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Monday, February 29, 2016

Tagged under:

The Case of Rocky Maivia

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The Rock. A star that transcended wrestling. One of the biggest stars and actors in the entire world. Once upon a time, The Rock was a hugely successful WWE star, winning championships and headlining Wrestlemania. Now, while he's done that as well in this modern era, during his prime, The Rock was unstoppable virtually. However, there was a period of time that the Rock wasn't so popular or well received. This came just after his hilarious Flex Kavana days, when he joined the main WWF roster as Rocky Maivia, a mix of his dad's first name and the family last name on his mother's side. Now, the name itself wasn't bad by any stretch. I thought Rocky was destined to be over and popular when he first was promoted to debut.

I was wrong.

Survivor Series 1996 wasn't a bad debut by any stretch and while Rocky showed promise within the match, he was as green as fresh cut grass, and needed time to develop into a formidable wrestler not trapped by a gimmick or being held back. Unfortunately, the WWF system had never worked like that and after being a remaining survivor in his debut at Survivor Series 1996, Rocky had a truly weird up and down run in the WWF in this beginning of his career. Now, after the Survivor Series win, Rocky showed no signs of charisma and was a happy go lucky smiling ass babyface, which felt very disingenuous for him.

Rocky would not connect with fans very much during the end of 1996 and early 1997, despite WWF positioning him to be a future higher up on the card face, it didn't work out that way. Now, Rocky would win the Intercontinental title from Triple H, and that's when everything took a drastic turn. Rocky began getting booed terribly and nothing he did worked at all. He wasn't bad in the ring, but there was nothing major to make him stick out. He had no personality. He had no charisma on display as mentioned before. He gave us no reason to be invested and the WWF didn't do a good job with his booking and presentation.

The low point has to be between April 1997 and May 1997 where the chants of "Rocky Sucks" and even signs that said "Die Rocky Die" came about. You would never have guessed one of the most charismatic stars in history turned out to be a dud in his humble beginning, and after losing the Intercontinental title to Owen Hart and suffering an embarrassing loss to Mankind at the May 1997 In Your House PPV, Rocky went down with an injury and would have to miss a few months off TV. This would be the moment that led to everything changing. Rocky was out of sight and out of mind when the idea to turn him heel was given and approved.

As Faarooq battled a member of D.O.A. I believe, Rock shows up and hits him with a Rock Bottom,  joining the Nation of Domination. Now, Rocky didn't fit into a militant black group honestly, as his incessant need for wearing a fanny pack regularly didn't seem to mesh well with the aggression that is the Nation of Domination, but within a few weeks, it was evident Rock would be just fine. His first heel promo wasn't great, but a big improvement over what we had seen from him before. He was still coming into his own as a wrestler and performer and it showed some during that, but as the time went by for him, Rock would end up looking more and more comfortable in his role.

Rocky would go from being Rocky Maivia to The Rock, and that transition saved his career. It jumpstarted the whole Rock heel run and allowed him to display what he really had. While Rocky Maivia was a failed experiment, Rocky "The Rock" Maivia wasn't and its worked out strangely in a way, but the moment that The Rock entered the ring for the first time as that aggressive heel, I knew he was ready for something big in his career. It was his turn essentially and he deserved it.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tagged under:

ROH TV Review 2/27/16

By Nathan Neumann

Hello and welcome to another ROH Review from yours truly for both, I am of course Nathan here. This episode was kind of a mixed bag of stuff, but we will get to that as we get deeper into the review.

The commentary team this week was Kevin Kelly as he was joined by Mr. Wrestling 3 and they intro the show and then send it to the ring.

Dalton Castle makes his way out to the ring and calls out Silas Young, and Silas makes his presence felt saying that the Bruiser and himself are going to beat the living hell out of the boys in the opening match. However, he says if the boys win said match he will leave Ring Of Honor and retire from wrestling.

