This is my first article here at B/R.
I’ve been following pro wrestling since 2000 when I was just a 13 year old kid. This decade long journey has been like a roller coster ride. There have been amazing matches/rivalries and there have been those which are better forgotten. I missed most of the attitude era but wrestling was wonderful even in that period. Yes, I missed the “Mr. Mcmahon- Stone Cold” rivalry almost completely and I missed most of the Monday Night Wars but the thing that I rue the most is missing HBK in action during his prime, as a heel.
When Shawn Michaels made his return to the WWE way back in June 2002, as a member of NWO, it was the first time I had seen HBK. In the months that followed I witnessed one of the greatest rivalries unfold in HBK-HHH which started with a street fight at Summerslam 2002, which Michaels won, and culminated (just for the time being), at Armageddon 2002, where HBK lost the World Heavyweight Championship to HHH in a three stages of hell match, the last one being a ladder match which HBK himself made famous. I just loved his matches and pretty soon he was back full time, not only just wrestling on PPVs but also on RAW.
Now as I said before, when HBK made his return I didn’t know much about him. No freaking ladder matches, no Montreal Screwjob , no Kliq and no Mr. Wrestlemania. But that was back then. Now, as an avid HBK fan, I know pretty much everything about him. The guy has just been amazing since his return. Giving 5 star matches year after year at Wrestlemania he gives it his all even today! Let’s look at the list of his opponents, shall we? Chris Jericho (an amazing wrestler himself) in 2003, HHH and Chris Benoit in 2004 (World Heavyweight Title Match), Kurt Angle in 2005, VKM in 2006, John Cena in 2007 (WWE Championship), Ric Flair in 2008 (“Career Threatning Match” for Flair) and last but definitely not the least, The Undertaker in 2009. You can have a look at all of these matches and just say one word- “Wow”. Such has been the quality of his matches. This year the guy is scheduled to meet the undertaker again at Wrestlemaina with his career on the line.
Yes, his matches have been nothing short of amazing, irrespective of the fact whether they took place at wrestlemania or not. So have been most of the storylines he has been involved in. However, the thing that troubles me the most is the fact that he always seems to get the shorter end of the stick in whichever storyline he is involved. He won the world title from HHH in 2002 but held it for just one month before dropping it back to him. Since then, it’s like every year he gets a shot at the title, but somehow seems to end up short. Whether it be against HHH in 2003, HHH/Benoit in 2004, John Cena/Kurt Angle in 2005, Randy Orton in 2007 and Chris Jericho in 2008.
Again, all these rivalries and matches were nothing short of amazing, but HBK never was able to win a world title from his opponents. He lost in even those matches which he should have won as per the storylines. For instance, he should have won the ladder match for the world title against Chris Jericho in 2008. Y2J would have been much better off dropping the title to HBK rather than jobbing to Batista at Cyber Sunday or John Cena at Survivor Series. In addition to that their rivalry was fuelled when Y2J accidently hit Shawn’s wife. So, it would have made perfect sense to have HBK take the title from Y2J as revenge. Alas, that didn’t happen. Same was the case when he faced Cena in 2007. The storyline had Michaels going for the world title as a tribute to his then injured friend and DX partner HHH. He should have won the title from Cena. The result? He ended up tapping out to Cena at wrestlemania. The list just goes on and on. He gets punted in the head by Randy Orton, comes back, challenges Randy to a world title match, and loses cleanly! So much for a successful comeback.
It will always remain one of the biggest mysteries in professional wrestling as to why didn’t HBK won a single world title in 8 years? Yes, some people will say he doesn’t need a world title, at this age, when he is at the twilight of his career. But then again, same goes for a guy like the Undertaker, or Sting for that matter. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Taker fan and have nothing against him holding the world title, I’m just saying that age is just a flimsy excuse to not give the guy a run with the title. He is a 4 time world champion. John Cena seems to win 4 world titles on an annual basis.
His legacy speaks for himself. He is the showstopper, the main event, the headliner, mr wrestlemaina himself, the Heart Break Kid! And as much as it pains to know, the show will stop with this year’s wrestlemaina. He is the only guy (along with Chris Jericho) who would lose to lesser guys cleanly, and when the time comes would seem like a legitimate threat to something as potent and legendary as Undertaker’s undefeated Streak at Wrestlemania. I for one believe that Taker’s streak would not (and should not) come to an end. The guy deserves to remain undefeated at the garndaddy of ‘em all. May be he’ll go out 20-0 or something. I was really looking forward to HBK-Taker 2. It will no doubt be an epic. But the retirement angle is just a mistake in my view. I don’t want HBK to pull a“Ric Flair”. I believe that if HBK decides to hang his boots, he’ll do it for good. I was hoping that time will come in 2 years maybe, but it seems like Wrestlemaina 26 will be the end of the road for HBK. He’ll surely be missed, and no doubt he’ll be back in a few months time, as a GM or as an Announcer may be, and he will play that role to perfection as well. I just wish he’d have retired as a 7-8 time world champion. Wishful thinking on my part, I guess.
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