WWE Shawn Michaels Story
Written by: Tom Hopkins
This three-disc set is the last of the WWE DVD’s I have in my collection to review. I still have the Anthology Series but those are in a different category than these three-disc sets with a main program and matches on the other two discs. This is actually subtitled “Heartbreak & Triumph” for those keeping track.
The Main Characters
The DVD is named after the Heartbreak Kid, The Showstopper, Mr. Wrestlemania, and whatever other names he’s given himself: Shawn Michaels. Shawn started out in the WCCW as a jobber in 1985 before moving up to the AWA and finally landing the WWE. His WWE career was pretty good I hear.
The Film (2:02:58)
Shawn was born Michael Shawn Hickenbottom. He was the fourth child, a boy, and his mother wasn’t too happy at first because she wanted another girl to make a family of two boys and two girls. Shawn got bit by the wrestling bug very early on even though his parents tried to discourage him from watching it or making a living doing it. They thought it was a phase he’d grow out of but he never did. Shawn and his friend, Kenny, would go to matches together and even wrestled one another. They wrestled for fun at high school, a place where Shawn excelled at football. Shawn went to college but it didn’t work out (it wasn’t for him) and he took a shot at wrestling. Shawn trained under Jose Lothario and two months later he went to Mid-South wrestling and worked as a jobber. He was there for 6 months where he learned a lot from the guys he worked with and said he was even calling matches by the time he left.
Shawn went to Kansas City and the promoter asked Marty Jannetty to look out for him. The two tagged together and it worked. Marty notes that they had chemistry right away. Shawn went to Texas for a bigger payday (for a $500 week guarantee!) but politics reared their ugly head and things didn’t go as planned. Shawn sent tapes to WWE and the AWA and AWA said they wanted to put a tag team together with him and Marty Jannetty. Shawn liked that he’d be together with Marty and Marty even suggested earlier to AWA that he wanted to team with Shawn. Shawn went up to AWA and the Midnight Rockers were born. They made a good team and did a lot of double-team maneuvers. The two put a lot of time into their matches and even played with figures to get new moves. Shawn and Marty were very immature though and definitely partied hard. Their big feud in the AWA were against champions Buddy Rose and Doug Somers. They chased the titles for a year and their matches included an absolute bloodbath match that really put the Rockers on the map. They eventually won the titles in a match that’s on this collection.
Soon Patterson, who was really impressed with the two, talked to Vince and they were brought into the WWE. They had a reputation going into the company as partiers so tried staying low-key. They were cajoled into going out and Jimmy Jack Funk came up to them eating glass. Shawn broke a glass over his own head and they left. So they went to lunch the next day and Jimmy Jack Funk blew up the story saying they destroyed the bar. So Vince let them go with Vince uttering the famous line about their boots being made for walking. They went down to Continental and they wrestled to crowds of 50 people. Shawn was at his lowest there and got heavy into drugs and even thought about suicide. They left there and went to Memphis and soon ended up going between Memphis and the AWA. Soon the two got one more chance and they ended up in the WWE.
They succeeded in their second run and Chris Jericho loved the team for their purely tag-team maneuvers. Arn even says they were one of the best teams he was in the ring with. They had some matches with the Brainbusters and both Marty and Shawn say they learned a lot. They had a two out of three falls match with the Hart Foundation but the top rope broke in the first fall. The Rockers won but the match never aired and they were never considered champions. Shawn and Marty started rooming together every night for 300 days a year and with drugs and alcohol mixed in, as well as the two of the growing up, led to an actual fight between the two. Things were over from then on out for the Rockers. The storyline was set up for the programs and it led to Shawn superkicking Marty and sending him through a plate glass window. That was shocking to a lot of people.
Shawn had always wanted to be a singles wrestlers and thought there were more possibilities. Shawn’s solo run started with Sherri at his side, a decision he had no part of. Pat Patterson basically planned that and knew she would give Shawn the rub and accelerate his growth as a solo star because Sherri had only been with stars before. Mr. Perfect coined the term Heartbreak Kid and Shawn went with it. Shawn became that character and Jericho says he was the type of guy he wanted to punch him (and there’s a funny scene of Jericho throwing a punch to imitate punching him and Jericho, ever the wrestler, sort of hits his own chest with his other hand to make that thwap sound). Shawn’s theme song was originally sung by Sherri and that was done without Shawn’s input, too. He didn’t like that first. Triple H jokes that many people thought Shawn was playing for the other side because he dressed like the cop from the Village People.
Shawn did feel like his career was stalling and he went to Vince about it. He won the IC title shortly after that at SNME. Shawn was out on his own now but he felt like he needed something else. He saw a wrestler named Vinnie Vegas on WCW and he made him laugh. So he called him and soon Kevin Nash was in the WWE as Diesel. The two got along together very well and were on the road together. Shawn was eating a lot with Diesel and got a bit bigger. Soon Shawn got a call from Vince that he failed a steroid test. Shawn swears he wasn’t doing anything, although he was taking pills at the time. He was suspended by Vince but Shawn refused to send the IC title back. It actually worked out well because Shawn returned with his belt and was saying he was the true IC champ and soon the ladder match was born.
Everyone talks about how great the ladder match was (and Triple H even says that Shawn had a match with a ladder and there just happened to be another guy in the ring with him). With the talk of Razor Ramon and with the addition of Kevin Nash soon the Clique was born. 1-2-3 Kid in shortly after that and Triple H joined after that. Triple H jokes about how he got with the guys. The five of them would travel together and did everything together. Pat called it a pain in the ass early on but the fans started to love it. Shawn and the gang started giving Vince ideas but that’s only because they loved the business so much. I think other people in the back may have different opinions on that. Ted DiBiase even said he was getting sick of them towards the end of his career there. Diesel started getting very over with the fans and Diesel was given the WWE title. Shawn battled Diesel for the title at Wrestlemania XI though it wasn’t the main event match.
We head to the Syracuse incident where a bunch of Marines roughed up Shawn. Triple H says that it could be because the women were giving Shawn too much attention. It’s happened to him before but his protection (Kevin, Scott and Triple H) weren’t there. This was worked into his concussion angle with Owen Hart. He came back, won the Rumble and wrestled Bret Hart for the title at Wrestlemania in an Iron Man match, a match that was the brainchild of Pat Patterson. Foley was in the crowd that night (he started the next day with the company) and Triple H notes that Hart and Michaels had some animosity towards each other because (according to Triple H) Shawn was the man at the time.
Shawn is credited with holding the company together by Vince McMahon. Two of their big guys (Hall and Nash) were leaving and that led to the infamous Curtain Call incident at the Garden. Shawn wanted to do that with the guys and went to Vince about it. Vince okayed it and he doesn’t know if it was the right way to leave. Triple H came out, too and the four of them celebrated in the ring. Vince did get upset and others say it was a slap in the face to the business. Triple H was left holding the bag according to Vince. He couldn’t punish Scott and Kevin because they were gone and Shawn was the WWE title holder so he couldn’t do anything to him so Triple H was the one punished. JR said that the wrestling of Michaels kept them alive but Vince recalls how tough it was to work with Shawn and they would argue a lot. Vince says Shawn would say things to him that he wouldn’t allow anyone before or since to say to him.
Shawn headlined the San Antonio Royal Rumble show and he got his friends and family front row seats. Shawn won the belt but got terrible news shortly after that event. He’d had knee problems and he was told he couldn’t wrestle again. This led to his surrendering the WWE Title on Thursday Raw Thursday. His mother mentioned that he lost his smile and Shawn worked that into the promo. Everyone thought that Shawn did that just to get out of dropping the title. This career-crippling injury miraculously disappeared three months later and Shawn was able to help introduce the Hell In A Cell Match in September of 1997. Around that time Degeneration X, a little faction with Triple H and Chyna, formed and really rocketed off the ground. DX was very edgy, sometimes saying shoot comment type things and doing a lot of sexual antics never seen on a wrestling show before. It actually started turning Raw around in the ratings (this was during the two-year span they were getting trounced) and really brought out the whole Attitude era. This pissed off a lot of boys in the back. Vince says they crossed a LOT of lines and USA was even telling them that they were going to take them off the air! So DX laughed and kept going. Vince was listening to the audience’s reaction to DX and since the fans loved them, Vince loved them.
