WWE From The Vault: Shawn Michaels
Written by: Tom Hopkins
The Main Characters
–The Showstopper, the Main Eventer, The Heartbreak Kid, the one and only Shawn Michaels.
This is a very brief look at some of Shawn’s best matches spanning his career in the AWA in the 80’s to the WWE in the 90’s and 00’s.
The Main Feature
—Disc One (2:08:55)—
This is set up like the Ric Flair Ultimate Collection DVD, where the two discs run through Michaels’ career, with Shawn talking about the matches in question, and various promo’s leading up to the match.
We start at the beginning, with the AWA and Michaels teaming up with Marty Jannetty to become the Midnight Rockers. Shawn says this is the match that first got them noticed.
–Buddy Rose & Doug Summers vs. The Midnight Rockers–
This is from AWA Television, airing on September 2nd, 1986. Michaels and Rose, who just recently died, start things off. Michaels gets a sunset flip and a victory roll off of Rose or a pair of twos to start the match. Rose then walks into a superkick for two. In another 10 years that would’ve finished the match. Summers then sneak attacks Michaels and drives him into the steel turnstile. Michaels has been busted open now. Summers and Rose work Michaels over and Jannetty hasn’t even been tagged in yet! Michaels is back dropped and in bad shape. He fights back against Summers, and knocks him down with some rights. He finally makes the hot tag ten minutes in and the crowd erupts. Jannetty tosses Summers from pillar to post and disposes of Rose in short order. Summers is sent to the corner and his head hits the ringpost. He’s not busted open yet so Jannetty does it again. Sherri Martel, who was at ringside for the heels, distracts Jannetty and Rose is able to take him out and bust him open, too. Rose is tagged in and he goes after the open wound of Jannetty. Summers comes in with a dropkick for two. Jannetty fights back against Rose, who punches him into the corner with Michaels standing there and Michaels is tagged in. Michaels stomps him in the corner, drawing in Summers. The ref gets bumped, Rose and Jannetty are knocked out of the ring, and Jannetty is dropped on a chair. Another ref comes out and is shoved down by Rose when the other ref revives and calls for the bell at 16:11. Rose and Summers continue pounding on Michaels when other wrestlers need to run down for the save. The official call is a double-DQ. That was a cheap ending. It was a good match up until the finish, actually. ***.
We move to the ladder match, which was set up when Michaels was stripped of the title and Ramon winning the title in his absence. Michaels came back claiming to be the true champ and thus a ladder match was signed to determine who the real champ would be. Michaels takes credit for being the originator of the Ladder Match, even though Bret Hart introduced it to the WWE some two years earlier against Shawn Michaels.
–Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon(c) for the Intercontinental Title in a Ladder Match–
==Taken from my WWE: History of the Intercontinental Title DVD Review==
This was at one of my personal favorite PPV’s ever, Wrestlemania X, held at MSG on 03/20/94. Shawn has Diesel with him. Razor blocks a hiptoss to start and chokeslams Michaels. Shawn responds with a swinging neckbreaker. Shawn sends Razor to the outside, where Diesel is lurking. Diesel clotheslines Ramon down (there are no DQ’s here) but Earl Hebner is suspicious and tosses Diesel out of the match. Razor makes his way back to the ring and tosses Michaels outside. He follows and lifts up the mat outside the ring but before he can use it, Michael eye rakes him and they return to the ring. Razor tries for the Razor’s Edge but Michaels backdrops him out, onto the exposed concrete, and heads to the aisle to get the ladder stationed there. Razor takes control of the ladder while still at ringside and brings it the apron, where Shawn, slid into the ring by Razor, baseball slides the ladder into the gut of Razor. Shawn continues to drive the ladder into the gut and back of Razor, before tossing the damned thing onto his back. Shawn props up the ladder and starts the climb to the top but Razor pulls his tights, exposing the rear of the Heartbreak Kid. HBK kicks Razor down and elbow drops him from the top of the ladder. HBK follows that with a splash from the top of the ladder onto Ramon.
HBK tries for the belt again but Razor shakes the ladder and Shawn hurtles off the top to the mat. They two men collide and both are KO’ed. Shawn is up first and props the ladder up against the corner, but an Irish whip is reversed and Shawn smashes into the ladder and falls to the outside. Razor brings the ladder out with him and charges it into Shawn’s back a few times. Razor makes his way back to the ring and tries for the belts but Michaels is able to dive at the ladder, knocking Razor off of it and having the ladder fall on his back. Both men get up at the same time and both head up opposite sides of the ladder for the belt. The two hammer at each other from the top of the ladder and Razor actually bodyslams Michaels off the ladder. Razor falls over as a result as well but he’s up quickly and makes his way to the top.
