Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV in March 2008
|Birth name||Michael Shawn Hickenbottom|
|Born||July 22, 1965|
Chandler, Arizona, U.S.
|Family||Matt Bentley (cousin)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Sean Michaels|
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Billed weight||225 lb (102 kg)|
|Billed from||San Antonio, Texas|
|Trained by||José Lothario|
|Debut||October 10, 1984|
|Retired||March 28, 2010 (de jure) |
November 2, 2018 (de facto)
Michael Shawn Hickenbottom (born July 22, 1965), better known by his ring name Shawn Michaels, is an American retired professional wrestler, actor, and television presenter. Regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers in history, he is known by the nicknames "Heartbreak Kid", "The Showstopper", and "Mr. WrestleMania".
Michaels wrestled consistently for WWE, formerly the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), from 1988 until a back injury forced his first retirement in 1998. He performed in non-wrestling roles for the next two years and returned to the ring for a match in his own Texas Wrestling Academy (TWA) in 2000. Michaels resumed his wrestling career with WWE in 2002 and retired ceremoniously in 2010, before being assigned as a trainer in 2016. He returned for a final match in 2018.
In the WWF/WWE, Michaels headlined pay-per-view events between 1989 and 2018, main-eventing the company's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, five times. He was the co-founder and original leader of the successful stable, D-Generation X. Michaels also wrestled in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), where he founded The Midnight Rockers with Marty Jannetty in 1985. After winning the AWA World Tag Team Championship twice, the team continued to the WWF as The Rockers and had a high-profile breakup in January 1992. Within the year, Michaels twice challenged for the WWF Championship and won his first Intercontinental Championship, heralding his arrival as one of the industry's premier singles stars.
Michaels is a four-time world champion, having held the WWF Championship three times and WWE's World Heavyweight Championship once. He is also a two-time Royal Rumble winner (and the first man to win the match as the number one entrant), the first WWF Grand Slam Champion and the fourth WWF Triple Crown Champion, as well as a two time WWE Hall of Fame (2011 as singles wrestler and 2019 as part of D-Generation X). Michaels won the Pro Wrestling Illustrated "Match of the Year" reader vote a record eleven times, and his match against John Cena on April 23, 2007, was ranked by WWE as the best match ever aired on the company's flagship Raw program.
Hickenbottom was born on July 22, 1965 in Chandler, Arizona. The last of four children – Randy, Scott, and Shari are his older siblings – he was raised in a military family and spent a brief part of his early years in Reading, Berkshire, England, but grew up in San Antonio, Texas. As a child, Hickenbottom disliked the name Michael, so his family and friends just called him Shawn. Ever since, he has been referred to as Shawn. Additionally, Hickenbottom moved around frequently since his father was in the military.
He knew he wanted to become a professional wrestler at the age of twelve and said he performed a wrestling routine in his high school's talent show, complete with fake blood. Hickenbottom was already an athlete; his career began at the age of six when he started playing football. He was a stand-out linebacker at Randolph High School on Randolph Air Force Base and eventually became captain of the football team. After graduating, Hickenbottom attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, but soon realized that college life was not for him. He then began pursuing a career in professional wrestling.
Professional wrestling career
National Wrestling Alliance (1984–1985)
Hickenbottom began to train under Mexican professional wrestler Jose Lothario. During his training, Hickenbottom adopted the ring name, "Shawn Michaels". After his training with Lothario, he debuted as Shawn Michaels with the National Wrestling Alliance's (NWA) Mid-South Wrestling territory on October 16, 1984, against Art Crews, losing to Crews via swinging neckbreaker. Michaels's performance in his debut match impressed many veterans, including Terry Taylor.
In January 1985, he debuted for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), the NWA territory in Dallas, Texas. In April 1985, Michaels went to work for another NWA territory in Kansas City called Central States Wrestling. There, he and tag team partner Marty Jannetty defeated The Batten Twins for the NWA Central States Tag Team Championship, later losing it back to the Battens.
Texas All-Star Wrestling (1985–1986)
After leaving Kansas City, he returned to Texas to wrestle for Texas All-Star Wrestling (TASW). During his time with TASW, Michaels replaced Nick Kiniski in the American Breed tag team, teaming with Paul Diamond. Michaels and Diamond were awarded the TASW Tag Team Championship by Chavo Guerrero Sr. The team was later renamed American Force. While in TASW, Michaels and Diamond feuded with Japanese Force.
American Wrestling Association (1986–1987)
Michaels made his national-level debut, as Sean Michaels, at the age of 20 in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), in a victory over Buddhakhan on ESPN. He was once again teamed with Marty Jannetty, billed as The Midnight Rockers. The Midnight Rockers won the AWA World Tag Team Championship, defeating Doug Somers and Buddy Rose.