We go right to Survivor Series 1997 and the infamous incident. Shawn says he was the one who pulled the trigger but it was an issue with Vince and Bret. All Vince wanted was for Bret not to leave with the WWE title and that is what he got. DiBiase actually can’t understand WHY Bret didn’t want to lose the belt. Triple H was pissed about this and told Vince that if he won’t do business, we have to do business for him. Triple H and Michaels were sworn to secrecy and were instructed to tell everyone they knew nothing about it. Brisco says that Shawn didn’t know much about it but he did what he had to do. Brisco calls Shawn the professional that night and Bret was completely unprofessional. That caused Triple H and Shawn to bond even more because they didn’t know who they could trust. DiBiase says that he knows Shawn tried to mend fences with Bret but Bret wouldn’t have it. Of course now the two of them have reconciled and Bret is currently in the WWE working, which no one thought would happen again.
Shawn was leading the company and things were starting to look up. Michaels wrestled at the 1998 Royal Rumble and he hurt his back after being backdropped onto the casket. It felt fine after the match but locked up on him a few days later. Michaels back was a mess and his career was for all intents and purposes over. Somehow he managed to wrestle one more match against Steve Austin at Wrestlemania XIV. Triple H says he was going through drug problems, too. Things didn’t help when he walked out after getting hit by a battery at the DX Work-out prior to Wrestlemania. Despite this Shawn still didn’t want to give up the belt. Shawn did lose and he became very bitter about that. He sat around in his retirement and did drugs and took pills. The lone bright spot during this period started when Shawn saw a Nitro Girl dancing on television. He was awe-struck by her and her beauty. Shawn actually met her through a mutual friend and they got married two months later. She was soon pregnant and Shawn had his first child.
Shawn thought he would be able to go on the straight and narrow but he still couldn’t do it. He still had the drug problem and everyone knew it. Shawn stumbled into the locker room on the night that WCW was purchased and that was it. Shawn was done with the WWE. Shawn even “cut a promo” on Triple H and stormed off. Shawn’s problems continued as his son reached two years old. Shawn was struggling to read his son a bedtime story and when he realized that if he wasn’t careful he’d ruin him. He even spoke to Nash and Nash told him like it was. He told him to get off the drugs and told him it was his fault that he didn’t talk to Triple H. Shawn swore off drugs and he never did it again. He went to the bible study that his wife was going to and soon he found Jesus Christ in his life.
Shawn has thrived in this new life of his and he’s been very active in his church life. Shawn called Triple H and they aired out their differences and soon enough Shawn was back on WWE TV. He even wanted to have one match against Triple H, a one time only event of course, and his return match was against Triple H at Summerslam in 2002. Shawn after being spiritually reborn was now reborn in the ring as well. He kept wrestling. Shawn took part in the first Elimination Chamber match (with his terrible haircut and outfit) and walked out with the title. People are amazed that he’s been able to come back and work as well as he had, looking like he never left. Jericho wrestled Shawn at Wrestlemania and says that 1% of him was total mark which is cool for him to say. Everyone agrees they had a fantastic match. They move to Shawn’s big match with Hulk Hogan. Hogan didn’t want a face vs. face match and Hogan asked for a heel/face match and so Shawn played heel, tearing Hogan up in his promos. Hogan actually won the match and DiBiase thought that the wrong guy went over. There were some interesting things said about how Hogan does business and his refusal to really lose.
Michaels went to Wrestlemania XXII and wrestled Vince McMahon. People joke about how bad of a wrestler Vince is. Vince is insane though and takes a lot of punishment. He’ll do anything to put on a good match. Vince is funny, saying it didn’t hurt at all. Vince was cutting promo’s in a church and Vince says that God must have a sense of humor. So there was a Vince/Shane match vs. Michaels and God at Backlash. Jericho calls it a dumber idea than Kennel in the Cell. Shortly after this D-Generation X returned. They were just as big as before. Shawn said he had limitations now, things that he would before that he doesn’t want to do now. Shawn wrestled Cena at Wrestlemania but it was originally supposed to be Triple H. Triple H busted his knee and he couldn’t wrestle so Shawn was put in Triple H’s place. They had a great match (of course). We end with a montage of people talking up Shawn Michaels.
I thought this was a well-deserved look at the career of the Heartbreak Kid. Shawn is a little more honest here than he normally is and he really is a different person after he found Jesus. You don’t hear about people hating on him in the locker room anymore and having that clarity of God and Jesus in his life has made him a better person and in a way a better wrestler. Shawn told things as they were and was surprisingly candid about things like the Montreal Incident, his troubles with drugs, and even some events of the Syracuse incident. They don’t go into his refusal to drop titles all that much but it is mentioned a bit in the feature. I loved how Jericho and Triple H were in this feature, too. Jericho was in there as the big fan wrestler while Triple H had the perspective of his friend. I thought this the most truthful thing that’ll ever come out of Shawn Michaels in regards to his career. I do wonder why they didn’t mention his matches with Kurt Angle that much, but maybe by this time he’d left the company. This was a very well-done feature.
1) Raw 4/4/94 – Heartbreak Hotel (3:15)
This was Shawn’s first ever interview segment. Shawn has Diesel with him and a leg lamp similar to the one in A Christmas Story. HBK shows us around his “room,” before talking about Razor Ramon. He tells Ramon that the Heartbreak Hotel is like the Hotel California – you can check out but you can never leave.
2) Tell Me A Lie Music Video (3:04)
This was the same one that was in the From The Vault HBK collection. My feelings on it haven’t changed. Maybe that isn’t true. This is even cornier than I remember. This is like total Full House stuff here and there’s no room for it on a wrestling show.
3) Raw 08/01/05 – Larry King Spoof (7:55)
A Larry King impersonator brings out Hulk Hogan who is really HBK in costume. He comes out in a walker and cracks jokes at Hogan’s age and talks about his upcoming match with HBK. Hogan takes a call, says brother a lot and poses a lot. It got old really quickly. There is an HBK vignette video thrown in here as part of the promo. “Hogan” is now worried and may need to talk to Vincent Kennedy backstage so he can win. There’s a funny moment when Hogan’s wig falls off and he calls Larry King Mean Gene. He ends up superkicking Larry King, too. It looks like King no-sold it though.
4) Wrestling Academy (1:44)
Shawn started his academy so he could have a job and do something he knew. Shawn’s first role was just an advisor since he was fresh off his back surgery. The academy lasted two years but produced WWE guys like Brian Kendrick and Lance Cade.
5) Bible Teacher (2:19)
Matthew Hagee is a pastor who met Shawn shortly after he found Jesus. Shawn actually leads a Bible Study group at his church when he’s free. Some of the students speak about Michaels as a teacher. They say that in real-life he’s not cocky like the character he plays.
6) Colorado Expedition (1:30)
Philip Fortenberry, a former Green Beret met Shawn a few years ago and the two of them took some kids on a Colorado hiking expedition. They were out in the wild for 10 days which honed their outdoor and spiritual techniques.
7) Who’s The Greatest Wrestler? (3:39)
This talks about the Kurt Angle/Shawn Michaels match at Wrestlemania XXI. Shawn talks about training for the match with Kurt. They talk about Michaels trying to actually out-wrestle Kurt. Michaels ended up losing in the end but everyone says the two put on a great show.
8) High School Prankster (0:53)
Shawn’s mother talks about Shawn stealing the cougar sign from the rival school. He was immediately busted because Shawn wore his football jersey there.
9) High School Talent Show (1:43)
There was a talent show in Shawn’s senior year so Shawn and his buddy actually wrestled. They said they did a 35-minute match but I doubt it went that long. I would imagine this went five minutes at most before people got bored with it.
10) Letter Jacket (1:39)
Shawn played varsity football as a sophomore, skipping JV all together. Shawn got a letter jacket and how he would cut lines in lunch (which he says now was horrible but he’d pay for it later). Shawn says that started his obnoxiousness that has plagued him for a lifetime.
11) Mom’s Approval (1:40)
Shawn would call home asking what to wear. Marty talks about his white tiger print outfit and how he tagged with Shawn and Marty thought the two would team together and wear the same thing. Shawn hated the outfit and he called his mom. Shawn ended up wearing it and it succeeded but Marty won’t forget him calling his mom.
12) The Bruise (2:15)
Marty’s talking about wrestling Rose & Somers and chasing them for the title. They were told to scrape themselves up. So they did but Marty scraped himself up too much and the whole match was thrown out. Marty says he felt they were really screwed by the AWA.
