5 career turning moments for Shawn Michaels
Ask any wrestling fan to name their top 5 or 10 wrestlers of all time and no doubt you will hear Shawn Michaels mentioned. He might not have defined a generation in the way Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin did, but Shawn was always able to appeal to a wide variety of fans.
His in-ring work and showmanship would often combine to the sheer delight of fans across the world. His career has not been a perfect one. He will be the first to admit that his history of drug abuse and a less than endearing personality have overshadowed him as a performer. But in the midst of all the chaos, the Heartbreak Kid has been able to provide us with some truly memorable moments.
Here is a look at 5 key turning moments for the career of Shawn Michaels:
#1 Teaming with Marty Jannetty
Shawn Michaels may be known primarily as a 'WWF/E guy' - even staying with the company throughout their darkest period in the mid-90s - but his pre-WWF career in the 80s wasn't exactly unworthy of note either. Shawn began his long stint in wrestling as a tag-team competitor, lighting up tag divisions across the country with his partner Marty Jannetty.
The two met whilst wrestling for World Class Championship Wrestling, a Texas territory of the NWA where they also picked up their first championship belts together. The pair would meet again a few years later, this time as part of the American Wrestling Alliance (AWA) calling themselves 'The Midnight Rockers, where their rivalry with Buddy Rose and Doug Somers would become the stuff of legend.
The team were then called up to WWF but only lasted a year before being fired for an incident at a bar where, according to Michaels himself, they allegedly 'tore the place up'. Thankfully for generations of wrestling fans, the Rockers were resigned by the WWF in 1988 and fitted in well with the stacked tag-division in the company at the time.
Despite Michaels going on to win the WWF/E Tag Team Championships on five separate occasions throughout his career, not one of those reigns happened as part of the Rockers, at least not officially. The team did defeat the Hart Foundation in an untaped house show, but the victory was not recognised by the company after the Harts were awarded their belts back after Jim Neidhart changed his mind and decided to stay with the WWF.
Because of Shawn's storied single's career, he is not generally remembered for being a pioneer of tag-team wrestling, but for thousands of young fans back in the 80 and early 90s, the partnership between Michaels and Jannetty was a hugely significant affair. Even after you discount what the pairing eventually led to, you still cannot deny their place in WWF/E folklore.