Most people see Shawn Michaels now as a man of faith, a man who’s turned his life around and become a leader in NXT and with the WWE. His return to the company many years after retiring was a showcase of his immense skill and his ability to wow a WWE audience. But, there was a time that Michaels wasn’t exactly loved by everyone in the WWE.
Over his career as an in-ring performer, Michaels had the ability to rub people the wrong way. Despite his immense talent, he wasn’t always easy to work with and he didn’t play well with others. He had a close group of friends and outside of that, didn’t care much who he offended or what happened to their careers once he’d finished with them.
So, while we celebrate what Michaels is now more than what he was then, it’s fair to look back and ask, did Michaels actually ruin anyone’s career?
Michaels didn’t necessarily do anything directly to Tatanka but if you recall when Tatanka first arrived in the WWE, he was pushed by the company in a major way. He had a solid undefeated streak going and was on the rise, potentially pegged to win the Intercontinental Title (a belt Michaels was holding at the time).
Speculation is Michaels refused to take a clean pin and give up his belt. Thus, a count-out finish was thought up that would see Tatanka maintain his streak. It didn’t matter. Once Tatanka was viewed as a guy who couldn’t get the belt, the WWE started to take away his push. It wasn’t long before he was completely irrelevant.
Big Vader wrestled for a long time after he left WWE, but there are few people who came into the company at a time they needed a big-name heel and amounted to nothing more than a hill of beans. Vader had such a strong reputation and following that he should have been a huge player for the company. Unfortunately, Michaels decided to take liberties with Vader in one of the matches.
Anyone who has seen Vader knows he has a temper so when he didn’t take kindly to Michaels’ real shots, he let him know by returning the favor. The Kliq then decided to make an example of Vader and not long after he asked for his release.
3. Marty Jannetty
Marty Jannetty is not exactly the sanest person you’ll ever hear or meet. He’s in the news now more for his crazy antics and trying to keep his wrestling career alive than anything else. His WWE career took a serious turn for the worst when he split from Shawn Michaels who decided to part ways with his long-time Rockers tag team partner.
Having both quit the WWE over a dispute regarding pay for a commercial, Jannetty claims he and Michaels decided together they were going to leave. Jannetty then found out that Michaels was never planning on quitting and McMahon was only trying to work Jannetty out of the company so Michaels could embark on a single’s career. They “came back” to save their careers and Jannetty got the infamous “Barber Shop” kick for his troubles.
2. Chris Candido
If you want to get into the head of another wrestler in the locker room, one way to do so is by sleeping with his wife. That’s the alleged speculation between Michaels, Chris Candido, and Sunny. It was common knowledge that something was going on between Sunny and Michaels and since Candido was still married to her at the time, he was completely heartbroken when he found out Sunny was unfaithful.
Sunny had a reputation for doing things a married woman shouldn’t be doing, Michaels had a reputation for allowing and encouraging such behavior. Seen as weak by Michaels’ close-knit group of friends, Candido was often the butt of a number of Kliq jokes and many make the connection of all his WWE troubles played a role in his untimely death.
1. Bret Hart
It’s hard to make a list like this and not put Bret Hart at the top of it. The Montreal Screwjob is infamous for leading to the start of the Mr. McMahon character, the departure of Bret Hart to WCW and the extension of Michaels career as the guy who “didn’t know anything about what happened.”
Of course, now we’ve come to learn that not only did Shawn know that they were going to twist the match in a direction Bret was unaware of, but he was the mastermind behind the idea. Bret has to take some blame for what happened but Michaels’ personal issues with Bret leading up to that moment are the only reason this option was one that was required.
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