HomeWrestlingWWE: In Defence Of... Shawn Michaels (April 2013)

WWE: In Defence Of… Shawn Michaels (April 2013)

I was born in 1989, and the first match I could ever remember watching was The Hart Foundation in action although I don’t remember who the match was against I was hooked from then onwards. The first wrestlers I could remember were these two blond guys. These two blond guys were none other than Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels, better known as The Rockers. They were jumping in the ring, they were full of energy, and I believe that’s what caught my eye when I was just a wee baby.

Rockin’ & Rollin’ as a Rocker

The Rockers, at that time, were one of the more popular tag teams in WWE. Their energy and chemistry in the ring brought out some entertaining matches and earned them a great fanbase. Unfortunately, they were never successful in winning the Tag Team Championship but that’s mainly because of bad luck and also the fact there were so many iconic teams around at the time. On December 2nd, 1991, Shawn Michaels Super-kicked his partner on an episode of the Barber Shop sending him through a window, ultimately ending The Rockers. With his tag career behind him so began the career of one of the greatest superstars to have ever graced the WWE ring!

Intercontinental Glory

After a short while, Michaels won his first championship, the Intercontinental Championship from the ever-popular “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, during this time he was involved in classic matches which were turning the young man into a star, there was even a match with his old partner Jannetty, which is now considered one of the best RAW matches ever. His feud with Razor Ramon proved that Shawn Michaels was well on his way to being the man, both Michaels and Razor stole the show at WrestleMania X in the unforgettable Ladder Match which at the time was ground-breaking.

Fast forward to January 1995 and Michaels would make history at the Royal Rumble by becoming the first man to win as entrant #1 and also only the second man to win the Rumble match twice in a row when he also won the match the following year. He went on to challenge Diesel at WrestleMania XI for the WWE Championship in a losing effort and then later in the year HBK and Ramon tried to once again create magic with another ladder match at SummerSlam which Michaels would win. After the second Rumble win it was on to WrestleMania XII where Shawn captured his first WWE Championship match, in a gruelling 60 mins Iron Man Match against Bret “The Hitman” Hart, in what is considered the 2nd greatest WrestleMania match of all time in my book.

In 1997, everything changed in the attitude and persona of Shawn Michaels. Drugs, alcohol and power changed the man, Michaels as WWE Champion had become the locker room leader.  Whenever he was not happy with the creative in WWE, he would start throwing tantrums in the back. As was the case, Michaels suddenly vacated the title on-air, claiming he had lost his smile. The reality was he didn’t want to lose the title to Bret Hart, which after time led to the night no one could forget, the night of the Montreal Screwjob.

Bret Screwed Bret… Shawn Retires Afterwards

The story goes Hart’s contract was expiring and he had signed for WCW. Vince McMahon, afraid that he would take the title to WCW and humiliate it, told Bret to lose the championship to Shawn Michaels, Bret refused to say he wants to win the match in his home country of Canada, and this is where things escalated. The match went on as planned but with the twist coming Shawn locks in the Sharpshooter as Vince calls for the bell. The reality started kicking in for fans who threw trash on Michaels, Triple H and Vince as they booed them out while Bret Hart vented his frustration with his brothers and cousins trying to calm him down. Backstage, Michaels lied saying he didn’t know about the plans, and he swore to God on that but we now all know different.

The outcome was Bret left WWE on a sour note and Michaels and Triple H became the most hated people backstage. However Michaels’s career would also suffer soon after when a serious back injury during the casket match with The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble in 1998 would cause HBK to eventually retire because he could not compete with the injured back, he did however try his hardest to put on a great match against Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV, despite the pain and agony, Michaels would retire after the match.


Redemption

During his retirement, Michaels got married, ran his wrestling academy and made special appearances in the WWE and other promotions. But his drug habits did not go away. His wife, Rebecca, is a blessed person, She believes in God and she stood by her husband every day. She tried her best to get her husband out of drugs, Shawn, regretting all that had happened to him, all that he became, decided to become a better person, he found God and became Born Again.

After over 4 years out Shawn Michaels recovered from his back injury and made a surprise return to the WWE in 2002. His first match in over 4 years was with his best friend Triple H, who took care of him in the ring at SummerSlam and they put on a great match. Shawn was different now somehow, he showed the passion, the heart and the desire in the ring, unlike years ago, when he showed arrogance, be it in character or out. Shawn captured his final World Championship at Survivor Series in 2002 and lost it in an awesome 3 Stages Of Hell match against Triple H. Now it was down to Michaels to give back to WWE and he would then put on great matches, be it at WrestleMania, RAW or house shows.

In 2010, Bret Hart returned to RAW for the first time in over 12 years. There, Michaels and Bret put an end to their real-life feud and hugged. Finally, Shawn had been forgiven for all that he had done. He has a wonderful wife, respect in the locker room, wonderful kids, and a great career. After years of wrestling, Michaels decided it was time to retire. He had been part of one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25, after which the storyline was written for his retirement, about his obsession with a rematch with Taker, which has the best build to any match. All this led to WrestleMania XXVI where Michaels and Taker faced off for the last time and Michaels went all out in his very last match and stole the show.

Absolution

Shawn Michaels has had a storybook career. He became an inspiration to a lot of young wrestlers who strive hard to try and be better than Shawn Michaels. To me, why I love Shawn Michaels is because he was that rare gem in wrestling, He has the charisma, the passion, the heart, the skills in the ring, mic skills, and the ability to put on 5-star matches. He is this gem that can never be replaced. I’ve been through all his matches since I was a kid, I grew up with Shawn Michaels and I’ve seen it all, Shawn Michaels can be duplicated, but can never be replaced. After all these years, people still talk about Michaels’ ability to draw in big crowds and put on the best matches every night. People can talk about how Shawn was an arrogant man in the past, but you can never say anything bad about his matches. Shawn was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2010, his induction signifies that Shawn has done it all. 10 years from now, fans will talk of the newer talents that are stealing the show, but I can guarantee you, that they will still talk about The Heartbreak Kid and how great the man and his matches are.

What makes Shawn Michaels the greatest ever performer in history? He has the charisma, he has the skills, he can speak on the mic and can put on unforgettable performances in the ring. That’s the reason why I idolized Shawn Michaels. Shawn is the guy you would watch on TV and go “What a match! That Michaels’s guy, he deserves a win after all he’s going through!”.

Yes, Shawn Michaels can tell a perfect story in a match and will never be bettered in my opinion.

– By Mendez

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