World Wrestling Federation and return to AWA (1987–1988)
In 1987, The Rockers were signed by a competing promotion: the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). They were fired from WWF two weeks later, for a bar incident (a misunderstanding, according to Michaels' autobiography). They then returned to AWA, where they won the AWA tag team titles for a second time, but were re-signed by WWF a year later.
Return to the WWF/E
The Rockers (1988–1992)
The Rockers redebuted at a WWF live event on July 7, 1988. Due to WWF chairman Vince McMahon's desire to have his performers carry WWF-exclusive ring names, Michaels and Jannetty were renamed, as simply The Rockers. The team proved popular with both children and women and was a mid-card stalwart of television and pay-per-view shows for the next two years. During this time, Michaels headlined his first pay-per-view for the WWF when The Rockers were involved in the 4-on-4 Survivor Series match main event of the 1989 Survivor Series.
On October 30, 1990, The Rockers unofficially won the WWF Tag Team Championship from The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), as Neidhart, half of the championship team, was in the process of negotiating his release from the company. The match was taped with The Rockers winning the title, but soon after Neidhart came to an agreement with management and was rehired. The championship was returned to the Hart Foundation, while the title change was never broadcast or even acknowledged on television (though The Rockers did have a successful title defense on November 3, 1990, against Power and Glory (Hercules and Paul Roma) before the title was returned to the Hart Foundation). When news spread, WWF explained that the original result was void due to a collapsed turnbuckle in the ring during the bout. A buckle had indeed broken, but not to a noticeable or dangerous extent during the match. The Rockers continued their partnership, eventually splitting on December 2, 1991 aired January 11, 1992 on Wrestling Challenge, during an incident on Brutus Beefcake's televised Barber Shop talk show promotional segment. Michaels superkicked Jannetty and threw him through a glass window on the set of Beefcake's talk show. Jannetty returned to the WWF the following year and enjoyed moderate success before leaving the company in 1994, while Michaels became a prominent villain of the early to mid-1990s as "The Boy Toy".
Heartbreak Kid (1992–1995)
At the suggestion of Curt Hennig, Michaels adopted the nickname "The Heartbreak Kid". Along with his new name came a new gimmick as a vain, cocky villain. He was put together with mirror-carrying manager, Sensational Sherri, who according to the storyline had become infatuated with him. Sherri even sang the first version of his new theme music, "Sexy Boy". During that period, after Michaels had wrestled his scheduled match at live events, his departure was announced with "Shawn Michaels has left the building", alluding to the phrase "Elvis has left the building".
At WrestleMania VIII, Michaels defeated Tito Santana in his first pay-per-view singles match after both men had simultaneously eliminated each other from that year's Royal Rumble. Michaels subsequently became a contender to the promotion's singles titles and failed to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from champion Randy Savage in his first opportunity to compete for that title at British event UK Rampage, held on April 19 at the Sheffield Arena and broadcast on Sky Movies Plus (the match later aired in the US on the edition of June 15 of Prime Time Wrestling). Michaels was also unable to win the Intercontinental Championship from Bret Hart in the WWF's first ladder match at a Wrestling Challenge taping on July 21, which was subsequently made available on multiple Coliseum/WWE Home Video releases. However, he won the title from The British Bulldog on Saturday Night's Main Event XXXI, which aired on November 14. Shortly thereafter, he faced Hart for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of the Survivor Series, but lost the match. Originally the secondary main event, Michaels and Hart became the primary main event after The Ultimate Warrior was unable to compete and was replaced by Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig) in the tag team match that involved Randy Savage against the team of Ric Flair and Razor Ramon. During this time, Michaels and Sherri split and he engaged himself in a feud with former tag team partner Marty Jannetty. Michaels lost the Intercontinental Championship to Jannetty on the May 17, 1993 episode of Raw, but regained it on June 6 with the help of his debuting "bodyguard" (and off-air friend) Diesel.
In September 1993, Michaels was suspended for testing positive for steroid – a charge he never admitted. On WWF programs, his suspension was explained by his having neglected to defend the title often enough. After turning down World Championship Wrestling (WCW)'s advances, Michaels returned to the WWF and made several appearances in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) during a WWF/USWA cross-promotion. He returned to WWF television in November at the Survivor Series substituting for Jerry Lawler, who was dealing with legal issues, in a match pitting himself and three of Lawler's "Knights" against the Hart brothers, Bret, Bruce, Keith and Owen.
