Top Ten In-Ring Workers of All Time- Number Two
He is known, among many nicknames, as Mr. Wrestlemania. Over a span of nearly thirty years, Shawn Michaels became one of the biggest names in professional wrestling history. He also was among the first superstars to prove that you didn't need to be 6'5" and 300+ lbs of muscle to become the face of the franchise.
The Heartbreak Kid molded his high-flying style while teaming up with Marty Jannetty as the Rockers. Michaels would the climb to the top of the business and culminate his greatness with classic Ironman Match for the World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment Championship against Bret "The Hitman" Hart at Wrestlemania XII. His infectious style captivated fans' imaginations, even while he rubbed some the wrong way behind the scenes.
The Showstopper faced with Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) in the first-ever Ladder Match at Wrestlemania X-- and one of the greatest matches in wrestling history-- to decide the real Intercontinental Champion. In the locker room, Michaels created a backstage group along with Kevin Nash (Diesel), Hall, Paul Levesque (Triple H), and Sean Waltman (best known as the 123 Kid and X-Pac) best known as the Kliq. The Kliq turned a lot of other wrestlers off because they looked out for only their own group's best interest. They were involved in one of the most infamous moments in wrestling with MSG Curtain Call Incident. Michaels and Ramon were faces (good guys) and Diesel and Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Triple H) were heels (bad guys) when they joined in middle of the ring during a show at Madison Square Garden-- with Diesel and Ramon about to leave for World Championship Wrestling-- and embraced each other. This was the first time any wrestlers ever broke kayfabe (following the storylines set during that time) in public.
Michaels went on to become WWF/E's first Grand Slam champion and headlined five Wrestlemanias during his illustrious career. He retired for the first time in 1998 after he seriously injured his back in the first-ever Casket Match against the Undertaker. During this time, HBK held the WWF title and stayed on to defend and drop the title to the quickly rising Stone Cold Steve Austin. He also took on long-time rival Undertaker in back-to-back classic Wrestlemania matches-- the last of which was his retirement match. He faced Triple H in 2002 in a "Non-sanctioned" match for his first match in over four years.
He also took on Chris Jericho in another Wrestlemania classic at Wrestlemania 19 in Seattle's Safeco Field. He faced off with Ric Flair in Flair's retirement match-- another classic match. While building his legendary legacy, Michaels would face off with some of the greatest names in professional history. The list of classic matches HBK was involved in-- Hart, Flair, Undertaker, Ramon, Diesel, Triple H, and Austin-- cemented his status with being inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. There is no doubt that even when he was injured, Michaels always gave his all and never disappointed the fans.