WWE Profile No. 1: Shawn Michaels, a Career Retrospective

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2009

In my first edition of "WWE Profile" I am going to be examining the career and influence of none other than "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels.

Shawn is no doubt one of the most talented wrestlers to ever grace the squared circle.  He is known by many different monikers: HBK, The showstopper, Mr. Wrestlemania, The innovator of the ladder match, and of course he was part of the crotch chopping, WCW invading, ratings grabbing stable that was D-Generation X.

I have been a Shawn Michaels fan for as long as i have been a wrestling fan.  He was part of the innovative tag team The Rockers when I first began watching wrestling.  Shawn was the younger and more talented of the two wrestlers, which is why he went onto super-stardom.

Shawn Michaels was born in Arizona but grew up in Texas. Like most athletes in Texas, Shawn played high school football, and at the time was one of the larger guys on the field. 

That would soon change as Shawn found out that football was not his passion, but rather Pro Wrestling was to become Shawn's destiny.

Shawn Started in the independent scene, as was the trend on the '80s. He wrestled for promotions such as Mid-South Wrestling and the legendary AWA where he held the Tag Team Championship with Marty Jannety. 

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Shawn would have his first run in the WWE cut short by controversy. There are many sides to the story of why Shawn was fired the first time around but the most published reason was a bar fight.

After Returning to the AWA for a short time Shawn later re-signed with the WWE and went onto win the tag titles with his Rockin partner Marty Jannety.

The title win was never actually acknowledged by WWE but anyone who knows their HBK history knows that Shawn and Marty beat the Hart foundation for the titles, only to have to give them back.

During this time period Shawn Michaels helped pave the way for the smaller guys by performing moves that were considered rare for the time, such as headscissor takedowns and moonsaults. 

During Ric Flair's hall of fame speech he said the day he realized Shawn Michaels was batter wrestler than him was the day Rics son came to him an asked him if he could do a moonsault, after replying no, his son simply replied "Shawn Michaels can."

Shortly after the tag-title fiasco, Shawn would turn on his long time tag partner on an episode of Brutus Beefcakes Barbershop by super-kicking him after they had apparently patched things up. 

Shawn's career would go on to skyrocket after this incident. Nothing had really been done like this before (The Barbershop Incident) and it was a good move for both Shawn and the WWE. 

Shawn took on the nickname "The Heart Break Kid" during the beginning of his singles run. He portrayed a cocky heel who was obsessed with his looks and winning matches. He was accompanied to the ring by the legendary Sensational Sherri. 

Sherri helped boost shawns image as not only a heel, but as a ladies man. During this period Shawn feuded with his former partner Marty Jannety over the IC championship, and the two would have several great matches over the belt.

Shawn ran into more trouble in 1993, it was said on WWE tv that shawn had quit the company after being stripped of the IC title for not defending the belt enough times.  The allegations that he was suspended for steroid abuse have been denied by Michaels in his book. 

HBK received, and turned down an offer from the upstart promotion WCW.  He later returned to the WWE and engaged in a feud with Razor Ramone.

Shawn had begun carrying his IC title claiming that he was the real champ, while the current IC champion, Razor, had won the title in Shawns absence. Shawn and Razor went to Wrestlemania 10 and had the first televised ladder match, forever changing stipulation matches in pro wrestling. 

In the Era when high flyers were not as popular as the big guys, Shawn excelled and had arguably one of the best matches ever that night. Granted, Shawn lost the match, he was never thought of as the loser.

Michaels would receive a few shots at the WWE title here and there but never won any of them.  During this time Shawn brought in a body guard by the name of Big Daddy Cool Diesel, Real name Kevin Nash. 

Shawn and Kevin were legit friends which is why they blended together so well. They went onto win the tag titles twice, while diesel also held the IC title. Their partnership soon ended when Shawn won the 1995 rumble which gave him a shot at Diesels title at Mania. 

Even though Shawn did not win the title that time, he would go onto win the Rumble the next year. Entering the rumble as a heel at No. 1, he and the British Bulldog would outlast 28 other men to be the only two to ever start and finish the Royal Rumble. He turned face shortly after and would become very popular among fans young and old. 

Shawn's biggest match came at Wrestlemania 12. Shawn and then Champion Bret Hart would compete in the WWE's first ever 60 minute iron man match, only to fight to a 0-0 draw. 

The match went in to sudden death rules and Shawn went onto win his first WWE championship.  Shawn's dream for almost his life had finally come true.