In 1994, Michaels entered a rivalry with Razor Ramon, who had won the Intercontinental Championship, which had been vacated during Michaels's absence. Since Michaels had never been defeated in the ring for the title, he claimed to be the rightful champion and even carried around his old title belt. This feud culminated in a ladder match between the two at WrestleMania X. Michaels lost the match, which featured both his and Ramon's championship belts suspended above a ladder in the ring. This match was voted by fans as "Match of the Year" by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. It also received a five-star rating from Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer, the first of nine WWF/E matches to do so. Over the next few months, Michaels battled various injuries and launched the Heartbreak Hotel television talk show segment, mainly shown on Superstars.
On August 28, Michaels and Diesel captured the WWF Tag Team Championship from The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu). The next day at SummerSlam, Diesel lost the Intercontinental Championship to Ramon when Michaels accidentally superkicked Diesel. This triggered a split between Michaels and Diesel, a storyline that was drawn out until Survivor Series that November. Michaels went on to win the Royal Rumble in 1995, which set up a championship grudge match at WrestleMania XI against Diesel (who had gone on to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Bob Backlund). As part of the storyline, Michaels recruited Sid as his bodyguard for the build-up, lost the match and was attacked by Sid the following night. After this, Michaels took time off because Vince McMahon wanted Michaels to become a fan favorite.
Formation of the Kliq (1995–1996)
Michaels returned to the ring as a fan favorite in May 1995 and he went on to defeat Jeff Jarrett to win his third Intercontinental Championship in July at In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks. This led to a title defense against Razor Ramon at SummerSlam in a ladder match, which Michaels won. Around this time, Michaels became the leader of a backstage group known as The Kliq. Critics perceive the group to have sufficient clout with WWF owner Vince McMahon, becoming dominant wrestling figures in the WWF for several years in the mid-1990s, causing friction with other wrestlers. Michaels disputes the perception, saying that McMahon pushed only deserving wrestlers. Michaels's fan base was later nicknamed "The Kliq" as an inside reference to the real "Kliq". In October 1995, Michaels was the victim of a legit assault outside a bar in Syracuse, New York. Due to not being able to compete, Michaels was forced to forfeit the Intercontinental Championship to his original opponent Dean Douglas at In Your House: Great White North, who in turn Douglas lost the championship to Razor Ramon, another member of the Kliq. This event has been cited as an example of the Kliq holding others down. During a match with Owen Hart on a November episode of Raw, Hart performed an enzuigiri that struck the back of Michaels's head. They continued the match, but Michaels collapsed in the ring, supposedly because he had suffered a concussion. The concussion was scripted, which was kept from most fans at the time. A retirement angle was written so that Michaels could take some time off after he came back from an injury too soon.
WWF Champion (1996–1998)
After teasing a retirement, Michaels returned to the WWF at the Royal Rumble match in 1996, which he wound up winning for the second year in a row, to receive a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match in the main event at WrestleMania XII. Around this time, Jose Lothario became Michaels's on-screen manager. At WrestleMania XII, Michaels defeated WWF Champion Bret Hart in the overtime of their sixty-minute Iron Man match, which had ended in a scoreless tie. On May 19, Michaels and his fellow Kliq members were involved in the incident known as "Curtain Call". Diesel and Razor Ramon were about to leave WWF to company rival WCW. After Michaels won a match against Diesel, Ramon and Hunter Hearst Helmsley came to the ring and joined Michaels and Diesel in a group-hug. As Diesel and Helmsley were seen as villains at the time, in contrast to Michaels and Ramon, this constituted a breach of "kayfabe", as acting out of character, which was rare and controversial at the time. As WCW gained momentum due to the signings of Hall and Nash, Michaels held the championship for most of the year. Michaels's championship reign ended at the Survivor Series event, where he lost to Sycho Sid, his former bodyguard. Michaels recaptured the championship from Sid in January 1997 at the Royal Rumble.
On a special episode of Raw dubbed Thursday Raw Thursday, Michaels vacated the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. He explained to fans that he was informed by doctors that he had conjured a knee injury and that he had to retire. His speech was regarded as controversial, as Michaels was allegedly unwilling to lose to Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 (since it was noted that he was going to have a rematch with Hart at WrestleMania). Michaels contemplated thoughts of retirement and stated that he "had to find his smile again", which he had "lost" somewhere down the line. After knee surgery by Dr. James Andrews, Michaels returned a few months later, briefly teaming with Stone Cold Steve Austin to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. In his autobiography, Michaels reveals about his real-life feud with Bret Hart, claiming that Hart did interviews on live television claiming that he [Michaels] was faking his whole injury.
