Shawn Michaels is Your First Inductee into the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame

Josh McCainSenior Writer IJanuary 12, 2011

As if this comes as a surprise to anyone.  On this past Monday Night Raw, it was announced that Shawn Michaels would be the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.

No one should be shocked that Mr. WrestleMania would be inducted just one year after his retirement.  After all, HBK has had so many memorable matches over his career.

He came up in an era where athleticism might get you a job at one of the bigger promotions, but unless you were a big burly guy you wouldn't make any headway.

Though he wasn't alone in this, Shawn Michaels helped change the perspective of sports entertainment.

He showed the fans that wrestling was more than just two big muscular guys body slamming each other.

When the Rockers—Michaels and then-partner Marty Janetty—burst into the WWE, I was at the right impressionable age.

For a while I was a Hulkamaniac and took my vitamins and said my prayers, but the second I saw the Rockers in the ring I no longer wanted to wear yellow and red.

I, like many others, saw that there was more to wrestling than and big boot and a leg drop.

Michaels was quick, he was daring and he made whomever he was in the ring with that much better.

When the Rockers split I was still just a kid who still believed wrestling was real, and I did something most kids never did: I started to cheer on the bad guy. 

In spite of Michaels tossing his partner through the barber shop window, I had already made my allegiance and like any good fan I was sticking with my guy through good times and bad.

HBK spent the next few years dominating the Intercontinental Title scene.  I kept waiting for him to get a shot at the WWE Heavyweight Title, but didn't understand that at the time the IC belt was put on the company's best performer.

It was no doubt that Michaels was indeed the company's best performer.  It was almost a letdown if you ordered a pay-per-view and HBK was one of the first wrestlers because you knew, no matter what the other matches were, chances are you had just witnessed the match of the night.

This type of success, however, also inflated Michaels' ego.

He was often seen backstage yelling at some of the main-eventers to "top that," which didn't earn him many friends at the time.

His attitude probably held him back a bit when it came to rising through the ranks of the WWE, but eventually he got there when he was the first one in and last one out of the 1995 Royal Rumble.

He'd go on to main event WrestleMania XI with his best friend Kevin Nash (a.k.a Diesel).

Michaels would lose the match but prove to Vince McMahon that he was indeed main event material. 

The following night on Raw, Michaels would be attacked by then body guard Psycho Sid and, after being saved by Diesel Michaels, would once again become a baby face (good guy).

That following January, HBK would win the Royal Rumble again and would go on to beat Brett Hart at WrestleMania XII to capture his first Heavyweight title.

Michaels' career would be filled with many more highlights, such as becoming the first ever Grand Slam Champion (winning the tag team belts, IC title, WWE title, and European title, along with the Hardcore belt), fighting the Undertaker in the first ever Hell in a Cell match, forming Degeneration X and ending his first run in the WWE against Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV despite being in considerable pain.

Shawn Michaels had more than enough credentials for the Hall of Fame after that illustrious career, but after years of surgery and rehab on his back, HBK finally returned to the WWE and in spite of his lengthy absence it was like he was never gone.

Last year, he put his career on the line against the Undertaker's unbeaten streak at WrestleMania.

Michaels lost and the following night on RAW he kept his word and retired.

As an HBK mark, I have to say that was a sad night for me and the WWE hasn't been the same since.

This brief article doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what Michaels has done for professional wrestling, but it is great to see that the WWE isn't waiting to honor him.

Look for some sort of top matches article from me next week.  I've got a lot of matches to go over to pick out a number; I'd like to keep it at 10, but that might be tough.

Please feel free to use the comment section to name a few of your favorite HBK matches as well as moments.

Personally, my favorite HBK moment was when he was making his push towards WrestleMania XII and after matches he'd go into the crowd.

My buddies and I had third row seats to a house show, and after his match with Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) Michaels came into the crowd and sat right by us for a moment.

The only word that describes that moment is "awesome."

Until next time loyal reader, follow me on Twitter (@jomac006) for more HBK mark type stuff.