The career of one of the greatest WWE superstars of all-time may be coming to an end, but his legacy will live on forever. As Shawn Michaels gets ready to wrestle what could be his last match at WrestleMania 26, the road to that last stop has been both glorious and bumpy. Shawn Michaels revolutionized a new era of sports entertainment and pioneered a style which has become commonplace today. The characteristics of Shawn Michaels are witnessed just about every time a young WWE superstar enters the professional wrestling ring. Thanks to the WWE, HBK fans can enjoy his high-flying greatness long after WrestleMania win, lose, or draw.
The WWE has captured the greatness of the Heartbreak Kid on a 3-disc DVD set, WWE Shawn Michaels: Heartbreak and Triumph. The DVD set chronicles the career of Shawn Michaels. The set features the story of Shawn Micahels with comments from Shawn, his family, Triple H, Chris Jericho, childhood friends, Mick Foley, Pat Patterson, Marty Jannetty, and many of Shawn’s friends and peers past and present.
The story is a great one and a story that should be admired by anyone who has ever had a dream whether they are a pro wrestling fan or not. Shawn Michaels was a kid with aspirations of being a pro wrestler. He tried taking the path laid out by his family of a college education but his heart was always inside of a pro wrestling ring. With the love and support of his family Shawn made the transition from college class to an in-ring education courtesy of Jose Lothario.
The really nice part about this story is that since WWE owns most available pr wrestling video libraries, so a lot of cool video accompanies Shawn’s story along the way. Some interesting clips throughout the DVD were the interview with Shawn’s partner Marty Jannetty announcing Shawn’s impending arrival in the AWA, matches from World Class early in Shawn’s career as an enhancement talent, many of his more memorable WWE moments, and more.
An interesting story is told as an extra on the DVD. In regards to Shawn’s athletic ability, Shawn talks about being encouraged by Lothario to try some unique flips during his matches as a rookie. Footage is shown of Shawn doing a back flip off of the top rope during a World Class match against Billy Jack Haynes. It was evident from day one that Shawn would rather innovate than take the conventional path inside of the ring of his predecessors.
If you read Shawn’s book you are likely familiar with most of the stories told on the DVD. Some of the more interesting quotes come from the people interviewed about Shawn on the DVD. Pat Patterson’s love for Shawn is apparent, but he can be quite critical of Shawn throughout the DVD. Pat talks about Shawn like a father who went through some rough times with their kids. Some of his quotes are downright blatant such as Pat referring to Shawn as a, “pain in the a**.”
The talk about Survivor Series 1997 is ironic today with Bret Hart back in the WWE and making amends with Shawn Michaels. Shawn seems to have a different take on the Montreal Screwjob with every interview. Triple H reveals that he feels Shawn would like to make amends with Bret and misses their friendship. Several others talk about the fact that they would like to see the two make peace. Bret Hart said the same thing years earlier on my radio show. All of this is even more interesting today, with the current turn of events.
It is interesting because as you watch the DVD you realize how parallel the careers of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were. They both came through the ranks at the same time with Bret always one step ahead of Shawn. Whether it was tag matches, intercontinental title matches, or world title matches the two were always common opponents. I can’t think of many other wrestlers that have had that much of an influence on each others careers. The interesting part of this story of course is how it all turned out in the end.
Another quote I found odd came from Triple H who actually quoted Ric Flair (there he goes stealing moves again). In regards to Shawn’s famous WrestleMania X match with Razor Ramon, “Shawn went out and had a great match with a ladder.” Scott Hall may beg to differ.
The DVD is without a doubt one of my all-time favorites of their collection. Like every Shawn Michaels match (except those Spirit Squad matches), there isn’t a bad one on the DVD. DVDs two and three are full of matches. Quite a few of the matches have never been released on any of the previous Shawn compilation DVDs.
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The DVD features the legendary match between Shawn and Marty vs. the Hart Foundation 2 of 3 falls for the WWF tag team titles in 1990. This match is legendary because the Rockers won the WWF tag team titles here and the match has never been shown before anywhere. This was a match taped at a television taping but never aired anywhere. During the match the top rope breaks, yet the match continued. Shawn and Marty wind up winning the tag titles in one of those weird wrestling history facts. However the decision was reversed due to the top rope breaking and the result was never acknowledged. In addition to the wrestling history, the match is awesome and still holds up today.
One of my favorite matches ever from Monday Night Raw was Shawn’s match against Triple H from December 2003. Apparently I am not the only one who remembers this match fondly as it is released on DVD for the first-time ever. The match was a classic and is about as close to Flair-Steamboat as you will ever get, including the opening headlock spot. The match is a textbook on wrestling psychology and spotlights arguably the greatest rivalry of the decade.
Arguably the second greatest rivalry of the decade was Shawn’s three-match series with Kurt Angle. While their WrestleMania match is my favorite, their re-match from Vengeance is featured here on the DVD. I would presume that the fact that Kurt is now in TNA prevented their rivalry from being acknowledged. This was truly one of the great feuds of the decade based purely on athletic competition. This is definitely a case of two guys going out there with the sole purpose of stealing the show.
Lastly Shawn’s match from earlier this year on Raw with John Cena is included on the DVD. The match was one of the longest to air on Raw other than the Chris Benoit-Triple H Iron Man match. The match was arguably better than their WrestleMania match and some will say the best of John Cena’s career. A great story is told throughout the match which peaks towards the end with a lot of excitement.
The bottom line here is that I can’t imagine a wrestling fan whether they are particularly a fan of Michaels or not who would not love watching this DVD. It may sound cliche but every match on this DVD is a great one. With the possibility that Shawn Michaels’ last match may be just weeks away, you owe it to yourself to relive his greatness on this collection. Whether you like him or not, nobody can ever deny that Shawn Michaels is one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots.
1. WCCW ’85: vs. Billy Jack Haynes
2. AWA ’87: Midnight Rockers vs. Buddy Rose & Doug Sommers
3. AWA ’87: Midnight Rockers vs. Super Ninja & Ninja Go
4. MSG ’89: Rockers vs. Brain Busters
5. Unaired SNME ’90: Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation
6. Royal Rumble ’91: Rockers vs. Orient Express
7. SNME ’92: vs. The British Bulldog
8. Royal Rumble Match ’95
1. In Your House ’95: vs. Jeff Jarrett
2. King of the Ring ’96: vs. The British Bulldog
3. RAW ’03: vs. Triple H
4. RAW ’05: Rockers vs. La Resistance
5. Vengeance ’05: vs. Kurt Angle –
6. RAW ’07: vs. John Cena
Pre-order the brand-new DVD WWE: Shawn Michaels – My Journey
Read the book Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story
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