WWE – Shawn Michaels: Mr. WrestleMania (BLURAY REVIEW~!)
WWE – Shawn Michaels: Mr. WrestleMania
Because we really needed ANOTHER Shawn Michaels set. SLACKAMANIA handles the documentary segments and Blu-Ray Exclusives, while I take care of all the match recaps. Enjoy!
A Walk Down Memory Lane: In Pittsburgh on October 7, 2013, Shawn Michaels sat down with WWE Home Video at a hotel to discuss his “showstopping” career at WrestleMania. We see Shawn looking at various clips of his WrestleMania matches on an iPad.
Going to New York: HBK says when WrestleMania launched, he was working for Bill Watts at Mid-South, so the WWF was the enemy and Watts was against it. In the back of his mind though despite limited knowledge, he felt being a part of WrestleMania was something he wanted to do one day and that meant going to New York. When he finally arrived in the WWF, he and Marty Jannetty felt they could have a great match with anybody and wanted to leave an impression in their first WrestleMania match even though they were immature and just loved to party.
- The Rockers vs. The Twin Towers (w/Slick) – WrestleMania V
Bossman starts off slapping Shawn in the corner. Bossman turns around to look at Jannetty, and then turns back around into a missile dropkick from Michaels. Shawn nails both Akeem and Bossman with forearms before Akeem receives a tag. The Rockers work his arm a bit until Akeem powers out and tags Bossman. Jannetty ends up into the arms of the Bossman after a leapfrog while Akeem comes off the ropes for a splash. The Twin Towers take turns beating the crap out of Jannetty for a while. Jannetty avoids a running splash from Akeem and makes the HOT TAG TO SHAWN! Together, the Rockers whip Akeem from corner-to-corner and then follow up with a double-flying shoulderblocks for 1-2-NO! Shawn’s hot streak ends with one HUGE clothesline from Akeem. Bossman tags and comes off the top for a splash, but there’s nobody home. Shawn covers for two. The Rockers trip up Bossman and give Akeem STEREO DROPKICKS! STEREO MISSILE DROPKICKS to Bossman! Oh man, Shawn mistimed it and that could’ve gone terribly wrong. Akeem dumps Jannetty as Shawn comes off the top, but he gets caught and takes a powerbomb to the mat! Akeem hits AIR AFRICA (diving splash) for the 1-2-3. (8:06) Nice power vs. speed match. **½
The Popcorn Spot: Despite losing, Shawn was satisfied with his first WrestleMania experience. He said at the time even losing in five minutes at WrestleMania was important as you were on WrestleMania and that meant a successful year. He talked about how some guys got jacked physically during WM season (clips of WOYAH and Hercules are shown). In those days, Shawn felt ten feet tall and bulletproof and would stay up till 3AM and still performed. The Rockers were a great tag team that didn’t get their due according to Shawn. WrestleMania VI was in the big Skydome and HBK loved working with the Orient Express who they knew like the back of their hand. Unfortunately, it had time constraints and being ”the popcorn spot” aka the match after intermission as fans were getting popcorn or visiting the restroom, etc. He says while a mental challenge, he felt fans rushed back as they could hear other fans roaring for the match.
- The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (w/Mr. Fuji) – WrestleMania VI
FORMER AWA STARS EXPLODE! Jannetty starts off with Tanaka. It turns into a bunch of Rockers double-teams, including STEREO PESCADOS! Once the action settles, Fuji hooks the top rope with his cane and lets Jannetty fall out to the floor. Sato stops by Jannetty and rams into the ringpost. Back in, Jannetty gets caught in the heel corner for a bit until he flips completely out of a backdrop and tags in Michaels for a mistimed double-team crescent kick. Sato gets a tag, but then ducks low off a whip and pays for it with a swinging neckbreaker. Tanaka catches Shawn coming off the ropes and kicks him in the back of the head. Tanaka tags in and nails Shawn with a flying cross chop. Sato tags and applies a nerve hold and then tags Tanaka once Shawn starts to rise up. Tanaka flips out of a backdrop, but gets decked with a clothesline to set up the hot tag to Jannetty. The Rockers do a number on the Express and look to finish off Tanaka, but Jannetty gets distracted by Fuji and gives chase. Sato sneaks around ringside and then surprises Jannetty by tossing salt in his face! Jannetty’s so blinded, he trips over the railing and into the front row to get counted out. (7:32) It was okay, but you could tell they still needed some work. The chemistry really kicks in later in the year. **
Championship Aspirations: The Rockers were content working with anyone, but felt they were due a title reign. After an opportunity was lost for them to win it in the fall of 1990, they hoped to win the tag titles at WrestleMania. However, officials put them on last in live events to send the crowd home happy even against teams like the Conquistadors. HBK said he and Marty felt that was good enough to get them a tag title reign, but were satisfied having good matches to close the shows.
- The Rockers vs. Haku & Barbarian (w/Bobby Heenan) – WrestleMania VII
It’s the Faces of Fear from the FUTURE! While Heenan is managing his boys, all-American Jim Duggan joins Monsoon for commentary. Shawn and Haku start off. Haku catches Shawn trying a leapfrog and slams him spine-first in the corner. Haku whips Shawn from corner-to-corner, but Shawn comes back with a jumping shoulderblock. Jannetty gets a tag for a double-hiptoss, but the Rockers then kip-up into a CRAZY double-clothesline from Barbarian! The Rockers fight back and end up putting the heels out on the floor with STEREO SUPERKICKS. Back in, Jannetty tries a sunset flip, but can’t get Barbarian over. He avoids the punch down on the mat and tries a hurracanrana instead, but Barbarian is too strong. Shawn comes in to help out and dropkicks Barbarian over to execute the move. Delayed cover by Jannetty gets two. Haku tags and Jannetty tries the hurracanrana on Haku this time, but he’s too strong as well. The ref is wise to Shawn’s interference, which just gives Barbarian the opportunity to help out with a running hotshot. WOW! Haku doesn’t cover though and plays to the crowd a little bit. He basks in the glory of how much they boo him. Barbarian tags in for a press slam and tags Haku again. Jannetty ducks a clothesline and gets a desperation crossbody block for 1-2-NO! Haku hits a backbreaker and then holds on for another backbreaker. Awesome. Barbarian tags in for a cover that gets 1-2-NO! Barbarian delivers a clothesline and applies a bearhug. Jannetty fights his way to a corner and then catches Barbarian with his foot off a charge. Jannetty does something REAL stupid like come off the top rope instead of tagging in Shawn and gets caught with a powerslam on the way down. Barbarian doesn’t cover though and goes up top for another stupid mistake. He tries for the FLYING HEADBUTT, but Jannetty rolls out of the way. HOT TAG TO MICHAELS! He freaking owns Haku. Jannetty helps out with a clothesline when Michaels can’t get him down off a sunset flip for 1-2-NO! Barbarian saves. Barbarian gets dumped again with STEREO DROPKICKS, leaving Haku all alone with the Rockers. Jannetty hits a nice missile dropkick and then Shawn comes off with a flying crossbody for the 1-2-3. (10:34) Solid formula match even when Barbarian was in there. ***
Time to Make A Split: The Rockers quit the WWF in 1991 after a pay dispute over a commercial. The Legion Of Doom got $5,000 each for the commercial and the Rockers split $5,000. Vince called and told him that the door was still open for him to return in the future and that he thought he could make a decent mid-card heel. Shawn thought about it and decided to come back as he was married to his first wife at the time. He also talked Marty into coming back as there weren’t many options to go in 1991. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything planned for Marty which led to the Rockers split and dispute. He said it was the start of him being an ”asshole” in his career. He opened WrestleMania VIII against Tito Santana, which Shawn says he enjoyed.
