WrestleMania XXVI could be the last time we see Shawn “The Heartbreak Kid” Michaels wrestle. Let's say he does lose against The Undertaker at WrestleMania and does retire, how will we truly know he stays retired?
He could pull a Ric Flair and work for TNA or go back to wrestling in the WWE. We all know Michaels has said he was done with wrestling in the past only to have the WWE call him up to help them out of a bind. Over his twenty-something years in the wrestling business, HBK has teased retirement countless times.
When he retired after WrestleMania XIV, Michaels retired due to a bad back injury he received at the Royal Rumble by the same man he will be facing at this year’s WrestleMania: The Undertaker.
Four years later he returned to wrestling and faced Triple H at that year's Summerslam. We all thought, or at least the majority of the people thought, that "The Showstopper" only had a few years left in him. The majority was wrong, though, as he lasted a decade more then anticipated.
I don’t want to see him lose and get a big retirement program on Raw and then a year later be back wrestling on Raw as a member of the WWE roster or moving to TNA. When Flair did that he ruined a genuine WrestleMania moment and somewhat tarnished his legacy in a small way.
Michaels is only 44 and is mobile enough to realistically continue into his fifties, unlike Hulk Hogan, who is now a broken-down has-been. Michaels is a phenomenal wrestler with skills that many of today’s young wrestlers do not have in their arsenal of movesets.
If he retires but gets the itch to wrestle again and returns, two things shall happen.
1. Wrestling fans will not trust main event wrestlers to retire, and it would lessen the impact of future Wrestlers who would announce that they will hang up their boots. We already have that mindset in place, but it would intensify that mindset greatly.
2. It will tarnish Michaels' legacy if he retires with a bang and then comes back like nothing happened. Hogan and Flair came back when they shouldn’t have, and now they are jokes. I don’t want to see Mr. WrestleMania become a joke.
If he does retire, I hope he holds true to his words on his retirement and spends time with his family. He can do what Steve Austin does, which is a part-time appearances while sporadically appearing on Raw or being a special guest referee for some matches.
If Michaels fails to end the Deadman’s streak and retires, I will take his retirement with a grain of salt and see if he stays retired for a few years to see if it legitimate or not.
The bottom line is if Michaels retires at the granddaddy of them all, the most I can hope for is that he will take the path that "Stone Cold" took and not the one Flair did.