Quite possibly the most complete performer in the history of the business, "the Heartbreak Kid" had it all; looks, charisma, personality, microphone skills, and most importantly of all, phenomenal in-ring talent. Since his retirement in March 2010, his presence has been sorely missed on WWE television.
During his first run with the company between 1988 and 1998, "he Showstopper" was one of the company's top stars; a three-time WWF Champion, three-time Intercontinental champion, three-time World Tag Team champion, European champion and Royal Rumble winner in 1995 and 1996. During this time, Michaels established himself as one of the world's premier in-ring talents
After a four-year hiatus following a serious back injury, Michaels returned in 2002 and lifted the World Heavyweight Championship and enjoyed another two tag team title wins.
During his second run with the company, Michaels used his experience and skills to selflessly put over numerous other wrestlers, often making them look like superstars in the process. "Mr. Wrestlemania" also contested in eight consecutive excellent matches at WWE's premier event between 2003 and 2010.
Michaels is often labelled as the greatest by his own peers, and it is telling that he was involved in the first ladder match in the WWF, the first Iron Man match, the inaugural Hell in a Cell clash and the debut of the Elimination Chamber, showing the confidence Vince McMahon has in his abilities to both adapt and innovate.
Michaels was also awarded eleven Match of the Year awards from Pro Wrestling Illustrated, including a remarkable seven in a row from 2004 to 2010. The Wrestling Observer also awarded HBK their Match of the Year honour four times between 1994 and 2008.
Shawn Michaels deserves to be recognised as the greatest in-ring performer of all time due to the success of his first run with the WWF, in which he ascended to the position of top star, mainly due to his incredible work rate. His second stint with the company saw him become a veteran who wasn't afraid to put his opponents over, and make them look like a million dollars in the process.
The greatest of all time? I certainly think so.