As you may know, Shawn Michaels was at this year’s SummerSlam, but he wasn’t dressed as himself, and he definitely wasn’t booked to make the comeback many fans have been hoping for. Instead, the Heartbreak Kid appeared at the SummerSlam kickoff show dressed up like Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders, hitting the ring and making all the trademark HBK poses, as Sexy Boy played in the background. It was a strange appearance indeed by the WWE Hall of Famer, but there’s apparently a reason why HBK was shilling KFC at the “Biggest Party of the Summer.”
According to Cageside Seats’ latest rumor roundup, the real reason behind Michaels’ Colonel Sanders bit at SummerSlam is quite simple, although a bit sad in the light of recent events. Apparently, the WWE Universe was supposed to see Ric Flair plugging Kentucky Fried Chicken at SummerSlam, but the Nature Boy’s recent health crisis meant he wouldn’t be able to show up at the Barclays Center for the KFC spots.
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As previously reported by Uproxx, Flair is currently on the road to recovery after spending the past week or so in the hospital. His daughter, former Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, issued a quick update on Instagram, confirming that her father is “getting better,” and thanking everyone for their support.
Prior to Michaels' appearance as the Colonel, WWE went with a younger, and similarly-talented (though not similarly-pushed) man in its late summer 2016 crossover ad campaign for KFC's Chicken Little Sandwich. Dolph Ziggler played the role of the Colonel in a SmackDown Live segment, where he wrestled a goofy mascot for a fictional "pretender" chain, Puppers Cluckers, played by The Miz. Likewise, the Puppers Cluckers chicken was back in this year's KFC ads at SummerSlam, this time played by Heath Slater.
Normally, we're not fans of WWE teaming up with outside companies to promote non-WWE products, but WWE's team-ups with KFC have been a guilty pleasure at worst (Dolph vs. Miz), and downright entertaining at best (Ric Flair's Southpaw Regional Wrestling ads). Shawn Michaels as the Colonel is somewhere in between, and while it's a pity Flair's health may have prevented him from going "WOO! Crispy! Woo! Tangy!" and plugging Georgia Gold at SummerSlam, the Heartbreak Kid did a pretty decent job in his absence.