Greetings fellow wrestling fanatics...
What I'm about to do, is attempt to convince you. I'm going to type a bunch of words to try and make you think what I want you to think.
Believe what I want you to believe.
The other participants will use fancy writing styles and manipulate information to make you see things their way. They will sensationalize their heroes to make you feel that no one is better;that no one has had more of an impact on professional wrestling than their guy.
Well, I'm going a different route. You may call it old fashioned, or stale writing, but I will simply be using cold hard facts. Facts that cannot be argued or denied. Facts that will help me establish an unmatched greatness in the history of this wonderful business.
I will also go beyond the facts.
I will emphasize things such as passion, emotion, loyalty, innovation, and dedication; nothing will help me more in proving to you, that one Michael Shawn Hickenbottom has had a bigger impact on the sport of professional wrestling than anyone else, dead or alive.....
Shawn Michaels began his wrestling career in 1984. Trained by Mexican wrestler Jose Lothario, he started in smaller, territorial promotions like Mid-South Wrestling, and Central States Wrestling where he met Marty Jannetty.
Michaels and Jannetty would be paired up as a tag team, and soon were gaining their first national exposure in the AWA as The Midnight Rockers.
After becoming the AWA Tag Team champs, they were signed by Vince McMahon and the WWF. They would now become known as simply "The Rockers".
They were one of the promotion's most popular tag teams. With their good looks, and innovative high flying style of wrestling, they were beloved by many. But everyone knew Shawn was destined for bigger things.
After three years as one of the WWF's most popular and exciting tag teams, Shawn needed to try his hand as a singles competitor. During an appearance on "The Barber Shop" Shawn surprisingly superkicked his partner Jannetty, and threw him through a glass window.
This was the moment that the Rockers died, but in essence, The Heart Break Kid was born.
The following information will lay the foundation as to why I feel Shawn Michaels has had the biggest impact on professional wrestling in its illustrious history. Why he is known throughout the wrestling world as "The Showstopper", "The Headliner", "The Main Event", "The Icon", and "Mr. Wrestlemania".
Once Shawn became a singles competitor, he quickly ascended through the ranks. He won his first title with the WWF in October of 1992 when he beat The British Bulldog for the Intercontinental championship on "Saturday Nights Main Event". He would go on to win this title a total of three times.
He would go on to superstardom by beating the legend Bret "Hitman" Hart in what is considered by many as one of the greatest matches of all time, a 60 minute "Iron Man" match at Wrestlemania 12 for the WWF championship.
He would go on to be the WWF heavyweight champion a total of four times. Three times WWF/WWE champion and one time World Heavyweight champion.
Shawn would also try his hand at tag team wrestling again from time to time, becoming a four time Tag Team champion (two times with Diesel, one time with Stone Cold Steve Austin, and one time with John Cena).
HBK was the companies first ever "Grand Slam Champion". Who else could it have been?
No one, and I mean no one has been more innovative or left a more indelible mark on this industry than HBK.
He is responsible for being involved in an array of "gimmick", or "stipulation" matches that he brought to the mainstream, and are some of the most popular in the business today.
He competed in, and won the first ever "Iron Man" match in the WWF vs. Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 12.
He competed in and won the first ever "Hell in a Cell" match vs. The Undertaker at Bad Blood 1997.
He competed in and won the first ever "Elimination Chamber" match at Survivor Series 2002.
He competed in the first ever WWF Ladder match at a house show vs. Bret Hart in 1992, and the first ever televised WWF Ladder match vs. Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania 10.
Most of these matches have become staples of Pay Per Views and high profile championship matches of today. Who else could have had this kind of affect?
A Royal Rumbler:
Shawn was the first man to ever enter a Royal Rumble as the first entry and win the match. He is still to this day one of only two men to do so. He is also one of only three men to win two Royal Rumbles back to back. Who else will accomplish this feat?
During the mid-late 90's, Shawn was leader of a powerful and influential group known as "The Kliq". Along with Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, 123 Kid, and Triple H, the group was known to have backstage clout and influence with Vince McMahon.