By the spring of 1997, the real-life backstage conflict between Michaels and Hart was reaching its height. Both men were going out on television and frequently making personal, true to heart remarks about one another. Michaels briefly left the WWF in June of that year after a real backstage fight with Hart, just hours before a Raw Is War show, which allegedly resulted from Michaels making an on-air remark, known as the "Sunny Days" comment, implying that Hart (who was married at the time) was having an affair with Tammy Sytch, a manager and valet who was signed to the WWF as Sunny. Michaels and Austin were still WWF Tag Team Champions at the time during an ongoing feud with the Hart Foundation and a tournament was made to decide new tag team champions. Michaels eventually returned that summer in July. At SummerSlam, Michaels officiated the WWF World Heavyweight Championship match between WWF Champion The Undertaker and Bret Hart. The match ended controversially, with Michaels hitting Undertaker with a chair (unintentionally, as he was aiming for Hart after he spat in his face). Michaels was then forced to award the championship to his nemesis, Bret Hart. The next night on Raw Is War, signs of a heel turn started to show as Michaels told the WWF fans what happened at SummerSlam was an accident and that he dealt with the Undertaker when the time came. At WWF One Night Only, held in Birmingham, England in September, Michaels defeated The British Bulldog to capture the European Championship. The fans at the event were so appalled at the result of the match they booed Michaels out of the building to the extent that they littered the ring with garbage, cementing his second heel turn. With this win, Michaels became the first Grand Slam Champion. At In Your House: Badd Blood, Michaels defeated Undertaker in the first Hell in a Cell match, during which Michaels fell off the side of the 5-metre (15 ft) high structure through a table. The match received a 5-star rating from Dave Meltzer.
In the fall, Michaels joined forces with real-life friend Hunter Hearst Helmsley (later known as Triple H), Helmsley's then real-life girlfriend Chyna, and Rick Rude to form the stable D-Generation X (DX). Michaels continued his rivalry with Bret Hart and his reformed Hart Foundation, which was now a pro-Canada stable. Michaels taunted the group and Canada by engaging in acts such as blowing his nose with and humping the Canadian Flag. Michaels later claimed the flag desecration was Hart's idea. Michaels's feud with the Hart Foundation culminated in a championship match at Survivor Series in November 1997 against Hart. Michaels came out of this match, dubbed by fans the "Montreal Screwjob", as the WWF World Heavyweight Champion. Michaels now held both the WWF World Heavyweight and European championship at the same time. Michaels dropped the European Championship to D-Generation X member Hunter Hearst Hemsley in a farcical match.
First retirement and hiatus (1998–2002)
At the 1998 Royal Rumble, in a casket match against The Undertaker, Michaels took a back body drop to the outside of the ring and hit his lower back on the casket, causing him to herniate two discs and crush one completely. Michaels went on to win the match but the injury rendered him unable to compete on the following month's No Way Out of Texas: In Your House as advertised, and forced him into retirement a night after losing the WWF World Heavyweight Championship to Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV.
After being away for nearly four months, Michaels made a surprise return to the WWF as a guest commentator on the July 13 episode of Raw Is War. Michaels continued to make non-wrestling appearances on WWF programming and on November 23 he replaced Sgt. Slaughter as the WWF Commissioner, a portrayed match maker and rules enforcer, eventually joining Vince McMahon's group of wrestlers called The Corporation as a villain. Throughout late 1998 and early 1999, Michaels made regular television appearances on Raw, in which he scheduled matches, throwing around his authority, and sometimes even deciding the outcome of matches. On the January 4, 1999 episode of Raw Is War, Michaels re-joined DX as a fan favorite, but disappeared from WWF television for a few weeks to have back surgery and by the time he returned DX was on the way of dissolving within the next couple of months.
On November 23, 1999, Michaels made a special appearance for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling at the 10th Anniversary Show at the Yokohama Arena, serving as the guest referee for the H vs fake Hayabusa (Mr. Gannosuke) main event. He got himself involved in the match when Gannosuke delivered a low blow on him and he responded later on with Sweet Chin Music.
Michaels made occasional appearances as the WWF Commissioner during the spring and summer of 1999, but remained absent from television after August until May 15, 2000, when he returned on Raw Is War to declare himself the special guest referee for The Rock and Triple H's Iron Man match at Judgment Day. One month later, Michaels briefly reappeared on Raw Is War to hand over the role of Commissioner to Mick Foley, and after another appearance in October did not make any in-arena appearances until mid-2002. He appeared briefly on television to make a speech at WWF New York during Armageddon in December 2000.
Believing that his wrestling career was over, Michaels was interested in training individuals who wanted to become professional wrestlers. He saw potential in using his name and opened the Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy (later the Texas Wrestling Academy) in 1999, after his lawyer Skip McCormick suggested the idea. During his time as a teacher at the academy, he had his first match since 1998 on April 4, 2000, where he defeated Venom in a Hardcore Street Fight. Michaels left the academy in 2002, giving co-founder Rudy Boy Gonzalez sole responsibility due to Michaels's new contract with WWE. Michaels was also a sportscaster for San Antonio's local news for a short period during his retirement.