Michaels dropkicks the ladder, causing Ramon to fall. Michaels mimics Razor and piledrives him down. Michaels folds up the ladder and heads to the top rope, where he falls onto the ladder which falls onto Ramon, in a sort of ladder splash. Michaels sets the ladder up over Ramon and climbs to the top. Razor starts shaking the ladder and eventually shoulberblocks it, causing Michaels to crotch himself on the ropes and get his leg wrapped up in between the top two ropes. Ramon climbs to the top as Michaels tries to free himself, but it’s too late. By the time Michaels frees himself, Ramon has reached the top and grabbed the belts, ending the match at 18:51. This is still an awesome ladder match, even 14 years later. It has some great spots, which were incredibly innovative for the time, and had an actual match that worked with the spots, instead of building around spots. *****.
Up next is the Iron Man match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart for the WWE title. Shawn said he only could have done the match with Bret Hart.
–Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart(c) for the WWE Title in an Iron-Man Match–
==Taken from my WWE: History of the WWE Title DVD Review==
This is from Wrestlemania XII, which took place on 03/31/96 in California. This is an Iron Man match, meaning a 60-minute match. Whoever gets the most pinfalls in the hour time limit would be the champion. Shawn has Jose Lothario in his section. Earl Hebner explains the rules to both competitors, and to the whole crowd. Lock-up to start, and into the corner for a clean break. Lawler claims that the person who wins the first decision will win the match, and we didn’t know how truthful those words would become. They work in some wrasslin moves with Michaels and Hart reversing each other’s moves. Hart locks on a side headlock about 3 minutes in. The two of them trade off two-counts on pinning combinations, but no decisions yet. They have a quick 20-second reversal sequence which is pretty cool (the ECW fans would pop for it). Michaels breaks out at the 7-minute match and hits a pair of arm drags and he goes into his resthold, the armbar. They work another reversal sequence, which leads back to Michaels armbar. Hart frees himself and works over Michaels in the corner, but Shawn reverses. Michaels is sent to the turnbuckle and Hart charges, but Michaels catches him and sends him to the outside with a, “Mexican maneuver,” according to McMahon. What he did was put him in a head scissor and flipped him to the outside. They lock up and Michaels works over the arm again. Hart tries to send Michaels outside but he holds onto the ropes and pulls himself back in. Hart sends him to the ropes and knees him down, then puts in his hold du jour, the headlock.
Michaels breaks free and works over the arm of Hart. Hart breaks free and gets sent to the ropes but catches a leaping Shawn Michaels. He sidewalk slams him and goes for the Sharpshooter but Shawn scurries to the ropes. Hart clotheslines Michaels to the outside, but gets sent by Michaels to the post. Hart lands on the timekeeper and Michaels goes for sweet chin music. Hart moves and Michaels kicks the poor timekeeper. Michaels looks at him allowing Hart to take control again. He brings Shawn back inside for a reverse chinlock at about 16:00 in. He continues with it while the timekeeper is wheeled to the back on a stretcher. Michaels breaks free and dropkicks Hart, then slaps on the armbar. They get to their feet and Hart backs Michaels into the corner. He repeatedly forearms him and tries to send him to the opposite corner, but Michaels reverses and sends him to the turnbuckles, leading Hart to dive through the turnbuckles and hit his shoulder on the ring post. Michaels with a shoulder breaker, then a double axe-handle from the second rope, followed with a hammerlock slam, but doesn’t try to cover. Michaels works over the shoulder again, and Hart just can’t capitalize on his escape attempts. He finally gets loose at the 28 minute mark and drops Michaels throat on the rope. He slingshots him to the turnbuckle and Michaels head hits off the top post. He covers but only for a two count. Michaels takes control momentarily but misses a splash in the corner. Hart hits an atomic drop and a clothesline but only gets a two. Hart with a bulldog and he goes to the top rope. Michaels recovers but Hart catches him before he can be thrown off. Hart knees him in the back of the head, causing Michaels to hit Hebner. Michaels recovers quickly and slams Hart but only for two. Hart recovers quickly and piledrives Michaels for two.
We’re now over halfway done, as 31 minutes have elapsed. Hart goes to the top but this time Michaels catches him and tosses him off. He hits a backbreaker but only gets a two count. Hart tries for sweet chin music but Hart bails to the outside. So Michaels splashes Hart from the top turnbuckle to the outside. They lay out there for a while before Hart is thrown back in. Michaels to the top and hits a cross body, but Hart reverses into a small package for two. Michaels with a small package for two. Michaels with a perfect plex for two. Michaels grabs a sleeper hold 35 minutes in. Hart breaks free but he’s too tired and Michaels kicks him, sends him to the corner, but misses a charge and is flipped to the outside. Michaels is about to be counted out but Hart goes outside and breaks the count. He picks up Shawn and slams his back to the post. Bret sends him back in and works over the back, to really set up the Sharpshooter. We’re 40 minutes in, with no decision rendered yet. Hart sends Michaels to the corner and he does his flip over it, allowing Hart to hit a side suplex from the top for two. Hart with a camel clutch of sorts. Michaels fights out and sunset flips Hart for two. Michaels back is in bad shape and Bret takes over again. Side Russian leg-sweep gets a two. Hart sends Michael to the outside and as Shawn goes out, he knocks down Lothario. Hart follows to the outside and whips him to the turnbuckle/chairs, sending Michaels and Lothario down again.