- Shawn Michaels (w/Sensational Sherri) vs. Tito Santana – WrestleMania VIII
Both men made big changes to their personas in the last six months. Tito finally let go of his Strike Force gear and began sporting a matador outfit. As for Shawn, he superkicked his long-time partner Marty Jannetty on the “Barber Shop” and then THREW him through the glass window to turn full-blown heel. He’s now cockier than ever and got himself a girlfriend who just so happens to be in LOVE with him. By this point though, Tito was used as enhancement talent and he’s just here to get the cocky new heel over as a legit challenger to the IC belt. Shoving contest to start leads to a Tito crossbody for two. Shawn runs the ropes a bit after a headlock and winds up taking a clothesline out to the floor. Back in, Tito grabs another headlock. Shawn escapes again, but flips out of the corner one too many times and turns around into a right hand. More headlockage leads to Shawn ducking low and gets caught in an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Tito tries that headlock thing again and Shawn winds up throwing him out over the top rope and to the floor. Sherri surprisingly doesn’t get in a cheap shot as Santana crawls back in the ring. Shawn delivers a backbreaker and then grabs a chinlock. Tito elbows out, but runs into a superkick. Remember, this is 1992, so it’s not his finisher yet. He goes for the TEARDROP SUPLEX, but Tito punches out. After some back and forth blows, Tito connects with the FLYING JALAPENO that knocks Shawn out to the floor! Tito brings him back in for a slingshot shoulderblock for 1-2-NO! The momentum of a knee-lift lands Shawn face-first in the turnbuckle and then into an inverted atomic drop. Another FLYING JALAPENO puts Shawn back on the floor. Once he’s on the apron, Tito tries to slam him back in, but Shawn hooks the ropes and falls on top for 1-2-3. (10:40) Ehh. It was okay. The buildup was pretty good, but the finish was awkward. **½
A Veil of Negativity: HBK was happy to be I-C champ but wanted more than the opening match in back-to-back years. He was afraid of being labeled a good hand and didn’t want to make it a regular part of his career despite being a good performer. He was intrigued when they told him to do an angle with Mr. Perfect which he felt would be a good launch. He says that not everything was good though as Hogan had came back and won the WWF title as the new guys felt it was their time and the old guard had passed. A “veil of negativity” is how he described WrestleMania IX. He described his WM IX match as not the best, but nothing to shake a stick at.
- WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (w/Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka (w/Sensational Sherri) – WrestleMania IX
Tatanka’s STILL undefeated on TV after being in the WWF for nearly 18 months, so now he’s finally getting a big IC title shot at the biggest show of the year. If Jannetty hadn’t messed up again right after the Royal Rumble, this match probably would have been completely different. All the same, this is what we got. Because Sherri left Shawn, he’s now on the rebound with a younger, manlier woman in Luna Vachon, who makes her WWF debut here. Shawn controls a headlock and runs up the turnbuckle only to bring Tatanka back to the middle of the ring for more of the headlock. He tries one time too many and Tatanka counters with a back suplex. Tatanka misses a corner charge, but catches Michaels coming off the top with an arm drag. See, the story is that Tatanka had hurt Shawn’s shoulder in one of their non-title matches prior to the show. Shawn Flair Flips out of the corner off a whip and gets chopped off the apron to the floor. Meanwhile, Sherri holds off Luna from helping her man. Michaels thumbs Tatanka in the eye to get back in the ring and tries a flying sunset flip, which is botched for a two-count. Tatanka catches HBK coming off the ropes for an atomic drop. Then Shawn ducks low off a whip and gets nailed with an armbreaker DDT. Now we go to an armbar. Shawn escapes, but misses a corner charge and smacks right into the ringpost. You had to know it was coming. Back to the armbar. Shawn punches out, but he’s caught trying to flip out of the corner for a shoulderbreaker. Tatanka hits a flying chop and attempts another one, but HBK nails him with a superkick on the way down. Shelton Benjamin – he ain’t. Not bad though. They go to the floor where Shawn comes off the apron with a flying clothesline. While Tatanka regroups, HBK tells Sherri to leave. Back in, Shawn hits a swinging neckbreaker for 1-2-NO! Standing dropkick gets another two. Tatanka elbows out of a chinlock, but Shawn keeps him cornered with left jabs and then tries a victory roll that ultimately FAILS. They try again and Tatanka counters with an electric chair drop. Tatanka starts to the warrior dance and points the finger (where have I seen THIS before?) Tatanka unloads with chops and hits a flying crossbody for 1-2-NO! Then he catapults Michaels into the ringpost and rolls him up for 1-2-NO! It looks like it’s time for the PAPOOSE-TO-GO, but Shawn slips out and rolls Tatanka up for 1-2-NO! Shawn heads up top and decides to fly, but Tatanka catches him for a powerslam in mid-air! Cover, 1-2-NO! Tatanka looked like he was going over to Luna, so Shawn kicks him out to ringside. Crowd starts to chant “Sherri”, not Tatanka. Hmm. Shawn tries a dive off the apron, but misses and lands face-first on the steel steps. Tatanka climbs back in the ring and as Shawn starts to crawl in, he trips the ref up and pulls him out to the floor. Once they’re both back in, Tatanka hits the PAPOOSE-TO-GO, but the ref taps him on the shoulder and calls for the bell. (18:16) It should be a DQ win for Tatanka, even though Finkel announces that its a countout win. Way to piss off the crowd in the first twenty minutes on the biggest show. I can understand why they wouldn’t give Tatanka the loss here because Shawn had bigger fish to fry than get tangled up in an angle with Tatanka, but that finish wasn’t even clever. The match was okay and there was some decent psychology portrayed with the shoulder story. But still, nothing too great here. Afterwards, Luna slams Sherri on the floor for some kicks to the ribs, leading to the very first catfight on Raw a week later. **½
Shawn vs. The Ladder: HBK calls it the match that made his career. He felt it was meant to be and the perfect time to do it. The one thing that upsets him though is the phrase ”Shawn Michaels vs. The Ladder” which even some of his peers have said (ex. Flair), but he says it’s a great injustice to Scott Hall. He calls Hall a stud and that he bumped and worked his ass off and had no worries but to make sure they tore the house down. He says he’s called Mr. WrestleMania as he’s the most consistent performer and has the most longevity, but on that night he couldn’t have done it with anyone BUT Scott Hall.
- Ladder Match: WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) – WrestleMania X
It’s the battle to determine the undisputed WWF Intercontinental champion. HBK felt he was wrongfully stripped of the IC belt back in September and has since carried a replica belt around and claimed himself to be the real champion, regardless of the fact Razor Ramon was the actual champion. To win the match, one of the two has to grab both belts. Other than the back-story, I don’t think this needs any sort of hyperbole. Every wrestling fan is pretty familiar with this match, I suppose. They do a little bit of wrestling to start. HBK flips out of a hiptoss into a chokeslam. Shawn comes back with a swinging neckbreaker and tosses Razor out to the floor for a clothesline by Diesel. The ref suspects Diesel did something to Razor, which he did, so ref Earl Hebner sends Diesel to the back. Razor takes HBK to the floor and folds the ringside mats over to expose the concrete. Back in they go, Razor looks to give HBK the RAZOR’S EDGE from inside the ring on the concrete down below! HBK backdrops Razor over out to the concrete instead. It’s ladder time! Michaels brings the ladder towards the ring. Razor nails Shawn and grabs the ladder, so HBK baseball slides the ladder into Ramon! Shawn takes the ladder into the ring and jabs it right in Ramon’s gut a couple times. HBK follows up by slamming the ladder down across Razor’s back. Now Michaels makes the first climb. Razor grabs HBK by his tights – exposing a pair of cheeks. Shawn kicks him back and drops an elbow off the ladder! Shawn sets the ladder up in the corner and splashes Razor in a great highlight reel moment. Shawn makes another climb, but Razor turns the ladder over and causes Shawn to hotshot himself on the top rope. With both men up, they collide. Shawn folds the ladder up in the corner. Razor reverses a whip into the ladder and Shawn goes crashing out on the floor! SICK! Razor takes the ladder out to the floor with him and sandwiches Shawn in between the ladder and the ringpost. Razor tilts the ladder up against the apron and catapults Shawn into the ladder. Back in, Razor knocks Shawn over the top rope with the ladder and starts his first ladder climb. Shawn climbs up on the apron and comes off the top with a double-ax handle to save the match for himself. Now they both climb the ladder from each side. They slug each other until Razor slams HBK from the ladder to the mat below! Uh oh, the ladder turns over and takes Razor with it. Razor climbs again and touches the belts, but HBK dropkicks him off. Shawn hits the Superkick and a Piledriver. Shawn folds up the ladder and splashes the ladder across Razor’s body! Ramon is DONE! Shawn sets up the ladder over Razor’s body and starts to climb. Shawn touches the belts, but Razor gets up and shoulderblocks the ladder over. Shawn falls on the ropes and gets his foot tied up! That makes it easy for Razor to climb up and grab the belts. (18:45) The bumps taken by Shawn Michaels in this match were unparalleled by anything ever seen before in the US – making this completely innovative. It may seem mild in comparison to what we’ve seen since then with more flashy moves, but I feel this match holds more substance and psychology than any of his followers. It’s a true classic and it always will be. *****
Under Stern Direction: HBK was wrestling for the World Title, but not the main event. He compares it to kissing your sister. He was appreciative of the celebrity appeal of the show via Lawrence Taylor, but said it gave him more ammo to have a good match. He said he didn’t know if he was more worried of getting outshined by other talent or Taylor, but what matters is in the ring. He called it a good highlight for him and his friends, but that WM XI is best known for being the show LT wrestled on. HBK & Nash objected to Vince’s plan for Diesel to kick out of Sweet Chin Music at the one-count. They felt it would be better to have a near fall as HBK had been knocking people out with his new finisher, but Vince thought it would make Diesel look strong if he kicked out at one. Vince got his way and the crowd booed the spot. HBK laughed and said when Vince is wrong, he usually does something else wrong and randomly the next night based off of crowd reactions he turned Shawn face and sent him home to play off an injury via Sid. HBK felt it wasn’t time to go face as the era of the ”cool heel” was starting. HBK admitted being unprofessional and a pain in the ass but always did what Vince suggested which is why he’s still a part of the company after all these years.
