As Andrew mentioned earlier in the week when he wrote the first of these posts, we’re giving our second birthday giveaway winners the opportunity to select a wrestler for us to write a quick post about. Runner-up Kim gave us a choice of three or four people, but she mentioned Shawn Michaels first, so we’re going with HBK. Enjoy, Kim……..
Ask me who my top three wrestlers are and I can tell you for definite that Shawn Michaels won’t be in the list. I’m not sure he’d even be in my top five. Maybe he’d fall around a nine or a ten. And yet, I have an awful lot to thank Shawn Michaels for.
When anyone asks me how I got into wrestling, my response is always the same “I came for Shawn Michaels, I stayed for The Rock.” My younger brother had been watching wrestling for a while before I came across it. Initially, I shunned it, but my brother was on-board to the point where he was wandering around the house shouting “SWEET CHIN MUSIC!” before proceeding to kick the sole of his foot to within an inch of my nose. Sometimes he misjudged the kick and stopped an inch after my nose. It hurt as must as you’re imagining.
Despite asking time and time again, he wouldn’t tell me what these seemingly random three words meant. I eventually sat down and watched wrestling with him and his friends. Shawn busted out some SWEET CHIN MUSIC! and the mystery was solved. Observe one of my favourites:
Of course, then I encountered The Rock and felt a stirring in my teenage heart that implored me to return and watch again. But if it wasn’t for Shawn and that stupidly named superkick, I never would have started watching wrestling. This blog wouldn’t exist. Think how sad you’d be! But that’s it. That’s all I have to thank Shawn Michaels for. 13 years of tormented wrestling viewing and this blog. Not much then.
Alright, so the first storylines I found myself immersed in were down to DX. It seemed dangerous and exciting and a little bit wrong, but DX coupled with my crush on a man with an overactive eyebrow and a penchant for unbuttoned shirts kept me watching wrestling just long enough for it to become my televisual crack. Another thing I need to thank HBK for…..or not, depending on the amount of time I’ve wasted on wrestling over the years.
Shawn Michaels went away for a while after that. He damaged his back so severely that he had to retire (for the first time). I went away for a while a few years later too. After HHH copulated with a corpse I fired off an angry email to Connecticut and decided I couldn’t justify watching this depravity any longer. It didn’t last long. I came back. Thanks to those early DX storylines I found it hard to stay way. Shawn returned too and this time he stuck around. He didn’t do much after that. Just a few DX revival runs. And he only put the messy Montreal Screwjob to bed, finally shaking hands with Bret Hart and bringing about the return of a man we never dreamed we’d see on WWE programming again. No big deal or anything.
When Shawn Michaels held Ric Flair’s hand and guided him into what was supposed to be his retirement, it was extremely touching. When Shawn himself hung up his leather chaps for the second time, it more than touched me, it made me cry like a baby – much to my surprise. I didn’t just drench my cheeks in tears when Shawn gave his farewell speech. I sobbed again when HHH came out to spoon and bump noses with him.
I never think of myself as a Shawn Michaels fan and yet when I saw him wrestle at a WWE House Show in Cardiff some 18 months ago, it was one of my greatest wrestling thrills. Nobody shouted SUCK IIIIIIT prouder than I did. (Apologies for shaky camera work. It was one of the most exciting nights of my life. You’ll also notice I stopped the camera the second Cena’s music hit. I stopped it to scream.)
There are very few wrestlers who are unconditionally loved regardless of whether their past was as chequered as Michaels’ or not. In his Hall of Fame speech, Shawn himself admitted that in his younger days he wasn’t Mr. Popular, and yet, he absolutely is. He started the game badly and ended a hero. So thank you, Shawn Michaels. Thanks for being the guy who got me into all this nonsense, thanks for finishing it better than you started and thanks for being the bloke I’m never really a fan of, but somehow always am.