After WrestleMania XIV, Shawn Michaels retired from professional wrestling due to a back injury. Many people didn’t think he’d ever return to wrestling. But, like most retirements in professional wrestling, they seem to never stick.
By 2002, Michaels returned to the WWE and had a heated rivalry with Triple H. However, prior to that, Michaels had one other match. That match took place for his own short-lived promotion, TWA.
Michaels had a match with a top heel for the promotion, Venom. Venom is best known as Paul Diamond, who had some success in the WWF and Memphis. Interestingly, Diamond was hired to book towns and provide an outlet for developmental guys to get work in TWA. Diamond was fired from that position on May 31st, 2000.
But, before that Venom and Shawn Michaels had a match on April 15th, 2000. The match would be contested under street fight rules. Michaels is the TWA Heavyweight Champion, while Venom is promoted as being the owner of the TWA. Venom had gotten control of the company after winning a match involving another student. Eventually, Venom lost the Heavyweight Championship to Justin Credible, who handed it over to Michaels. That setup this match where the title and control of the company were both on the line.
Venom goes on the attack before the bell but Michaels is able to start hammering away on Venom. Venom stops Michaels with a kick to the chest and drives Michaels face first into the corner. The announcers are promoting how Michaels isn’t cleared to compete. Venom drives Michaels back first into the guard railing and Michaels sells the back injury. Venom whacks Shawn over the head with a cooking sheet. Venom drops Michaels throat first over the guard railing before returning the action to the ring. Venom whacks Michaels over the back with a crutch. Venom avoids Venom in the corner and hits him with a trash can lid and crutch.
Michaels smashes Venom over the head with a trash can. Michaels takes off his boot and whacks Venom with it. Michaels piledrives Venom onto the trash can lid. Michaels goes up the aisle and tosses a ladder into the ring. Michaels drives the ladder into Venom’s face. Michaels drives the ladder into Venom’s midsection. Michaels drops the ladder over Venom’s back. Michaels catapults Venom face first into the ladder in the corner. Michaels climbs the ladder and delivers a fist drop.
Venom is tossed over the top to the floor. Michaels follows to the floor and hits Venom with a piece of wood. Venom has been busted wide open. Michaels whacks Venom with a chair, as well. Michaels brings Venom back into the ring and hammers away in the corner. Michaels puts the ladder by Venom’s groin in the corner and delivers a baseball slide.
They go to the floor again and Michaels crotches Venom onto the guard railing before delivering a shot with a cooking sheet. Michaels puts the trash can over Venom and whacks the can with a chair. Venom stops Michaels with a low blow as they get near a balcony. Venom whacks Michaels over the back with a trash can a few times. Michaels appears to have been busted open, as well.
They climb up to the balcony and they trade strikes. Michaels is able to hip toss Venom off the balcony and he crashes through a table!
Michaels comes down and stomps on Venom. Venom crawls towards the ring and Michaels gets a table from under the ring. Venom has a handful of powder and tosses it into Michaels face. Venom whacks Michaels over the head with a kendo stick a few times. Venom has handcuffs and is able to handcuff Michaels to the ropes. Venom hits Michaels with a kendo stick several times.
Venom grabs a microphone and says he’s glad that the fans can witness the end of Michaels career. Venom says there can only be one and he hits Michaels several times with the kendo stick. Shooter Schultz comes into the ring and hits a t-bone suplex onto the table, but it doesn’t break. He does it a second time and the table doesn’t break agin. Schultz decides to powerbomb Venom, but loses his footing the table still doesn’t break.
Schultz unlocks the handcuffs and Michaels powerslams Venom through the table. Michaels hits the Sweet Chin Music and wins the match. (**1/2)
Well, as expected, there wasn’t a lot of wrestling moves going on here. It was a solid brawl with some typical hardcore wrestling spots. It’s arguably the best Paul Diamond match I’ve ever seen. Shooter Schultz involvement hurt the match since he didn’t perform his spots very well, at all. However, this seemed like a proper ending to their long standing feud.
What did you think of the match?
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31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.