Wrestlemania 26 is in the books, and some people are saying it has been the best Mania in recent years.
The biggest story to come out of the past week is the retirement of Shawn Michaels. Shawn lost his career versus streak match at Wrestlemania 26 against the Undertaker, forcing him to retire.
Shawn's real reasons for leaving the ring are his family back home, and his physical limitations. Shawn is still a top-tier performer, but he himself has said he is nowhere near where he was before his back injury.
Shawn gave a heartfelt speech Monday, leaving many fans in tears. The funny thing was that with all the different chants that broke out during the speech I felt like TNA's audience had invaded Raw.
Chants of "Thank you Shawn," "One more match," Please don't go," and "HBK" filled the arena every other minute it would seem. Shawn was clearly emotional when saying goodbye to the industry he has loved for 25 years.
During his speech, Shawn thanked the fans for always accepting him for who he was and helping him through tough times. He also had words for HHH for being the only guy who would put up with him in the '90s, Vince McMahon for keeping him on track, all the production crew, and a redheaded kid who puts all the video together in Connecticut.
Shawn also thanked Bret Hart for offering him his forgiveness and his friendship. Bret had come out earlier in the evening to address the crowd after his match with Vince on Sunday, and he said Shawn was one of the best of all time and he was glad they were back on good terms.
Shawn leaving the WWE is truly the end of an era. Shawn Michaels represents pro wrestling for so many fans, and has for so long that a WWE without him will be hard to get used to.
The thing that struck me as funny was that WWE used many different videos of Shawn facing a few guys who ended up in TNA. I guess when it comes to HBK, Vince will break his own rules.
Shawn's heartfelt speech included what I believe is a little jab at Ric Flair. He mentioned how when some people retire it is only temporary. He said that in order to keep his promise to the fans and the Undertaker he would do everything in his power to stop another match from happening.
Does this mean HBK is gone from WWE for good? I don't know. Maybe we will see him do sporadic appearances like he did during his four-year hiatus. He could guest host Raw, become a GM, or even an announcer at some point.
One thing is for sure though, Shawn Michaels will never be a full time wrestler again. He has a family he wants to watch grow up and his health to worry about. I think Shawn left at the right time, at the top of his game.
By putting on the best Mania match two years in a row, HBK has helped cement his legacy as one of the best of all time. He is without a doubt a future hall of famer.
HBK will be missed by just about every wrestling fan out there, but his departure opens up space for some of the young guys to step up and attempt to fill his shoes.
If there was ever a wrestler who was the epitome of both controversy and class, it is Shawn Michaels. So well Shawn and thanks for all the memories.