Shawn Michaels is without a doubt, one of the best wrestlers to ever enter the squared circle.
His matches with Bret Hart, Triple H, and The Undertaker rank among some of the best matches in wrestling history, and outside of the ring, Shawn Michaels is working wonders as a trainer for WWE NXT.
But what makes him such a stalwart for WWE amid such broad and talented alumni? What moments defined the career of the man we know as the Heart Break Kid?
Shawn Michaels entered WWE with his tag partner, Marty Jannetty, as The Rockers in 1988. Proving to be a hit with the younger and feminine audience they rooted themselves as a mid-card attraction on TV and PPV for two years. During that time they headlined Survivor Series in 1989 during the 8-man tag match and in 1990, unofficially lifted their only WWE Tag Team title reign together, before the belts were returned to The Hart Foundation.
Although they won the titles in a non-televised event – and defended the belts against Power and Glory, – Jim Neidhart of The Hart Foundation had agreed a contract with WWE (The original cause for the title change). WWE retconned their decision, explaining away that the title win was void due to turnbuckle complications.
They continued their tag work up until January 1992, where during a now infamous segment of Brutus Beefcakes Barbershop, Shawn Michaels delivered a superkick to his partner and threw him through the Barbershop window.
Marking the first time in his career Michaels would turn heel and developing the moniker of the Heartbreak Kid, this segment birthed one of the brightest stars of the 90s, and propelled HBK to the next level.
The relevance of this segment is still felt today, whenever a tag team appears to have a breakout star, the question is asked: Who is the Marty Jannetty of this group?
A reference to the contrast in career trajectories of The Rockers and setting the trend of a tag team break up helping to cement a superstar at the top of the card.
Two moves, one break up, and a famous call from Bobby Heenan saw the birth of the Shawn Michaels we know today, “Oh I knew he was gonna do that” but none of us knew just how big and significant the blonde-haired ‘boy-toy’ would become.