Who would have thought many years ago that a kid named Michael Hickenbottom would grow up to become one of the biggest stars in the history of professional wrestling? With a change of name to Shawn Michaels and an attitude that could rival the best Hollywood Div,; a new sensation was unleashed upon the WWE as “The Heartbreak Kid” was ready for his spotlight.
During the '90s, Vince McMahon would give Shawn Michaels the ball and allow him to run with it throughout the most important and crucial decade of McMahon's professional life. Over the years, Shawn Michaels would lose his smile, break his back, and stir up more than his fair share of controversy as one of the most polarizing Superstars in WWE.
Wrestling fans all know about the Shawn Michaels of yesterday compared to the Shawn Michaels of today: the rambunctious adolescent-like behavior has been replaced with Holy humbleness as the Good Word of the Lord has saved Shawn Michaels from Eternal Damnation. Shawn Michaels is no longer raising Hell but rather harboring for Heaven.
When one is as wild, reckless, and difficult as Shawn Michaels once was; enemies are bound to be made while stories of disgrace, dishonor, and outright dirt will begin to make the rounds. There are an abundance of stories concerning HBK and his days as the Head Local Degenerate of the WWE neighborhood.
There is no possible way to call Shawn Michaels a bad performer as his matches and in-ring style have become a thing of legend. In the eyes of many fans (and some fellow wrestlers), Shawn Michaels is the greatest in-ring performer of all time. However, the greatness of the man inside the ring does not excuse the gross misconduct of the man's poor attitude. Nobody will ever forget the old Shawn Michaels.
These are the top 10 backstage horror stories about Shawn Michaels:
NOTE: Many of these stories have many different accounts. Therefore, you may have already heard a different or altered version.
10 Unnecessary Claim of the European Championship
WWE One Night Only was a Pay-Per-View event which took place on September 20, 1997 at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England. The main event would feature The British Bulldog defending the European Championship against Shawn Michaels in a match originally booked to have Bulldog go over on Michaels.
However, the backstage politicking and influence of HBK would strike again when Michaels convinced Vince McMahon that a title change was the right move to make. Michaels was already en route to becoming the WWE Champion and had no real reason to hold the European Championship which he would barley defend throughout his tenure.
Then one night on Raw is War, the man who “lays down for absolutely nobody” would lay down for Triple H in a mock match in order to give Triple H the European Championship.
9 The Marines and the IC Title
Shawn Michaels was notoriously cocky on television and from all that has been told over the years; much of the same cockiness would following him around in his every day life. One night at a bar in Syracuse, New York, HBK would find himself involved in an altercation with a group of Marines (Michaels was apparently hitting on a woman who was with one of the men) which would lead to The Show Stopper getting stomped.
At the time of this beat down, Michaels was the Intercontinental Champion and was scheduled to lose the gold to Dean (Shane) Douglas. However, Michaels would opt to instead forfeit the title over to Douglas (citing injuries from the bar altercation as the reason) who in turn would quickly lose the Championship to Razor Ramon – a close friend of Shawn Michaels.
The rumors surrounding this incident indicate that this was simply a case of The Kliq helping each other out as the feeling was that if Michaels were able to walk to ring without any visible difficulty, then he could have competed and lost the title to Douglas in the proper wrestling manner.
8 Problems with The Rock
Shawn Michaels and The Rock have both taken on every big name in the wrestling industry … except for each other. During the heyday of the Attitude Era; Shawn Michaels vs. The Rock never happened, possibly due to longstanding friction between both men.
The Rock first developed hard feelings towards Shawn Michaels at a show for Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling, where The Rock's Grandmother had been working as the event coordinator. While details are sketchy, the story goes that Shawn Michaels was blatantly disrespectful to to The Rock's Grandmother – almost leading to a physical altercation with The Rock.
Years down the road and The Rock was now an employee of WWE and set for a major push. However, Shawn Michaels was against this decision as he felt the push in question belonged to his buddy, Triple H. Thankfully, Michaels in the ear of McMahon did not work on this particular occasion as The Rock was not only pushed but rose to the top as one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time.
Shawn Michaels and The Rock have seemingly patched up the wounds of their hostile past.
7 Holding Down Vader
“The Man They Call Vader” was a hot commodity in 1996 when he made his WWE debut in the Royal Rumble match where he was eliminated by Shawn Michaels before re-entering the ring and laying out everybody that stood in his way.
That summer, Vader was placed into the main even picture, a spot which he already proved he could handle while in WCW. Shawn Michaels, who was the WWE Champion at the time, would work as the babyface while Vader worked as the overbearing heel; all in anticipation of a main event match at SummerSlam.