Feud with Triple H (2002–2004)
On the June 3 episode of Raw, Michaels returned to WWE television after 18 months of absence when Kevin Nash announced him as a new member of the recently reformed New World Order (nWo). Michaels was the only nWo member to have never worked in WCW. After the nWo had disbanded, Triple H appeared to make amends with Michaels. This was solidified when Michaels pleaded Triple H to return to Raw. Later on, they came down to the ring sporting their DX music and attire. When the pair was about to perform their trademark "Suck It" taunt, Triple H turned on Michaels by performing a Pedigree on him. Continuing the angle, a week later, Triple H attacked Michaels from behind in a parking lot and put his head through a car window, in storyline. In response, Michaels challenged Triple H to "a fight" (a non-sanctioned match) at SummerSlam, which Triple H accepted, laying the foundation for a rivalry that lasted for several years. In his first WWE match since WrestleMania XIV, Michaels won at SummerSlam, but was attacked by Triple H with a sledgehammer after the match. At Survivor Series, Michaels won the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H in the first Elimination Chamber match. Michaels's reign as champion came to an end a month later when he lost the championship to Triple H in a Three Stages of Hell match, a series of three matches in which wrestlers attempt to win the majority of matches, at Armageddon.
Michaels then began a rivalry with Chris Jericho, after Jericho claimed that he was the next Shawn Michaels. On January 13, 2003, after Jericho won a battle royal to select his entry number for the Royal Rumble, choosing number two in order to start the match with Michaels, who had already been named number one. At the Royal Rumble, Jericho, with the help of Christian, eliminated Michaels. Michaels defeated Jericho at WrestleMania XIX. Despite this, Michaels was low-blowed after hugging with Chris Jericho. On the final episode of Raw of 2003, Michaels defeated Triple H after a Sweet Chin Music for the World Heavyweight title in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas with Eric Bischoff as the special guest referee (Earl Hebner originally refereed the match, only to be knocked out by Triple H in the middle of the match). However, Bischoff reversed the decision due to both men's shoulders being on the mat. Angered by this, Michaels attacked Ric Flair and Bischoff. He was subsequently fired by Bischoff but rehired by Steve Austin.
As a part of an ongoing feud with Triple H, the two competed alongside Chris Benoit in the main event match at WrestleMania XX for the World Heavyweight Championship. The former DX partners both came up short in the match, however, as Benoit won the championship. The night before this, Shawn Michaels inducted Tito Santana in the WWE Hall of Fame. A triple threat WrestleMania rematch for the title took place in April at Backlash in Benoit's hometown of Edmonton, where Benoit successfully retained it, forcing Michaels to submit to a Sharpshooter. Due to the "Montreal Screwjob" incident, the Canadian crowd booed Michaels, with chants of "You screwed Bret!" being heard during his match at Backlash. At Bad Blood in June, Michaels lost to Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match. Four months later, he lost a World Heavyweight championship match against Triple H, after Edge interfered at Taboo Tuesday, when the fans voted for him ahead of Edge and Chris Benoit to face Triple H one more time. Following this, Michaels was out of action for a few months with a legit torn meniscus.
D-Generation X reunion (2005–2007)
At the Royal Rumble in 2005, Michaels competed in the Rumble match and eliminated Kurt Angle. In seeking revenge, Angle re-entered the ring and eliminated Michaels, and thus placed him in an ankle lock submission hold, outside the ring. Michaels issued a challenge to Angle for a match at WrestleMania 21, which Angle accepted when he appeared on Raw to attack Michaels. The following week on Raw, Marty Jannetty and Michaels had a one time reunion as The Rockers and defeated La Résistance (Robért Conway and Sylvain Grenier). Three days later on SmackDown!, Angle defeated Jannetty, after Angle made Jannetty submit to the ankle lock. To send a "message" to Michaels, Angle also humiliated Michaels's former manager, Sensational Sherri, when he applied the ankle lock hold on her. At WrestleMania 21 in April, Angle defeated Michaels by submission, again with an ankle lock. Two months later, at a WrestleMania 21 rematch, Michaels defeated Angle at the Vengeance pay-per-view event.