13) The Rockers “Fight” (2:57)
Marty talks about the fight with Shawn that got to a physical altercation. Marty says Roddy Piper could’ve done more to stop it. The cops were called and Jannetty was cuffed because Marty says Shawn was more bruised up than Marty was. Macho Man stopped by and actually got Jannetty off the hook. The next day Michaels came in and said he was going to quit and Michaels didn’t make the flight to the next city. So Marty and Shawn had a sit-down chat with Vince McMahon that calmed things but soon the two were split up.
14) This is a Little Higher Than I Thought (0:56)
Shawn talks about fighting with Vince at the street fight. Michaels told McMahon he wasn’t going to use the 16-foot ladder because it was too high but when match time came he couldn’t find the 14-foot ladder and so he had to use the 16-foot one.
15) Brown Pants (1:13)
HHH sees HBK’s brown pants before the Elimination Chamber match and thought they looked terrible. Even Jericho calls it poop-colored pants and calls his haircut horrible.
—Disc Two (2:46:54)—
1) Shawn Michaels vs. Billy Jack Haynes (3:12)
This WCCW match-up from 01/11/85 was Shawn’s very first match. I saw this on WCCW month on Classics.com back in May of 2009 and that’s where this review comes from. Shawn is spelt as Sean here. He’s battling Billy Haynes, who has Sunshine with him. Shawn is sent to the corner where he flips out and celebrates. He walks right into a Full Nelson and that is all she wrote at 1:42. ¼*. Michaels would go on to main event countless Wrestlemania’s and win a bunch of WWE titles.
2) Doug Somers & Buddy Rose(c) vs. The Midnight Rockers for the AWA Tag Team Titles (21:52)
This is an AWA bout from 02/10/87. This was from the AWA library which isn’t as good visually as the WWE library. Rose & Somers do a big stall job to start, constantly talking to their ringside manager, Sherri Martel. Rose looks like he’s starting to beef up and may soon need the blowaway diet. Shawn gets an early dropkick on Somers and the Rockers get some early double-team action with a double elbow drop. Somers is whipped into Rose and Jannetty covers but Rose is still in the ring and he breaks up that pinfall. Rose tries a dropkick only to have Jannetty catch him. Marty slingshots him into his corner where Michaels is waiting with a right hand. Rose quickly tags in his partner and soon Rose & Somers are doing all the cheap double-team tactics and heelish stuff (choking him with the tag rope) you’d expect. Heel miscommunication leads to Rose getting nailed by his teammate. Jannetty covers and Rose doesn’t look like he’s kicking out so Martel puts Rose’s foot on the ropes to break the pinfall. The fans immediately hate that turn of events. Rose chops at Jannetty in the corner and according to our announcer those are Rose’s judo moves. Jannetty is triple-in the heel corner. He eventually fires back with a clothesline for two though really he should’ve tried making the tag instead of covering. Somers comes in and suplexes Jannetty for two.
Jannetty is back-dropped to the outside while the ref isn’t looking. Jannetty fires back with some rights and that’s enough for him to escape and tag in Michaels. He delivers a clothesline and a boot to the face of Rose before small packaging him for two. Rose returns with a boot to the face and Somers is tagged in. Rose drops an elbow off the second rope as Michaels is draped over Somers knee and covers. Michaels is able to kick out of two but he’s not out of trouble yet. Somers does a gut-wrench suplex but while lifting him up he just drops him over his knee. A gut-wrench gutbuster? Michaels manages a sunset flip on Rose for two. Rose picks up Shawn in an inverted bodyvice but Michaels is able to use the corner to push himself forward and get Rose in a pinning combination. Rose kicks out and the duo distracts the ref enough for Michaels to be sent to the outside and run into the barricade. Shawn’s sent into the barricade a second time but manages to beat the count and gets back into the ring. Shawn is DDT’ed by Rose (a front piledriver according to the announcer) for two. Michaels is pile-driven down by Somers for two. Rose superplexes Michaels off the second rope and again Michaels kicks out at two. The champs are starting to get frustrated. Rose hits a backbreaker and again Michaels kicks out. Eventually Michaels boots down Somers after he telegraphed a back drop attempt and Michaels is able to make the hot tag to Jannetty. Jannetty fires away on the Pretty Boy and the Playboy. He bodyslams and dropkicks both of them and Rose is sent outside with a double superkick. Michaels suplexes Somers and as he holds him up Jannetty hits a crossbody off the top rope. Jannetty covers and that’s enough to give the Rockers the title at 19:56. The crowd erupts with delight. We hear from the Rockers afterwards. They will not be giving their opponents a return match. This was not a great match – it was way too slow in the beginning and it just dragged in a lot at places. Although it wasn’t great it did work the tag formula well enough and that’s always guaranteed to at least give you a decent match. ***1/4.
3) The Midnight Rockers(c) vs. Super Ninja & Ninja Go for the AWA Tag Team Titles (19:16)
This is our last AWA match and it is from June 12th, 1987. Shawn’s looking a bit scruffy here. The ESPN banners are hanging in the rafters so I guess this was at one of their TV tapings. I don’t know if this one ever made it to TV. Shawn and Super Ninja (or Ninja-Go, I have no idea which is which) start this one out and thankfully the announcers tell me that it is Super Ninja in the ring. AWA must’ve been struggling because there are A LOT of empty seats in this little bingo hall they are in. Super Ninja is rocked early by Shawn and he takes a little breather on the outside. We get a bird’s eye camera shot from ringside which is really awful since the spotlights above the ring are shining right into the camera. It makes things really difficult to see. It almost screams bush-league to me. Shawn hits a crossbody out of the corner for two. Super Ninja falls victim to an arm-bar at the hands of the Midnight Rockers. Things finally pick up when both Ninja’s are dropkicked to the outside and Shawn follows with a slingshot plancha onto Super Ninja. Ninja-Go is dropkicked in the ring and he eats a double elbow. Ninja-Go turns the tide on Jannetty and Jannetty is now face in peril. Ninja-Go stretches Jannetty over his knee and Super Ninja comes in with a big belly to belly suplex for two. Jannetty runs past Ninja-Go (an interesting counter to a back drop attempt) and on the run back he sunset flips him for two. As usual, that does nothing to help Jannetty and soon Ninja-Go picks up Super-Ninja so Super-Ninja can legdrop Jannetty. He covers and Shawn has to come in to break up the pinfall. Shawn makes the tag but the ref didn’t see it and thus won’t allow him in – that’s a classic heel move that works all the time. Jannetty is caught in a sleeper but he escapes. He’s tossed to the outside and he’s in bad shape so Shawn literally slaps some sense into him. Jannetty gets back into the ring but he’s choked right back into trouble. Jannetty ducks a double clothesline and falls on the interlocked arms of the Ninja’s and they collide. Shawn slaps Marty again and Marty gets to his corner to make the tag. Shawn gets immediately booted in the face and the Ninja’s are back in control. A slugfest ensues leading to a Shawn small package for two. Ninja-Go tries a suplex on Michaels but Jannetty runs in and catches Shawn coming down. Ninja-Go turns around and walks into a stereo superkick to end this at 17:25. This was a lot of action after that arm-bar period and even though it was small the crowd was hot for the whole match. This worked the tag formula very well and I enjoyed it more than the match before. Shawn didn’t really do much here (maybe he was a bit scruffy from a night of too much partying?) but the times he was in the ring it was good. Jannetty carried the Rockers side of the match but he also looked like he partied a bit too hard. I was impressed with the Ninja’s and they were able to keep up with the Rockers and their control segment was very well done. It was a really good match, almost bordering on great if not for the really slow pace in the beginning. ***3/4.
4) The Rockers vs. The Brainbusters (17:10)
This is an MSG match from January 23rd, 1989. Arn and Shawn start and Arn gets a free shot in on Marty in the corner. Arn ducks from Shawn and bails outside, right to where Jannetty was standing. Arn runs back into the ring but is slugged to the outside and Tully follows. Arn slaps Michaels in the face just to be a prick but that just enrages Shawn. He corners Arn and returns the slap to the face. Arn gets to his corner and tags so Shawn bails to the outside. I love the little things like that (Shawn bailing so he’s not double-teamed) that go into a match. It just adds to the realism of the match and the psychology of the match. Tully tries pulling Shawn into his corner but Shawn shoves him off and Tully collides with Arn. Another very nice spot that makes sense. Arn tags the boot of Tully and tries going in but nope, it needs to be the slap of the hands. Arn does tag in but the ref doesn’t see it so he doesn’t allow it. That’s a nice reversal of a sequence that usually happens to the faces. So the Rockers make an illegal tag and the ref does nothing to stop it. Shawn and the crowd tell him they tagged so Hebner believes them. Jannetty works a hammerlock and Arn comes in to try a double team but that fails and they are dropkicked down. The Busters try a double suplex but Michaels runs in and catches Jannetty and the Busters are superkicked to the outside. Michaels misses a dropkick and that seems to turn things for the Busters. Arn takes control in the corner but Michaels flips out and the sequence leads to a hurricanrana on Arn. Tully comes in but is knocked to the outside and Arn is dropkicked to the outside, too. Jannetty pulls Tully back in even though both are the illegal men. Tully tries reversing a Michaels suplex but Michaels turns it into an O’Connor’s roll. He breaks when Arn runs in. Soon Tully heads outside and Shawn chases him but he doesn’t see Arn waiting in hiding and Arn almost kills Michaels with a big clothesline.