According to Jim Cornette, who worked as the on-screen manger of Vader, Shawn Michaels did not appreciate the way Vader worked in the ring – which was considered “stiff.” Michaels would go as far as threatening to get Vader fired should he work in such a manner again.
6 Rough Shape at WrestleMania X-Seven
WrestleMania X-Seven was a significant night for professional wrestling. WCW had officially been purchased by WWE and The Monday Night War was over. The event is often considered as the greatest WWE Pay-Per-View ever produced.
While all the biggest names in WWE were featured on the card, there was one man absent from the event: Shawn Michaels. While Michaels was still about a year-and-a-half away from returning to the ring; he was scheduled to participate at WrestleMania X-Seven, presumably for a run-in during the match between Triple H and The Undertaker.
However, the darkest days of Shawn Michaels were in full effect, as HBK was so strung-out on pills that he was unable to perform in any capacity that night. This would actually lead to an argument between Shawn Michaels and Triple H as The Game was reportedly furious with his best friend and would not speak to him for a while.
Shawn Michaels would soon find God and make amends with all he had “done wrong.” Eleven years later; Triple H and The Undertaker would do battle at WrestleMania XXVIII inside Hell in a Cell where Shawn Michaels would serve as special guest referee.
5 Burying CM Punk
All right, it's time for a bit of a swerve. This list has been and will continue to focus on the pre-religious-nut-days of Shawn Michaels but for this entry we will include a story that occurred post-Holy-HBK.
CM Punk, much like Shawn Michaels, has certainly burned his share of bridges in WWE. However, even if you hated Punk (many of you probably still do), there was no denying his in-ring talent as his rise to the top was marred with naysayers and those who did not understand CM Punk.
According to former WWE creative team member Court Bauer, Shawn Michaels along with Triple H took to mocking and ridiculing CM Punk in front of Vince McMahon following his 2005 tryout with the company. Michaels has disputed these claims, citing that he has never met Court Bauer and that he has always been a big fan of CM Punk.
Whether or not this story is true makes for an interesting predicament: the “new” Shawn Michaels resorting to such a tactic would seem rather wrong in the eyes of the Lord.
4 Backstage Fight with Bret Hart
We all know the story of the “Montreal Screwjob.” Therefore, we will not get into the tale of that controversial night in Montreal. However, backstage problems between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart had been brewing for years, as these guys just didn't get along.
One night in Hartford, Connecticut, prior to Raw is War, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart would get involved in a real life fist fight which culminating with Michaels complaining to Vince McMahon after losing a chunk oh hair from his head at the hands of Hart.
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart have since “let go of the past.”
3 Relationship with Sunny
The legend of Shawn Michaels and Sunny (real name: Tammy Sytch) has been told, retold, and told again … so, why not one more time? According to many of those who were around during the Shawn and Sunny love connection, Tammy Sytch had been cheating on her boyfriend (wrestler Chris Candido) with HBK.
This torrid love affair was said to have lasted approximately nine months but who really knows for sure other than Michaels and Sytch? In a shoot interview, Bam Bam Bigelow, who was not a fan of Michaels, stated that Candido was so torn up about Michaels and Sytch and the way he was treated as a result that he seemed suicidal.
While Shawn Michaels does not dive too deeply into Sunny-related stories anymore, Tammy Sytch is often about her past with the HBK.
2 WrestleMania XIV
WrestleMania XIV will live in history as the night Stone Cold Steve Austin won his first WWE Championship, officially ushering in the Austin Era in WWE. However, Shawn Michaels almost threw a wrench into those plans.
Michaels, who was WWE Champions at the time, was not interested in dropping the belt to Austin at 'Mania. The word of Michaels' defiance would spread throughout the locker room and reach the ear of The Undertaker who decided to do something about the situation. The Deadman, with taped fists, was ready to handle HBK should he not do the right thing.
Obviously, Shawn Michaels would comply with the wishes of the company and Stone Cold Steve Austin would leave Boston as the new WWE Champion. Meanwhile, Michaels would not wrestle again for over four years.
1 Sexual Relationship with Vince McMahon
The most outrageous and crude backstage Shawn Michaels story has been told by the man who has been his biggest professional rival: Bret Hart. According to The Hitman, Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon have had a homosexual behind-closed-doors relationship.
This of course could simply be a case of bitterness where the intention of Bret Hart is to tear down the reputations of both men. Then again, this could be entirely true. Who knows what truly lies beneath the surface of backstage WWE.