long will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2017. Courtesy WWE

Theodore Long, whose 30-plus year wrestling career spans almost every non-wrestling role there is within the business while working for NWA, WCW and, most notably, the WWE, will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

As first reported by FoxSports.com, Long joins Kurt Angle and The Rock 'n' Roll Express among the current slate of 2017 inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame. While he's best known to modern wrestling fans for his turns as the general manager of SmackDown, his history in the wrestling business features prominent and pivotal roles as a manager and a referee dating back all the way to the mid-1980s.

Long's career started in earnest when he met Abdullah the Butcher while living in Atlanta in the 1980s. He eventually worked his way into a paying job as part of the ring crew and eventually earned an opportunity as an NWA referee. This role became particularly important when he became one of the first notable examples of a referee becoming a prominent in-ring character, as Long turned heel and gave preferential treatment to bad guys in the ring.

Long transitioned into a managerial role, most prominently for Doom (Ron Simmons and Butch Reed), who would go on to win the then NWA (later the WCW) world tag team championships. Long also managed the likes of Sid Vicious, "Mean" Mark Callous (later The Undertaker), One Man Gang, 2 Cold Scorpio and Bobby Eaton, among others until he left the company in 1998.

He returned to the role of referee when he joined the WWE in late 1998, but after a few years donning the stripes, he once again returned to managing. His most prominent clients during this run included D'Lo Brown and Rodney Mack, the latter of whom led to his adopting his longtime entrance theme, entitled 'MacMilitant'.

By mid-2004, Long was positioned to replace fellow 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Angle as the GM of SmackDown and remained in an authority role of some kind with the WWE for the next nine years, both on SmackDown and the WWE's version of ECW. Long made his last full-time appearances for the WWE in July 2013, and officially left the company in June 2014, although he's made several one-off appearances in the past two years.