After staying true to retirement for eight and a half years, WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels came back to compete at the Crown Jewel pay-per-view in November - where he reformed D-Generation X with Triple H.
The iconic duo went up against Kane and The Undertaker, who reunited as the Brothers of Destruction. Michaels and Triple H defeated them via pinfall, and with that, The Heartbreak Kid's illustrious career in the ring came to an end. Again.
However, Michaels appeared on the Challenge Mania podcast (h/t Andrew Thompson of Fightful.com), and explained why his match at Crown Jewel doesn't exactly count as an in-comeback.
"No, there are no regrets. So again, honestly, and no one will ever believe me but I’ll tell you anyway...to me it wasn’t coming back as the Heartbreak Kid. It was a tag (match) -- I know that’s not the same and I know nobody will understand it, but in my mind, it was like a glorified house show live event...It was almost like, as a favor...It felt like a totally separate entity than the other and that’s why I felt okay doing it...
I can’t say that it turned out to be all that fun. It was okay and it was great being out there with those guys but again, it was just one of those things that you sorta do (because) you’re a company dude and you go, ‘Oh alright, I’ll do this’ and it’s separate and all that."
Michaels has since closed the book on a potential return to the ring, so it's safe to say that Crown Jewel indeed marked the final time we will see the wrestling icon compete in the squared circle.
As you'll recall, Michaels had lost to Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI. HBK retired after the loss, per the match stipulation. He turned down opportunities to come back to the ring, including a dream match against A.J. Styles.
Despite Michaels' return to the ring, the match was widely considered a disappointment by WWE fans and critics. That was expected, with Michaels returning for his first match in nearly nine years, whereas the other three men are only part-time performs at this stage of their careers.
But at any rate, Michaels deserves credit for staying true to his retirement promise for almost a full decade. Obviously, he couldn't resist the final chance to go back one last time, but it's safe to say that he's absolutely done in the ring.
What This Means
It was fun and interesting to hear what made Michaels come back to the ring, since he seemed bent on staying retired for almost a decade. But good on him for giving it one last go with his iconic tag team partner and real-life friend. Even if the match wasn't as great as some had expected, it was special to see Michaels end his in-ring career with a victory over a man (and his tag team partner, Kane) who originally retired him.