Following the events of WrestleMania 21, the next night on Raw, Muhammad Hassan and Daivari came out to confront and assault Michaels. On the April 11 episode of Raw, Michaels approached authority figure Eric Bischoff, in which he demanded a handicap match with Hassan and Daivari. Bischoff refused to schedule such a match and instead told Michaels to find a partner. Michaels then made a plea for Hulk Hogan to come back and team with him. On the April 18 episode of Raw, Hassan again led an attack on Michaels until Hogan appeared to save Michaels and accept his offer. At Backlash, Hassan and Daivari lost to Hogan and Michaels when Daivari was pinned. On the July 4 episode of Raw, Michaels and Hulk Hogan had a tag team match, which they won. During the post-match pose, Michaels hit Hogan with his superkick, knocking Hogan to the ground and making Michaels a villain for the first time since returning in 2002. The following week on Raw, Michaels appeared on Piper's Pit where he superkicked Roddy Piper and then challenged Hogan to a match at SummerSlam. Hogan defeated Michaels at SummerSlam, and after the match Michaels extended his hand to him, saying "I needed to know, and I found out" and he and Hogan shook hands. Michaels left the ring to allow Hogan to celebrate with the crowd, and Michaels once again became a fan favorite.
Michaels followed this up with a short feud with Chris Masters, becoming the first person to cleanly defeat him at Unforgiven with Sweet Chin Music. On the October 3 WWE Homecoming episode of Raw, he wrestled old rival Kurt Angle to a 2–2 draw in a 30-Minute Iron Man match. Afterwards, he challenged Angle to sudden-death overtime, but Angle refused and walked out. He was part of Team Raw at Survivor Series in a losing effort.
On the December 26, 2005, episode of Raw, Vince McMahon lauded Michaels for his part in the "Montreal Screwjob". Michaels said he was only being loyal to his company, he had moved on, and McMahon should move on as well. McMahon then began setting unusual stipulations for Michaels's matches and interfering on behalf of Michaels's opponents. During the Royal Rumble, McMahon made his way to the ring, and as Michaels stared at McMahon, Shane McMahon made a surprising appearance, eliminating Michaels from the match. On the February 13 episode of Raw, McMahon tried unsuccessfully to force Michaels to sign retirement papers. The following week, Michaels won a handicap match against the Spirit Squad (Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey) and after the match, Michaels's former partner, Marty Jannetty, came down to help Michaels from the assault by the Spirit Squad. After the two reunited, McMahon offered Jannetty a contract if he "kissed his ass." The following week, Jannetty refused McMahon's offer and instead took Chris Masters's "Masterlock challenge." Michaels tried to help Jannetty, which ultimately resulted in Shane attacking Michaels and forcing him to kiss his father's behind. At Saturday Night's Main Event XXXII, Shane defeated Michaels in a Street Fight, a match without disqualifications and where scoring conditions can occur anywhere, after he applied a sharpshooter on Michaels, which led to McMahon immediately ordering for the bell to be rung, even though Michaels did not submit, which was an allusion to the "Montreal Screwjob". Despite interference from the Spirit Squad and Shane, Michaels defeated McMahon at WrestleMania 22 in a No Holds Barred match, a match where there are no disqualifications. At Backlash, The McMahons (Vince and Shane) defeated Michaels and "God" in a tag team match, with help from the Spirit Squad in a no disqualification match. On the May 22 episode of Raw, the Squad was scripted to injure Michaels's knee. This angle was written so that Michaels could have surgery on his knee, which had been legitimately injured for some time.
In 2006, a series of events took place which suggested a reunion of Michaels and Triple H as DX. They began at WrestleMania 22, where both Michaels and Triple H performed the crotch chop, during their matches. On Raw, the two continued to deliver chops, as Michaels feuded with Vince McMahon and Triple H went to challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship, repeatedly butting heads with Vince McMahon in the process. On the June 12 episode of Raw, DX officially reunited. During Triple H's gauntlet match, which had him compete against the Spirit Squad. Michaels came in to help Triple H, and the two did the DX "crotch chops." At Vengeance, DX defeated the Spirit Squad in a 5–on–2 handicap match. They also defeated the Spirit Squad at Saturday Night's Main Event XXXIII in a 5-on-2 elimination match and defeated The McMahons at SummerSlam. At Unforgiven, DX once again defeated the McMahons and ECW World Champion The Big Show in a Hell in a Cell match, finally ending the nine-month long feud.
At Cyber Sunday, DX took on Rated-RKO (Edge and Randy Orton). The fan-selected referee Eric Bischoff allowed the illegal use of a steel chair to give Rated-RKO the ill-gotten win and the plaudit of being the first tag team to defeat DX in a tag team match since their reformation in June 2006. At Survivor Series, however, Team DX emerged victorious against Team Rated-RKO in a clean sweep victory. At New Year's Revolution, Triple H suffered a legit torn right quadriceps during their match with Rated-RKO. Rated-RKO claimed victory over DX, citing Triple H's injury, as the "end" of DX. On January 15, Michaels lived up to his word of "dealing" with Rated-RKO, from his comments the previous week before, when he took out Randy Orton with a con-chair-to after a handicap match against Edge and Orton.