- WWF Champion Diesel (w/Pamela Anderson) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Jenny McCarthy) – WrestleMania XI
Our guest timekeeper is Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement and our guest ring announcer is Nick Turturro from NYPD Blue. Vince ~ “He can’t find Pamela Anderson, but he can somehow find the ring.” Apparently Shawn stayed in character around Pamela Anderson and her new husband at the time Tommy Lee, which caused Tommy to get irritated over a comment Shawn made about knowing Pamela before he did and they had to make a quick switch to keep Pamela away from Shawn. Pretty funny stuff. Whether that story is true or not, only those involved know. Michaels tries a hit and run on Diesel to start and gets wiped out at every turn, including landing on a ringside photographer and sliding him out of the way. Shawn goes to the eyes to avoid a press slam, but can’t suplex Diesel and takes one instead. Diesel won’t go down to a sunset flip, so he hoists Shawn up by his throat and crotches him real good. Michaels ducks a Big Boot and clotheslines Diesel out. He kicks it up a notch and comes down on top of Diesel. Shawn misses a baseball slide and moves away from Diesel to let him smash his ribs on the ringpost. Michaels delivers a running splash off the apron to the floor. Sid inches closer to Diesel while Shawn has the ref’s attention, but nothing ever happens. Back in, HBK kicks and jabs at the ribs before nailing Diesel with a bulldog off the second rope. That gets two. “Diesel” chants start up as Michaels hits a back elbow out of the corner. Shawn delivers a GREAT looking flying elbow drop to the ribs for 1-2-NO! Diesel backdrops out of a pair of front headlock attempts and goes for Snake Eyes, but Shawn shoves him off into the corner and tries to take Diesel back down with a sleeper. That proves successful until Diesel stands up and backs Shawn into the corner to break it. Diesel hits a couple corner clotheslines and the Snake Eyes connects, followed by the Bossman straddle. They brawl out to the floor where ref Earl Hebner jumps out in front of Sid to keep him from getting involved and sprains or twists his ankle or something off-camera. Shawn gets away long enough from Diesel to catch him with the SWEET CHIN MUSIC. It shows good continuity from SummerSlam AND puts over Shawn’s finisher. He covers, but Hebner’s nursing his ankle. We’ve got a REALLY slow count for 1-2-NO! Now it gets serious. Sid takes off a turnbuckle pad just as Diesel takes Shawn over with a back suplex. With both guys out of it, Shawn still covers Diesel for 1-2-NO! Shawn dives at Diesel from the middle rope, but he’s caught in mid-air for the Side Slam. Pretty cool. Diesel catapults Michaels into the second turnbuckle, which avoids the exposed turnbuckle for him. Big Boot connects and the JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB finishes Michaels off for the 1-2-3. (20:36) On the way to the dressing room, Sid vows that Shawn is not finished with Diesel while the celebrities all celebrate with the champ. It’s plain and simple: Shawn Michaels outshined the WWF champion and that got him over big time. But instead they decided to continue pushing Diesel and Sid anyways until they finally understood that they had it backwards the whole time. Very good match that was later upstaged by their ‘Good Friends, Better Enemies’ no holds barred match in April 1996. ***¾
One Hour – No Falls: HBK wanted to just have a match go an hour where he won, but the Ironman Match was what they decided on. It was suggested the match have multiple falls, but Pat Patterson wanted to have zero falls with an overtime. He felt Bret had an out losing in overtime even though Monsoon said there must be a winner. Pat was worried over lack of drama with no falls but HBK felt he and Bret could still entertain fans for an hour and wasn’t worried about his championship win feeling ”tainted” with the overtime.
- 60-Minute Ironman Match: WWF Champion Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Jose Lothario) – WrestleMania XII
Before the match, Howard Finkel announces Gorilla Monsoon as the official WWF President. After that, Shawn Michaels makes his most memorable entrance by zip-lining from the top of the Arrowhead Pond down into the crowd in easily the coolest entrance up until that time. Bret does his usual walk to the ring and gives his shades to his son Blade. Ref Earl Hebner explains the rules to give this more of a big match feel, which I think is pretty cool. You all know the rules. The one with the most falls in 60 minutes wins. Oh, by the way, Jose Lothario was the man who trained Shawn Michaels, which explains why he’s here in Shawn’s corner. Bret outwrestles Shawn to start until Shawn starts escaping from headlocks. Bret sticks with the headlock, but this time keeps Shawn grounded so he can’t escape. Instead of escaping by shoving Bret off, Shawn counters the headlock into an overhead wristlock. Shawn plans to work an armbar. The camera pans over to show Stu Hart and Freddie Blassie watching the match from the front row. Bret drop toeholds Shawn to grab the headlock again, but Shawn slips out and into a hammerlock. Bret backs Shawn into the corner and forearms him just when Shawn thinks he’s getting a clean break. Shawn fires back on Bret and headscissors him out of the corner to send Bret to the floor. Ten minutes gone by now.
Back in, Shawn returns to the armbar. Bret tries throwing Shawn over the top rope to the floor, but Shawn skins-the-cat and drives Bret down into the armbar. Bret shoots Shawn off into the ropes and hits a kitchen sink. He follows up with a headbutt to the groin and hits a legdrop. That weakens Shawn for a chinlock. Shawn hits a jawbreaker and returns to the arm with a Fujiwara armbar. Bret rolls away from the pressure and nips up. Shawn begins to leapfrog Bret as he comes off the ropes, but gets caught one time for a spinebuster into a possible SHARPSHOOTER, but Shawn slips away. With Shawn’s back turned, Bret comes up behind him and clotheslines Shawn to the floor. On the floor, Shawn shoves Bret into the ringpost. Bret sits down on the timekeeper’s lap, but then hops up when Shawn attempts SWEET CHIN MUSIC causing the timekeeper or whoever that was to get wiped out. Oops. Back inside, Bret reapplies the chinlock. Meanwhile, the guy who ate the superkick gets carried out by WWF people. After several minutes of that, Shawn finally escapes. Bret blocks an O’Connor Roll, but then turns around into a dropkick. Shawn starts working the arm again with the usual stuff at the twenty minute mark.
Bret backs Shawn into the corner and elbows him in the face. Shawn then reverses a corner whip with a knee and throws Bret shoulder-first into the ringpost. Shoulderbreaker by Shawn connects, as does a flying double-sledge to the shoulder. Hammerlock slam is followed by a few hammerlock shoves by Shawn into the corner. Bret slugs at Shawn with his good arm, but then telegraphs a backdrop and takes an armbreaker DDT. Nice. Bret stomps Shawn in the face to break up a cross armbreaker. Shawn stops Bret from capitalizing by sticking with the arm. Bret nails Shawn while he’s in an armbar and then hotshots Shawn on the middle rope! He follows up with a catapult as Shawn cracks his head on the top of the ringpost! Bret sells his arm though and takes too long to cover. Shawn fights back with turnbuckle smashes, but then Bret avoids a corner splash. Inverted atomic drop sets up a clothesline for two. Bulldog connects. Bret nearly gets slammed off the top, but pounds on Shawn and attempts Dick Murdoch’s knee drop bulldog. They don’t pull it off too well though as Hebner gets in the way. That’s 30 minutes gone without a fall.
Shawn gets two off a powerslam while Bret delivers a piledriver for a nearfall. Shawn slams Bret off the top and hits a hurracanrana which leads into some punches. Bret avoids SWEET CHIN MUSIC, but then takes a backbreaker for two. A back elbow stuns Bret, but he still manages to avoid SWEET CHIN MUSIC and rolls to the floor. As Bret walks around ringside, Shawn delivers a HUGE dive on Bret. Back inside, Bret rolls through a flying bodypress for 1-2-NO! Shawn flips out of a backslide into a small package of his own for two. Fisherman suplex by Shawn gets 1-2-NO! Well, we all know Shawn’s not perfect. Shawn grabs a sleeper and nearly puts Bret out. Shawn charges at Bret in the corner and takes a backdrop from inside the ring and backflips CLEAR down to the floor. Holy crap that’s insane. While it seems all Bret needs to do after that is roll Shawn into the ring and pin him, he picks Shawn up and drives his back into the ringpost before tossing Shawn back inside. Bret hammers on the back and whips Shawn hard into the corner. As Shawn tries to get to his feet, Bret drops a flying vertical elbow to Shawn’s lower back as forty minutes have elapsed.
With Shawn slumped down in the corner, Bret puts the boots to him and even delivers a pump splash to Shawn’s lower back. Shawn does his flip up onto the top turnbuckle as Bret follows him up and delivers a back superplex! Excellent. Cover, 1-2-NO! Bret works a rear chinlock for a while. Shawn punches away a superplex and leaps at Bret, but gets caught in the gut. Russian Legsweep gets two. Bret whips Shawn into the corner for a Harley Race corner bump when Shawn flies out and catches Lothario with his feet to take him out. Bret heads to the floor and whips Shawn into the steps where Lothario happens to be also to knock him down AGAIN. Bret says something to Jose and gets back in the ring with Shawn. Belly to belly suplex gets two for Bret. They trade blows, but Bret gains the advantage by nailing Shawn in the lower back. Shawn comes back with an O’Connor roll for 1-2-NO! Bret shoots Shawn out to the floor, setting him up a suicide dive from Bret after 49 MINUTES. Back in, Shawn counters a suplex on the apron, but then Bret *counters* Shawn and hits a bridging German suplex for 1-2-NO! Bret pounds Shawn down again and grabs another rear chinlock as we come to the 50 minute mark without a single fall.
Shawn elbows out into a double-KO spot. Back up to their feet, Bret gives Shawn a superplex. It could be time for the SHARPSHOOTER, but Shawn kicks him off. Bret still has a hold on one of Shawn’s legs and applies a half crab instead. Oh, but Shawn makes the ropes. Backbreaker sets up the Flying Vertical Elbow Drop, which Bret misses as Shawn brings up both feet to block. Shawn dropkicks Bret back and whips him in the corner for the sternum-first bump. Shawn follows up with the Flying Forearm and the nip-up. Jumping back elbow connects right before Shawn hits a flying double sledge. Suplex sets up the Flying Elbow Drop for 1-2-NO! Doctorbomb (!!) connects for 1-2-NO! Moonsault Press by Shawn gets 1-2-NO! Shawn delivers a hurracanrana off the second rope for 1-2-NO! Shawn slams Bret and starts to go to the top rope again when his back nearly gives out on him. That slows him down a bit, but he still makes it to the top rope with only a minute to go. With Bret to his feet, Shawn flies down only to get slammed down and stuck in the SHARPSHOOTER! If you don’t think that is just amazingly dramatic the first time you had seen it, I just don’t know what to say to you. After 59 minutes and 25 seconds of avoiding the Sharpshooter, you get stuck in it with only 35 seconds left in the match is awesome to me. Anyways, Shawn fights it all the way to the end. (60:00) Bret starts to leave with the belt, but WWF President Gorilla Monsoon orders the ref to continue the match until somebody earns a fall. Back to the ring and Bret looks pissed. He works on Shawn’s back some more, but gets caught with SWEET CHIN MUSIC out of nowhere. He didn’t catch Bret good enough though. Shawn slides over to a corner and taps his feet to hit SWEET CHIN MUSIC for real this time for 1-2-3. Shawn Michaels wins his first WWF world title. He tells everybody to get the F out of the ring as he makes love to his newly won prize he worked 14 years to achieve. Despite all the attitude problems at the time, this was such an excellent story told by these two men. ****¾
Such A Blur: WrestleMania XIV was a blur to HBK. The injury he suffered against Taker at the Royal Rumble was devastating. He can’t even tell you the buildup to his match with Stone Cold as Triple H was main eventing live events with Austin. He does recall the battery incident where he was hit with a battery and left, but eventually returned for the money shot to hype the show. He mooned the crowd which upset Vince. He argued with Vince and blamed security and wanted personal security. There was heat on him and the main concern was just getting him to the ring. The match had zero creative help and they went with the planned match that Triple H and Austin were having at live events. Shawn feels bad about it today and said as a Christian, he has no regrets. Professionally though, he should have been there for Austin and had a classic match.
Special Enforcer – Mike Tyson: WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (w/Triple H & Chyna) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – WrestleMania XIV
In June 1997, the Tyson-Holyfield heavyweight title rematch ends in a DQ in the third round, as Tyson bites Holyfield’s ear and causing worldwide controversy. With Tyson gone from boxing and being a life-long wrestling fan, the “Baddest Man on the Planet” was finally free to embark on a new career with the WWF. All that mainstream attention that Tyson would bring could not have come at a better time for the WWF. While they were making progress, they were still getting their butts handed to them on a weekly basis by WCW Monday Nitro. While Tyson isn’t responsible for the turnaround of the company, he was certainly used a powder keg for the Austin-McMahon feud, as Austin picked a fight with Tyson immediately coming into the company, which pissed off Vince and took their feud to a higher, angrier level. Speaking of Austin, he won the Royal Rumble and earned this WWF title shot and has become the most popular wrestler in the business. Now he just needs the WWF title to make it official. As JR says, “it don’t get no bigger than this.”
Shawn uses the stick-and-move strategy to start. Austin catches him with a nasty forearm smash and takes Shawn from buckle to buckle. As he’s trying to escape, Shawn gets his tights pulled down and then takes a backdrop over the top rope onto Helmsley. HHH attacks Austin from behind and sends him into the guardrail only to have him and Chyna both sent to the back. That’s right, Tyson’s got this. While Helmsley and Chyna are leaving, Austin jumps Triple H and throws into the DX band instruments. HBK helps out his brethren and hits Austin with a cymbal stand. Austin fires back, but gets whipped into the dumpster next to the stage. It’s WrestleMania 14, folks! Back to the ring, Michaels goes crashing into the corner with the Ray Stevens bump that ruins Shawn’s back and hinders the rest of the match. Austin delivers a stun gun and goes for the Stone Cold Stunner, but Shawn escapes to the apron and takes a right hand down onto the announce table instead. Back inside, Shawn escapes a chinlock with a jawbreaker and goes to post Austin’s knee, but gets yanked into the post. Over near the timekeeper’s table, Austin takes a backdrop over the guardrail and gets whacked in the face with the ring bell. JR wonders how neither official saw it. Back in the ring, Shawn grimaces with every move he makes. Next thing you know, Austin gets a second wind and throws Michaels over the top rope to the floor. Shawn finally gets a break and wraps Austin’s knee around the post. From there, he takes Austin to school. When Austin tries to roll out, Shawn knocks Austin onto the announce table with a baseball slide. Tyson throws Austin back inside, which allows Shawn to clip Austin from behind to do more damage. Figure-Four is applied and Shawn cheats like CRAZY. Austin manages to fight out and mount a comeback. Shawn tries to cut him off with a sleeper, which causes ref Mike Chioda to get sandwiched in the corner. Now Austin starts turnbuckle smashing and stomping a mudhole and walking it dry. Shawn manages the Flying Forearm and even more incredible the kip-up. Flying Elbow Drop connects and he tunes up the band. They trade finisher attempts culminating in Austin hitting the STONE COLD STUNNER. With no ref, Tyson slides in and fast-counts the pinfall. (20:04) Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got a NEW WWF Champion. Afterwards, it’s now evident by the trading of the shirts that Mike Tyson was on Austin’s side the entire time, and it was all just a ruse to screw with DX. Shawn punches Tyson for the disrespect, but gets met with a knockout blow for the awesome JR call. Not the amazing title-changing, history-making match that Austin truly deserved. You have to hand it to Shawn though for finishing the match despite all he was experiencing. ***¼
Young In My Salvation: HBK admitted to being an insecure person even for his WrestleMania matches. Originally planned for a one night only return at SummerSlam 2002, but then he started to prepare for his WM match with Jericho. Vince and Jericho thought they would have money chemistry especially after their first promo together. Shawn felt he didn’t know what he was doing though and was unsure of himself. Eventually after talking with his wife, he realized he was a wrestler and felt he was off the chain and felt at this point in his career he wasn’t Mr. WrestleMania. He still wanted to be the Showstopper though despite a five year WrestleMania absence and he wondered if he still had it.
- Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho – WrestleMania XIX
Big ovation for Shawn from the crowd. Feeling out process to start. We go to the floor where Shawn teases a pescado and instead hits Jericho with a baseball slide. Back in, Jericho rolls through a flying bodypress and then connects with a spinning heel kick. Jericho begins to get a little rough with Michaels, but then Shawn shoves off a bulldog and sends Jericho crotch-first into the corner. Shawn applies a figure-four, but Jericho reverses. Shawn tries it again and gets kicked off into the corner. Jericho tosses HBK out, but he skins-the-cat and headscissors Jericho to the floor for a pescado! They brawl up the aisleway and during the ten-count, Jericho blocks a dropkick and applies the WALLS OF JERICHO! He releases the hold and jumps back into the ring to tell the ref to STFU! Jericho then proceeds to drive Shawn back-first into the ringpost a couple times and heads back inside to work the crowd. Ahh, the lost art of working the crowd. Jericho springboard dropkicks Shawn off the apron and brings him back into the ring for a back suplex. He walks over to Shawn and slaps him across the face while he’s down and screams, “I’M BETTER THAN YOU!” Jericho hits a backbreaker and delivers the “YEAH BABY” double bicep pose with a foot on the chest pin attempt. It’s always awesome. It wouldn’t fit his character now, but I’m glad he did it here. Shawn punches out of a chinlock and counters a backdrop into a DDT. Both men are down. Shawn whips Jericho in the ropes, but gets caught with a flying forearm followed by a kip-up! Jericho unleashes his best Shawn Michaels pose as Shawn kips-up behind him. Now Shawn hits his own Flying Forearm and mounts his vintage comeback. Moonsault press connects for 1-2-NO!
They trade nearfalls until Jericho tries the WALLS OF JERICHO. Shawn flips Jericho off him, but he comes back with a Northern Lights suplex for two. They rise up to their feet for a backslide, but Jericho kicks Shawn away and drops him with a clothesline. Running bulldog sets up the Lionsault, but Jericho hurts himself on the move and makes a slow cover for 1-2-NO! Shawn chops back and goes for a hurracanrana, but Jericho counters into a WALLS OF JERICHO! Shawn makes the ropes and pulls Jericho in for a small package that gets two. Jericho hits the double underhook backbreaker and follows that with the Flying Back Elbow! Now Jericho heads over to the corner and TUNES UP THE BAND! After he unleashes the Jericho shuffle, he connects with his own version of SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Cover, 1-2-NO! Shawn hits a crossbody out of the corner and starts wailing away on Jericho. He catapults Jericho onto the top of the ringpost and schoolboys him for 1-2-NO! Enough of this, Jericho forearms the back and tries a back superplex, but Shawn falls on top of Jericho. Slow cover gets two. As Shawn heads up top, Jericho kicks the ref off into the ropes to trip him up. Shawn blocks a superplex and hits the Flying Elbow! He tunes up the band, but Jericho ducks SWEET CHIN MUSIC and grabs the WALLS OF JERICHO! Shawn looks ready to tap, but then he finds the ropes. Jericho can’t believe it! He turns away to yell at the ref, but then turns back around into SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Cover, 1-2-NO! Now both men are at the point they don’t know where to go next. Jericho whips Shawn in for the Ray Stevens flip bump out of the corner. He staggers back into a back suplex, but Shawn flips out and delivers the rolling clutch pin for the 1-2-3! (22:30) Afterwards, Jericho hugs his wrestling idol and then kicks him in the balls as an exhausted and devastated Shawn Michaels slides down Jericho’s body. I didn’t remember this being that long, but anyways they did a great job WRESTLING in this one. Great story told with Jericho trying to convince himself and the world that he’s better than Shawn. Not to mention some excellent action from top to bottom. ****¼
SLACKAMANIA NOTE: HBK competed in the main event at WrestleMania XX in 2004. However its excluded from this set as Chris Benoit won the excellent triple threat match also involving Triple H and WWE doesn’t want to showcase a triumph in Benoit’s career for obvious reasons. If you’re not disturbed by Benoit, check out this match on his “Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story” DVD set released in 2004 or the much easier to find WrestleMania XX DVD.
Now back to the Mr. WrestleMania set.
Great Expectations: HBK said his match against Kurt Angle had one of the highest expectations of his career as the fans knew they could tear the house down. In a simple promo, he labeled himself as “Mr. WrestleMania”. HBK and Angle went with their plan despite time constraints even if it meant getting criticized backstage especially if it took away time for say, the Undertaker. HBK felt they exceeded expectations and felt it would surprise the fans if he tapped clean to the Anklelock which he did at his own suggestion.
- Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle – WrestleMania 21
Michaels eliminated Angle at the Royal Rumble and from there a rivalry was started to the point both guys have come to WrestleMania to see who the best wrestler of the decade is. This match is also labeled as an inter-promotional match, but all that really means is Raw vs. Smackdown. Both guys get into a wrestling stance to start and then Shawn shocks Angle with a slap! In the words of Charlie Murphy, “YOU DON’T SLAP A MAN!” Angle explodes on HBK and rides him down to the mat. From there, Shawn does what Angle didn’t expect him to do – wrestle. HBK grabs hold of a headlock and doesn’t let go. Once Angle finds the ropes, Shawn applies a short-arm scissors down on the mat. Angle tries to lift and slam HBK out of it, but Shawn counters that into a sunset flip for two. Backslide gets another two. Back to the headlock. They brawl into the corner and as the “biased” Smackdown ref pulls HBK out, Angle blasts him from behind with a clothesline and grabs the ANKLELOCK out of nowhere. Shawn quickly rolls Angle off him and they take each other to the floor. Shawn sets up the Smackdown table for something big. They brawl on the floor until Angle ducks a blow and picks Shawn up for the ANGLE SLAM! Instead of dropping him on the floor, Angle backs Shawn kidneys-first into the ringpost! Back in, Angle hits a snap suplex for a pair of twos. Now he grabs a body scissors. HBK battles out, but gets caught with an overhead belly to belly suplex off the Ray Stevens corner bump. Angle places a knee in Shawn’s kidneys and pulls back on the neck. HBK escapes and during an exchange, slaps Angle again which gets him clotheslined hard to the mat. Shawn shoves off a belly-to-belly superplex, but misses the Flying Elbow. DOWN COME THE STRAPS! Michaels armdrags out of the ANGLE SLAM and takes Angle to the floor. He dives on top of Angle – driving his knee right into Angle’s face! Shawn avoids the German Suplex Off The Apron That Never Happens and knocks Angle onto the Smackdown table for the Springboard Splash, but the table doesn’t break! Back inside, Angle is bleeding PROFUSELY from the mouth. Shawn connects with the Flying Forearm and KIPS UP to continue his comeback. Flying Elbow hits this time as he sets up for SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Oh, Angle counters into the ANKLELOCK! Shawn makes the ropes and counters another ANGLE SLAM, but Angle rolls through into more of the ANKLELOCK! Shawn counters into a victory roll, but stands up into the ANGLE SLAM! Cover, 1-2-NO! Now Angle goes for it all with the Flying Moonsault and completely misses. Shawn slowly heads up top and gets caught with the SUPER ANGLE SLAM! Cover, 1-2-NO!! OH MY GOSH. Angle is REALLY frustrated right now. He grabs Shawn by the hair and SCREAMS at him to tap out, so Shawn shoves him back and delivers a desperate SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Slow cover gets two! Shawn was knocked so loopy by that Super Angle Slam, that it takes him forever to even get to his feet. Angle ceases the moment and easily takes Shawn down into the ANKLELOCK! HBK does one INCREDIBLE job selling the pain of the hold, but once Angle grapevines the leg Shawn has no choice but to tap out. (26:58) Such an incredible performance from both men. You have to think that Shawn and Taker may have looked back to this match when they got together at WM 25 in the way that there were several moments when the match could have been over, but it went another 10-15 minutes and continued to build and build up to a fantastic and dramatic ending. Without a doubt, one of the top three matches of the decade. *****
The Boss is an idiot…?: Shawn goes from wrestling Kurt Angle at WrestleMania to Vince McMahon? Even Vince felt he wasn’t athletic enough to compete with Shawn, but HBK felt having a ”WrestleMania off” where he just had fun instead of worrying about being a ”showstopper”. HBK talks about the infamous ladder spot where he elbowed smashed him through the table and how he took it like a trooper. He said Vince is an idiot because while he wants you to listen to him, he won’t listen to you.
