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Welcome, everyone, to the first in a series of what I call "Canadian Bulldog's True Wrestling Stories". My name is Derek Burgan. Er, just kidding - Canadian Bulldog is the name, and if you've ever read my work before on
, or in my literary masterpiece
"Thanks For The Compliment: Canadian Bulldog's Nuttiest Letters Ever! EVER!!!"
, you'll know that I am nothing if not an accurate historian of this business we like to call stupid fake wrestling.
As you all know by now, "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels recently released his autobiography. Unfortunately, it's filled with more lies, spin and propaganda than a Roddy Piper - Buff Bagwell conversation. So here, to finally set the record straight, is the True Wrestling Story of Shawn Michaels.
Chapter One: The First Chapter
Here we see a young HBK. Of course, I could be just inserting a random child's photo in here. For all you know, this could be Kevin Nash. Or Big Bossman. Or my father, for that matter. No wonder all the wrestlers call you guys "marks". Hahahahaha - losers!
is actually just a stage name. He was born Michael Shawns on August 14, 1966, or thereabouts, in San Antonio, Texas. The son of a career soldier (
Corporal Kirschner), Michaels (or, if you will, Michael) grew up jumping from army base to army base, superkicking friends and family along the way.
Many people thought that he was destined for a career in the squared circle, what with the fact that he could bleed well and everything. Yet, wrestling was not his first love.
Wait, wait, wait
Chapter One Was Only Two Paragraphs Long?
Why the hell did Guttman Hire You?
The original cast of Beverly Hills 90210. From left to right: Marty Jannetty, Tori Spelling, Luke Perry, A Bunch Of People I Can't Remember, and Shawn Michaels.
Yes, Shawn's (or, if you will, Shawns's) true love was the furthest thing possible from professional wrestling: soap opera acting! It was on the set of Beverly Hills 90210 where he met his future partner-in-crime
Marty Jannetty. You may not remember their roles on that show, but this is simply because the series hasn't been released on DVD yet. Also, HBK superkicked Aaron Spelling, forcing the director to replace him early on.
"Yeah, we both got our starts on that show," Jannetty said recently when I had the chance to interview him from prison. "The whole storyline was that I was dating Donna, but I had a crush on Kelly. Shawn was dating Kelly, but he really wanted to sleep with Brenda. And that would have forced Dylan to date that nerdy chick, what's her face, I can't remember her name."
None of us can.
After a deal fell through that would have seen Shawn and Marty replace
Scott Baio as hilarious co-housekeepers on
Charles In Charge ("We refused to work with that
Buddy Lembeck douche"), the two made the next logical career step.
Chapter Three: Joining The AWA
Shawn and Marty's hip, sexy new image -- long hair, zebra-print shirts, spandex pants and bathrobe belts -- inspired many of rock's biggest names. Not pictured: Van Halen.
Still in their early 20's and full of energy, Michaels and Jannetty fit in well with the AWA roster at the time. Unless you count
Baron Von Raschke and
The Crusher. Or
Verne Gagne. Or
Sergeant Slaughter, for that matter. Or
Larry Zbysko. Or
Nick Bockwinkel. Or
Playboy Buddy Rose. Or
Colonel DeBeers. Or
Ray Stevens. Or
Wahoo McDaniel. And
Greg Gagne was no spring chicken either...
Yet the two seemed to have tremendous appeal with the fans, who had probably had their fill of
Buck Zumhofe vs. Steve Olsonowski matches by then. Borrowing part of the names from two of wrestling's top tag teams at the time, Michaels and Jannetty re-christened themselves as The Killer Bulldogs. Then, following a potential WWF lawsuit, they changed it to The Demolishing Road Powers of Warrior Pain, then The Fabulous Hartbirds Foundation, and finally,
The Midnight Rockers.
But it wouldn't be long before Michaels and Jannetty wrote a new chapter in their lives, and not coincidentally, I wrote a new chapter in this story. Michaels delivered a superkick to Verne, and soon the two headed north.