Match 1
Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser vs. The Boys

Thoughts: The match starts off with one of the boys trying to whip Bruiser, but thankfully Bruiser doesn't let him due to the size difference.  Bruiser hits a fall away slam from the second rope.  Beer City Bruiser hits a wheelbarrow suplex before making the tag to the fresh Silas Young.  One of the boys hits a tornado DDT but Silas kicks out. One of the boys hits an X factor and the other hits a springboard leg drop for a near fall on Silas.

Bruiser comes into the ring and sets both of the boys up in the corner and cannonballs them both, which allows for Silas Young to pick up the win via pinfall.

Match Result: Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser defeat The Boys via pinfall after a cannonball in the corner from Beer City Bruiser.

Match Rating: *1/2

After the match Dalton Castle gets into the ring, but is quickly taken out by Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser, as they stand tall over Dalton and his boys.

From there, we go straight into the next match of the night.

Match 2
Action Ortiz vs. Brian Fury
2016 Top Prospect Tournament Semi Final Match

Thoughts: The match starts and Ortiz hits a shoulder block and follows it up with a slam and an elbow drop.  Both men recover and stand in the center of the ring before Ortiz runs off of the ropes and into Fury as hard as he possibly can. Back on the outside, Action Ortiz hits a splash before rolling Fury back into the ring for a near fall. Ortiz picks Fury up and hits a backdrop suplex for a near fall.

Ortiz punches Fury in the face and Fury bumped off of it but while Fury went down his foot came up and low blowed Ortiz. The match comes to an end when Brian Fury hits Action Ortiz with a sit out powerbomb to score the pinfall victory and advance to the finals of the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament in the process.

Match Result: Brian Fury defeats Action Ortiz via pinfall after a Sit out powerbomb.

Match Rating: **1/2

From there, we head straight into the second semi final match of the Top Prospect Tournament.

Match 3
Punisher Martinez vs. Lio Rush
2016 Top Prospect Tournament Semi Final Match

Thoughts: The match starts and Rush is doing everything he can to try and take down the much bigger Punisher, but Punisher refuses to leave his feet.

Punisher makes his way to the outside and Rush goes for a dive through the ropes, but gets caught by Punisher though Lio manages to escape and climb to the top rope to hit a top rope splash. Back in the ring, Martinez gets a bit of an advantage with a flurry of offensive maneuvers before capping it off with a slam on the knee to pick up a near fall.

Rush rolls to the outside of the ring and Martinez runs and dives over the top rope to the outside onto Rush.  Martinez throws Rush into the ropes on the outside of the ring, but Rush springs off of the ropes to hit a Tornado DDT on Martinez. The match gets back into the ring and Lio Rush hits Rush Hour on Martinez to pick up the win via pinfall to advance to the finals of the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament.

Match Result: Lio Rush defeats Punisher Martinez via pinfall after Rush Hour

Match Rating: **

And with that the stage has been set for next week and the Top Prospect Tournament Finals as Brian Fury takes on Lio Rush.

From there we go to the main event of the evening.

Main Event - Match 4
Matt Sydal vs. Adam Cole

Thoughts: The match starts with both Sydal and Cole trading holds back and forth. Sydal catches Cole with a head scissors before following it up with a spinning heel kick.  Sydal locks on a STF, but it doesn't last long because Cole bites Sydal's hand to break it up. Sydal makes his way to the top rope, but Cole recovers and pushes Sydal off, Cole comes to the outside and teases the crowd by acting like he's going to throw Sydal into them before throwing him back into the ring. Cole kicks a grounded Sydal in the head to get a near fall. Adam Cole hits Sydal with a shining wizard to pick up a near fall. Sydal recovers and hits a hurricanranna from the second rope, then he goes for the cover, but Cole kicks out. Sydal looks to capitalize by kicking Cole in the face, Cole comes back by kicking Sydal in the face three times in a row before Sydal comes back with a reverse Rana which sends Cole head first into the mat. The match comes to an end when Matt Sydal hits Adam Cole with a shooting star press before picking up the win via pinfall.