- Street Fight: Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon – WrestleMania 22
Vince unveils a huge copy of his Muscle & Fitness cover and then poses in front of it to bring HBK out to beat the crap out of him all around ringside. Shawn brings the framed magazine cover into the ring with him and then cracks it over Vince’s head. Here comes the Spirit Squad to help out Vince. The Spirit Squad deliver HIGH SPIRITS to Shawn. Now they want Kenny to land a flying leg drop, but misses. Shawn cleans house on the SS using their megaphone. As Shawn turns back around, Vince is there to knock him down who is bleeding above his right eye. Vince whips and chokes Shawn with his belt. Now McMahon tunes up the band. I really don’t think he can get his foot up high enough to nail Shawn’s chin. Michaels blocks the kick and lands the Flying Forearm. KIP-UP. Shawn arms himself with the belt and flogs Vince for a while. He hits the Flying Elbow and tunes up the band himself, but then Shane McMahon appears and whacks Shawn with a kendo stick. SHANE O MAC IS IN THE HOUSE. He pulls out some handcuffs, but Vince has a better idea. He pulls down his jeans and wants Shane to make Shawn kiss his rear end like so many have before him. Shawn elbows away Shane and sticks Shane’s face right into that horrible crevice. When Vince sees what happened, he turns around into a low blow from Shawn. He then dumps out Shane and handcuffs him to the bottom rope. Shawn has a little fun by beating him senseless with his own kendo stick. Shawn pulls out a chair and hits Vince over the head. Holy crap. He acts like he’s going for Sweet Chin Music, but this time pulls out a ladder and runs that into Vince’s face, making the cut on Vince’s head look increasingly bloody. Now he brings a trash can and a table into the ring. All Shane can do is watch this happen to his father. Shawn bashes the trash can over Vince’s head, puts Vince on the table, climbs the ladder for an elbow drop, and decides it’s not high enough. Shawn goes out and finds a Jeff Hardy ladder, puts Vince in the trash can, and then climbs the 20-footer to drop an elbow into the place where McMahon’s heart is supposed to be. Doctors, trainers, and a stretcher hurry down to ringside to help McMahon, but Shawn keeps them out of the ring. Shawn gives Shane a crotch chop, picks up Vince and tells him that he’s going to knock his teeth down his throat, and then connects with some massive SWEET CHIN MUSIC for the pinfall. (18:26) Shawn vs. Shawn if I’ve ever seen it. This has some very cool spots and great drama. Shawn Michaels is the MAN. Vince is stretchered out, but leaves with the last word: his middle finger. ***
Nobody Could Touch Me: During his comeback, he just wanted to be a helping hand to others and thought it was cool he got to main event WrestleMania XX and then again three years later at WrestleMania 23. He asked “who woulda thunk it?” He was starting to feel great about himself again and that he had a natural gift to wrestle. He said he wished he had this in the ’90s without all the cockiness. Shawn puts over Cena as a great guy but still considered him a kid back then. He wanted Cena to come out of the match looking better than he ever did before and felt he achieved that.
- WWE Champion John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania 23
Cena crashes through glass with a 2007 Ford Mustang for his entrance. A shirtless fan hops in the ring before we can get this thing started. Shawn gets the better of the opening staredown by slapping Cena across the face and chopping him down before giving him the crotch chop. Michaels again upstages Cena in a slugfest as Cena retreats to the corner. Cena gets caught in a headlock for a bit, but fights out and gives Shawn his receipt with a hard clothesline. To the floor we go, Michaels enziguri kicks Cena to the announce table and punishes him with an Asai Moonsault, bending Cena’s back with the impact. Back in, HBK dishes out some chops and then goes for the knee. He even posts the knee cap instead of the inside of the knee like you normally would see. Michaels stomps and torques the knee for a good five minutes, but then misses a corner charge and runs his face into the post to get busted open. That mounts Cena’s comeback as he hits clotheslines, shoulderblocks, and the Protobomb to set up the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Shawn slips out of the FU and tries Sweet Chin Music, but KO’s ref Chioda. FU gets countered to a DDT! Both men are down. Shawn now sees his own blood from his head in his hands and gets fired up. NOBODY MAKES SHAWN BLEED HIS OWN BLOOD! NOBODY! Back to the floor, Michaels tears off the top steps and gives Cena a nasty piledriver on the base! Cena even blades his scalp! Awesome. Back inside, ref Jack Doan runs down and counts 1-2-NO! Flying Forearm, Flying Elbow, and now Shawn “tunes up the band”. Cena shuts that down with a clothesline. We get a YAY-BOO slugfest. FU is countered to a sunset flip for two. Shawn chops him back and they run the ropes, but Shawn leapfrogs into the FU! Slow cover gets 1-2-NO! They go to the top rope where Cena wants a SUPER FU, but Michaels elbows him down. He leaps from the top for a flying bodypress, but Cena rolls through and hoists Michaels up on his shoulders for the FU! Oh, but Michaels lands on his feet! Cena ducks Sweet Chin Music and looks for the STFU, but Michaels does his best to fight him off and inside cradles Cena for 1-2-NO! Boy, that was beautiful. Cena gets the STFU anyway and Shawn makes the ropes. Ref Doan has to pull Cena off HBK, which is all the distraction Shawn needs to deliver SWEET CHIN MUSIC. Michaels crawls to cover for 1-2-NO! They stand up using each other to get to their feet. Michaels again avoids the FU, but Cena puts him right into the STFU for the tapout! (28:20) I remembered watching it live and hating it as most people seemed to at the time. The thing with Cena not really selling the knee after five minutes of work and continuing on as nothing ever happened bothered me more back then than it does now. I guess I’ve mellowed because what came after the knee work is when it really picked up. Maybe they thought it wasn’t working and changed plans. I don’t really know the whole story. I’m not Dave Meltzer. I do know that Shawn wasn’t happy with the way it turned out, which led to their even better match on Raw. Since the general consensus was that most of their incredible amount of PPV buys came from having the Donald on their show, they didn’t feel too bad about giving a rematch of the main event for free three weeks after this one. ****
A Bittersweet Situation: Shawn was thrilled to wrestle Ric Flair at WrestleMania 24, but saddened that it was his retirement match. There were lots of real emotion leading up to that match. He let the He-Man stuff go and made it real. He said he appreciates realness such as 25 year-old grown men asking at autograph sessions for hugs. HBK believed that it wouldn’t be Ric Flair’s last match (which he was right), but he didn’t care if it wasn’t because he treated it like it was his last match and certainly believed it would be Flair’s last high-profile match. HBK said the whole week leading up to it that Ric was an emotional wreck.