Various feuds and championship pursuits (2007–2009)
On the January 29 episode of Raw, Michaels captured the World Tag Team Championship with WWE Champion John Cena after defeating Rated-RKO. He then defeated both Edge and Orton in a triple threat number one contender's match on the February 5 episode of Raw to earn a shot at the WWE Championship. At WrestleMania 23, Cena retained the championship, after he made Michaels submit to the STFU. The next night on Raw, Michaels and Cena competed in two back-to-back ten team battle royals, winning the first and losing the World Tag Team titles in the second to The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) when Michaels threw Cena over the top rope. Michaels's feud with Cena continued and he faced off with Cena, Edge and Randy Orton in a fatal four-way Match at Backlash for the WWE Championship. Cena retained the championship when Michaels performed Sweet Chin Music on Cena, causing him to fall on Orton for the pinfall.
Michaels then entered a feud with Randy Orton when Orton claimed that he could beat Michaels. The week before their scheduled match at Judgment Day, after Michaels won a match against then-World Heavyweight Champion Edge, Orton attacked him, punting Michaels in the head. Orton assaulted Michaels again prior to their match at Judgment Day, interrupting Michaels's interview segment. Michaels collapsed during their match, causing Orton to win by referee stoppage. Afterwards, Orton continued the beating, when he performed an RKO to a fallen Michaels. Michaels was then removed out of the ring in a stretcher. During the feud, Michaels suffered a storyline concussion. This injury was used to keep Michaels out of action, as he required surgery for his knee. Michaels made his return on the October 8 episode of Raw, performing Sweet Chin Music to newly crowned WWE Champion, Randy Orton, during his title ceremony at the end of the show and then celebrating over the knocked-out champion as Vince McMahon watched. At Cyber Sunday, Michaels was voted by the fans to face Orton for the WWE Championship, though he won via disqualification when Orton hit Michaels with a low blow, which resulted in Orton retaining the championship. Michaels got another opportunity at the WWE Championship, when he was granted his rematch against Orton at Survivor Series. In their match, Michaels was banned from using Sweet Chin Music upon request by Orton, referring to as Michaels superkicking Orton week after week. Michaels lost the match, when Orton performed an RKO for the win, which ended their feud.
As part of the storyline involving Ric Flair, Michaels faced Flair in a Career Threatening match at WrestleMania XXIV, in which he won by performing Sweet Chin Music and thus ending Flair's career. Afterwards, Batista confronted Michaels about his actions at WrestleMania, calling him selfish and egotistical. The two faced off at Backlash with Chris Jericho as the guest referee. Michaels won after faking a knee injury and performing Sweet Chin Music. Jericho then confronted Michaels on this matter, in which Michaels admitted to faking the injury in order to defeat Batista. Michaels then defeated Jericho at Judgment Day. At One Night Stand, Michaels lost to Batista in a stretcher match, thus ending their feud. On the June 9 episode of Raw, Michaels was attacked by Chris Jericho during his talk show segment, The Highlight Reel, being thrown directly through a television screen. The following week, it was revealed that, within the context of the storyline, Michaels had suffered a detached retina. At The Great American Bash, a match between Michaels and Jericho was scheduled, in which Jericho assaulted Michaels's eye, which caused Jericho to win by referee stoppage.
A month later at SummerSlam, Michaels announced his retirement from professional wrestling. That night, Jericho punched Michaels's wife in the face. On the next Raw, Michaels renounced his retirement and challenged Jericho to an unsanctioned match at Unforgiven, which Jericho accepted. The next week, they had an in-ring contract signing for the unsanctioned match. During this, they started to fight, causing a legit small triceps tear for Michaels. He was medically cleared to compete at Unforgiven, and beat Jericho so severely that the referee called the match. Later that night, Jericho replaced CM Punk in the World Heavyweight Championship scramble match, and won the title. The next month, at No Mercy, Michaels lost a championship ladder match to Jericho.
In December 2008, Michaels was written in a storyline where he lost his family's savings due to the global recession and accepted a one-year general employment contract from John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL), which character is a rich buissnesman. After failing to help JBL win the World Heavyweight Championship from John Cena at the Royal Rumble, and being derided for it, Michaels agreed to face JBL in "All or Nothing" match at No Way Out in February. Michaels won the match, letting him out of his contract early, while still receiving full payment.
On the March 2 Raw, Michaels became the first person to defeat Vladimir Kozlov, and so earned a match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV in April. The Undertaker defeated Michaels in a highly acclaimed match to extend his WrestleMania winning streak to 17–0. After WrestleMania, Michaels took a hiatus from WWE.
