WWE officially kicked off the road to WrestleMania 27 on RAW by announcing its first inductee into the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame class. Former WWE champion and Mr. WrestleMania himself, Shawn Michaels will head into the WWE Hall this year. 26-year vet Michaels is a first ballot entry and well deserved.
The Shawn Michaels announcement was expected but a bit of a letdown if you were expecting a big surprise. One of the big draws to the WWE Hall of Fame is seeing a wrestler you may not have seen in awhile. In the case of Michaels, it hasn’t even been a year since we saw Michaels in the ring and he was on television twice in December appearing on the Slammys and Tribute to the Troops less than a month ago. On the other hand, this should be no surprise as the WWE recently named Shawn Michaels the top WWE superstar of all time on their all-time top 50 list.
[adinserter block=”2″]The bigger news may have been how it all went down on Monday Night RAW. The first inductee is usually the biggest name of that year’s class. The wrestler is held off television until the ceremony to build up anticipation. Not this year. Shawn Michaels actually appeared live after the video introduction and came to the ring. Michaels looked great and the crowd went nuts for the surprise. The next few minutes are what have everyone talking.
Michaels came to the ring and soaked in the crowd reaction for what seemed like to be 10 minutes. Michaels grabbed the microphone and just as he was beginning to talk, he was interrupted by Alberto Del Rio. Alberto Del Rio cut a promo and played a tremendous heel in the segment interrupting Michaels. Del Rio hit the ring, got in HBK’s face, turned around, and bam…Sweet Chin Music!
Wrestling fans and media are buzzing today wondering whether this was the start of an angle to get Shawn Michaels back in the ring at WrestleMania 27. This wouldn’t be the first time a wrestler was inducted and wrestled the next night on WrestleMania. Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair both did it. My hunch is that as much as Vince McMahon would love to get another WrestleMania show stealer from Michaels, it just isn’t going to happen. Regardless, Alberto Del Rios walked away with a ton of heat and looks like a sure bet to win the 2011 Royal Rumble or finish in the final four.
For me, Shawn Michaels was the greatest in ring performer I have ever watched and the most inconsistent. The debate always comes down to Michaels and Ric Flair but for me, Flair was to routine and I love watching Ric Flair. Shawn Michaels had great matches through four decades and was just as consistent at the end of his career as he was at his peak. I think both men were huge innovators but it was Michaels who really beat the odds due to his size and with Bret Hart broke more barriers for future pro wrestlers than Ric Flair ever did. That isn’t a slight on Ric Flair but it is a fact.
[adinserter block=”1″]There are two other big names expected to be announced for the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame. Michaels on his own is great, but he isn’t enough to carry the event. Three years from now he definitely would have been able to, but not this soon and with recent television exposure. There are reports indicating that there are ongoing negotiations between the WWE and Sting. The former WCW and TNA champion Sting would and could be one of those top names. The move makes sense as Sting is reportedly a free agent at the moment. Whether it is Sting or not, I would highly suspect that there would be a big former WCW superstar on the docket since the ceremony will be in Atlanta which was WCW’s backyard.
Shawn Michaels was a three-time WWF champion, a one-time WWE world heavyweight champion, two-time Royal Rumble winner, and a former WWF European champion. Michaels is universally regarded as “Mr. WrestleMania” for having most of the greatest WrestleMania matches that took place on the grand stage. Michaels lost a Streak vs. Retirement Match at WrestleMania 26 in 2010 and has not wrestled since.
Read the book Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story
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