He would be known as a great champion, having spectacular matches and truly loving his fans. Later on Shawn would be involved in an incident which set off a fire in Vince McMahon. 

Shawn, HHH, Razor and Diesel, otherwise known as the clique, all appeared in the ring as friends at a house show before Hall and Nash jumped ship to WCW. This would affect HHH the most as he was the only one of the two left who was not the champion.

Michaels would soon win the European title making him the first ever grandslam champion in WWE history, having held all four titles. Shawn also won the Tag team title with Steve Austin, with whom Michaels was feuding with at the time. 

The moments after their title win were my personal favorite, they were shown walking back up the ramp side by side, occasionally stopping and going again because neither man would trust the other to walk behind them. Great stuff.

Shawn would be involved in one of wrestlings most controversial moments. During a title match with Bret Hart Shawn applied Harts signature submission, the sharpshooter, only to have MchMahon legitimately stop the match early and award Michaels the title. 

Shawn has stated several times that he had no prior knowledge that the match would end that way, only to later admit he was talked into it by McMahon.

Shawn and Hunter soon began appearing on TV together and doing things that the WWE did not approve of, until they got the ratings report. Shawn and HHH had become even more popular by criticising authority and doing ridiculous things on live TV. This led to the formation of one of the most popular stables of all time, DX.

DX had initially just been Shawn, HHH and Chyna, but soon they were joined by The new age outlaws and clique member Shawn Waltman.  Shawn would suffer a career ending back injury during a match during this time and was forced to retire in 1998.

HBK would occasionally make appearances in a managerial role such commissioner and a referee. It was not until four years later that shawn would step back into the ring against his onetime tag team partner and best friend HHH.

After what appeared to be a reconciliation between the two HHH would turn on Shawn sparking a feud that led to several matches including a street fight, a three stages of hell match, and eventually the first ever elimination chamber match which would see Shawn win his first World Heavyweight Title. 

Shawn lost the title back to HHH during their monumental three stages of hell match.

HBK then went on to feud with Chris Jericho who was claiming to be the next Shawn Michaels. Their feud came to a head at wrestlemania 19 when Shawn beat Jericho in a very technical match. The two embraced afterwards, which ended when Jericho delivered a low blow to Michaels. 

Michaels also feuded with Kurt Angle during this time due to Angle applying the Ankle lock to Marty Jannety and Sensational Sherri. The Wrestlemania Showdown ended with Michaels losing to an Ankle lock submission hold. 

The feud with HHH would continue with a Hell in the Cell match and a Worl title match at taboo Tuesday which Michaels would lose after interference from Edge. Shawn Began feuding with Muhammed Hassan and Daivari soon after. This would lead to a tag match with Shawn Teaming with The Immortal Hulk Hogan. 

Hogan and Shawn won their match and were celebrating in the ring when Shawn laid out Hogan with a superkick. This incident led to a match between the two with Hogan coming out on top. After the match Michaels and Hogan shook hand officially turning Shawn into a face once again.

In 2006 Shawn and Hunter would re-unite DX to battle the McMahon family.  Shawn and Hunter would have matches with The McMahons personal hitman Umaga as well as the cheerleading stable the spirit squad. The feud ended with DX facing Vince, Shane and the Big Show in a handicap Hell in the Cell match, which DX won. 

After HHH suffered a real leg injury, Shawn was left without a partner, but that didn't stop him from crushing Randy Orton's skull with a concahirto on Raw. 

Shawn would go on to win the Tag titles with John Cena who was his opponent at wrestlemania 23. Michaels and Cena would successfully defend the titles while still feuding with each other.  During a ten team battle royal for the tag titles Shawn eliminated Cena officially ending their reign as champions. 

Since then Shawn has been involved in many feuds with many different wrestlers including Edge, Randy Orton and John Cena.  Michaels has not held a major singles title since losing his world title bout with HHH back in '03. 

Even though Shawn is in his mid-40's he is still known as one of the best in ring performers on the roster. His charisma and in ring skills have made him a fan favorite world wide. Shawn Michaels is arguably the greatest wrestler of all time. It's all a matter of opinion in the end, but in my opinion there is no debate. 

He has been involved in several of the companies first run gimmick matches including the ladder match, the three stages of hell, the iron man match as well as the elimination chamber. 

He is one of three men to have won the rumble twice and is the only man to ever hold the WWE and European titles at the same time. He has been an inspiration to anyone who was told they could not do something by returning from a career ending injury. 

Simply put, Shawn Michaels will someday have his own wing in the WWE hall of fame.

Thanks for reading this long article and let me know what you think.