Final matches and second retirement (2009–2010)
Michaels returned to WWE programming in a series of segments that aired on the August 10, 2009 episode of Raw, where he had, in storyline, left the WWE. Triple H met with Michaels at an office cafeteria in Texas where he was working as a chef; throughout the segments, Triple H tried to convince Michaels to return to WWE and reform DX. After several incidents during the segments, Michaels agreed to team with Triple H to face The Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) at SummerSlam. At the pay-per-view event, DX defeated Legacy. The two teams exchanged victories, with their feud concluding in October. Two months later, at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, DX defeated Chris Jericho and Big Show to win the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match (TLC). On the January 4, 2010 episode of Raw, Michaels buried the hatchet with long-time rival Bret Hart, as they shook hands and hugged in the ring. In contrast to the storylines featured on the show, this was in fact a real-life reconciliation which laid to rest animosities surrounding the Montreal Screwjob. While some cast doubts on its sincerity, both men have confirmed that it was indeed genuine. DX lost the Unified Tag Team Championship in a Triple Threat match to the team of The Miz and Big Show on the February 8 episode of Raw, the match also included The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk and Luke Gallows). At the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Michaels cost The Undertaker the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event. At WrestleMania XXVI, Michaels lost to The Undertaker and, as a result, he was forced to retire due to the match stipulation, the same way HBK ended Ric Flair's career. The following night, on the March 29 episode of Raw, Michaels gave an emotional farewell speech, departing with the familiar sentence, "Shawn Michaels has left the building."
In an interview with Bill Simmons of ESPN.com shortly after his retirement, Michaels stated that his decision to retire came a month before WrestleMania XXV, when a backstage employee asked about his son Cameron, and, in response to Shawn telling the employee that he'd just turned nine, the employee said that he was "halfway gone"; meaning that he was halfway to his eighteenth birthday, and after that, he'd be "gone". The statement affected Michaels deeply; he did not want to be absent when his son left home, so he decided that year would be his last year as an active wrestler.
WWE Hall of Famer and sporadic appearances (2010–2018)
On the December 14, 2010 episode of Raw, Michaels won the Slammy Award for Moment of the Year for his match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI. Michaels accepted the award via satellite. Three days later, he announced a long-term deal with WWE, where he would serve in an ambassadorial role. Michaels made his in-person television return at the December 11 Tribute to the Troops taping, where he and Triple H had a one-night only DX reunion.
Michaels appeared on the January 10, 2011 episode of Raw, where he was announced as a WWE Hall of Fame class of 2011 inductee. After being ridiculed by Alberto Del Rio later that night, Michaels hit him with Sweet Chin Music. On the March 28 episode of Raw, Michaels addressed Triple H and The Undertaker about their match at WrestleMania XXVII. Michaels was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 2 by Triple H. They were also joined by fellow Kliq members Kevin Nash (who had returned to WWE for the Royal Rumble) and Sean Waltman. He returned on the June 27 episode of Raw, where he was confronted by CM Punk, and superkicked David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty. Later that night, when Diamond Dallas Page's special appearance was interrupted by Drew McIntyre, he superkicked McIntyre.
In June 2011, Jim Ross, Michaels and Hart announced that the three were working on a DVD chronicling the careers of Hart and Michaels that the WWE was planning to release in October 2011. The subject of the DVD was their on-screen rivalry and real-life conflicts, with a particular focus on the Montreal Screwjob. In his tweet, Hart described working on the DVD as a "cathartic" experience, and Ross asserted that both Hart and Michaels had been very honest and emotional in their interviews. The DVD, Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart: WWE's Greatest Rivalries, was released in November 2011.
On the February 13, 2012 episode of Raw, Michaels confronted Triple H about accepting The Undertaker's challenge for a Hell in a Cell match at Wrestlemania XXVIII, and announced he'd be the special guest referee for it. Despite interference on Triple H's behalf from Michaels, The Undertaker emerged victorious. After Michaels and The Undertaker assisted Triple H out of the ring and up the ramp, the three embraced. Michaels appeared at Raw 1000 on July 23 alongside fellow D-Generation X alumni Triple H, X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn. The group were interrupted by Damien Sandow before Michaels struck him with Sweet Chin Music and Triple H delivered a Pedigree. The group then performed their signature poses before departing.
Michaels appeared on the August 6 episode of Raw. He was confronted by Brock Lesnar (who was scheduled to face Triple H at SummerSlam) and Paul Heyman. Michaels announced he would be in Triple H's corner for the match. After the show ended, many WWE Superstars (including John Cena and The Undertaker) celebrated Michaels' career. The live audience festivities were titled "Shawn Michaels Appreciation Night", as the show took place in Michaels' hometown of San Antonio, Texas. On the following week's episode of Raw, Lesnar (kayfabe) broke Michaels' arm after putting Michaels in a Kimura Lock. As a result, