Shawn Michaels is Mr. WrestleMania. Despite how long he’s been retired and who is currently in the WWE locker room, for me he is the only one who can lay claim to that title. And I for one want to see him this year.
Okay, so for many fans out there, The Undertaker has all but replaced Shawn as Mr. WrestleMania. Actually I can see their point on that and it’s hard to disagree.
But I’m doing it anyway.
Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not trying to discredit what Taker does year after year at the Granddaddy of Them All. Besides Triple H, Big Show, Kane and Chris Jericho, Undertaker is the last of the “old guard,” the superstars who carried the torch for WWE during some of its lowest, and its most successful times.
Can you say Attitude Era?
And the allure of Undertaker putting his undefeated streak on the line at every WrestleMania is such an enticing proposition that surely the most jaded of wrestling fans have to appreciate the sheer drama of it all. No doubt about it, Undertaker is a living legend in that company.
But for me, when The Heartbreak Kid retired, he took the Mr. WrestleMania moniker with him.
Shawn always stepped up in the big matches, giving everything he had for WWE and for the fans. With each year and each new performance, Shawn outdid himself. He was able to somehow dig a little deeper than the year before to not only earn but deserve the nickname that he was given.
And he wore it very well.
WrestleMania 24 against Ric Flair. It was on this night that Shawn ended Ric’s career and brought his own career full circle. Ric had been an idol of Shawn’s as a kid and to be given the honor of being the Nature Boy’s last match is one that Michaels will likely carry with him forever.
WrestleMania 25 saw Shawn and the aforementioned Undertaker square off in what many fans still feel is the best Mania match of all time. The intensity and heart that both men brought could be felt by everyone watching and at the end of the night, there was no doubting that WWE fans had just witnessed something great.
And to follow up at WrestleMania 26? Shawn and Taker did it all over again.
The most impressive thing about this small snippet of Shawn’s resume is that for anyone else, three consecutive WrestleMania matches of this caliber would be enough to impress anyone. And that superstar would surely be applauded for his effort.
But this was Shawn Michaels. This was what he did. For him, WrestleMania was just another opportunity to show off, to entertain, to ensure that he did everything in his power to give fans their money’s worth.
And he did that for an entire career.
Yes, he is retired now. And yes, he is missed. Fans understand that he has moved on with his life and likely wants to keep his in-ring WWE career where he left it: behind him.
But for Shawn to not be at WrestleMania, to imagine WWE’s biggest night of the year without him, seems impossible. There’s been no indication officially by WWE if Shawn will indeed be involved at Mania, but even if he’s just at ringside with Triple H as Hunter battles it out with Brock Lesnar, the fact is, it’s something. Just his presence alone would be enough for his fans who respect what he accomplished and wished he were still on WWE programming today.
Shawn Michaels left behind a WWE legacy that any superstar would be jealous of. His contributions to the business and to the company are all his own and there can be no denying that he is deserving of all the recognition that has ever come his way. WrestleMania needs the Showstopper.
Cue the sweet chin music.