Michaels rolls out of the way of some clotheslines and he sunset flips Arn from the outside for two. Shawn also gets a crossbody on Tully for two. The Brainbusters go to work, locking Michaels in an abdominal stretch. They do an illegal switch and the referee makes them switch back, something he didn’t do for the Rockers earlier. Shawn gets a small package for two but the ref was out of position thanks to Tully. Tully and Shawn do a bridge/backslide spot and Shawn tries leaping to make the tag but fails. Michaels walks into a killer spinebuster and Arn covers. Marty has to make the save so Arn just covers again – this time for two. Michaels blocks an Arn splash with his knees and Michaels makes the hot tag. Marty cleans house but is caught with a knee to the gut from Arn. Marty comes right back with a double noggin knocker. Michaels leaps off the shoulders of Jannetty with an axe-handle on Tully and Jannetty covers leading to Arn making the save. The ref ushers Shawn out of the ring and doesn’t see Arn trip up Jannetty from the outside as Marty tried suplexing Tully. Arn holds down a string from the leg of Jannetty and Tully gets the pinfall at 16:18. Damn, that was awesome. This was a classic old-school heel vs. high-flying face team and it worked really well. The little things that the Brainbusters do during a match really add to the integrity of the match and you can see the Rockers were doing the same thing. I think you could see how the Busters were that much better as a team in terms of psychology than the Rockers were at the time. This was a special match though I felt like there was something missing from it. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there was something lacking that prevents this from being an all-time great. ****1/4.
5) The Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation(c) for the WWE Titles in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match (28:54)
This noted match was filmed in October of 1990 but never aired. I reviewed this one on WWE Classics.com as well, during the Shock Zone month in January 2010. The Rockers get a decent pop here, but they don’t come out when they are introduced. This seems to be a match without commentary which is always interesting to watch. Bret and Marty start this up with a lock up and clean break. The two exchange side-headlock takeovers with head scissor counters leading to Marty arm-dragging Hitman over into an armbar and a hammerlock. Hitman uses the elbow to break and grabs the arm himself. Shawn is tagged in and Hart gets caught with a double back breaker. Neidhart charges only to take a double superkick. Hart is up quickly and responds with a double noggin knocker leading to an Anvil double clothesline. The Harts try to whip the Rockers into each other but the Rockers reverse it. Everyone puts on the brakes (with Bret tripping over Shawn) and it’s a stalemate. The Anvil is tagged in and he shoves Michaels into the corner. Shawn tries a hiptoss but Anvil won’t allow it. So Michaels takes him over with a headscissors. Michaels starts working the arm and Jannetty continues. Anvil sends Marty to the ropes but Marty’s not dumb enough to try a shoulderblock. So he goes underneath Anvil and trips him up. That doesn’t work for long and Jannetty is clotheslined to the outside. Anvil also knocks Michaels to the outside. Anvil tries to suplex Jannetty back in but Jannetty holds onto the ropes, slides beneath the Anvil and catches him with an atomic drop. Jannetty sunset flips the Anvil only to bring Bret in. This draws in Shawn and Bret is dumped to the outside. The Rockers try for their double fist-drop but Hart knocks Michaels down and breaks up the pinfall when Jannetty hits his fistdrop. Michaels is tagged in but he gets powerslammed down for two. Hart sends Michaels to the corner before hitting a backbreaker for two. A side Russian legsweep also gets two. A legdrop gets two, a piledriver gets two and Bret gets increasingly angrier at the ref. He’s so angry that he doesn’t see Marty get tagged in. Bret tries a sunset flip but Marty sits down on top of him and he gets the first pinfall at 9:32.
Marty and Bret restart the match and it is Marty’s turn to eat an atomic drop. Anvil comes in with clubbing blows to soften Marty up some more for Bret. Bret sends Marty hard into the corner and covers but Marty’s foot makes the ropes. Marty sneaks a blind tag to Michaels and Michaels stops Bret from suplexing Marty by catching him and rolling him over. This draws in the Anvil and the Rockers scurry to the corners. Anvil looks and charges at Michaels. He misses and hits the corner hard, hard enough for the top rope to break. Anvil looked stunned with that one. So Bret grabs Shawn in a reverse chinlock and things fall apart quickly. Anvil and Marty do some brawling in the corner, but the Rocker corner is completely missing the top rope while the other three corners have them. Shawn manages to send Bret into the corner and Bret does the chest-first spot but he slides enough so he only hits the bottom two turnbuckles. Marty makes the hot tag in and he superkicks Bret down for two. Bret comes back with a swinging neckbreaker Anvil comes in and Bret bodyslams Anvil on top of Marty for two. Bret hits a second rope seated elbow on Marty while he’s on Anvil’s knee and Shawn has to break up that pinfall. So the Foundation tries to press slam Bret onto Marty but Shawn dropkicks Anvil and Bret and they both fall to the outside. Shawn is tagged in and he tries suplexing Bret back in but Bret rolls out of it and hits a back suplex on Shawn. Shawn is sent to the ropes but he leapfrogs Bret right into the arms of the Anvil. This leads to the Hart Attack and that’s enough to win the second fall at 18:54, with Marty unable to make the save.
We return to the third fall after the ropes have been fixed. Anvil sends Shawn to the ropes and Bret knees him in the back. Anvil backdrops Shawn and Bret comes in with some wicked forearm uppercuts. He tries tying Shawn up in the ropes but Shawn frees himself after Bret charges at him. Marty is tagged in and he powerslams Bret for two. Marty follows with a bulldog off the second rope that Anvil breaks up. This draws Shawn in and they whip the Foundation into each other and dump the Anvil. We see a criss-cross and Marty dropping to the mat first and Bret just dropping on top of him. Bret suplexes Jannetty and brings in the power. Jannetty ends up in the heel corner and Anvil gets whipped into Jannetty like a battering ram. Michaels has to break up the ensuing pinfall attempt. The Anvil bodyslams Hart onto Jannetty and Michaels breaks up that pin, too. Michaels is dumped and the Harts try for another Hart Attack. This time, however, Michaels makes a return and dropkicks Jannetty on top of Anvil. Michaels takes out Bret and that is enough for the pinfall and the titles at 23:30. The two teams share a handshake after the match. This wasn’t a great match, mostly due to the wackiness of the second fall and the rope breaking. The bookend falls were a lot more interesting and a better representation of the match. Let’s go *** for the whole thing. Of course, the title change was later overturned and this match was never really seen, until now thankfully.
