The Next Mr. WrestleMania: Who Is He?

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The Next Mr. WrestleMania: Who Is He?
Shawn Michaels, the Inaugural "Mr. Wrestlemania". Will he ever be succeeded as "Mr. Wrestlemania"?

After the events that took place last night, it is now safe to say that we are all in the "Road to WrestleMania." Since this is the case, I can only assume that now is as good a time as any to really get down to something that has ached my head since Wrestlemania 26.

The title poses quite the question...it could very well be the question of the decade. I don't think anyone has the answer to this question. Who will succeed Shawn Michaels as Mr. Wrestlemania, indeed?

But before we try to put this seemingly impossible puzzle together, it is mandatory that we first ask ourselves, "What does it mean to be Mr. Wrestlemania?"

Well, as everyone should know, this title was so righteously placed upon the extraordinarily outstanding performer known as Shawn Michaels. Why was it him?

Well, being Mr. Wrestlemania does not mean that he always wins at the grandest stage of them all; it means that he delivers.

He steals the show most of the times, and this is true ladies and gentlemen.

Let's have a look back at Shawn Michaels' Wrestlemania matches to see if this is really and truly the case.

Shawn Michaels made his Wrestlemania debut at Wrestlemania 5 as a member of The Rockers. His first singles match at any Wrestlemania was at Wrestlemania 8.

He would not put himself in the spotlight at a Wrestlemania event until Wrestlemania 10; his opponent was Razor Ramon and they would compete in, perhaps, the most memorable ladder match ever since its inception in the business.

It is relevant to know that ladder matches were not held in such high esteem as they are today—until Shawn Michaels revolutionized its prominence. In fact, Shawn Michaels' Wrestlemania debut match earned himself, and Razor Ramon, the PWI Match of the Year (1994).

In addition, this match also won the Wrestling Oberver Newsletter's Match of the Year (1994) and was rated by the same organization. His innovative performance helped future stars turn the ladder match into what we saw at Wrestlemania 16 and 17 and so forth.



Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania 10?
The Verdict: Yes.

At Wrestlemania 11, Shawn Michaels would go face to face with Diesel. Their match was pretty decent, and was not anything special.

What did make it memorable was the fact that Shawn Michaels won his first Royal Rumble to earn the titleshot at Wrestlemania XI. The psychology was great because Diesel and Shawn Michaels were former best friends, and the crowd was really drawn into the storyline.

Shawn Michaels would lose, but would be rewarded by PWI as having the PWI Match of the Year (1995), along with Diesel. It wasn't until the year after, that Shawn Michaels would be catapulted to mega-stardom and into the highest tier of Wrestlemania prestige.



Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Diesel at Wrestlemania 11?
The Verdict: Yes.

I can only be referring to the 60-Minute Ironman Match that took place at Wrestlemania 12 against Bret Hart, presumably the best technical wrestler ever to grace a squared circle in the WWE.

The environment was unreal and off the charts, and what made the event even more special was Shawn Michaels' entrance. He actually glided down from the rafters and into the ring.

Both men performed at their very best on that night, and in the end, Shawn Michales would defeat Bret Hart in overtime after neither man failed to win a single decision in the span of 60 minutes.

It is definitely no surprise that this match won the PWI Match of the Year (1996).

WWE superstars and fans voted this Ironman match as the greatest match in WrestleMania history in a show hosted by Ric Flair in 2004 entitled "WWE Top 10 Greatest Wrestlemania Matches."

Calling this match a wrestling clinic or extraordinary simply does not do it any justice; it is indescribable.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 12?
The Verdict: Yes.

Unfortunately, Shawn Michaels did not perform at Wrestlemania 13, but would compete at Wrestlemania 14 against Stone Cold Steve Austin in his last Wrestlemania match ever...or so we thought.

The match was awesome, considering the fact that Shawn Michaels' lower back was severely damaged and could have still performed better than most superstars on the roster at that point in time.

Want more entertainment? Enter: "Iron" Mike Tyson, Special Enforcer. Stone Cold's hard-fought victory is often credited as the official start of the Attitude Era.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Stone Cold at Wrestlemania 14?
The Verdict: Yes.

Shawn Michaels managed to fight his way through the pain and hunger for the spotlight would soon consume the talented entertainer.

He made his highly anticipated return to the squared circle in 2002, and his next Wrestlemania would help him re-establish himself as "Mr. Wrestlemania" and, simultaneously, calibrate his opponent as one of the most gifted wrestlers.

This man was Chris Jericho. This Wrestlemania 19 match is inarguably one of the best matches ever to take place at any Wrestlemania event. The atmosphere, the techniques executed, the storytelling...all were incredible.

