HBK. The Showstopper. The Icon that can still go. Mr. Wrestlemania. The journey that began back in Texas circa 1984 came to a sad end this past Monday night in Arizona; the birthplace of the Heartbreak Kid. Fittingly, one of the greatest careers in wrestling history ended where he life trek to wrestling superstardom began. Unlike most retirements in pro wrestling, Shawn Michaels’ is honest and not another carefully created storyline.

His career truly transcended wrestling. His Ironman Match against Bret Hart at Wrestlemania XII is arguably the best wrestling match of all-time. Shawn Michaels’ gift was pushing the envelope and setting a standard that will never be matched.

When the WWE needed a superstar to introduce a groundbreaking match, Shawn Michaels got the call. It’s a true testament to the masterful artistry of his craft. With it he captured the imagination of everyone who had the privilege of watching him perform. His ability was breathtaking. His sense for the moment was unsurpassed.

Even well past his physical prime, he currently rides a 6 year (2004-2009) streak of winning Match of the Year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Prior to his injury imposed exile following Wrestlemania XIV, Michaels owned a 4 year streak for Match of the Year.

Pro wrestling lost the greatest performer in its history Monday night. He forever has a place at wrestling’s round table with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Andre the Giant, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker. Like his iconic peers at that table, Shawn Michaels will never be replaced. If the WWE was Motley Crue, then he was Vince Neil and those following him would be John Corabi. The business of pro wrestling will roll on, but it certainly will never be the same without HBK.

So long Shawn Michaels and thanks for all the memories.


4 Responses to “Heartbroken”

  1. You know, I watch this rarely because my son is into it and he loves for me to sit and watch with him. I used to love it back in the day when Shawn Michaels was 1 half of THe Rockers, when it was cool to say Ultimate Warrior was your favorite wrestler and generic and corny to say that about Hogan (while secretly Hogan was really our favorite). Somewhere between then and now there was a drastic change in the WWF (I refuse to call it WWE) and wrestling in general. It was about winning and smack talking. It was about cool managers like Bobbie Heenan and Mr. Fuji doing everything they could to help there “Bad Guy” wrestler win. It was about the arrogance of Mr. Perfect, Rick Martel, Ted DIbiase and Ravishing Rick Rude who fought for themselves vs the arrogance of Jake the Snake, the Junyard Dog and Supafly Jimmy Snuka who fought for the people. The chararcters were fun and cool. Even the Tag teams were cool LOD, THe natural Disasters, Demolition, adn the Barbarians. THe entrance theme’s were lame but catchy and original. There was 1 championship belt 1 Intercontinental title and the tag team championship that was it. And while there was much focus on the world champion there was also a lot of focus on the ICC and TTC’s. ALl the matches were very entertaining and competitive all the actors/athletes really made you belive in there persona not saying they were great actors but I think there speaking was limited so you couldn’t really tell and I think these guys almost believed there own persona. I remember a story about Vince giving the Million DOllar Man money to hand out while he was on his leisure time to make his character more believable. It was like an extravagant browdway show then and became more of an off broadway show now (At best). Celebrities used to attend at rindside now the only celebrities they get are athletes on there off time who get paid to show. Now there 20 belts, horrible actors and all the matches seem to be unimportant except for the championship match, short matches that don’t generate any interest. I mean there used to be rivalries outside of the champions and significant rivalries at taht, now if you don’t have a belt it’s like you don’t exist. These guys do so much damn speaking now and they are horrible at it. Have you heard Batista speak??? I admit There was a period of about 7-8 years I din’t watch at all. I started to lose interest around the end of the Bret Hart era but Steve Austin came in and was an amazing persona. Again I started losing interest until a friend put me onto The Rock who was absolutely hillarious. Around 2000 I stopped watching completely until my son was old enough to watch in about ’06 /’07. I saw Michael’s performance leading up to the Wrestlamnia and it was sub-par as was the Unertaker’s who by the way looks ancient and I remember the Underataker was the walking deadman slow and pale like a corpse and almost invincible now he’s tan and trying to be quick and agile what the f*ck!!?!? ANyways Michael’s was great but I don’t think he was able to quite carry the torch like some of those other guys. He was the show stopper and and a great persona WHEN his speaking roles were limited. In matches he was great, his poses made him who he was but the change in WWF came and he started speaking all the damn time and it ruined him at least in my eyes. I think they must have had auditions or something before because only guys who could really really act would be asked to speak. Hogan, Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Ted Dibiase, RIck Flair, Ravishing rich rude LOD (loved when animal would start off with his siganture “Well….”). Th guys who couldn’t they were either slapped with a manager Unertaker had Paul Bearer Yokozuna had Mr. Fuji or they were simply persona’s who didn’t “Like Speaking” and put into situations where Mean Gene or another comentator would do most of the talking, Ultimate Warrior would go off into his rants but more often then not opted to beat his chest, Michaels lines would be limited before he’d make a brief statement about how he was the best and then bust into a pose. Don’t know why that influences how I feel about Shawn but it does. I used to think he was the man too but the whole Degeneration X thing was so corny to me. I don’t just my opinion I guess.