- ‘Career Threatening’ Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – WrestleMania 24
Flair’s robe is tremendous. I believe the WOO signs stretch out all over the arena. What an atmosphere for the man. As you reading already know, this is a “career threatening” match for Flair. If he loses, his time in WWE will be over. Hammerlock exchange to start. They head over to a corner where Flair tries to intimidate Shawn shouting, “Old Yeller, huh?”. Shawn returns fire with a slap, which busts open Flair’s lip. Shawn wants Flair’s BEST tonight. Flair wins a chopfest and delivers the Rolling Knee Drop. Michaels gets slammed off the top, while Flair FINALLY lands that flying bodypress he’s always to do. To be fair, babyface Flair actually did come off the top rope. Shawn kicks Flair out to the floor when he tries the Figure-Four. With Flair up against an announce table, Shawn delivers an Asai Moonsault and misses, hitting his mid-section on the edge of the table! OUCH. Back inside, Flair ravages Shawn with whips into the corner. Back suplex is followed by a butterfly suplex. Hourglass suplex gets two. Back to the floor, Shawn takes another crazy chance by hitting Flair with a moonsault press! He didn’t get all or even most of it though. They make it back inside at the count of nine. Another chop exchange leads to the Flying Forearm from Shawn. He mounts the comeback, hits the Flying Elbow, and “tunes up the band”. Reluctant to be the guy who ends Flair’s career, Shawn stops himself from kicking Flair and gets scooped up into the FIGURE-FOUR! WOOO! Shawn reverses out though. They try the headlock-headscissors sequence into a backslide, but Flair doesn’t seem to be able to help out with Shawn bridging up. Flair whips Shawn in the corner for the Ray Stevens bump. With Shawn staggering, he catches him with a nasty chopblock. Michaels counters the next attempt at the Figure-Four, but can’t stop the second shot. He tries to reverse, but Flair rolls with the momentum. Oh, but Shawn makes the ropes. Flair walks away to ‘style and profile’, but turns back around into SWEET CHIN MUSIC. Slow cover gets 1-2-NO! Michaels wants to nail him real good with Sweet Chin Music, but Flair won’t get up. Shawn goes over to help him up only to catch a low blow! Flair crawls on top for 1-2-NO! Shawn applies his Inverted Figure-Four. Flair quickly reaches the ropes and very easily pulls off the bottom turnbuckle pad. While Robinson is taking care of that, Flair pokes Shawn in the eye and rolls him up for 1-2-NO! Another chop battle culminates with another SWEET CHIN MUSIC. Now Shawn “tunes up the band”, tells Flair that he’s sorry and that he loves him, and puts him down with SWEET CHIN MUSIC. (20:25) It’s not a technical masterpiece, but what a strong and emotional story told here. I don’t think they capitalized enough on the two high-risk spots that Michaels tried though. Normally I wouldn’t think it would have been necessary in a Flair match, but it does give you the idea that the bumps he took looked brutal and they give Flair an advantage that he could potentially pull this off and keep his career alive. There couldn’t possibly be a better sendoff for him. Like any other wrestling fan, I just wish he had made better money and relationship decisions in his life so he could just sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labor like someone like Roddy Piper has done, for example. ***½
Disney World! And then it sucks…: HBK said that after the match with Flair, he told him that he loved him and hoped it was special to him. Shawn jokes that “he’s a girl”. He says the old fart makes him soft. He doesn’t want to be disappointed by people and especially not this match with Ric. He wanted everything to be how he wanted it to be. He didn’t want it to be like going to Disney World and sucking.
No Question Marks: HBK and Taker grew up in the locker room together and after all these years, they finally wanted to have a WrestleMania moment together. HBK calls them two old gunslingers and knew it would be special. HBK said he loved the buildup to the match, but never thought heading into it that it would be considered the greatest match in WrestleMania history like it is.
- Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania 25
As fitting an entrance if there ever was in wrestling, Shawn ascends from the heavens dressed all in white while the Undertaker comes up through the floor dressed all in black. The stick-and-move strategy works until Taker has enough and grabs Shawn’s fist. He takes Shawn by the throat and throws him out to the apron. Shawn climbs back in and stands on the middle rope giving UT the crotch chop. Not cool. As Taker charges, Shawn leaps over him and feigns a knee injury only for a second to draw UT over for a Thesz press followed by a barrage of punches. Undertaker gets to his feet and throws Shawn back into the corner to beat the crap out of him. Shawn takes the Ray Stevens corner bump into a backdrop. Press slam followed by an elbow drop gets two. Taker hits Old School, but misses a running boot in the corner. Shawn delivers a shinbreaker and a chopblock to set up Taker for the Modified Figure Four that never got a name. Taker punches out and drives Shawn into the corner so he can get the feeling back in his leg. Taker hits a pair of corner clotheslines to set up the Snake Eyes followed by the big boot. Jumping legdrop gets two. He wants the Chokeslam, but HBK yanks him down into the Crippler Crossface. Taker escapes with a side slam for two. Shawn comes back with the Flying Forearm and a series of atomic drops. Another Flying Forearm sets him up for the Flying Elbow, but Taker SITS UP and catches Shawn coming off the top for the Chokeslam. Shawn escapes that in mid-move and tries SWEET CHIN MUSIC, but Taker hits the deck. With Taker down on the mat, Shawn tries the Modified Figure Four again only for the Undertaker to pull him into HELL’S GATE! Oh, but Shawn finds the ropes. They go to the apron where Taker attempts the legdrop, but Shawn moves out of the way and nails UT with a baseball slide. Shawn wants the Moonsault Press, but UT SWATS him away on the way down! Now that’s sick.
With Shawn hurting on the floor, UT goes for his crazy NO HANDS PLANCHA only for Shawn to pull a cameraman (Sim Snuka) into harm’s way. Well, sort of. Taker fell on his neck and the cameraman took the Undertaker’s butt right in the face once he hit the ground. Shawn Michaels tries to get the countout victory, but the Undertaker makes it back inside at the nine-count. Will SWEET CHIN MUSIC take care of the Undertaker? Nope! He sidesteps the kick and delivers a massive Chokeslam! Cover, 1-2-NO! Shawn manages to slip away from the Tombstone, escapes another Chokeslam, and hits SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Slow cover gets 1-2-NO! Shawn kips-up and goes to pick up the Undertaker when he’s met with a GOOZLE! UT goes for the LAST RIDE, but Shawn sunset flips away. Taker chokelifts Shawn to his feet and delivers the LAST RIDE on the second try for 1-2-NO! Taker heads up top for a flying elbow and completely crashes and burns. Shawn charges and gets tossed for the usual skin-the-cat headscissors, but this time Taker powers Shawn back into the ring for the TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER for 1-2-NO! Cue the desperate look on the Undertaker’s face. Undertaker gathers himself and DOWN COME THE STRAPS! He tries another TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER, but Shawn counters into a spinning DDT that looked like it hurt, but it was botched. Under the circumstances, its forgivable. Shawn hits the Flying Elbow, tunes up the band, and delivers SWEET CHIN MUSIC. Cover, 1-2-NO! They stand to their feet clawing at each other and then come to blows. Taker stops that with a big boot. Shawn avoids another Tombstone and catches Taker charging at him in the corner with a boot. He goes to the top for a Moonsault Press, but this time UT is waiting and ready as Michaels moonsaults right into the arms of the Undertaker for the TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER. That finishes off Shawn Michaels as UT gets the 1-2-3. (30:41) Big moves and great psychology behind those moves always equals dollar signs and this match is MONEY. I wouldn’t call it the ‘perfect’ match that no one will EVER be able to surpass quite like Michael Cole did on HBK’s My Journey DVD, but it still gets the full monty from me. *****
The Dive: HBK said the cameraman botched the Undertaker dive as he was supposed to catch him and missed and was worried about Taker but he was still moving and called him an “old leather bag”. He said Taker would have had to be dead for him to finish the match. He said he looks away during replays at the moment of that match as it was a potentially scary situation.
Ready to Come Home: HBK pondered retirement after WrestleMania 25 as he felt he had come as close to a perfect match as he could have. He would have been satisfied with this being his last WrestleMania. He talked with his wife afterwards on the ride home as he felt it was pretty sweet. The main reason he retired was to raise his kids. He said it was hard walking away from something he had been doing since he was 19 and wondered after the WM 25 classic with all the nearfalls and false finishes that how could they possibly top it in a rematch.