Shawn Michaels would use an unexpected rollup for the win. After the match, a warm embrace would be seen only to be a ploy by Chris Jericho to kick Shawn Michaels to his groin and shove him away. Nearly emotional, indeed.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 19?
The Verdict: Yes.

Wrestlemania 20 came along and Shawn Michaels found himself in a Triple Threat contest involving Triple H and the late Chris Benoit to decide the World Heavyweight Champion.

Although Shawn Michaels lost, the fact that this match received the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Feud of the Year (2004) and the PWI Match of the Year (2004) says a lot about the mental and physical levels this match encompassed.

Truly a match for the ages, Shawn Michaels shows in 2004 why "Mr. Wrestlemania" denominates his composure at said event.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Triple H and Chris Benoit at Wrestlemania 20?
The Verdict: Yes.

The very best of them all came at Wrestlemania 21 in 2005.

Shawn Michaels had his work cut out for him, as he faced arguably the purest athlete that the business has ever seen. This man was the Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle.

Kurt Angle was so talented that Michaels could not counter the majority of his technical prowess. No one can deny that this is one of the very few matches that was so brutal while simultaneously being beautiful in all its glory.

Ultimately, Angle forced Michaels to submit to his magnificent ankle lock hold. This match won the PWI Match of the Year (2005). What a match.

After the match, Michaels received a standing ovation from the live crowd.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 21?
The Verdict: Yes.

At Wrestlemania 22, Michaels would fight (literally) Vincent K. McMahon in a No Holds Barred Match and go on to be the victor.

If you want a good brawl with plenty entertainment, then you'd definitely enjoy this match.

What a way to top off your career than by beating the hell out of your boss and then being awarded for your brawl with the PWI Match of the Year (2006)?

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania 22?
The Verdict: No.

Wrestlemania 23 saw the "Showstopper" go head to head with John Cena. This was nothing special, but the crowd made the match really good.

After a devastating piledriver onto a steel grate, the crowd thought that was the end of John Cena. Unfortunately for everyone, except John Cena himself, Cena took away the victory by forcing Shawn Michaels to submit to the STF.

What way to put over John Cena as a legitimate champion by making the two members of D-Generation X tap out to your submission in two successive years at consecutive Wrestllemania events? Needless to say, this match did not achieve any awards.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with John Cena at Wrestlemania 23?
The Verdict: No.

Everybody saw this one coming. Wrestlemania 24 pitted Shawn Michaels against his friend, Ric Flair in a Career Threatening Match.

In what can be described simply as "the most emotional match finish to date," Shawn Michaels fired Flair before mouthing the words, "I'm sorry... I love you," and delivering a devastating superkick to his face.

Wow. This match achieved the PWI Match of the Year (2008), and further cemented Shawn Michaels' name in the history books as "Mr. Wrestlemania" (if that was even possible at this point in time).

The aftermath was as emotional as can get, with both friends embracing one another warmly, with evident waterworks being put out.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with Ric Flair at Wrestlemania 24?
The Verdict: Yes.

Holy crap. This actually took place, and in both guys' hometown nonetheless. Epic.

Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker stole the show in the near-beginning of the year and this encounter remained in the spotlight for the rest of the year.

Really, it was something to be in awe of. No humanly word is good enough to describe this match. It would never do this match any justice.

It was pretty hard for the fans to choose between two legends and how great is it that two men past their prime and in their forties could lay everything on the table and still be the best at what they do? Awesome.

Shawn Michaels made one mistake only, and that was moonsaulting himself into a tombstone. Michaels lost and Undertaker advanced his Wrestlemania undefeated streak to 17-0.

This match is the best thing I have ever seen in my life.

The previous statement is a litote, by the way. This sacred match earned itself the Match of the Year (2009) awards by both the PWI and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25?
The Verdict: Yes.

Shawn Michaels prompted a rematch with The Deadman and they would both give us quite possibly the best re-match ever to be seen at "The Grandest Stage Of Them All."

This time, however, things were a little different. The match was to be a No Disqualification Match and the stipulation stated that if "Mr. Wrestlemania" lost, he would have to be fired.

The frame of mind going into the pay-per-view was the most unstable one could ever feel.

Who would really win? Michaels' character was redesigned in the weeks going into Wrestlemania 26, as he transformed into someone completely foreign to the audience; he was obsessed with becoming The Undertaker's successor at Wrestlemania and he would not have it any other way.

Though his tactics were heelish, he still garnered the majority of fanfare from any arena he went to. Legions of fans decided that Michaels' unprecedented career was more important than The Undertaker undefeated Wrestlemania streak.

