Normally, an article in this series will provide an optimistic outlook for unlikely scenarios. This time we're going to do things a little differently.
Shawn Michaels' retirement from professional wrestling is entering its fourth year. In wrestler retirement years, he has been away for close to an eternity.
Despite honoring his word and never working another match following WrestleMania XXVI, many continue to speculate if and when he will be back for one final match.
Michaels is coming off back-to-back appearances on Raw after being a pivotal part of crowning Randy Orton a WWE champion at WWE Hell in a Cell. Each involved a confrontation of some sort with CM Punk.
Michaels' suddenly frequent appearances on WWE television have breathed life into the familiar hope of stepping back into a WWE ring. Unfortunately, a Shawn Michaels WrestleMania match is more unlikely than it may seem.
PWInsider (via Wrestlezone) reported that "with regards to Shawn Michaels potentially coming out of retirement and working one more match, the ball is said to be completely in his court, as WWE wants him to return for a bout at WrestleMania 30."
This is the most momentum a Shawn Michaels comeback has had since he called it a career in 2010. It's worth noting, however, that PWInsider (via Wrestlezone) went on to report:
Despite WWE teasing friction between HBK, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan on TV during HBK's last few appearances, there is said to be no talk of HBK facing Punk at WrestleMania, or HBK teaming up with anyone to face the team of Punk and Daniel Bryan at the event.
HBK's presence on Raw the last two weeks is more of a fluke than part of a planned program. Two weeks ago, he was booked due to the special Slammy Awards edition of Raw. This past week, Raw was held in his home state of Texas, and he even admitted it was last-minute via Twitter.
Nothing like a last minute phone call...however, it's always nice to see everybody!! #RAW— Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels) December 17, 2013
Who Should Be Shawn Michaels' WrestleMania opponent should he return?
Shawn Michaels' ability to honor his retirement is a result of his hobbies outside of pro wrestling. His passion for hunting has evolved into the successful television show MacMillan River Adventures. The Outdoor Life Network program earned a Golden Moose award in 2012 and is up for several more in 2013.
If the ball is truly in Michaels' court as the PWInsider report says, it might stay there. Michaels is at peace with life after WWE. If he hasn't had enough of an itch to lace up his boots in four years, why would that change now?
Booking Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania would likely require some heavy lobbying on WWE's part as opposed to their reported hands-off approach.
HBK has moved on from his in-ring career. Even if it is just one more match, the chances remain slim. Family, religion and hunting endeavors remain his priority. Michaels has demonstrated that with each passing year, he's good for a few Super Kicks and little else.