    • Dallas O'Malley Says:

      I used to watch wrestling faithfully and one of the reasons I don’t follow it like I used to is because it, as you stated, is not what it used to be. What today’s wrestling product lacks the most in my eyes are:

      1) The ability to “tell a story” in the ring
      Wrestling’s greatest stars were the best as “telling a story” in the ring. It’s a foreign concept to today’s pro wrestler. Hulk Hogan-Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III was a terrible match as far as technique is concerned but the story told by both Hogan and Andre is timeless. Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith, Summerslam ’92, was a non-stop perfectly executed wrestling match and Vince McMahon knew the match would be so great that he made it the main event even though it was only for the Intercontinental Championship. That would never happen today. Shawn Michael’s ladder match with Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania X is another. Today’s matches are story-less Iit seems like every match is the same now thus making the gift of “telling a story in the ring” a 20th century artifact.

      2) The art of wrestling
      Bret Hart once said the art of wrestling was creating the illusion of violence without actually being violent. Hart could strike his opponent with closed fist every time and never mark him. That is the art of wrestling. Today’s wrestling throw a punch then open their hands at the last second and slap their opponents. The moves are sloppy, corny and not crisp at all. There isn’t a wrestler alive today that could outperform Bret Hart, a prime Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels. It’s more about the wrestler’s physical appearance then their ability. With an approach like that it’s no wonder today’s wrestlers aren’t in the same league as the legends we both grew up with.

      3) complete characters
      I hear you about the Batista thing. He’s terrible and a complete bore to watch. He’s huge and that’s it. A lot of wrestlers today are corny and nothing but catch phrases. When I look at the great matches of the past, the build ups were great just like you said with charismatic wrestlers who could actually cut a promo without cheap pops. The promo sets were great too such as Adrian Adonis’ “Beauty Shop”, “The Snake Pit”, “The Barbershop” and “Piper’s Pit”. Now they just resort to putting a couple of chairs and a rug in the ring. It’s not the same. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the last of his kind and then it all went downhill from there.

      I also don’t watch wrestling that much because of my daughter. Some of the content they used in the early to mid-2000s was a little rank so I gave it up every Monday and just watched it when the opportunity presents itself. I’ve been trying to get back into but it’s hard because like you said, it’s just not the same and not nearly as good.
      I also blame HHH for the downfall of pro wrestling that’s another story…..

  2. Why HHH??? I mean I can’t stand him but I’d love to hear why you feel this way?

    • Dallas O'Malley Says:

      Well because when HHH started dating Stephanie McMahon in real life the WWE started to change. He became too dominant of a character and wouldn’t put certain people over like Chris Jericho. He started to ridicule people’s matches, like Ric Flair, on the air when the choreography, no matter how overdone it was, was the fault of the WWE and not the wrestler. Dating Stephanie no one dare cross him except the Undertaker. Backstage it is still his lockeroom and always will be. And rightfully so. HHH just became the WWE and it got old fast to me. By the time he chilled out and got back to being more about the product and not himself I was already out of the loop for too long. He held the WWE hostage. Lots of the guys in the past didn’t put over other wrestlers or were reluctant to but HHH was the 1st one to effect the entire promotion instead of the tier he belonged to. In a nutshell that’s about it. I hope it made sense.

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