Shawn Michaels says he wouldn’t put himself in the running for the hotly debated title of who is the greatest wrestler of all time, although says his answer would have been different in his younger days.
Michaels has had a wrestling career like no other. Breaking into the World Wrestling Federation as part of the high-flying Rockers tag team alongside Marty Jannetty before branching out on his own and thus coining a phrase that tag teams are measured by to this day. Titles followed for HBK before the boyhood dream came true and he captured the WWF Championship in the main event of WrestleMania 12.
An unfortunate back injury saw Michaels miss four years of in-ring action but this allowed a new, calmer Michaels to emerge in 2002 before capturing the World Heavyweight Title. The icon, the showstopper, the main event, call him what you will but Shawn Michaels added ‘Mr. WrestleMania’ to his legion of nicknames as show-stealing matches with Chris Jericho, Triple H, Chris Benoit, John Cena, and The Undertaker cemented Michaels’ legacy as one of wrestling’s all-time greats.
Speaking on an episode of ‘Rasslin’ with Brandon F. Walker’ Shawn Michaels was asked if he’d put himself amongst the greatest to ever don a pair of wrestling boots.
Michaels quickly responded:
“I don’t but it’s funny when you’re younger because certainly, you do. But I don’t know, I now have the ability to see everything in the rearview mirror. Technically, at 56-years-old, I am back to where I was at 19. Where I was just realizing that my idea of success was having a car and a one-bedroom apartment, and maybe one of the main guys in a local territory in South Texas. Obviously, it has become so much more than that.”
“I am now unbelievably flattered that I get mentioned. Look, people argue about it, whether who is or who isn’t, and my name is in there. And that, to me, is good enough. That is beyond my wildest dreams. Those things never get determined, and every generation is different. Again, I’m just glad to be at this point in my life and look back on a really cool body of work that I’m proud of.”
Shawn Michaels’ full-time career came to an end in the main event of WrestleMania 26 when he failed to conquer The Streak and lost to The Undertaker. One ill-fated return to the ring years later in Saudi Arabia does not leave a mark on a wrestling legacy that continues to this day as HBK molds the next generation of WWE Superstars in NXT.