Chapter Four: Tag Team Specialists
In what may be the most awkwardly-long photo ever featured in a World Wrestling Insanity column, Michaels and Jannetty became T-shirt whores upon moving to the WWF.
who at the time was simply a World Wrestling Federation announcer and nothing else (don't believe what the internet tells you!), took notice of the two young grapplers and, in a deal consisting a simple handshake and superkick, quickly hired them. This effectively moved the average age on the AWA roster back up to 52.
Forced to drop the "Midnight" part of their name (
Jim Cornette and Stan Lane were fine with it, but
Bobby Eaton kept threatening to sue), Michaels and Jannetty were renamed as The Rockers in the WWF and took on all comers. Yet, in their, oh, 5 or 6 year reign as a team there, they never once won the tag team titles.
Think about this for a second:
Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree have held tag team championships in the same company. So have
Rico and Rikishi, for fuck's sake. It won't be long before
SHNITSKY!!! and Chavo Guerrero's Ex-Caddy get their turn. Yet the mighty Rockers never got the tag team titles. LOSERS!!!
(Oh, and don't go e-mailing me about how they "technically" won the titles in 1990-something, but then Jack Tunney overturned the decision. I don't care.)
Chapter Five: All Good Things, And Even Bad Ones, Must Come To An End
Michaels hurls Jannetty through the stained-glass window of Brutus Beefcake's Barber Shop. Beefcake, more visible than the other two for some reason, is angered by the betrayal.
Soon, Michaels and Jannetty became hostile towards each other and had numerous public spats. Even Pro Wrestling Illustrated was reporting that a split was likely, and they're 8 to 10 months behind the rest of the world (I bet if you checked the latest edition, it would have an article on Christian's jump to SmackDown! Am I right, people?). I remember even hearing that some Internet guy had been writing for PWI, but damned if I can remember his name at the moment...
Anyhoo, one day,
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake brought out Shawn and Marty to hash out their marital squabbles on live television. The following is what transpired:
Beefcake: I'm reading the "current" issue of WWF Magazine (which has the results for WrestleMania Three on the cover), and it says in here, "Do The Rockers Have A Problem?".
Jannetty: Well, I have a cocaine problem...
Beefcake: You're preaching to the choir, brother.
Michaels: There's no problem between The Rockers! Marty, we should just iron out our problems, and get back to being the best team of jobbers-to-the-stars the WWF has to offer! What do you say, partner?
Jannetty: And drop the whole angle, just like that? Pretty lame, if you ask me. That's like something TNA would do.
Michaels: Fine, then how about I just superkick you and then throw you through this window?
Jannetty: Okay by me. I'm so coked up, I'm not gonna feel a thing anyways.
(Michaels throws Jannetty through the window, breaking dozens of bottles of hair-care supplies that just sit on shelves at the barber shop anyways because no one ever buys them.)
Following that brilliant segment (hey, at least they didn't end it with a "live sex celebration"), Michaels was on his own, where he soon found that it would be lonely at the top.
Chapter Six: Lonely At The Top (See?)
Michaels poses with the gorgeous Sensational Sherri
Upon dumping Jannetty on his sexy little ass, Michaels reinvented himself as "The Heartbreak Kid" (because some smartass columnist had already patented "The Heartburn Kid"), and then hooked up with desperate housewife "
Sensational" Sherri Martel, leading to an unprecedented reign of terror in the WWF.
Three Intercontinental title reigns. A run with the prestigious European belt, and even two rounds with the elusive tag team straps. Two Royal Rumble wins, and to top it all off, four WWF/E World Championships under his belt.
Of course, none of these things happened when he was with Sherri, but I never would have been able to photoshop
Medusa's head onto her body without at least half-assing this particular chapter.
What he did have, however, during his glory years, was some help from a little something I like to call...