We’re 3 quarters done now, and a belly to belly suplex for Hart gets two. Michaels tries to fight back but its in vain. Hart tries for a suplex but Michaels flips over and rolls up Hart for two. Hart kicks out, and Michaels is sent to the outside. Michaels is outside and Hart dives through the second and third rope onto Michaels. Hart heads back in, waiting for Michaels to be counted out. The fans finally show some life now, cheering for Shawn to get back into the ring. Bret is pissed Lothario is still there and breaks the count by arguing. Michaels gets to the apron and Hart tries to suplex him in. Michaels reverses but Hart reverses that and gets a German suplex for two. A slugfest ensues, won by Bret, and he puts the camel clutch back on with only 10 minutes remaining, now 9, now 8, and Michaels breaks free. Double clothesline knocks both men out. Hart’s up first and he sets Michaels up to the top. Hart hits the superplex. He sets up Michaels for the Sharpshooter but Michaels blocks with kicks to the face. Hart with a Boston Crab at the 54 minute mark, but Michaels makes it to the ropes. Hart with a backbreaker, but an elbow from the second rope finds Michaels boot and both men are down again. They get up simultaneously, and Michaels dropkicks Hart into the corner. He flings Hart to the opposite corner and Hart goes in chest first. Michaels with a flying forearm, and he’s pumped. He hits an elbow off the ropes, then a double axe-handle from the top for two. A Michaels suplex leads to flying elbow drop and Michaels covers for two. Hart with a gut wrench suplex into a powerbomb and Michaels goes to the top again.
A moonsault gets two with only 105 seconds remaining. Michaels gets a frankensteiner roll-up but only for two. Michaels with a scoop slam and we are down to one-minute remaining. Michaels goes to the top again, tries for a missile dropkick but Hart reverses it into the Sharpshooter with 35 seconds left. Michaels won’t quit and time expires at the 60-minute mark. Michaels never quit and since there was no decision, Hebner gives the title back to Hart. Monsoon comes to the ring and confer with Hebner and a decision is made, there must be a decision rendered, and the match will continue under sudden death rules. Hart is not too pleased (Bret screwed Bret). So Bret goes right back to work on the back of Michaels. Shawn is sent to the corner but flips over a charging Bret and hits the sweet chin music. Hart is up first, however, but Michaels hops right up and hits another Sweet Chin Music. He falls on top of Hart and covers for three. Your new world champion, Shawn Michaels. The match ran about 61:52 and was pretty good. It wasn’t littered with rest-holds that didn’t make sense and the match had an ebb and flow. The lack of decisions during the 60-minutes was one drawback as the egos of both men hurt the match quality. Witness the Rock/HHH Iron Man match as an example. Still, this was a great main event. ****1/2.
Disc Two (2:16:07)
We start off Disc Two with Michaels as champion and Michaels saying the direction of the business was going in an athletic direction more than going with bigger guys. Shawn says he always liked working with bigger guys and there were none bigger in 1995 than Diesel.
–Shawn Michaels(c) vs. Diesel in a No Holds Barred Match–
This took place at the 7th In Your House Pay-Per-View Event called Good Friends, Better Enemies on April 28th, 1996. Shawn and Diesel immediately go after each other with rights bit Diesel is just too big and strong and knees Michaels down. Shawn ducks Diesel and kicks him to the outside, then follows with a baseball slide to Big Daddy Cool. He ascends to the top rope and moonsaults onto Diesel. Diesel gets back to the ring where Michaels hits him with a foreign object off the top rope for two. Shawn is sent to the corner where he flips over to the apron and Diesel elbows him to the outside. Diesel brings Michaels back in where he controls with his big-man offense. A side suplex follows and Diesel takes out the referee and takes off his belt. He uses the belt to whip it across the back of Michaels and follows by choking him. He continues the choking by lynching him over the top rope, hanging him. This allows Diesel to grab a chair and smack Michaels around with it. Diesel tries to hit him with the chair again but Michaels ducks and the rebound off the ropes causes Diesel to smack himself with the chair instead. Michaels picks up the chair and is low-blowed to prevent its usage. Diesel follows with a back body drop for two. Michaels is punched to the outside where Diesel follows and powerbombs Michaels through the table at ringside. Michaels is dead and Diesel gloats with the title in the ring.
Michaels manages to crawl back to the ring and grab a fire extinguisher, using it to blind Diesel. He punches away and connects with the flying forearm before kipping up. He grabs a chair and rams it into the back and head of Diesel. Diesel comes right back and tries another power bomb but Michaels is wise to him this time and punches away, felling Diesel like a tree. Michaels heads to the top with a flying elbow drop and starts cueing up the band. Sweet Chin Music is attempted, and it is blocked and responded to in kind with a clothesline. When they both make it back to their feet Diesel clotheslines Michaels to the outside. Diesel drops Michaels across the steel barricade then attacks Mad Dog Vachon at ringside, pulling off his artificial leg. He prepares to use but suffers at the cruel hands of Fate and is low blowed by Michaels. This allows Michaels to use the fake foot and then toss it back to Vachon. Shawn cues up the band again and this time connects with Sweet Chin Music to finish this match at 17:55. That was an interesting final. I don’t know why they needed to include Mad Dog’s fake foot here. This was a really good example of a big guy vs. small guy match, with the big guy just overpowering his opponent and only having the scrappiness and the never-say-die attitude of the smaller guy prevail in the end. Great match, with just the silliness of the end segment being the main knock I have against it. ****1/2.