6) The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (20:22)
These two battled at the 1991 Royal Rumble held on January 19th. This is taken from my Royal Rumble Anthology DVD Review. The Orient Express are Kato and Tanaka, and you know the Rockers. The Rockers are Pearl Harbored on the way in, but Jannetty recovers and dropkicks Kato out of the ring and are about to go upstairs on Tanaka when Kato pulls him out. What follows is a double pescado (diving through the ropes to the outside) for the Rockers. We start the match proper with Jannetty and Tanaka and Jannetty holding onto the side headlock. Nice little wrestling sequence ensues, with some cool reversals and bridges and heel miscommunication leads to the Orients running into each other. Michaels is tagged in and works the arm of Tanaka, until Tanaka hits a flying forearm for two. Heel miscommunication ensues, again, and Michaels takes over with a side headlock, which turns into a sleeper. Jannetty distracts the ref, allowing Kato to come in off the top with a chop to Michaels. Both sides of the ring empty, with the Rockers blocking an atomic drop and dropkicking both men to the outside. They try pescado’s again but the Express are down so they 619 around the ropes. They instead go to the top and hit a double flying crossbody, from the top to the outside, on both. Kato is rolled in and covered for two. Jannetty is tagged in and works a side headlock on Kato. Michaels comes in, gets a suplex, and goes for the cover, which is broken up by Tanaka. Michaels sends Kato the corner but he’s caught when jumping on Kato. Ref is distracted and Tanaka comes over and the two drop Shawn’s throat on the top rope. The Express take over with some good ol’fashioned double-teaming and the dreaded nerve pinch keeps Michaels down. Michaels is sent to the corner and he flippity flops over it, then he’s covered for two. Michaels teases a tag after taking down Tanaka, but can’t, leading to the heels double-teaming. Shawn avoids a double-clothesline attempt and takes out both members of the Express. Jannetty is in and cleans house with dropkicks, then a powerslam gets two. He hits a flying elbow on Tanaka but the pin is broken up by Kato. Michaels comes in and takes out Tanaka. Jannetty goes for a backslide but Tanaka kicks Jannetty into a Kato backslide for two. Michaels and Jannetty comes right back with a double thrust kick, then Michaels goes to the top as Jannetty is about to toss him onto the prone Kato. Tanaka comes in and hits Jannetty, sending Michaels from the top to the outside. So the Orient double-teams Jannetty, slingshotting him into a Kato chop. They are about to do it again when Michaels comes in and takes out Kato. He then knocks down Tanaka, leading Kato to slingshot Jannetty into a sunset flip on Tanaka for the pinfall and the victory at 19:15. What a great match. A couple of slow points, but it was still the hottest opener in Royal Rumble history (as of 1991). ****.
7) British Bulldog(c) vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWE Intercontinental Title (12:59)
This took place on the November 8th, 1992 episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event and the following review is from the Best of Saturday Night’s Main Event DVD that WWE put out about a year ago. Bulldog shoves Michaels aside to start but Michaels uses his speed to work the arm, then Bulldog freaking dead lifts him and slams him down. Bulldog press slams Michaels and clotheslines him to the outside. Bulldog definitely hurt his back dead lifting Shawn. Michaels whips Bulldog to the corner, but Bulldog moves out the way (slowly) and slingshot attempts by Michaels are countered by Bulldog. Michaels is shoulderblocked down but ducks a charging Bulldog and Bulldog is sent to the outside. Michaels unties the top turnbuckle then starts working the back of Bulldog upon his return to the ring. He even pulls out the abdominal stretch. Bulldog counters with a hiptoss and a clothesline for two. A suplex for Bulldog gets two. Michaels reverses an Irish whip and Bulldog goes back first to the corner that Michaels loosened the turnbuckle pad earlier in the match. Bulldog tries for a superplex but Michaels falls on top midway through the air and Bulldog’s done. Michaels picks up the IC title at 10:25. The psychology was really good, but the execution wasn’t. At least we get to hear the Sherri version of Michaels song, something that would stopped being used shortly afterwards. **1/4.
8) 1995 Royal Rumble (43:06)
This was the main event of the Rumble held on 01/22/95. This review is also taken from the Royal Rumble Anthology. Pamela Anderson is introduced first and she will accompany the winner of the Rumble to the back once its over. Shawn Michaels drew #1, and has TK drawn on his glove (The Kliq) and British Bulldog is #2. To allow for Shawn to win this, they have only 60 second increments. British Bulldog is #2. Bulldog tosses around Shawn, even gorilla pressing him, but not over the top, just slamming him down. Shawn does his usual flop on the ropes. Eli Blu is #3, and he goes after Bulldog. This leads to Bulldog and Shawn trying to eliminate Blu when Duke “the Dumpster” Droese is #4 and he walks right into a Blu big boot. The Gigolo Jimmy Del Ray is #5, and he goes after Droese. Shawn teases getting tossed as #6 Sione (one of the Headshrinkers) comes in. Del Ray is clotheslined out by Bulldog at 4:29. Tom Pritchard is #7 as Shawn is press slammed again, but not sent out. Doink is #8, and we’re in punchy mode. Kwang is #9, and this is the era of bad gimmicks for the WWE, so you’re gonna see some bad ones. Rick Martel is #10, and I didn’t know he lasted in the WWE this long. It’s his seventh Rumble, notes McMahon. Shawn teases going over again. Owen Hart is #11, and on his way out Bret attacks Owen from behind. Timothy Well is #12 as Owen is not shown being thrown out (at 10:00) and then the fun starts. Dumpster’s gone courtesy of Michaels at 10:18. Timothy Well is out at 10:33 courtesy of Bulldog, Martel is gone at 10:35, Tom Pritchard’s out at 10:38, Doink ends up on the apron and he gets sidekicked out by Kwang at 11:00 as Bushwhacker Luke makes his way to the ring. Kwang is not shown being eliminated as Blu and Sione take each other out at 11:10, leaving only the two original combatants and Luke. Luke is sent over at 11:17, allowing 45 seconds for Shawn to choke Bulldog. Jacob Blu is #14 and he’s quickly sent out via a Michaels back body drop at 12:15. Bulldog tries to send Michaels out, but #15 interrupts, and its King Kong Bundy. Mo is # 16 and he sets the new record for futility, lasting two seconds before bouncing off Bundy at 13:02. Bulldog tries to lift Bundy but fails. Mabel is #17 and he wants to redeem his partner’s futility. Mabel goes after Bundy in one of the biggest pops of the night. Hopefully this isn’t the even that caused Vince to make Mabel the king of the ring and a Summerslam main eventer later in the year. Bushwhacker Butch is #18 as Mabel gets rid of Bundy at 16:11. Butch is follows quickly at 16:16. Michaels teases getting tossed as Luger walks down at #19. He tosses Mabel at 17:10, then press slams Michaels to the mat instead of over the top. Mantaur is #20, and he’s a newcomer to the WWE. Aldo Montoya is #21, and Vince calls him the Portuguese Man’O’War in complete seriousness. Henry Godwinn is #22 and Vince calls him a fan-favorite, which is weird since no one cheered when he came out. Billy Gunn is #23, and he gets a big pop. Bart Gunn is #24 as nothing much of anything happens. Bob Backlund is #25 and the ring is getting way too crowded. Bret Hart attacks Backlund before he enters the ring due to Backlund’s involvement in his title match today. Steven Dunn is in at #26 as Backlund is sent out at 24:20 thanks to a Luger clothesline. Backlund and Hart continue brawling on the floor in action better than that going on in the ring. Dick Murdoch is #27, Adam Bomb is #28, Fatu is #29, and Mantaur is finally sent out by Luger at 27:34. Our final entrant (#30) is Crush, as the Smoking Gunns start brawling. Crush tosses them both over at 28:20 and Dunn is back dropped out by Aldo at 28:22. Crush sends out Adam Bomb at 31:43, and Vince says one of the favorites is gone now. I didn’t know hw was a favorite. Michaels sends out Montoya at 32:19 and Murdoch almost has Shawn out until Luger intervenes. Crush sends out Fatu at 32:46. Murdoch with an airplane spin on Godwinn, and he tosses him over the top, but Godwinn hangs on and the momentum carries Murdoch out at 33:24. Luger tosses HOG at 34:39, and we’re down to four.
This year’s final four are Crush, Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels and British Bulldog, so the two guys who started are still in it. Luger gets Crush to the corner and uses the second rope to pound on Crush, but Michaels sends Luger over at 35:53. Crush and Michaels double-team Bulldog then Crush turns on Michaels. He body presses Michaels but Michaels wiggles free and Bulldog clotheslines Crush out at 37:10. Michaels and Bulldog are the only ones left, and Bulldog thinks he’s clotheslined Michaels out, but Michael’s holds onto the rope, dangling there and not having both feet touch the ground. Bulldog’s music hits and Bulldog celebrates, allowing Michaels to come in and toss Bulldog over the top at 38:34. Michaels celebrates with Pam, who looks completely uninterested and just wants to leave, and we’re done. You’d think with only a minute interval you’d have a fast-paced Rumble, but you’d be wrong. Too much filler, not enough substance, and it is just above average. ***.