Match Result: Matt Sydal defeats Adam Cole via pinfall after a Shooting Star Press.

Match Rating: ***

Really fun match to end the hour, but I wish this hour could have had one less match on it.  4 matches in one hour seems way to excessive especially given ROH's style, but this week it worked even if I don't prefer it.
If you have any interesting comments about this weeks episode of ROH, feel free to drop me a tweet @Headliner5 and let's talk some wrestling. Also make sure to follow @EyesOnTheRing on twitter as well for all of the wrestling goodness. I will see you right back here next week for yet another review.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tagged under:

Top 5: Shawn Michaels Dream Matches

By @TrueGodImmortal

Now, Shawn Michaels is retired. He plans to stay that way I'm sure, so that leaves me with the honor or selecting 5 dream matches that we would love to see take place and if he was still wrestling, could very well have happened. Let's get into it.

5. Shawn Michaels vs Sting

-Now, this match could still take place if Shawn ever came out of retirement and Sting heals up from his injury, which isn't likely at all, but these two in their primes? This would have been great. Sting, even in his mid 50's can still go and HBK circa Wrestlemania 25 has the psychology and in ring ability to make this match a classic hands down. The energy would be through the roof. Put this at a Summerslam or maybe a Wrestlemania and the show would definitely get stolen. The closest we'll ever come to this is the superkick from Shawn to Sting during his match with Triple H at Wrestlemania 31.

4. Shawn Michaels vs Brock Lesnar 

-This isn't necessarily the most obvious dream match, but I like the idea of Shawn going toe to toe with Brock. He would be able to use speed and his quickness to move around and not get caught up by Brock, and he would sell the hell out of those German suplexes. The horror in Brock's face after HBK kicks out his first F-5, along with the disbelief when Brock kicks out of two straight Sweet Chin Music superkicks would be amazing. The energy would be off the charts there, as we've seen in the select few segments they've had together.

3. Shawn Michaels vs Seth Rollins 

-In many ways, people say Seth resembles a younger Shawn Michaels in the ring(Dolph.... I'm sorry). Whether or not that's really true, Seth vs Shawn would be absolute money. Seth would push HBK to the limit without a doubt and I guarantee this would be an absolute classic. Shawn and Seth with about 26 minutes of time in the ring to make a classic match? We would be witnessing pure greatness.

2. Shawn Michaels vs Daniel Bryan 

-Daniel Bryan was a student at the Shawn Michaels Academy. The whole student vs teacher angle was being teased some during the Bryan story where he got his Wrestlemania main event, but I'd have loved to have seen HBK vs Bryan. Bryan with a running knee, HBK kicks out, then a SCM and Bryan kicks out. The intense back and forth would have been amazing for a Wrestlemania main event.

1. Shawn Michaels vs The Rock

-This is the greatest dream match that has never happened period. Yes. Period. HBK vs The Rock should have happened at Wrestlemania 20. It would have been a classic and the build up to it might have been even better. When we talk about dream matches for HBK, the one with the biggest missed opportunity will always be HBK vs The Rock.

Have a different list or a different choice? Post it below in the comments.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Tagged under:

Top 5: Shawn Michaels Matches

By @Headliner5

Last week we looked at Daniel Bryan as we presented Daniel Bryan week, and this week we shift our focus over to a guy who had his hand in the training of the American Dragon, as we look at Shawn Michaels and his contributions to the business during Shawn Michaels Week. Last week I presented a top 5 matches list for Daniel Bryan, so I figured why not do the same with Shawn Michaels. Without any further ado, lets get down to business.

5. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle
WWE Wrestlemania 21

-This match when it happened was a pure masterpiece, and it still holds up today as not just one of my favorite Shawn Michaels matches, but one of my favorite matches of all time. Back when this match took place, the brand extension was in full effect, as Shawn was on RAW while Kurt was on Smackdown and they put on one of the best matches I've ever seen in my life.

4. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair
WWE Wrestlemania 24

-There was so much emotion in this match, the greatest wrestler of all time in Ric Flair taking on the greatest big match performer of all time on the big stage at Wrestlemania. It had all of the ingredients of a classic and it became an instant classic. The "I'm Sorry, I Love You" quote that Shawn mouthed before the finish of this match still resonates with people today. Ric was on a tear and was beating everyone put in front of him after Vince McMahon told him that the next time he lost a match, he would retire. Well, he built up quite the winning streak until falling victim to the man who calls himself "Mr. Wrestlemania" in a fitting send off. And although Ric would continue to wrestle elsewhere, this was Ric's WWE retirement match and one that will be remembered for a long time to come.

3. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart
WWE Survivor Series 1997

-Now this match showing up on this list may be controversial to some of the people reading this and other people from EOTR, but there's a reason why this match is on this list and that's for the impact it would have years later. Whether you liked this match or you hated it, we still talk about this match today because of the finish. We all know what was supposed to happen (or some of us do) and what actually happened. The shock of the finish makes this the most important match not only of the New Generation Era and the start of the Attitude Era, but it may be the most infamous match in wrestling history because of how everything went down. If you haven't seen this match I suggest you watch it right now (preferably after you finish reading this article).

2. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
WWE Wrestlemania 19

-The story of this match was simple, aa Jericho was a man who idolized Shawn Michaels and modeled himself after him. Jericho wanted to prove to Michaels that he had what it took to not only beat the Heartbreak Kid, but also take his place in a sense as the new showstopper in WWE. This match was a clash of generations and a true masterpiece and at the end of it all, Mr. Wrestlemania would prevail. The most memorable part of the match for me took place after the match when Jericho extended his hand to the man who just beat him in Shawn Michaels and as Michaels went for the handshake, Jericho would low blow him and get booed out of the building in the process. Jericho was good once upon a time (well he still is good wrestling wise, but that's the only Jericho I care about these days).

1. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
WWE Wrestlemania 25

-Was there ever any doubt what my number one match is?  If you listen to my ramblings on Eyes On The Ring radio, you would know that I consider this match not only to be the greatest match that Shawn Michaels ever had, but also the greatest match that The Undertaker ever had. Honestly, this match to me is the greatest match of all time period from a wrestling standpoint. It's not my personal favorite match of all time (its number 2 behind Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin from Wrestlemania 13), but this match is pure perfection from bell to bell and it's just amazing to watch. Some people might look at the match that these two had the following year as a better match because of the stipulation, but when you take the stipulation of their match at WM26 away and look at the matches as stand alone efforts, this match blows that one out of the water. The match at 26 was good, but there was nothing that they could do to top this masterpiece from a year earlier although they tried everything to make that happen. You want to see what a perfect match looks like?  Fire up the WWE Network and watch this match right now!

There you have it, five matches from perhaps the greatest in ring performer that will ever lace up a pair of boots. I would definitely check some of these matches out if you haven't and relive some of the greatest matches and moments from a truly gifted performer that was Shawn Michaels... he's in a class all by himself.

Thank you for reading and be sure to stay tuned to the site as Shawn Michaels week continues.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tagged under:

Classic Rivalry: Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle

By @Stevesignore

In 2005, Hollywood was the setting for a wrestling fan's dream match of Kurt Angle versus Shawn Michaels. When Angle first arrived in the WWE, the idea of these two ever facing off might have seemed to be a fantasy, as Michaels was gone from the WWE due to a serious back injury. While Michaels was out of the picture, Angle became one of the new faces of WWE, mixing a pure wrestling ability with a load of charisma. Angle was able to shed the comedy persona he gained with Steve Austin because he had so much in ring talent. The humorous side just added another dimension to his character. However, by the time Shawn Michaels was back in the WWE, Angle was no laughing matter. And he proved that at the Royal Rumble that same year, when he lost his cool after Michaels eliminated him from the match.

