If you didn't turn into WWE's Monday Night Raw last night for Shawn Michaels retirement speech you should have. I don't care if you are a wrestling fan or not. To see a legend retire from the occupation that he loves is a special moment that everyone can appreciate.
Appreciation is the key word.
I'm not a huge wrestling fan. I'm not rocking an Undertaker shirt on the weekend or buying a replica spinner belt, but I'll still tune in to catch a glimpse each week. There's just something unique about it that captures the eye. I think the fans are what make wrestling unique.
Sport. Entertainment. Sports Entertainment. It doesn't really matter what you refer to it as. Wrestling is just wrestling to me. I think most of us have known for a long time that the outcomes were staged, but that doesn't really matter. These wrestlers still put their bodies on the line for over 300 days a year to do one thing; entertain the fans.
For some reason fans of other sports don't get that. I know the competitiveness of the WWE is less serious than that of NFL, but the difference between wrestling fans and fans of other major sports is that they don't respect all the athletes involved. Wrestling fans have a quality about them that they understand that there always has to be one good guy and always has to be one bad guy. It doesn't matter what side you are rooting for, if one of the wrestler performs and amazes you, you appreciate it.
Fans of other major sports don't understand that even in their respective sports that they love, one team you are going to root for and one team you will root against, but still the athletes are there to do one thing; entertain us. Some athletes may only be there for a paycheck and some may not ultimately care about the fans, but the ones that do, we should care about as well.
If you watched last night you saw fans that adored Shawn Michaels. Fans that appreciated all the hard work, blood, sweat, and painful days that he endured during his career. Fans that respected him. Fans that cheered him. Fans that cared about him. The most amazing thing about the fans is that the entire arena was only a 1,000th of the fans that were also doing the same at home.
Shawn reciprocated the love. He thanked the fans as the fans thanked him and told them how much of a part of his life they were.
That's why wrestler’s farewells are the best. It's not about retiring with the best stats and getting into the Hall of Fame. It's not about who won a ring and who didn't. It's not about one special moment that made the fans love you. To be a legend in wrestling means giving it your all every time you are out there. That's what Shawn Michaels did.
So farewell to one of the greatest wrestling to ever grace the globe. He will be missed by many fans, but appreciated by all. The best part about it is that when the next legend has to hang up the boots and step into the squared circle one last time that he will also get the same recognition just like everyone who came before him.