Shawn talks about the next match helping his style thanks to the way Mick Foley worked.
–Shawn Michaels(c) vs. Mankind for the WWE Title–
==Taken from my WWE: History of the WWE Title DVD Review==
This is from IYH Mind Games, which aired live on PPV on 09/22/96. Lawler, McMahon, Ross, and Mr. Perfect called the action, in a really loaded announcing team and table. Mankind had only been in the WWE a short time and was really making his mark. Bearer was his manager at the time as Mankind feuded with Undertaker and Michaels was in a feud with Vader. I have reviewed this match already (so far there are two repeats and I only have about 4 WWE DVD’s as of this review) and I watched it recently when I rewatched the Foley DVD, but I will give it another go. Mankind is brought to the ring in a casket and accompanied by Paul Bearer, and Jose is still in Shawn’s corner. Lock up leads to a Mankind elbow and he works on Shawn’s back. McMahon with a patented call of Baaack body drop and Mankind sends Michaels to the outside with a Cactus clothesline. Mankind picks up the mat to expose the concrete but gets dropkicked down by Michaels, who follows with a splash from the top rope, then slams Mankind’s head to the concrete. Back in, Michaels hits a double axe-handle, then works Mankind over with punches. He slams Mankind and goes to the top. A flying elbow drop hits and he starts cueing up the band. Mankind gets up, hears it, and then runs from the ring. After getting comforted by the urn, Mankind heads back in. Shawn gets most of the offense, but Mankind reverses being sent to the turnbuckle. Shawn jumps on it, waiting for Mankind to charge, but Mankind didn’t and it looked like a blown spot. Mankind takes down Michaels and the two start brawling.
Mankind sends Michaels to the outside, and starts setting up the table but Michaels comes back and suplexes Mankind onto the freaking steel steps. Mankind’s knee just smashes into the steps in a really cool spot. Michaels starts working on the knee of Mankind, including a figure four and a single-leg Boston crab. Mankind fights out but is rolled up by Michaels for two. Michaels tries for a hurricanrana but Mankind just drops his throat on the ropes. While Michaels is out, Mankind takes a pencil to his knee to get feeling back. Mankind tosses Michaels to the outside and rests a bit. Michaels comes back in and Mankind throws him in the corner, when while Michaels is seated he runs full speed into Michaels with his knee. The two slug it out, Michaels sends Mankind to the corner but misses a blind charge and gets tied upside down, leading Mankind to elbow drop him a pair of times. He follows with a legdrop, then kicks Michaels to the outside. Michaels sits up against the chairs and Mankind charges with the knee, but Shawn ducks out of the way. Michaels follows with a drop toe hold into the same steps and they head back to the apron. Michaels tries to suplex Mankind in but can’t. Mankind tries to block and Shawn ends up on the apron, too. Mankind charges but Michaels heads back in and Mankind’s head hits the ringpost. Michaels with a powerslam but only a two count. Michaels sends Foley through the ropes but Mankind’s head gets stuck between the ropes. Michaels goes over to work him over but Mankind puts on the Mandible Claw! They both end up outside and Mankind is sent to the steel barricade so Michaels can escape the Mandible Claw. Michaels picks up a chair and Mankind punches him, but right into the chair. Michaels takes the chair to Mankind a few times, then works over the fingers of Mankind.
Michaels charges but Mankind back body drops him over the top to the outside. Mankind follows and hits an elbow from the apron. Mankind breaks the count then gets a swinging neckbreaker on the concrete. Michaels goes back in but Mankind drops him on the ropes. Double-art DDT and Mankind covers for two. Piledriver also gets two. Mankind with a pinning combination but that two only gets a two. Mankind is now pissed. Mankind throws some chairs into the ring and Hebner tries to get rid of them. Mankind opens the casket and tries to put Michaels into it. Michaels fights back and hits a flying forearm. Michaels is all energy now. He slams Mankind, then goes upstairs for a body press for two. He goes up again but Mankind falls on the rope and Michaels is crotched. Mankind heads to the outside and to the turnbuckle and tries a side suplex to the table. Michaels reverses it to a splash and Mankind goes through the table. Both men are down on the outside, but Michaels makes it back to the ring first. Mankind is back in with a chair and he goes to the top. Michaels leaps off the chair that is there in the ring and hits sweet chin music into the chair. Michaels covers but Vader runs in and we get a DQ finish at 26:24. The match was just awesome before the DQ. Michaels sends Vader running, Bearer gets involved, Sid runs out to bring Vader back, Mankind wants to put Michaels into the casket but when they open it, Undertaker is there who fights off Mankind. The match was really entertaining before the cheap ending, and it hurts the overall match, couple that with the blown spot and you come close, but not quite perfect. ****1/2. I think I gave this five-stars before but I don’t know if a match with no decision can be five-star worthy, its almost like going to a hockey playoff game and it ending with a tie.
