The latest edition of WrestleMania Rewind takes a look at the WrestleMania XIX match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. This was Michaels’ first WrestleMania match since he main evented WrestleMania XIV, after he had suffered a career-threatening back injury.
This might be my favorite episode yet. Hearing the story of Michaels taking time off to heal is back, and come back for what was supposed to be one more match against Triple H at SummerSlam in 2002, then go on to win the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series three months later was awesome.
Michaels and Jericho combine at one point to tell the story of their one-off Highlight Reel segment in December, that turned into their WrestleMania feud. Michaels walked through the curtain after a good Highlight Reel, and Vince McMahon asked him if he felt it, Michaels was confused, until Jericho walked through and said “I think we got something here.”
The feud was built on the idea that Jericho modeled his career after Michaels, and now wanted to prove that he was better than him, and that Michaels should have never gotten back in the ring after his back injury.
As for the match itself, it’s fantastic. One of the best WrestleMania matches of all time, which of course means that it’s only Michaels third or fourth best WrestleMania match.
This match has a few spots that I really enjoy above the rest. The first is when Jericho locks in the Walls of Jericho on the outside, trying to incapacitate Michaels so he gets counted out. Another is when Michaels kips up to start his comeback, while Jericho has his back turned and is doing Michaels’ signature pose. The last one is when Jericho “tunes up the band” and hits Michaels with a superkick for a near-fall.
The match ends on a nifty roll-up from Michaels to pick up the win over Jericho.
In my opinion, this ranks between Michaels’ two matches with The Undertaker in his top three matches at WrestleMania.