During the Rumble, Angle blocked Michaels' superkick and went for the ankle lock. Michaels reversed it, sending Angle along the ropes, then delivering the superkick to eliminate him. This sent Angle into a frenzy, and the aggressive side of Angle reared its ugly head. Angle re-entered the ring (I've never been a fan of eliminated wrestlers re-entering) and threw Michaels over the top rope. Then the real beating began. After bashing Michaels in the head with the steel steps, Angle continued the onslaught by applying the ankle lock while Michaels was draped over those same stairs.

The feud could have thrived solely based on this outburst, but Angle added more depth to it during the coming weeks, claiming a lack of appreciation during 1996, when Angle won an Olympic Gold medal, but was playing second fiddle to Shawn, when his victory at WrestleMania (IronMan match) received more attention. Angle took this as a slap in the face, defending the fact that he was the best wrestler, not Michaels.
Angle gave this match plenty of juice with a series of infamous events leading into Wrestlemania.

One of the first messages was when Angle delivered a massive beatdown to Michaels, who was bloodied already after a Street Fight with Edge. A few weeks later, Angle took on Michaels former Rockers teammate, Marty Jannetty in a match. While Jannetty surprisingly hung in there with the Olympic gold medalist, it was only a matter of time before Angle would add insult injury and make Jannetty tap out in vicious fashion. Angle continued to lay it on thick, actually coming to the ring dressed in classic Shawn Michaels attire and accompanied by Sensational Sherri in one of the most entertaining in-ring segments in WWE history. Angle began to sing his own version of Michaels entrance theme, only using the name "Sexy Kurt," and dancing around in similar Michaels fashion. Soon thereafter, Kurt did something that would never happen on today's WWE programming and that is apply the ankle lock onto the legendary Sherri.

The stage was set for Wrestlemania, and these two men had one of the greatest matches in the PPV's history. In my opinion, this match doesn't come up as often as it should. Maybe that changes if Angle ever returns to WWE. For close to thirty minutes, Michaels and Angle emptied out their bag of tricks, trading move for move. Near falls left and right had fans coming out of their seats. At the time, I expected this build to eventually lead to a Michaels victory, but Angle triumphed in the end when he was able to force Mr. Wrestlemania to shockingly tap out.

Good news for fans, the rivalry didn't end there. It continued on several months later, with Michaels earning a victory of his own at the Vengeance PPV. Similar to the recent Jericho/Styles storyline, both men wanted to have a decisive winner of the feud, culminating (sort of) in an IronMan match on RAW in October of 2005. During that match, Angle and Michaels traded victories, deadlocked at 2-2 when time ran out. In similar fashion to his encounter with Bret Hart years earlier (Gorilla Monsoon let the match continune in a Sudden Death overtime), Michaels wanted the match to continue, but Angle didn't feel the pressure to continue and left the arena. Unfortunately, there was never real closure to this feud, and Angle would be gone from the WWE just a year later. It's still hard to believe that Angle has been in TNA longer than the WWE. But that's a different story for a different day.

In the end, regardless of how it concluded, Michaels and Angle gave us a wrestling match at WrestleMania that should be HOF worthy if the WWE ever goes that route. Someday, you will see Angle honored by the WWE, and you may very well see Michaels there to shake his hand.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tagged under:

Retrospective: HBK and The 4 Year Hiatus

By @Cool_Calm_Chris 
Christopher Evans 

Shawn Michaels had an incredible run in his return to WWE in 2002. In his non-sanctioned match with Triple H at SummerSlam 2002, the performance he put on in that match against one of the top wrestlers in the company could only be pulled off by the Heartbreak Kid himself. It were as though Shawn had never left. He had still been able to perform the same aerial maneuvers that made him popular throughout his career and still could take the same bumps even with his bad back. However, it was a long road to get to this point in his career, which is why today we will take a look at Shawn Michaels four year absence from in-ring competition.