Michaels talks about pushing the envelope back in the last few months of 1997, with the WWE Attitude in full swing. We see some of the more colorful moments in during the original run of DX. Shawn and Undertaker had been feuding and the steel cage was the next logical step, but Michaels thought that was clichéd and wanted something a bit more exciting and thus the Hell In A Cell match was born.
–Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match–
==Taken from my WWE: History of the WWE Title DVD Review==
This was from Badd Blood. It was a PPV held, one of the IYH ones that was quite rare to get on videotape for a while. It was held on October 5th, 1997. Slaughter checks under the ring as the cage descends over the ring. Shawn is introduced first, and he has HHH and Chyna with him, as well as Rick Rude. Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon are calling the action. This must’ve been the last PPV McMahon called, as the next one after this was the infamous Montreal Survivor Series. Undertaker’s entrance is still really cool. Shawn looks very scared once the cage has descended and Taker is in the ring with him. Shawn goes off the ropes right away, and runs right into a big boot of Taker. Shawn bumps around like crazy to start, bouncing off the turnbuckles like a Mexican jumping bean. Taker tries for a chokeslam, but Shawn kicks him in the knee and takes over with some rights and lefts. Taker responds by sending Shawn to the corner, who flips up and Taker covers for two. Taker hits the ropewalk very early into the match and chokes away at the prone Michaels. Bodyslam for Taker leads to a legdrop for two. Taker hits a back body drop, then just tosses Michaels over the top rope to the outside, with his feet hitting the cage. That was a crazy bump. Taker chokes Michaels, who thumbs him in the eye to escape, then starts climbing the cage to nowhere. Sarah Palin would know all about things that go nowhere. Taker whips Michaels into the cage, then clotheslines him on the rebound. Taker goes for a powerbomb, but Michaels holds onto the cage and hammers Taker. Taker decides to just ram him into the cage instead of power bomb him. Michaels is now lying dead on the mat, so Taker picks him up and sends him to the chair. Taker puts Michaels in a bearhug and just rams his back from literally pillar to post. Taker tries to dart Michaels into the cell, but Michaels wiggles free and Taker runs into it instead, but Taker again comes back with the rebound clothesline. Taker sends Michaels to the cage, but this time Michaels comes back with a rebound clothesline. Unfortunately, Taker had fallen down, so Michaels just pounds on him on the mat. Michaels heads back to the ring, where he pounds on Taker on the apron. Taker responds with a slingshot. Taker comes back to the apron but Shawn charges and knocks him back off. Shawn follows with a tope suicida, then slingshots himself off the cage with an elbow drop. Michaels situates himself on the apron, waiting for Taker to get up, where he connects with a flying clothesline. Michaels uses the steel steps to ram the back of Taker.
Michaels tries for a piledriver but loses his balance, so he repeats the spot, piledriving him onto the steel steps. Michaels smacks the camera man out of the way, probably because he was in the way. Michaels follows with a double axe-handle from the top rope to the outside. Michaels gets a chair from underneath the ring and just crushes the back of Undertaker with it. Michaels goes for the cover, but Taker kicks out at two. Taker regains his footing and the two slug away, until Michaels ties up Taker’s arms in the ropes, allowing Michaels to slug away. Hebner pushes Shawn away, but he charges Taker only to run into a big boot. Taker back drops Shawn Michaels, who falls into a camera man, and Michaels is pissed at this, and starts stomping at the camera man. He tosses Undertaker to the outside then goes to the opposite corner where he continues assaulting the camera man. The camera man is knocked out and the rest of the crew calls for some help. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Michaels hits a flying fore-arm, kips up, and then goes to the top rope, where he connects with a flying elbow drop. Slaughter opens the cage to get the cameraman as Shawn cues up the band. Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music, but Undertaker sits right back up. Of course, the cage is open now so Michaels tries to escape, and he does, but Taker catches him. Michaels dropkicks Taker, who bounces off the cage, Michaels tries it again but this time Taker catches him and slingshots him into the cage. Shawn actually blades while in mid-air and he’s been busted wide open. Taker rams him again into the cage, then a third time, but a Michaels low blow stems the tide. Michaels tries to climb to the top of the cage to get away from Taker, and he does. He makes it to the top and Undertaker starts to follow. Michaels tries for a piledriver, but Taker reverses with a backdrop.