Chapter Seven: The Kliq
From left to right: (Top row) Some Jerk, Kevin Nash, Michaels, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Nikolai Volkoff. (Bottom row) Wink, Dink, Pink. Not pictured: Outback Jack.
From 1995 until almost 1996, The Kliq dominated wrestling's backstage balance of power. If they wanted, say,
Bam Bam Bigelow to lose his match against
Barry Horowitz and then start clucking like a chicken, they made it so. If they wanted to randomly superkick
Howard Finkel, no problem. If they wanted
Brian Pillman to die, they made it happen. And if one of them wanted to marry
Stephanie McMahon... well, they never went that far, but they certainly could have.
However, a series of politics, backstabbing and N'Sync albums (don't ask) would soon break up The Kliq, sending three of them to WCW, one to the AWA and several more to ROH. Yet this development would lead to possibly the most controversial, groundbreaking and powerful faction in wrestling history...
Chapter Eight: DX
From left to right:
Virgil, That Dude, Michaels and Some Jerk.
Nothing much happened during this period. Superkick!
Chapter Nine: The Bret Hart Feud
The superkick heard 'round the world. Or at least the toy store.
By now, you all know the story between Michaels and Bret "Hit Man" Hart. So I won't bother getting into it here.
Hahaha, just kidding. In November of 1997, Hart was about to jump to World Championship Wrestling because he wanted his career to suck* (* - source: Dave Meltzer). Because they were on such great terms, the following conversation took place between Vince and Bret** (** - source: WWF Magazine):
McMahon: Quite frankly, Bret, I would like you to lose this match to Shawn Michaels.
Hart: Fuck you.
McMahon: Okay, okay, I'm hearing you don't like Plan A. So here's Plan B: Quite frankly, how about you win instead?
Hart: I'm listening...
McMahon: Now, what kind of a finish can we use, because quite frankly, I'm apparently horrible at booking matches even though I've been doing it for more than 20 years?
Hart: How about we just do a schmozz?
McMahon: You mean get Hunter involved?
Hart: No, not 'schnozz'; a 'schmozz'!
McMahon: I see. Well, quite frankly, I think we could do something like this. We'll have a lame-ass no-contest finish like they do on Nitro every week and then, quite frankly, you can leave our company with our championship belt. Quite frankly.
Hart: Sounds good to me.
McMahon: And quite frankly, if you believe that, I have some real estate in the Everglades to sell you.
Skinner: How much?
Of course, the evening would not go without controversy. Michaels invented his own finish mid-way through the match (something that only usually happens in Vince Russo scripts), superkicking Bret and screwing him out of the title, and in some ways, the championship belt.
This was the last we'd ever hear from Hart, but shockingly, it was also the last we'd ever hear from Michaels as well.
� OR WAS IT?
Chapter Ten: No, It Wasn't
HBK became such a professional in later years, he could blade in his sleep.
When Michaels returned to the ring (after he lost the WWF title, retired, became commissioner, found religion and got married. Did I forget to mention that part? DAMN!), it was like he was a brand new person, yet with all the spirit, vigor and superkickiness of his youth.
The difference in this final run is that Michaels would "put over" (a wrestling slang term meaning "refuse to lose to") young up and comers such as
Chris Jericho, Chris Masters, Christian, Chris Harris, Chris Sabin, Chris Angle and Chris Caribbean Cool. It was almost as though he was "born again" or something.
Most recently, Michaels has started a feud with Vince McMahon, effectively moving up the average age in this particular match-up to 48.
And so, when the history books on wrestling are written (and you just KNOW that
Scott Steiner is going to be on the cover for some reason), Michaels will definitely be included.
Will he best be remembered as the guy who "lost his smile" rather than drop his title in the ring (did I forget to mention that part?), or will he be known as the guy who pretended to be attacked by like 30 marines (Damn, forgot about that too)? Only time will tell, though personally, he'll always be remembered to me as the guy who wore ill-fitting spandex chaps.
For "True Wrestling Stories", I'm Canadian Bulldog.