- No-DQ Career vs. Streak Match: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania 26
Nothing all too interesting about the entrances this year except for the Undertaker coming out looking like a demonic AJ Styles with the hood down over his face. To motivate the Undertaker, Shawn makes the thumb across the throat signal before the bell. AND HERE WE GO! Enough of the chops, UT whips Shawn in for the Ray Stevens bump. Shawn staggers back around into the Snake Eyes and then eats the running boot. Old School connects. UT jars his knee on the way down. He tries the Chokeslam, but he can’t hold Shawn up because of the knee. Shawn starts kicking at the knee, but Taker doesn’t find that to be very fun at all and goes for the Tombstone. HBK slips out and tries to power UT down into the Crossface. That doesn’t work, but Shawn nearly pulls off SWEET CHIN MUSIC. Shawn goes back to the knee, but takes a clothesline to the outside. As Michaels walks over to the entry way, UT considers the no hands plancha, but Shawn cuts him off and runs his body straight into Taker’s bad knee. Taker kicks off the figure-four and we go to the outside where UT backs Shawn into the ringpost. He hits the legdrop on the apron, but back inside Shawn goes back to the leg and hooks on the figure-four he wanted earlier. UT reverses out of the hold and they come to blows. Shawn hits the Flying Forearm and kips up into the Chokeslam! Cover, 1-2-NO! UT tries the Tombstone again, but Shawn crawls down Taker’s body for the anklelock! Shawn even grapevines the leg, but there’s no way UT is tapping out. He kicks Shawn off, but then HBK clotheslines Taker to the outside. Shawn wants the springboard splash, but Undertaker catches him and delivers a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER on the floor! An EMT guy comes out to check on Michaels, but UT gets rid of him. Back in, Taker covers for two. UT attempts the LAST RIDE, but Shawn counters to an X-Factor. So Shawn’s a Billy Kidman fan. Cover, 1-2-NO! Flying Elbow hits knees and UT pulls Shawn into HELL’S GATE! Oh, but Shawn flips over on top of the Undertaker with a bridge ala Kurt Angle for 1-2-NO! Then out of nowhere, Shawn hits SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Cover, 1-2-NO! He wants another superkick to put UT away, but Taker blocks and delivers the LAST RIDE! Cover, 1-2-NO! To the floor, UT wants to give Shawn the LAST RIDE through an announce table, but Shawn slips out and superkicks UT onto the table! With UT set in place, Shawn MOONSAULTS OFF THE TOP to put the Undertaker through the table. Well that was about the craziest FN thing I’ve ever seen. Back in the ring, Michaels delivers some more SWEET CHIN MUSIC for 1-2-NO! WHAT. SCM is blocked again – this time with a Chokeslam. TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER connects. Cover, 1-2-NO! DOWN COME THE STRAPS! Undertaker stands over Shawn and lets him get to his feet. Shawn gives Taker the thumb across the throat signal once more and then slaps him across the face. OH SNAP! Undertaker is PISSED. Everybody run. UT grabs Shawn and delivers a JUMPING TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER for the 1-2-3. (24:00) Ahh, so I assume Undertaker was driving the metaphorical ‘nail in the coffin’ with that finish. This felt way over-the-top to me for it to actually surpass last year’s match. A moonsault through a table followed by a superkick and it still doesn’t beat the Undertaker? Come onnnnn. ****½
The Way It’s Supposed to Be: HBK said he’s always gained sympathy from the audience, but actually got it from Taker during the match when he was telling Shawn to ”STAY DOWN”. The biggest crybaby in WWE history made the unbreakable guy feel something and that was *his* victory. He called the ending “phenomenal”. HBK says he’s turned down big $$$ offers to return to WrestleMania, but wants to stick to his word and stay retired. He said he still could go if he wanted to as he’s built to wrestle. In the big scheme of things being Mr. WrestleMania is not much, but he’s amazed at how when it started he was on the opposing side to being in many classic WrestleMania moments and how this thing that was supposed to fail is now coming up on number 30. Longevity, consistency, and the grace of God is how he became Mr. WrestleMania. And that’s good enough for him.
The Rockers Talk About the Twin Towers: Gene Okerlund interviews the Rockers before their match at WrestleMania V.
Shawn Michaels Talks with Rhonda Shear: From WrestleMania X, Shawn interrupts Rhonda Shear’s interview. She wants a picture with him, but Burt Reynolds saves the day and tells HBK to shave his chest hair.
Shawn Michaels with Pamela Anderson: Shawn talks about how their stock will rise after he becomes WWF Champion at WrestleMania XI. Pam doesn’t look too pleased and rolls her eyes at the Boy Toy.
Shawn Michaels and Sid Talk with Nicholas Turturro: From WrestleMania XI, Nick Turturro From “NYPD Blue” fame is looking for Pamela Anderson and hanging out in the green room when HBK and Sid appear. HBK says that walking out with him at WrestleMania before his big WWF title win is Pam’s chance of a lifetime. Sid screams FEAR FEAR FEAR and DREAMS ARE NIGHTMARES.
Shawn Michaels Post-Match Interview: From “WrestleMania: The Movie” in 2004, Shawn Michaels talks about his match against Chris Jericho right afterwards at WrestleMania 19.
Shawn Michaels Says Goodbye Backstage: From WrestleMania 26, Shawn says goodbye to Taker, Vince, Triple H, Michael Hayes, Pat Patterson, Batista, Edge, Randy Orton, Big Show, Ted DiBiase, and many more. Hugs and tears are flowing.
Friends Leaving The Company: Guys like Hogan, Savage, Nasty Boys, and Lex Luger had left WWF to go to WCW, but now Shawn’s friends were Hall, Nash, and Waltman. HBK was sad as they were all he had and wouldn’t be able to work or travel with them anymore. He said they were real friends. There was no jealously or animosity between them over the successes they have had.
Because You’re A Girl: HBK planned the WrestleMania 24 match against Flair at 2AM one night and was crying as he wanted it to be real and like a love story. He thought back to being a 15 year old kid where he and his best friend Kenny were wanting to wrestle Flair. His friend Kenny called him a week before the show and said, “Can you believe you’re wrestling Ric Flair in his last match?” He said he never would have thought it in a million years.
One Demand For Ric: ”I know you’ve been a ring general all your life, but tonight you don’t say a word and listen to me.” It was a bitter pill for him to swallow, but he listened to him.
The Flair Watch: HBK got himself and Flair watches for their WrestleMania match. He says they’re now known as the “Flair Watches” even though he bought them. He jokes why isn’t it the HBK watch? They both still wear them to this day even though the watch is ten minutes slow.
Hell To Pay: HBK said while WrestleMania X was his career-making moment, it wasn’t until WM 21 that he decided there’s hell to pay if he didn’t have the match of the night.
At Least The Dude’s Got Balls: HBK believes that despite how difficult he used to be to work with, Vince thought it was funny because he’s got balls.
End Of An Era: He has still been at WrestleMania since his retirement. Hall Of Fame ceremony before WrestleMania 27, guest referee at WrestleMania 28, and being in HHH’s corner at WrestleMania 29. He talks about how special the “End Of An Era” WrestleMania 28 match was and how they had all grown together as young and untouchable and now real family men. HBK says that’s pro wrestling!
Mr. WrestleMania VS. The Streak: HBK says some critics mention how can he call himself Mr. WrestleMania with a losing record. (6-11) and not the Undertaker. He calls it a word and mentions how he has many nicknames, but it was delivering the best matches on the card that got him that name. He feels The Streak is just as important as Mr. WrestleMania.
Shawn Michaels Encore Tour: There was talk of HBK doing a farewell tour after WrestleMania 26 that Michael Hayes proposed to say goodbye to the fans and would make good $$$. After the match, HBK was so satisfied that he told Hayes he had to end on that note.
WrestleMania Wish List: If he could have one more WrestleMania opponent, it would be a tie between Sting and The Rock.
Flair-Michaels-Jericho: HBK requested this as an extra despite it having nothing to do with WrestleMania. He says he and Flair are lumped in the same era but he watched Flair at age 15 and is 15-20 years older than him (16 ½, to be exact), but Jericho who is considered a younger guy in a different era is only four years younger than HBK!
Final Thoughts: Certainly a Shawn Michaels completist set. There’s seven matches here that are ****+ (including THREE five-star matches) that’ll keep everybody fat and giggly for a while. Was it a necessary release though? Half of these matches have been put out on so many other DVD sets, and the other half probably never really needed to be because while good, they weren’t anything super special (like for example, Shawn’s first five WrestleMania matches). I don’t necessarily feel that this is a must-have, but I’ll leave that up to you: the rational consumer. Thumbs up though for the material included, no doubt about that.
Posted on February 25, 2014, in WWE and tagged Akeem, Barbarian, Big Bossman, Bobby Heenan, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Chyna, D-Generation X, Diesel, Haku, Jenny McCarthy, John Cena, Jose Lothario, Kurt Angle, Luna Vachon, Marty Jannetty, Mike Tyson, Mr. Fuji, Orient Express, Pamela Anderson, Pat Tanaka, Psycho Sid, Razor Ramon, Ric Flair, Rockers, Sato, Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Sherri Martel, Slick, Spirit Squad, Steve Austin, Tatanka, Tito Santana, Triple H, Twin Towers, Undertaker, Vince McMahon, WrestleMania. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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