Taker grates Michaels face into the cage, while his blood falls onto the camera that is filming directly beneath them in the cage. Taker press slams Michaels onto the cage and Michaels makes a quick exit down the other side. Taker catches him, however, and as Shawn is halfway down Taker stomps on his hands and Michaels plummets through the announce table. Taker finds Shawn on the wreckage of the table and tosses him around some more, until finally bringing him back into the ring. Michaels is wearing the crimson mask now as Taker clotheslines him down. Taker sets up Michaels on the top rope and chokeslams him off the top into the ring. Taker gets a chair of his own from under the ring and just smashes it onto Shawn’s head. Shawn is dead and Taker calls for the Tombstone when the lights suddenly go off. Weird organ music hits, and we see the first ever appearance of Kane, in red and black and in his original mask, coming down the ring with Paul Bearer. He just rips the door off its hinges and he stares down Undertaker, has his pyro hit, then tombstones Undertaker. Shawn crawls over and covers the Undertaker as Kane makes his exit and when Hebner revives, he makes the very slow pin, giving Shawn the victory at 29:58. This was just a brutal affair, and really set the stage for Cell matches as being even more brutal than Cage matches. Shawn bumped like crazy for this one. There was one blown spot (the rebound clothesline) but it was nearly perfect. ****3/4.
Shawn talks about his comeback some four and a half years after he retired at Wrestlemania XIV. Shawn wondered if he could come back at the same level he left at. Shawn ended up very satisfied with how the match went.
–Shawn Michaels vs. HHH in a Non-Sanctioned Street Fight–
This was Shawn’s one-time only comeback, from which he was definitely sure he would wrestle only one more match that occurred at Summerslam on August 28th, 2002. Of course, the Comeback lasted a lot longer than Michaels or anyone else really planned. Michaels has a bible quote on the shirt he wears to the ring. This is non-sanctioned by the WWE, yet they have a referee there. Michaels throws the towel into the face of HHH and starts pounding away. He tosses Michaels to the outside and follows with a springboard plancha onto HHH. He clotheslines HHH and reaches for a garbage can. He doesn’t have a chance to use it, however, as HHH recovers and drops Michaels onto the security rail and heads inside Michaels whacks HHH from ringside with the trash can lid and skins the cat to get back into the ring. He uses the trash-can and follows with a double axe-handle from the top. Michaels goes for the super kick but misses and walks into a backbreaker. HHH is wise to go for the “broken” back of Michaels. He hits another backbreaker and whips Michaels into the corners. He drops an elbow to the back and covers for two. HHH finds a chair and ringside and plants it into the back of Michaels, covering for two. Shawn sneaks in a roll-up for two before getting hit with a HHH face-buster. HHH DDT’s Michaels onto a steel chair and covers for two. Michaels has been cut open and to go with losing blood he loses his belt courtesy of HHH. HHH made that effortless in taking the belt of Michaels, almost as if he’s done that before. He whips the back of Michaels with the belt then wraps it around his fist and works the open wound of Michaels.
HHH looks underneath the ring for his trusty sledgehammer but get booted before he can use it. Michaels tries for an Irish Whip that is reversed by HHH and he grabs an abdominal stretch off the rebound from the corner. HHH starts arguing with Earl Hebner about HHH’s actions in the match and HHH backs off, allowing Michaels to get a shot to the mid-section of HHH. HHH sets Michaels up on the top rope but Michaels punches him off. Michaels tries to stand up on the top rope but HHH pushes the referee into the ropes and Michaels is crotched, falling forward. HHH smashes a chair into the back of Michaels. He unfolds the chair and puts Shawn through the seated portion with a backbreaker. He covers but Michaels keeps kicking out. So he folds the chair up again and sidewalk slams Michaels on it for another series of two-counts. HHH tries a Pedigree on the chair but Michaels ducks out and low blows HHH. HHH recovers first and charges with the chair right into a Sweet Chin Music. HHH is busted open now. Michaels is feeling it now, hitting the flying forearm and kipping up. He back drops HHH and whacks him in the head with the chair. Michaels sends HHH to the corner where HHH goes up and over to the outside. Michaels recovers his belt and it is HHH’s turn to get whipped.
Michaels also uses the garbage can, then takes the boot off of Jerry Lawler to use that, too. He then bulldogs HHH onto the steel steps before taking out a ladder. He slams it into the face of HHH before driving it into his gut. Michaels then slingshots HHH into the ladder before rolling him into the ring for two. HBK tries to bring the ladder into the ring but HHH baseball slides it into Michaels. Michaels recovers first and superplexes HHH. A roll-up gets two for Michaels. HHH comes back with a high knee for two before grabbing the steel steps and bringing them into the ring. This leads to the always contrived drop-toe-hold into the steel steps sport. HBK clotheslines HHH to the outside, where HHH falls on the ladder. Michaels finds a table and sets it up, then finds a fire extinguisher to knock HHH out and onto the table. Michaels climbs to the top rope and splashes HHH through the table. HHH rolls into the ring as HBK brings the ladder into the ring. He climbs to the top of the ladder and elbow drops HHH. He cues up the band and tries for Sweet Chin Music but that is blocked. HHH tries for the Pedigree only to have Michaels roll-up HHH for the pinfall at 27:20. This was a really exciting brawl but also an indicator of what was wrong with the WWE at the time. HHH went out and made Michaels look good in a way he never did at the time with those he considered below his level (which was about everyone on the roster). He sold for Michaels, gave Michaels believable offense and a clean pinfall victory. I won’t hold that against the two guys, since the match did rock. ****. It loses a point for a lot of contrived spots and Michaels didn’t keep the selling of the back for the whole match.