At Royal Rumble 1998, Shawn Michaels wrestled the Undertaker in a casket match for the WWF Championship. During the match he took a fall outside the ring and barely grazed the casket with his lower back. Michaels was able to finish the match, however as noted by Shawn himself in his DVD “Heartbreak and Triumph”, he could barely get out of bed. The injury turned out to be two herniated discs in his back and one that was crushed. Shawn was unable to compete in the next two pay-per-view’s, however he sucked up the pain to do the job for Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 14 for the WWF Championship. This would be Shawn’s last match for 4 years.

When Michaels got injured, he was at the top of his game in the company. He was legitimately the best wrestler on the roster and it was a hard pill for him to swallow having to retire early due to a coincidence. He would take some time away from WWF until July of 1998 when he made an appearance on an episode of RAW IS WAR. In November of 1998, Shawn would become the new WWF Commissioner replacing Sgt. Slaughter who had been the commissioner since the RAW IS WAR after SummerSlam 1997. Shawn had been involved in a number of angles, even reuniting with D-Generation X in early 1999, however seeing Shawn Michaels on television and not competing left a sour taste in fans eyes. No longer would we get to see the Heartbreak Kid flying around the ring superkicking everyone in sight.

In early 1999 Shawn Michaels had been fired as WWF Commissioner by Vince McMahon. After that, his appearances on WWF television would become even more scarce. During this time, Shawn Michaels would open up his own wrestling school in 1999, in which he ran up until his return to pro wrestling in 2002. One of the more notable graduates of that school is the now retired Daniel Bryan, who even had a dark match in WWF during this time. With Shawn now having more time off, he would find himself indulging heavily into drugs and alcohol.

Shawn already had a problem with drugs during his career, most of which affected his personality and interaction with co-workers. Shawn had a dealing with these issues well after his marriage to his wife Rebecca Hickenbottom and the birth of his son in 2000. Shawn would eventually put down the drugs and alcohol and become a non denominational Christian thanks to his wife.

After his appearance as special guest referee in the iron man match between Triple H and The Rock for the WWF Championship at Judgment Day 2000, Michaels would become even more scarce in his television appearances. At Royal Rumble 2002, Shawn did do an interview via satellite at WWF New York, and by this time he had become clean and lived a better life. After taking 18 months away from live appearances, Shawn would return to WWE in June of 2002 as the newest member of the New World Order. It was only a matter of time before Shawn wrestled his first match in four years against his best friend Triple H.

The career of Shawn Michaels spans over 20 years, with classic matches seen and unseen by the mainstream public. However it was this four year period that really defined Shawn as a person. He was able to clean himself up and embrace the Lord all for the sake of his family and friends. This time off helped Michaels return to the ring better than he ever was before.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tagged under:

Shawn Michaels: The Heel

By @SpeedontheBeat 

Say what you want about Shawn Michaels. The man knows how to get people talking. From air fucking the Canadian flag to kicking the holy bejeezus out of Marty Jannetty to the point he's still talking in 1980s jive to this day (I kid, kind of), he's had a ridiculous run as a hell during his WWF/E career. So, for starters, let's talk The Superkick Heard Around the World, V1.

I don't think I need to go into detail about what made this moment happen, but I'll give you the Cliff's Notes because reasons. And we're talking mostly kayfabe because fuck all the behind the scenes insanity; we'd be here all damn day. The Rockers were a tag team consisting of Michaels and the aforementioned Jannetty. In late 1991, early 1992, there were signs of dissension in the duo. This was seen in incidents such as Jannetty rolling Shawn into the ring to get pinned versus Ric Flair (Marty was thought to have really been helping, but angry Shawn took it as a slight) and a loss against the Legion of Doom. Classic tag team break-up shit, right?

And then this happened.

Straight from there, possibly thanks to both Marty bleeding from the attack and Marty then being suspended by WWF, we got the Heartbreak Kid come out of nowhere. Gone was the rando-midcarder appeal that'd kept people tuned into Michaels' matches. That was replaced by a cocky, "Sexy Boy" swagger that wouldn't have looked too off if Gorgeous George pulled the same stuff back in the day. He also had, for whatever reason, Sherri Martel as his manager. After some crazy matches, including the WWF's first ladder match versus Bret Hart, Michaels won the Intercontinental Championship.