—Disc Three (2:57:08)—
1) Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Jarrett(c) for the Intercontinental Title (23:42)
This is from In Your House held on 07/23/95. Lawler complains about the reaction that Shawn is getting. He says that 15 years ago a guy with hair like his would’ve been booed out of the building. Jarrett has the Roadie with him (he would later become the Road Dogg and one half of the New Age Outlaws). The two exchange moves early until Jarrett flips over a charging Shawn and slugs him to the outside. Jarrett sprawls on the corner like Michaels did earlier in the match and Shawn doesn’t appreciate that. Michaels responds by clotheslining Jarrett to the outside, skinning the cat and then sauntering around in the ring a la JJ. Jarrett starts walking to the back but returns to break the count-out. Jarrett rolls in and goes right back out twice to get some real heel heat from the crowd. Michaels decides he’s had enough and sneaks behind Jarrett and brings him in the hard way. He goes upstairs but his axehandle is blocked with a shot to the gut. Michaels lands on the second rope and Jarrett sit-down splashes him. Michaels is sent to the ropes but stops before Roadie can get a shot in (and Roadie came up to the ropes too soon – telegraphing what would happen) and Michaels ends up tossing Jarrett to the outside. Michaels hits a big crossbody off the top rope onto both men. There’s an odd sequence where Shawn tries a sunset flip from the ropes after Jarrett jumps out of the way anticipating a Michaels flip out. Anyway, Michaels charges and is backdropped to the outside and Shawn takes a monster bump there. JJ follows and sends Shawn into the steps.
JJ places Shawn in an abdominal stretch and since he’s the heel he uses the Roadie’s outstretched hand for leverage. The ref catches on and makes him break the hold. JJ hits a DDT for two. As the match goes on Vince McMahon’s microphone stops working and Jerry Lawler starts calling the action. He was much better as an announcer before he turned into a pervy old man interested only in puppies. Roadie chokes Michaels on the ropes and he tries another sit-down splash but Michaels ducks and Jarrett is crotched. Michaels tries an O’Connor’s roll for two but whatever momentum he was building was lost when he is sent into the corner, flips up, and falls to the outside. JJ heads upstairs but the ref escorts him back into the ring for whatever reason. So Roadie hits a flying clothesline from the apron and that keeps Shawn on the mat. Michaels makes it back inside before being counted out and he rolls through a JJ crossbody attempt off the top for two. JJ turns a crucifix into a sunset flip but Michaels slugs him down and covers for two. JJ counters that into a pinfall attempt of his own and his follow-up dropkick also gets two. Michaels walks into a sleeper though he eventually back suplexes out of it. Both guys are out and the ref starts the KO-count. Shawn makes it up first and covers Jarrett for two. Michaels hits a flying forearm and kips right up. Michaels heads upstairs and hits a double axe-handle for two. JJ is bodyslammed down and Michaels delivers a flying elbow drop off the top for two. Michaels sends JJ to the corner and actually slides to the outside to avoid JJ’s raised boot. Michaels crotches JJ using the ringpost. Michaels heads upstairs but Roadie shakes the ropes and Shawn gets some payback for crotching JJ.
JJ hits a superplex from the second rope and he calls for the figure-four, despite not building towards it at all during the match. He goes for it but Michaels cradles JJ for two. JJ hits a kneecrusher (the only time he’s attacked the knee) and then tries for the figure-four again. Michaels kicks him off into the referee and now the ref and Jarrett are out. Michaels tries getting the band together but Roadie chop blocks him down. JJ heads upstairs and hits a cross body off the top for two. JJ is whipped to the ropes and the Roadie accidentally trips him. JJ looks at him in disbelief only to turn around and walk right into Sweet Chin Music. Michaels covers and that’s enough for the pinfall 19:58. Michaels is now a three-time IC champ. This was a great old-school Memphis type match with JJ doing the cheap heat heel stuff in the beginning that really allowed the match to build. There were some weird spots, mostly because of the Roadie (his telegraphing of pulling Michaels to the outside was really obvious) and psychology-wise it wasn’t prudent of JJ not to go after the knee more. He went for the figure four without working on the knee. It would work in a jobber match but it has no place in a 20-minute match. ***1/2.
2) Shawn Michaels(c) vs. The British Bulldog for the WWE Title (37:07)
These two battled for the title at the 1996 King of the Ring held on June 23rd. The Bulldog has Cornette and Diana in his corner as well as Owen Hart on commentary so he could play a role in things, too. Shawn Michaels has Jose Lothario in his corner. It looks like Mr. Perfect is the special guest referee here. Gorilla Monsoon goes to the ring and gives Howard some instructions. It seems that the special referee, who seems to be in the heel corner, is only the outside official and Earl Hebner will be in the in-ring official. Owen immediately complains that Shawn and the Kliq are always getting their way. Bulldog starts by shoving Michaels down a few times to display his power. Shawn goes for a side headlock to ground the stronger Bulldog. Bulldog sends Shawn to the outside but Shawn skins the cat to stay in. Bulldog is headscissored out by Shawn. He tries for a slingshot plancha but Bulldog evades. Shawn lands on the apron and follows with a hurricanrana. Bulldog comes back with a side headlock once they’re back in the ring. Shawn breaks and leapfrogs him. He wanted to do it a second time but Bulldog blew the spot. Whatever he was supposed to do he didn’t do. So they improvise with Shawn wiggling out of a press slam and trying an O’Connors roll. This leads to Shawn working an arm-bar stretch. Shawn grabs a sleeper but Bulldog backs into the corner to break it.
Bulldog sends Shawn hard into the corner and you can see why Shawn would have such bad back problems. Michaels comes back with an arm-bar take down but Michaels runs into a big press slam. Bulldog just falls backwards and drops Shawn right to the outside. While there Michaels is suplexed and Perfect starts counting him out until he realizes how bad an idea that was. Shawn makes it back to the ring and he’s sent hard to the corner. He flips up and over and walks into a big clothesline. Bulldog surfboards Shawn (though he takes a while to get the hold on him). Shawn falls backwards on Bulldog and Bulldog has to break since his shoulders were down. Shawn breaks out of a side headlock but runs right into a knee to the gut. Shawn is backdropped and Bulldog legdrops Shawn for two. Shawn gets a big crossbody for two but Bulldog is up quickly and clotheslines Shawn down for two. Bulldog goes back to another resthold (reverse chinlock) until Shawn crucifixes him for two. Bulldog tries a powerslam but Michaels shoves him off to the ropes. Michaels tries for the super kick but Bulldog held onto the ropes and clotheslines Shawn down again. Bulldog piledrives Michaels and heads upstairs. Bulldog looks too far away and sure enough he jumps off and misses his diving headbutt by a lot. Shawn rolled out of the way to try and make it look like it wasn’t completely blown.
Michaels heads upstairs but Bulldog dropkicks him and Michaels is crotched. Bulldog tries a superplex and he actually manages to hit it even though he released Shawn too early. Bulldog gets a two out of that. Bulldog tries a belly to back suplex off the top but Shawn turns in midair and falls on top of Bulldog for two. The two collide and we have our double-KO spot. Michaels tries another hurricanrana but Bulldog catches him and powerbombs him down. Bulldog is sent into the corner and he flips into it, though he flipped too soon and his legs flail off the top. Michaels hits a flying forearm and kips up. Michaels bodyslams Bulldog but the ref is knocked down. Michaels nails the flying elbow drop and he starts tuning up the band. Sweet Chin Music hits, Michaels and both referees count. Hart pulls Perfect out of the ring but Hebner makes the three-count to end this at 26:25. Owen misses an enzuigiri on Michaels and Shawn fights off both Bulldog and Owen. The heels win the numbers game and Shawn is double-teamed so Ahmed Johnson runs out to even the odds. So Vader runs out to make it 3 on 2. Ultimate Warrior runs out to even the odds and saves the day.
The post-match sequence kind of reminds me of the match in general. It was just a mess. The ref bump had no meaning in the match unless Hebner was supposed to stay down and Perfect did the count only to be interrupted by Owen. Bulldog was just not equipped to deal with controlling as much of the match as he did. He was one-dimensional while in control (basically a side headlock and a clothesline) and he blew a bunch of spots that looked way too obvious. He didn’t have Bret to carry him here like he did in Summerslam because Bret basically played the heel in that match. Shawn did his best and he bumped like crazy but Bulldog proved he didn’t have what it takes to be a main eventer at this point. **3/4.
3) Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H(c) for the WWE Title (32:55)
This is from the December 29th, 2003 Raw. Only these two could get 40-minutes on an episode of Raw. This was in San Antonio, Shawn’s hometown and the crowd seems really into this match. Triple H has Ric Flair with him. Michaels holds onto a side headlock early. Triple H tries tossing HBK but HBK skins the cat and headscissors Triple H out. Michaels struts a la Flair which draws Flair to the apron. Michaels slugs him off and follows with a springboard cross-body off the apron. There’s a cute spot where Triple H goes between the ropes to break an arm-bar so when Michaels goes to break the hold he kicks the rope that Triple H is straddling to lay some damage to the Game’s manhood. The two brawl outside with Shawn getting the better of that ordeal. They do a bridge/backslide pinfall sequence and we follow with more HBK chops. HBK charges at HHH in the corner only to get backdropped to the outside. We take an ad break and return to HHH slugging it out with HBK in the corner. Shawn fights out of the corner but is caught in a backbreaker over the Game’s knee. HHH covers for two. Triple H throws a lot of punches and sends HBK to the outside. HBK is sent hard into the stairs and he has a serious knot on his shoulder. Shawn pops back his seemingly dislocated shoulder and returns to the ring.
He sunset flips Triple H for two but HHH gets right back up and clotheslines him down for two. Triple H goes to the abdominal stretch and he uses Ric Flair for added leverage. The ref catches on and HBK is able to hip-toss his way out of it. Triple H delivers a high knee to HBK and he covers for two. Triple H looks like he hurt his leg there and he’s limping a bit. This was shortly after he returned from his quad injury (and why he looks so bloated) so I’m sure people were worried in the back. HBK comes back with a knee-crusher and he goes to the figure-four. Flair rakes the eyes of HBK when the ref isn’t looking and Michaels breaks the hold as a result. Triple H from his back tosses Michaels to the outside as he tries recovering from his leg injury. Michaels recovers quickly and heads upstairs to try an axe-handle but Triple H boots him on the way down and tries for the Pedigree. HBK backdrops HHH to block and now both guys are down. They make it back up but the two end up colliding. HHH falls to the mat and HBK bounces off the ropes and falls down, his head going right into the crotch of HHH. This is the second double KO spot of the match. The two get back to their feet but HBK gets another burst of energy after hitting a flying forearm. He kips up and delivers a top-rope elbow drop. Shawn starts tuning up the band but Flair interferes so Shawn knocks him to the floor. Triple H tries clotheslining HBK but he ducks and the ref takes the brunt of that attack. Shawn tries Sweet Chin Music but Triple H ducks and DDT’s HBK. Flair slides the big gold belt to Triple H and he lays out HBK with it. Triple H covers as the ref revives but Shawn somehow kicks out at two.
HHH tries for the Pedigree again but Shawn trips him up. HHH kicks off Shawn and Shawn hits the ref who falls to the outside. Eric Bischoff runs out to check on the referee as Triple H removes the top turnbuckle from the corner. Triple H tries sending HBK to the corner but HBK blocks and Triple H ends up eating the metal ring that holds up the ropes and doing a blade job as a result. HBK covers but there’s no ref. So Bischoff goes in and counts but Triple H kicks out at two. Triple H misses an atomic drop and HBK clotheslines him down for two. Triple H blocks a backdrop attempt with a facebuster and covers for two. Triple H tries a fistdrop from the top but HBK lifts up his boot to block it. HBK is sent into that exposed corner and flips up and over. HHH charges but HBK recovers and hits Sweet Chin Music. He falls on top of Triple H and Bischoff makes the three-count at 25:49. Bischoff announces that Triple H is still the champion. He says that HBK’s shoulders were down on the mat, too, and therefore HHH is still champion. Looking at the replay we see that Bischoff was right. HBK lays out Bischoff and Flair afterwards. So Bischoff fires HBK. Well, you can’t say he didn’t deserve it. This was an interesting match. It doesn’t hold a candle to their Summerslam effort for a few reasons. First, the finish was cheap. It was a way to give the fans of cheering for a Michaels win without having to take the belt off of Triple H. Second, Triple H was nowhere near as good as he was in Summerslam. There was a period after returning from his leg injury where he was just way too big. While he healed his leg he did a lot of upper-body work and as a result was too muscular to work as efficiently as he did before. This was the tail end of that return and by Wrestlemania he was more in the shape he’s in now. So when Triple H controlled the match it was one-dimensional. He’d either punch him or use his knee and he didn’t really have a lot of variation. You can tell the two love working with each other but this is definitely one of their lesser battles. ***.
4) The Rockers vs. La Resistance (8:53)
This is another Raw match, this time from March 14th, 2005. This was by far the shortest match on the DVD, besides Shawn’s jobber match. Marty looks really happy to be here. La Resistance started out from France I believe but are now listed as hailing from Quebec. Jannetty armdrags Grenier early and ducks out of a charge in the corner. The fans start chanting Marty and Marty in an Easter Egg talks about how he loved hearing that and it almost moved him to tears. La Resistance do a double hiptoss but Marty slugs his way to his corner and Shawn is tagged in. They do a double elbow drop and kip up (though Shawn fell on the way up) and they knock both heels off the apron. Stereo slingshot plancha’s follow. Shawn is whipped to the ropes but Conway pulls the ropes down and he falls to the outside. HBK is rolled back in and Grenier covers for two. I was just thinking about it. Conway wasn’t an original member, was he? I just checked Wikipedia and it looks like Rene Dupree started out. I don’t know why they switched but more importantly, I don’t care. Michaels is double-teamed by La Resistance and they hit a version of the Hart Attack and cover but Jannetty makes the save. HBK comes back with a flying forearm. He kips up, sends the two Quebecers into each other and he makes the hot tag to Jannetty. Jannetty dropkicks both guys. I love hearing how Lawler and Ross are getting nostalgic about the Rockers even though neither were in the company when the Rockers wrestled. In fact they both came in LONG after they broke up. Jannetty hits the Rocker Dropper and HBK superkicks the other Quebecer out of the ring and the Rockers get the pinfall at 6:03. The Rockers even leave the ring the way they used to by flipping over the top rope. This was a great moment for Jannetty and I’m happy he got the pinfall. This was your standard TV tag match that featured all the big formula steps (face in peril, hot tag) being very abbreviated for the interest of time. HBK worked as the face in peril because he was the best worker in the ring and you knew Jannetty was going to get the pinfall. La Resistance were just two bodies in the ring for the Rockers to beat. **.
5) Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (29:57)
This is their Wrestlemania Rematch and it took place at the Vengeance PPV held on June 26th, 2005. I make no bones about it: Kurt Angle is my favorite wrestler ever. He started when I was getting back into the WWE in 1999 and I followed his ascent to the WWE title. This guy was a natural in the ring, a natural on the mic and his matches just blew everyone else’s away. Even when I stopped watching I’d follow his career and I actually had a chance to see him at a TNA house-show. This guy is money. Angle works a go-behind early and Shawn makes it to the ropes instead of trying to outwrestle him. Michaels grabs a side headlock and Angle is able to break. The two battle over an arm but Angle gets the better of that exchange by dropping a knee into Michaels arm. Michaels takes a breather outside before returning. Angle immediately goes after the leg and tries an early Ankle Lock but Michaels makes the ropes. Shawn does a sunset flip coming out of the corner but Angle rolls through it and tries another Ankle Lock. Shawn flips through and clotheslines Angle to the outside. Michaels follows and chops away at Angle. Angle tries an Angle Slam on the table but Michaels manages to free himself. Michaels takes a swing but misses and Angle back suplexes Michaels onto the Spanish Announce Table (which doesn’t break). Angle retrieves Michaels and gets a series of pinfalls but he can only get a two out of them.
The two spar in the corner leading to Angle powerbombing Michaels into the turnbuckles. He covers and only gets a two. Angle hits a nice German suplex for two. Angle tries for another Angle Slam but Shawn ducks out of it. Angle seats Shawn on the top rope but Shawn is able to slug Angle off. Shawn tries an axe-handle but Angle catches him and hits a nice overhead belly to belly release suplex. Angle grabs a side headlock but Michaels back suplexes out of it. That leads to a double-KO spot. Shawn hits a flying forearm for another double-KO spot. Shawn kips up at the 7 count and he goes to work on Angle. He hits an atomic drop, a clothesline and a bodyslam. HBK goes upstairs and hits a flying elbowdrop. Shawn tunes up the band but after the first stomp Angle just clotheslines him down for two. Angle mocks Shawn by tuning up his own band for an Angle Slam but Michaels reverses that into a Tornado DDT. Michaels falls on top of Angle and he gets a couple of two-counts as Angle kicks out and tries catching his breath. Michaels’ suplex is countered into a German suplex by Angle. Angle holds on but Michaels elbows out of it. Michaels walks into an Angle Slam for two. Angle goes for the Ankle Lock but Michaels cradles him for two.