After an intense matchup, it became evident that The Undertaker did not want to have Michaels fired, but after being taunted and slapped, The Undertaker felt he had no choice. Michaels received the most monstrous Tombstone Piledriver ever seen and was put out of his misery; what a way to go out.

The Undertaker shook hands with The Undertaker after the match, even hugging one another in the process.

How ironic it is that the career of "Mr. Wrestlemania" came to an end at a Wrestlemania event. However, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Did Shawn Michaels steal the show with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26?
The Verdict: Yes.

Did you see the accolades Michaels achieved?

The awards he received from his Wrestlemania matches alone prove his worth as "Mr. Wrestlemania;" he received "Match of the Year" awards for nearly all of his matches!

Stealing the show 10 out of 12 Wrestlemania matches is out-of-this world and like Shawn said about The Undertaker's unrivaled Wrestlemania winning streak, this is "a feat so extraordinary, no-one could even think of replicating it."

These are the matches that defines the work ethics of "Mr. Wrestlemania" in the ring.

The title was given to Shawn Michaels because he understood how to be driven and adapt himself to have a rare match involving the perfect combination of great storytelling, raw emotion, dynamic rivalries, deafening crowd support and so much more.

The title of "Mr. Wrestlemania" was not just another nickname which was thrown around at a moment's notice. It was earned after extremely hard work, sheer dedication and experience of the business that saw Michaels climb his way up the hierarchical ladder.

These experiences were not taught or passed down, but lived. "Mr. Wrestlemania" was given to Michaels because he was someone who could go out there nine times out of 10 and have the best match of the night.

The title was given to him because he was that someone you could always depend on to have an entire sold-out arena eating out the palm of his hands. He is someone who compels the viewer to watch the product from the moment of his entrance to the point where he left.

I somewhat doubt if any sports entertainer could even scratch the surface that saw Shawn Michaels earn the moniker of ""Mr. Wrestlemania." Wrestlemania, being the "Showcase Of The Immortals" and undoubtedly the most important spectacle to ever be produced by the WWE, surely has an endless future ahead of it.

The sky is the limit for this glorious event and it is no secret that it defines what the WWE is all about. With Shawn Michaels out of the picture, you cannot sit there and tell me that there won't exist a "Mr. Wrestlemania" to carry on the prestige and the legacy of such a cornerstone of the business.

There surely has to be another "Mr. Wrestlemania". Where, O' where, can this man be?

Wrestlemania will forever be a pay-per-view event in the WWE, and you can't tell me that there won't be another  "Mr. Wrestlemania."

Now that we know there could exist such a guy (first being Shawn Michaels, of course) then this means that the majority of wrestling fans now expect the company to place their complete faith in another superstar to headline the future events.

If I HAD to pick just one guy to carry on this legacy, who would it be?

Well, looking at it from a fan's perspective, the only man I see, and trust, who could go out there and steal the show at any given Wrestlemania is none other than Daniel Bryan.

I could feel some heat for saying it, but I'm glad I got it out. I'm not saying this will be, and I am not comparing anyone here. I dislike comparing, and you'll know why if you read one of my past articles.

On a side note, I'd also like to mention that Alberto Del Rio has some immense talent, and I see him as another viable candidate that may have the potential attributes to fit the criteria of being a "Mr. Wrestlemania."

Perhaps the legendary Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels, passed the torch to Alberto Del Rio on making physical contact with him. Yes, I'm speaking of the Sweet Chin Music.

I'm just saying. It was very surprising to see the WWE give the "Mexican Aristocrat" the privilege of even cutting a promo stating that he was the next "Mr. Wrestlemania."

I am definitely not saying that Shawn Michaels will be replaced for all of the fanboys out there, so be at ease. What I simply am saying is that Daniel Bryan is the only guy I could see—for now—with the tremendous abilities and limitless potentials to break through the roof with the event known as Wrestlemania, and steal the show at most of these events.

Of course, this is only my opinion, ladies and gentlemen. However, this would obviously have to be allowed by the WWE. Of course there are few guys who can step up to the plate and become "Mr. Wrestlemania."

It's IF the WWE would even grant them the opportunity of being that special someone. Hey, the next one could very well be Richie Steamboat...anyway, now that you've heard about the matter from me, I'd like to hear about it from you.

  • Who do you think is the next "Mr. Wrestlemania"?
  • Do you think that this person is in the current rosters we know of in the WWE today?
  • Do you think that it is even possible that there could exist another "Mr. Wrestlemania"?

You tell me.

Thanks very much for the read, guys. I appreciate it very much.

Another day, another article. See ya next time.

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