WWE – Shawn Michaels – Mr Wrestlemania DVD review

CaptureWhile it’s easy to think of Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena as the biggest names to ever grace a wrestling ring, when it comes to actual in-ring performance there’s always another name thrown into the mix – Shawn Michaels. He may not have crossed over into the mainstream as an action star, he never had the bodybuilder type look or anything like that, but you always knew that once that bell rang he would put on a show. HBK worked his way up through WWE from starting out in The Rockers, through the mid-card via the Intercontinental and European Championships, and of course numerous WWE Championship runs.

As one of the few double Royal Rumble winners, Michaels was entered into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, arguably still at the top of his game. He was still putting on numerous classics matches on PPV, but was especially known for his show stealing contests on the grandest stage of them all – Wrestlemania. In this new set from WWE Home Video UK, we take a journey through Shawn’s Wrestlemania history right from Wrestlemania V in 1989 all the way to WrestleMania XXVI in 2010 as he put his career on the line against The Undertaker.

There was no better way for Mr Wrestlemania himself to bow out than against the most important element of Wrestlemania history – The Streak. Two men who have had over two decades each in the industry and have cemented their legacies as two of the best to ever perform, and that was exactly how Shawn wanted to go out – on top, and against the best. Yet it wasn’t always plain sailing for The Showstopper as he suffered an injury (ironically against The Undertaker) that nearly ended his career. It’s hard to believe that Wrestlemania XIV against Steve Austin could have been Michaels’ last Wrestlemania.

Early ‘Mania matches are focused on The Rockers, a tag team almost ahead of their time. Michaels and his partner Marty Jannetty worked a high-flying style that lead the way for teams like The Hardy Boyz years later. Coming out of the tag team as a heel after turning on Jannetty, Michaels became known for his solid in-ring work and started carving out a name for himself. In his first PPV singles match, he faced and defeated El Matador (aka Tito Santana) at Wrestlemania VIII in what was to become the first of many exciting and successful ‘Mania matches to come. Two years later he would make history against Razor Ramon in the Ladder Match at Wrestlemania X and both men walked away with far better standings in the industry.

The next three ‘Mania events for Shawn were focused solely on the WWE Championship, against three very different opponents. He faced Diesel (aka Kevin Nash) at WrestleMania XI in a classic David vs Goliath fight, while the following year was a pure mat-based contest in an Iron Man match against Bret Hart – one of the most important matches in their legendary rivalry. By the time Wrestlemania XIV rolled around, Michaels was firmly set in DX with HHH and while temporary retirement was on the horizon, Shawn and Austin still put on a fantastic contest with Mike Tyson looking on. This was at the height of the Attitude Era and was no doubt the closest that Shawn ever got to mainstream attention.

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Five years later, Michaels had the chance to step in the ring with Chris Jericho, a man who idolised him growing up. The match at WrestleMania XIX remains one of Jericho’s best and tells a great story of wrestling an idol, something Shawn himself would tell years later against Ric Flair. In terms of pure wrestling, the Michaels/Hart contest was rivalled by the match against Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 21, as both men showed why they were rated so highly. A year later Shawn would be battling the boss Mr McMahon at the other end of the wrestling spectrum, with less drop toe holds and more weapons, tables and blood.

The last four ‘Mania matches that Shawn had were still at the top of his game and still stole the show completely. In facing John Cena at Wrestlemania 23, Shawn had the chance to show he could hang with the current biggest name in the industry and that he wasn’t ready to pass that torch quite yet. Once Wrestlemania XXIV rolled around, he was telling a more personal journey against Flair where the Nature Boy’s career was on the line, something Michaels himself would suffer a few years after. When all was said and done in his career, Shawn had only one thing left to go after – The Streak – and after two attempts to conquer it, his time in the Squared Circle was done as an in-ring performer.

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It’s a credit to Shawn Michaels that none of the matches on this set are ‘bad’ per se, with only a couple meandering into mediocre territory because of the opponents. From Wrestlemania X onwards, all of the matches are top quality and show Shawn’s range as a performer. Whether it be big men, little men, guys starting out or those at the end of their careers, it just didn’t matter. No one has earned the name Mr Wrestlemania more than Shawn has, and whether he has won or lost, his Wrestlemania run was just as important as The Undertaker’s Streak in some ways. With Shawn’s honest and insightful input on each contest, this is an invaluable set for anyone that loves wrestling, even if you’ve seen these matches before. There will never be another performer quite like Mr Wrestlemania.

Blu Ray Exclusives

WrestleMania V – 2nd April 1989 – The Rockers Talk About The Twin Towers

WrestleMania X – 20th March 1994 – Shawn Michaels Talks with Rhonda Shear

Shawn Michaels with Pamela Anderson

WrestleMania XI – 2nd April 1995 – Shawn Michaels and Sid Talk with Nicholas Turturro

WrestleMania XIX – 30th March 2003 – Shawn Michaels Post-Match Interview

WrestleMania XXVI – 28th March 2010 – Shawn Michaels Says Goodbye Backstage

Friends Leaving the Company

Because You’re A Girl

One Demand for Ric

The “Flair” Watch?

Hell to Pay

At Least the Dude’s Got Balls

End of an Era

Mr. WrestleMania vs. The Streak

The Shawn Michaels Encore Tour

WrestleMania Wish List

Flair – Michaels – Jericho

Shawn Michaels – Mr Wrestlemania is available now on DVD and Blu-ray HERE.

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