Well, for a very quick look at the career of Shawn Michaels, this is the way to go. It covers some of his biggest moments in his wrestling career and showcases all the types of matches he could work, from the high-flying stuff earlier in his career (the AWA and the Ladder Match) to his wrestling skills (the Iron-Man match) and his brawling abilities (pretty much all of Disc Two). It is criminally short (but other collections would fix that) but that is more than made up for by the fact that all these matches fall in the “Very Good” to “Freaking Awesome” category. With this many four-plus star matches it is hard to go wrong. Are there big matches missing? Sure, but it was like that with the Flair DVD. There are only so many matches that can be put on these things and there are a lot of high-profile matches that fill out this collection and make it easily worthwhile. I wouldn’t call it a definitive look at Michaels career, but it is pretty close.
1) The Beginning
—A) Bloodbath (1:41)
This is immediately after the Summers/Rose match, with Greg Gagne saying that Shawn and Marty are severely injured. Greg vows revenge.
—B) Be Ready (0:45)
This is a promo with no sound. Shawn has ridiculous glasses on.
—C) Barbershop (6:41)
This is a very important angle for Shawn. This took place on the Wrestling Challenge from January 11th, 1992. So Shawn and Marty have been having problems as the Rockers and Beefcake wants to talk about it. Shawn double-crosses Jannetty and superkicks him (which looked pretty vicious), then tosses him through the window of the barbershop. This catapulted Shawn into a singles push. Shawn was clearly the guy to push since he was better in the ring and better on the microphone. So Shawn was now a single wrestler and he would never look back, getting the IC title shortly afterwards and getting the WWE title four years later.
2) Ladder Match
—A) There Are No Rules (3:22)
This is a Shawn Michaels interview from Superstars, first airing on February 26th, 1994. Shawn says he’s gonna win!
—B) Two Champions? (5:19)
This is a segment from the WWE describing the circumstances why there are two champions. I think it was explained pretty well in the DVD, but it just adds a bit (how Ramon won the title on Raw).
3) Iron Man
—A) Piper’s Announcement (8:07)
This is from Raw, airing on February 26th, 1996. Vince conducts the interview between the two stars inside the ring. They both respect each other and all that other crap, and talk about the conditioning needed for this match. This draws out Roddy Piper, the then-WWE president.
—B) Training Video (4:35)
This is a training video for the Iron Man match. Think Rocky meets WWE. We see both Bret and Shawn training.
—C) Iron Man TV Spot (2:20)
This is just a commercial the WWE used to promote the match.
—D) Match of the Year (3:26)
The Iron Man match was awarded the Match of the Year at that year’s Slammy Awards. The nominees were Michaels/Mankind from Buried Alive, Austin/Hart from Survivor Series, Austin/Vega strap match, Taker/Mankind Summerslam match, and the Iron Man Match. Well, you couldn’t go wrong with any of the Hart or Michaels matches.
4) Before They Were Superstars (13:37)
This is quite a lengthy segment from Before They Were Superstars focusing on Shawn Michaels. It focuses on Shawn’s life leading up to his career in wrestling. Shawn was born and her mother was disappointed it wasn’t a girl. Shawn went into college after high school but he wanted to try wrestling. His dad didn’t agree but he didn’t want to face him at 35 to 40 with Shawn saying he could have been. So his dad let him, and Shawn started training with Jose Lothario. Shawn went to AWA, then the WWE, where they had a very short stay (with Vince’s snakeskin boot comment). They bounced around for a while and then went back to the WWE where he became a star.
5) Tell Me A Lie (3:00)
This was Shawn Michaels music video. I don’t remember when it is from, but I remember seeing it back in the day. He doesn’t have the WWE title in any of the shots, so maybe before his title match at Wrestlemania with Bret.
1) Kevin Nash & Shawn Michaels Commentary (23:29)
The two record commentary for their In Your House match which Jonathan Coachman hosts, I guess. They actually show the match in a larger picture in the upper left and the trio of Nash, Coach and Michaels in a smaller box in the lower right hand side. Michaels notes this was the last time in the ring for both of them, as Nash left to the WCW after this match. Shawn joked that no-one really liked him back then and how all the departing stars left only him and Undertaker to carry the load. The two talk about how they beat the hell out of each other during their matches. Shawn says his back injury first appeared in 1989 and he just dealt with it, since he only got paid when he worked and he wanted the money and he worked through the injury. Nash talks about the period of the WWE from 93-96 where there was a violence policy and why more colorful characters appeared; to compete with Disney. Nash says that explains the Doinks of the time. They then go on to toot their own horn about “pioneering” the hardcore match with this match. That may be stretching it a bit. Bischoff questioned if Nash was really coming to WCW after seeing this match. Shawn talks about working with the bigger guys, and says how Undertaker and Nash would work with him, while some of the other guys wouldn’t. Michaels says it was about the believability of the match and working with each other. Nash jokes that he went to Vachon and asked him which leg to pull off during the match. This was a really fun commentary to listen to, as it was two friends just reminiscing about the match.