Michaels tries a suplex but Angle rolls through him and grabs an Ankle Lock. Michaels twists through it and Angle is sent into the referee. Michaels charges but is backdropped to the outside. Michaels falls on his knee and the trainer is called for but you know it is a work because Angle runs out to bring Michaels back in. Shawn misses Sweet Chin Music and Angle grabs another Ankle Lock. Shawn tries kicking Angle off but Angle just keeps on it. Shawn eventually flips out of it and Kurt is sent between the ropes to the ringpost. Michaels manages enough energy to get up and hit Sweet Chin Music on Angle. Both men are KO’ed and Michaels eventually gets his arm over Michaels as the ref makes it to the 9-count. Angle kicks out at two though he’s still the worse for wear. Angle heads upstairs and leaps off but Shawn manages another Sweet Chin Music. Michaels covers and that’s all she wrote at 26:11. I loved this match. I thought that it was the correct booking to have Angle basically control Shawn throughout the entire thing (Shawn barely had control of the match) and since Angle has an incredible set of moves he can do it without getting boring. Michaels only won because he didn’t quit and he got Angle to make a few mistakes. The one big problem I had with this match was the Ankle Lock spot. It went on way too long. I get it that Shawn won’t quit but an Ankle Lock would break your ankle in seconds in real life and that was the only part of the match I felt was too over the top. Other than that this was awesome and so far the match of the DVD. ****1/2.
6) Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena (44:32)
This is another Wrestlemania Rematch but from a different WM than the one above, of course. This was featured on the April 23rd, 2007 Monday Night Raw. We hear from Cena before the match as he talks to Michaels backstage. Cena tells Shawn that he’s the champ. Way to state the obvious, John. Raw was being held in England and Cena gets a mixed reaction. The two are even in the early part of the match, going move for move. Cena tries going for the STFU early and Shawn keeps escaping. Cena keeps telling Shawn that he’s close to getting the move on him. Shawn gets pissed and the two jaw with each other. Shawn slaps Cena and Cena slugs him down. We take a break and return to a very rowdy crowd though it didn’t look like they actually wrestled during the break. Cena grabs a side headlock that Shawn can’t seem to break. Shawn eventually breaks it but gets destroyed with a lariat. Cena goes back to the neck of Shawn with a chinlock. Michaels comes back with an elbow to the face and he fires away with some chops but Cena explodes out of the corner with a clothesline for two. Michaels misses Sweet Chin Music when Cena holds onto the ropes and Cena tries for the FU but Shawn breaks and heads outside for a breather. This coincides with a commercial break thankfully.
We return with Shawn working over Cena in the corners. Cena catches a crossbody and powerslams Michaels down for two. A suplex follows and that also gets two. Cena hits a facebuster for two, as well as a back drop for two. Shawn slides out of a suplex and connects with a neckbreaker on Cena. Shawn explodes with a flying forearm and after both men are counted down to 6, Shawn nips up. Shawn hits his flying elbow drop but can’t connect with Sweet Chin Music. He backslides Cena for two. Michaels ducks Cena’s flying shoulderblock and Cena lands hard on the outside. Michaels follows with a slingshot plancha but he’s caught by Cena. Cena charges at the steps but Michaels wiggles free and Cena is the one who eats steps. Cena’s arm is busted and Michaels goes to work on said arm. Michaels hooks him in a chicken wing of sorts and even gets a two-count in a pinning combination. Cena bounces back with clotheslines and shoulderblocks before hitting a big spinning slam. Cena follows with the five-knuckle shuffle. Cena tries for the FU but Michaels frees himself. He tries Sweet Chin Music but Cena ducks it and hits the FU. He covers for two as we go to an impromptu commercial break. Michaels is dumped to the outside. Cena wears down the back of Michaels and sends him into the corner where he goes up and over to the outside.
Cena brings Shawn back in and hits a crazy legdrop on the crouching Michaels off the top for two. Cena seats Michaels on the top rope and he tries an FU from the top but Michaels avoids it and powerbombs Cena down. Cena recovers first and tries an STFU but Michaels kicks Cena off. Cena ends up on the apron and Michaels knocks into him and sends Cena flying into the announce table. Michaels tries a piledriver on the steps but Cena counters with a backdrop. We take what should be our final commercial break of the night and return with Cena and Michaels brawling on the Announce Table. Cena brings Michaels in and puts him in the STFU. Michaels makes it to the ropes and Cena has to break. Cena ducks Sweet Chin Music and he goes for the FU but Michaels again breaks out of that and delivers Sweet Chin Music. Shawn covers but Cena’s hand makes the ropes. Michaels is sent high into the corner and walks into an FU. Shawn flips out of it and hits Sweet Chin Music again. He falls on top of Cena and that’s enough for the pinfall at 38:05. This was a very long match and I think that hurt the quality of it. 8-minutes could’ve been shaved off and it would’ve moved a lot better. There were a lot of dead spots during the match and it was tough to get into segments of it because it was basically going move for move instead of someone controlling for long periods of time. This definitely doesn’t hold a candle to their Wrestlemania Match. ***.
This is the standard Fullscreen/Dolby Digital 5.1 offering WWE usually puts out. It sounds great and it looks great and that’s all you need. WWE always gets high marks here.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is like the usual 3-Disc wrestler collections. You have the fold open case with the three discs housed inside and an insert with matches included.
D) Easter Eggs
1) Ambidextrous (1:06)
To get this one go to Chapters, highlight Growing Up and press left twice. Shawn couldn’t tell which were his right or left hands so he would call them his coloring hand or his scissor hand.
2) All-Star Wrestling Promo March 1986 (1:57)
Go to chapters, highlight Midnight Rockers and press left twice. This is the television debut of the Midnight Rockers. Sure enough they are wearing their tiger-print outfits which Marty talked about in the extras. Shawn talks about being trained by Jose Lothario and being only 20 years old. The two of them promise they will be rising to the top of the promotion.
3) Hardy Boyz (0:29)
The Hardy’s talk about doing a ladder match at a county show with Jeff saving up to buy the ladder. That was influenced by the HBK/Ramon ladder match. To get to this go to chapters, highlight Ladder Match and press left twice.
1) Backflip out of the Corner (1:32)
To get this go to the matches and highlight the Billy Jack Haynes match. Press right once and then left once to access this. Shawn talks about starting out training with Jose. They started with tumbling and soon Jose told him to do a backflip. That became one of those things Shawn would do out of the corner and he did it in his first match.
2) Tully at the Garden (0:23)
Tully says the first time he ever wrestled at the Garden was in that Rockers match. Everyone was on point in that match and even Hogan wondered how he was going to follow that. To get to this go to the matches, highlight the Brainbusters match and press right once and then left once.
1) Rockers Reunite (1:41)
Marty talks about reuniting with Shawn for his Rockers match and Marty says that it was the highlight of his career. Marty was surprised they used the Rockers music. They chanted for Marty and he said he was fighting back tears. To get to this you highlight the Rockers match from the extras and press right twice.
We start with the usual array of WWE commercials (WWE 24/7, WWE Mobile, WWE Home Video, John Cena’s DVD, Rey Misterio’s DVD, and as usual – don’t try this at home). This is an interesting collection terms of the matches chosen. First off, the main program was one that I thought was well-done. Shawn seemed truthful throughout the program and it flowed well for the two-hours it ran. Now, the matches. I thought the match-listing was very interesting. You’ll notice that none of his really big matches are on here. From the Vault had only 7 matches but they were all the big ones (Ladder Match, Iron Man, Summerslam Street Fight) and this was light on a lot of his other PPV matches. The match listing was chosen specifically for matches that hadn’t appeared on DVD before so that even the most die-hard WWE fan wouldn’t get a lot of repeats. Compare that to something like the Hart Foundation DVD (where there were only like 2 matches that weren’t available elsewhere) and I really appreciate that this much thought was put into the matches. Notice that there are NO Wrestlemania matches, no Summerslam Matches, no Rumble matches and all the PPV stuff were from the smaller PPV’s. Of course one of the inherent problems with that is sometimes these off the beaten track matches just aren’t as good as Shawn’s really big matches. Still there’s a nice representation of matches from across Shawn’s career. There are a handful of ****+ matches, with the Angle and Brainbusters matches being the best, as well as a nice array of wrestlers in here. It’s a flawed set (the main program didn’t really mention his work with Angle and the matches could’ve used a DX match) but for the Shawn completist it had a nice variety here.
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