In a world where nicknames get thrown around fairly liberally, Shawn Michaels has earned many monikers that can never
be disputed: "The Showstopper," The Headliners," "The Main Event," "The Icon," "Mr. WrestleMania."
Shawn Michaels and his tag team partner, Marty Jannetty, first appeared in the World Wrestling Federation in 1987. Known as the
Midnight Rockers, the high-flying duo had great visions of taking over WWF's tag team scene. The company, however, saws things
differently, as they fired the team after only two weeks. Michaels and Jannetty never gave up on their dream of competing
for the WWF. The following year, they were given another opportunity. This time, they took advantage of the situation. After
dropping the word "Midnight" from their name, the Rockers took the WWF by storm, proving themselves as true tag team specialists.
By 1992, Michaels believed his union with Jannetty was holding him back from true greatness. So he severed their relationship
in one of the most memorable scenes in WWF history. While guests on Brutus Beefcake's Barber Shop, Michaels superkicked
Jannetty straight through a window. The kick marked the end of the popular tag team and the beginning of an iconic singles
On his own, the egotistical Michaels adopted the nickname "The Heartbreak Kid." With Sensational Sherri by his side stroking
his ego, HBK went on an unbelievable tear that saw him capture his first WWF title when he defeated the British Bulldog for
the Intercontinental Championship in October 1992. The win over the Bulldog marked the first three Intercontinental Championship
reigns for Michaels. Over the course of these reigns, HBK competed in some of the organization's most athletic and dangerous
encounters, including the landmark WrestleMania X Ladder Match against Razor Ramon. With each passing match, it
became obvious that he was destined for greatness.
A Childhood Dream Realized
In January 1996, he last eliminated Diesel to become a back-to-back Royal Rumble winner. The victory put HBK back
in the main event of WrestleMania and gave him the opportunity to accomplish his boyhood dream of becoming WWF Champion.
At WrestleMania XII, he faced Bret "The Hitman" Hart in a grueling 60-minute Iron Man Match that required sudden-death
overtime to deliver a conclusive winner. Michaels scored the win after landing Sweet Chin Music and became WWF Champion.
In 1997, Michaels teamed with longtime friend Hunter Hearst Helmsley to form the most controversial faction in WWF, D-Generation
X. Together, HBK and Helmsley spat in the face of authority while their unparalleled popularity set the bar for all future
factions. As a member of DX, HBK captured the European Championship, making him the first-ever Grand Slam Champion in WWF
history (he held the Intercontinental, World Tag Team, and European titles during his career), but it was a WWF Championship
victory over Bret Hart at the 1997 Survivor Series that will forever be remembers for its controversial conclusion.
With Hart caught in a Sharpshooter, referee Earl Hebner called for the bell, despite the fact that "The Hitman" never submitted.
The incident, which became known as the "Montreal Screwjob," remains arguably the most infamous event in World Wrestling
Retirement? No, Rejuvenation!
Back injuries forced Michaels into early retirement in 1998. During this time, he became a very spiritual person, which
helped him overcome his personal demons. He also used this time to rest his battered back. By 2002, a reinvigorated HBK got
the itch to compete again.
When he returned, Michaels found himself embedded in a bloody rivalry against former friend Triple H. Amazingly, he showed
no sign of ring rust, defeating the game at SummerSlam 2002. A few months later, Michaels last eliminated Triple H
in an unforgiving Elimination Chamber Match that saw him claim the World Heavyweight Championship.
Over the next several years, the renewed Michaels worked effortlessly to recreate the magic of his earlier years. In typical
HBK fashion, he found himself in the spotlight of WWE's biggest matches, including his duel at WrestleMania XXIV
where he sent Ric Flair into retirement. Two years later at WrestleMania XXVI, Michaels found himself on the opposite
side of the spectrum as lost he to the Undertaker and, as a result, was forced to retire. The following night on Raw,
Michaels gave an emotional farewell speech, departing with the familiar sentence, "Shawn Michaels has left the building."