After Michaels' return from a suspension in early 1994, we got Razor versus Michaels. Do we really need to talk about this match? It's fucking classic. Go look it up if you've never seen it. It also solidified Michaels as a legend in some ways, especially since Razor versus Michaels at WM X was one of the few WWF/E matches to get a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer. The build-up for the match was solid and the in-ring action was legendary. It also helped further Michaels' heel persona.

During 1993 and 1994, we were also treated to "Two Dudes with Attitudes," the tag team of Michaels and Diesel (see a pattern here?). An integral part of Michaels' heelish ways, bodyguard Diesel helped Shawn lie, cheat, and super kick his way to the Intercontinental Championship in mid-1993 (versus, who else, Marty Jannetty) and a tag team title reign. In mid-to-late 1994, Michaels' heelish ways got the best of him, as he ended up inadvertently hitting Diesel with Sweet Chin Music, breaking up the group. Again, see a pattern here?

After getting his ass beat by Sycho Sid post-WM XI, Shawn turned face, Shawn won his third IC Championship, we got the Curtain Call, and so on. It's not that those moments were uneventful; they're just more face than heel. With that said, we're kind of glossing over them. But, as much as I want to keep things most kayfabe-related, life has a funny way of imitating art...and vice versa.

After losing his smile, then returning months later, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart's rivalry hit a fever pitch. While still a face to Hart's heel, we got the "Sunny Days" comment and Shawn hitting The Undertaker with a steel chair while aiming for Bret at SummerSlam 1997. This personal and on-screen feud between Michaels and Hart led to England trying their hardest to pelt HBK with garbage, the first HIAC match (classic), the infamous Montreal Screwjob (classic albeit overdiscussed at this point) and the first iteration of D-Generation X.

The first DX was...interesting. I don't mean that in a bad way, though. They were pretty much the nWo with a lot more asshole thrown in for good measure. And when I say "a lot," I mean "a lot." While, technically, heels out the ass, their "we don't give a fuck" attitude quickly won over fans. Sure, we had to deal with DX doing black face (seriously, Triple H, what the fuck?), but the group was monumental in its heelish insanity. They even got Mike Tyson to punch out Shawn Michaels. However, through this original iteration of DX (and Michaels' first retirement), we also got heel Commissioner HBK who eventually became part of The Corporation.

Yes, little Jimmy Mark, it was like The Authority, but exponentially better. Now, fuck off. Grown folks are talking.

In 2002, HBK joined the "new" nWo. Uh...it's the nWo in WWE. It's just as weird as you thought it'd be. After getting Pedigreed by Triple H on Raw close to SummerSlam 2002, Michaels became a fan favorite again, putting on some pretty classic matches. Just as with his 1996 return, we're not talking about face Shawn Michaels. So, with that said, it'd be three years before we got the heel HBK and when he returned? Fucking hell, was it beautiful?

No, seriously. Go look up the HBK/Hogan match at SummerSlam 2005. It's trollololol central. Sure, you can say that Michaels was being immature. But when I watched this match? All I can think about is how amazing it was to see Michaels oversell the hell out of everything given to him as the ultimate "fuck you" to Hogan.

After this match, you could argue that Michaels was a face for the rest of his career as an active wrestler. Yes, that's including his hour-long match with Cena (one of my favorite Cena matches), him "retiring" Ric Flair, and his match at WMXXV. I'd prefer not to discuss his involvement in the Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority storyline because we all knew that he'd side with Triple H, regardless of his training DB or whatever. But, all in all, Shawn Michaels' heel work surpasses many. He let his competitive streak (and more) seep into his storylines even more than some and, because of this, he was able to straight up be an on-screen asshole. And we fucking loved him for it.