That could never compare to the next faction he would create, known as D-Generation X. Along with Triple H, this is probably the most popular and innovative wrestling group since The Four Horsemen.
Whether through comedic skits, intense matches, or pure abuse of Vince and Shane McMahon, DX is maybe the most powerful and popular force the WWE has ever seen.
This group is still going strong today, and is as popular as ever. Who else has this kind of longevity?
Maybe you've heard of this, maybe you haven't, but Shawn was responsible for a little episode known as "The Montreal Screwjob".
This is the incident that took place at the 1997 Survivor Series, where Shawn screwed Bret Hart out of the WWF championship in one of the most famous, talked about, and analyzed matches of all time. Who else could cause this kind of controversy?
Retiring a Legend:
In 2008, Ric Flair was set to retire, and the next match that he lost would be his last. Wrestlemania 24 was on the horizon, and if Flair was gonna go out, he was gonna go out with the best.
He asked Shawn to face him in a retirement match at Wrestlemania 24. Shawn obliged, and what ensued was one of the most emotional, thrilling, beautiful matches to ever take place inside a wrestling ring.
Shawn gave Flair his best, and sent The Nature Boy out with five final lasting words, "I'm sorry, I love you..." Who else has retired possibly the greatest of all time?
Monday Night War:
During the years of the mid 90's, when superstar wrestlers were leaving the WWF in bunches for more money with rival promotion WCW, Shawn stayed.
It was a dark time for Vince and the WWF for a little while there. With the Hogan's, Savage's, Hall's, and Nash's all jumping ship for Eric Bischoff and World Championship Wrestling.
You can be sure HBK was offered a lot to leave Vince and follow everyone over to Atlanta, but Shawn remained loyal and dedicated to his company, and became the leader and top man that undoubtedly kept the World Wrestling Federation afloat during those years.
Many insiders have claimed that had Shawn left, Vince McMahon and his company would have gone under. Shawn single handedly kept the WWF in the spotlight and a respectable organization. Now who else showed such loyalty?
Match of the Year:
In what may be the most telling statistic to support my argument, Shawn has been awarded by Pro Wrestling Illustrated, (wrestling's most prestigious publication) their match of the year honors a total of nine times. That's NINE!
And frankly, had HBK not missed four years of the prime of his career due to a severe back injury, that total could be higher. He has basically won this award every year of his active singles career. These matches are:
1993- vs. Marty Jannetty, Monday Night Raw
1994- vs. Razor Ramon, ladder match Wrestlemania 10
1995- vs. Diesel, Wrestlemania 11
1996- vs. Bret Hart, Iron Man match Wrestlemania 12
2004- vs. Triple H vs. Chris Benoit, Wrestlemania 20
2005- vs. Kurt Angle, Wrestlemania 21
2006- vs. Vince McMahon, Wrestlemania 22
2007- vs. John Cena, Raw
2008- vs. Ric Flair, Wrestlemania 24
Believe me, once 2009 is over, he will have a tenth for his epic match against The Undertaker that took place at Wrestlemania 25.
Who else could possibly create a match of the year with Vince McMahon or Diesel?
In closing, all I will say is that in the humble opinion of this 33 year old lifelong wrestling fan, Shawn Michaels is quite simply the greatest of all time. He creates incredible matches, wowing us no matter who the opponent.
He can provide entertainment on a microphone with great comedy, or great drama. Along with intense matches, and silly skits. He gave us infamous controversy with Bret Hart in Montreal in 1997, and passionate, heartwarming memories with Ric Flair in 2008.
He's just as popular as a heel as he is a babyface. He was a great tag team wrestler, and an even greater singles competitor.
The incredible matches, funny vignettes, influential factions, prestigious championships, and lasting moments he has left us with and continues to leave us with is surely something I'll never forget, but more importantly, something the wrestling world will always remember.
Who else could have made such a powerful impact on professional wrestling?