2) No Holds Barred
—A) Diesel Interview (1:25)
This is a Diesel interview that was recorded in the locker room in Germany. Diesel doesn’t want the belt, since he had it for a year and Vince McMahon and the corporate puppets tried to make him something he wasn’t. That was surprisingly shoot-ish for 1996. Diesel also threatens McMahon.
—B) Big Daddy Cool (1:47)
Diesel talks about Michaels and him being good friends and better enemies. Diesel says he will change Michaels thanks to this being a No Holds Barred match. Shawn counters by saying he will prevail.
—C) Good Friends (0:29)
Just a standard TV spot showing that Diesel and Shawn don’t care much for each other anymore and this match will settle their feud.
—D) Better Enemies (0:39)
Just a longer version of the spot above.
—E) In Your House (3:12)
This is the recap video for the feud, as hosted by Todd Pettingill.
3) Mind Games
—A) Have a Nice Day (0:30)
This is a TV spot for the Mind Games match that plays up how crazy Mankind is.
—B) Slam Jam Promo (0:41)
Michaels (with Lothario) cuts a promo against Mankind and calls him crazy, but Michaels is up for playing the game.
—C) Mankind Promo (0:36)
Mankind, in a dark basement somewhere, says that when he wins the title he will be a sexy boy. Mankind’s early promos were definitely creepy.
—D) Brain Surgeon (2:04)
Shawn Michaels shows up on an episode of Superstars on September 22nd, 1996 and kicks Brian Pillman off the show before telling Mankind that he isn’t a brain surgeon but that he is the world title holder. Michaels says he will match Mankind.
—E) Pre-Match Interview (1:51)
Michaels is interviewed right before the match. Shawn is nervous but prepared.
4) Hell In A Cell
—A) Hell in a Cell TV Spot (0:44)
The standard build-up spot, talking about how you can’t escape the cell and how no one can enter it, either.
—B) Building Hell (1:10)
We see workers constructing the Hell in a Cell. McMahon thinks that Shawn has no chance in hell of winning.
—C) Blaze of Glory (4:48)
Jim Ross interviews Shawn Michaels on this September 15th, 1997 episode of Raw. Shawn isn’t too pleased with the match. He also states that if he does go down, he’s taking everyone with him and he’s going in a blaze of glory. The interview is interrupted by Undertaker, who is behind a cage.
—D) Good News, Bad News (1:32)
Shawn has the European title with him and cuts this promo right before the match. Shawn says there is good news and bad news. The good is that the European title is not up for grabs while the bad news is that he’s wrestling in a HIAC match tonight.
—E) Badd Blood (2:42)
This is hosted by Michael Cole, in one of his first spots I’d say, and it is the recap video for Badd Blood, though it is a pretty bad one.
5) The Comeback
—A) Nothing Left (4:12)
This focuses on the friendship of HHH and Shawn from back in 1997 to HBK coming back in 2002 and HHH turning on him. HHH then says he used Michaels to get to the top, until Michaels got jumped from behind and had his head smashed into a car window. It turns out it was Hunter all along. So Michaels challenges HHH to a match at Summerslam. This was a good recap video.
—B) Hammered! (3:17)
After the match, HHH nails Michaels in the back with the sledgehammer. HHH is just evil and Michaels is stretchered to the back.
6) Photo Gallery
This is an manual-scrolling Photo Gallery, so I avoided it.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is presented in Fullscreen. All of these are from the WWE vaults and henceforth, in very good shape. The AWA match was decent, though it had some video issues halfway through.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is a standard DVD case with a sheet containing all the information for discs one and two, and a nice Michaels diving through HHH insert. It’s almost lenticular.
D) Easter Eggs
1) Buddy Rose Blowaway Diet (1:29)
This is the famous Buddy Rose blow away diet, where a very paunch Rose eats whatever he wants, then blows it away with a fan. This was probably embarrassing for Rose. To get this, go to Extras and highlight Be Ready and press left twice.
2) Shawn Michaels Entrance Song (1:57)
This is just clips of Shawn making his way into the ring, with comments from Shawn himself saying he can’t sing or dance. To get this go to Extras and highlight Barbershop. Press right twice.
1) Shawn Loses his Smile (6:55)
This is from Raw, airing on February 13th, 1997 and is a very famous interview where he “loses his smile” and forfeits his WWE title due to a very serious knee injury that will most likely end his career. He was back and fine a few months later leading many to question how severe the injury was and if Shawn was just doing it to avoid doing a job. To access this, go to the second page of extras and highlight Photo Gallery. Press left two times.
The Rey Misterio 619 DVD and the Don’t Try this At Home (2003 edition) start off the feature. I have to say, this is quite a good collection. There are only 7 matches, which is the only real downside to the collection, but the 7 matches are all *** or higher, with 6 of them being **** or higher. So for quality of matches this is one of the best DVD’s, ever. The extras included all relate to the matches on the collection so all of them are worthwhile to see, even only for one time. The easter eggs were pretty cool, too, since you get the Blow Away diet and the famous “Lost my smile” interview from Raw. Overall, it’s a great collection and if you can find it (you can probably get on the cheap nowadays) is easily worth it to pick it up.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever