Last night was a tear filled farewell from Shawn Michaels, born Michael Shawn Hickenbottom on July 22, 1965, as the Heartbreak Kid officially retired from pro-wrestling. This is my tribute to him. But, I should warn you that while I respect Shawn, I am not a fan. I am, though, a wrestling fan, as such I know what he contributed to this great sport. So, I think because of that this one will be a little different than other tributes.
While, Shawn had been in the AWA, my first exposure to him would come when he and tag partner Marty Jannetty would first appear in the WWF. Formerly the Midnight Rockers, upon entering the WWF, they dropped the Midnight in the their name and became, simply, The Rockers. The Rockers were one of my fav tag teams growing up. They were talented and very influential on future tag teams that were to come in pro-wrestling. They would eventually hold the tag titles, but alas all good things most come to an end, as Shawn turned heel. In one of the most memorable turns in all of wrestling, he gave Jannetty a superkick through the glass on Brutus Beefcake's Barber Shop set.
That made Shawn into one of my most hated heels, of that period in time. He became a conceited asshole and soon had the beautiful Sherri Martel, no longer managing Randy Savage, as his manager/ valet. Sherri, said, was in love with the "Boy Toy". She even sang the lyrics to the original version of his entrance song, thus he became "The Heartbreak Kid". As, I said I hated Shawn during this time, but that only meant that he was doing a great job as a heel. But, he came out with Sherri, one of my biggest crushes growing up, so I looked forward to see her! He would eventually drop Sherri, and become his own man. He would even have Big Daddy Cool Diesel as his bodyguard. All of this was shaping him into the superstar he would become. He also held the Intercontinental Title. But, was destined for even better things...
One of his best matches was for the vacated IC belt in a ladder match with Razor Ramon. Again, Shawn was influencing all that was to come in the biz. He would eventually turn face. And, this would lead to his biggest push, yet. He would get his first world title against Bret Hart in their classic Iron Man Match at Wrestlemania XII. From here on many of my most memorable Michaels, including the passing out bit on Raw and the "I lost my smile" thing would occur.
As the face of wrestling changed to a more mature attitude, i.e. the WWF Attitude Era, Shawn was at the forefront with his new heel faction, D-Generation X, which was him and his real life buddy Hunter Hearst Helmsley (HHH) and his then girlfriend Chyna. The factions catch phrase "SUCK IT!" while crotch chopping and crude sense of humor was unlike anything I had every seen. This became my fav period in HBK's career. But, the Montreal Screwjob, where Bret Hart lost the title belt to him, would make me hate Shawn more than ever. But, DX was so much fun, I spent a good deal of my college life imitating him (and others, as well). My absolute fav Shawn Michaels/ DX promo:
Shawn was injured though and would have to drop the belt to Austin. He would not return till 1999 and do some on and off things with the WWF. He even joined the nWo at one point. I totally marked for him joining them! But, it was time for him to get back in the ring. And, he would do that in 2002, first having a great feud with HHH, that led to some hellacious matches. Of course, he would recapture gold, as well. Most impressive was the quality of matches that he could still pull off. And, he had it with the best of them. He even had a dream match against Hulk Hogan, in an angle I was totally marking out for.
By this point Shawn had found God in his life, so gone were the dick jokes and such. Shawn's own religious beliefs came into play when he feuded with Vince. Vince even made Shawn tag team with God in one of the stupidest things I had ever seen. Anyways, DX would return, with only HHH and HBK. HBK could not be doing the type of shit he used to, being religious and all, but HHH did. I though this return of DX was OK.
As, the WWE changed and entered the PG era the next return of DX was shit to me. Still, Shawn did, still, have great matches. I never really cared for his babyface promos, but man, he could still give it his all in a wrestling match. And, so this Sunday he lost to the Undertaker in a good match (though, I prefer their WM match from last year more).
He delivered a very emotional speech last night on WWE Monday Night Raw. And, although I sure as hell did not want him to end Taker's streak and wanted to see him go, I was still saddened. It was not as emotional for me as it was seeing Flair (who ended up not retiring, and going to TNA) leave. But, Michaels had some of my fav matches ever. And, some of my favorite moments, too.
Here is a little piece of that speech:
For that I that I say "THANK YOU, SHAWN MICHAELS!" God bless him. For he is the:
THE MAIN EVENT
THE HEARTBREAK KID,
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