Farewell Shawn Michaels (For Now)

For all the readers that absolutely despise when I devote a post to wrestling, let me save you the rage fit and advise you to skip out on this one.

Since about 1993, 'The Heartbreak Kid' Shawn Michaels has been one of my favourite wrestlers. He had all the cockiness and charisma that I loved, but could also outperform almost anyone when it came to putting on an athletic wrestling match. I was such a huge fan of him, that on two occasions, I played Shawn Michaels in wrestling shows put on by my youth group. Why did my youth group put on wrestling shows? Well, that is an entirely different story that I will ignore but the fact was, I loved Michaels enough that I wanted to pretend to be him for an evening. Many of my favourite matches and wrestling moments involved the man known as the Heartbreak Kid. I typically preferred him when he was playing the role of the heel (bad guy) but the reality was, no matter what role Michaels was playing he was almost always the highlight of the show -- which is probably why he had a nickname like the Showstopper (among many others).

So, even though I haven't followed the current product too closely, my attention was grabbed when I heard he may have wrestled his final match on Sunday. At Wrestlemania 26 (the biggest show of the year in wrestling), he lost to the Undertaker in the main event, with the stipulation being that Michaels put his career on the line against Undertaker putting his Wrestlemania win streak on the line. Apparently, it was the match of the night and most likely the match of the year.

The impressive thing is, both these guys are over 40. Both these guys have wrestled well over two decades and at this point, even though it is fake, are really banged up after years of bumping around. Both guys have talked about retiring over the last few years. Most people thought it would only be a matter of time before they called it quits. But despite being at the end of their careers and being well past their prime, both wrestlers have delivered the best match of the year at the biggest show of the year two years in a row (they wrestled last year in a classic too).

The reality is, Michaels still had a lot to offer. He still could put on the very best match of the night. He was still easily one of the vert best performers in the WWE. But he has been hurting bad due to years of compiled injuries, plus he had a family now that rarely sees him because he is on the road every single week. I am sure that even though he can still make a lot of money and was one of the very best, he decided it was time to take an extended break.

Wait a minute, did I say break? Didn't he just a lose a match where he had to retire if he lost? Well, here is the thing about retirement in wrestling.

Wrestlers almost never fully retire. Fans are always expecting a wrestler to come out of retirement. Especially if they promise that they won't come out of retirement. Mainly, because wrestling is a business that is founded on lies and thus, we are conditioned to almost believe nothing about it.

Then of course, there is the whole history of 'retirement matches.'I remember back in 1987, when Roddy Piper claimed he was wrestling his last ever match at Wrestlemania 3. He made his glorious return at Wrestlemania 5 (1989). Though a TWO year retirement may not seem long, that is probably one of the longest ever in wrestling. In 1989, Rugged Ronnie Garvin lost a retirement match in the Spring, then he proceeded to be a referee for the summer which then lead to him wrestling again in the fall (of the same year). At a young age, I was taught that retirements didn't mean much in wrestling thanks to those two occurrences. Macho Man Randy Savage lost a retirement match at Wrestlemania 7, but by the end of the year, he was back wrestling. The retirement that probably annoyed me the most was when Mick Foley lost his retirement match in 2000. He promised that it was definitely his last match ever and he would stick to this stipulation. Six weeks later, he was wrestling in the main event of Wrestlemania 16. Though, that was his last match for several years, he has probably wrestled over 20 matches since his 'retirement match'. Ric Flair has lost at least 3 retirement matches and his last retirement match was supposed to be the real deal. He promised he would never wrestle again after losing to Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 24. Ric Flair wrestled a match about a month ago for the rival promotion to WWE, TNA.

Excuse me, if I am not ready to say this is Shawn Michaels' final match. But I am sure he will be taking a long vacation. He might even take this entire next year off. But I also recognize, there is always a chance this could be the first ever real retirement. This past Sunday, may have really been his last ever match. And if this is true, then I want to thank Shawn Michaels for all the amazing wrestling memories. He was one of my all time favourites, and I know there will never be another like him. I also know, I will still be able to watch him for years and years thanks to the magic of DVD. I will never forget all the great moments that I got to witness. So once again, thank you Shawn Michaels. I hope you enjoy your retirement and time with your family (even if I am cynical, and doubt it will stick).

I am not sure how long this will stay up, since I have a feeling copyright issues will cause it to be taken down at some point. But here is the farewell speech that Shawn Michaels gave at last night's Raw show.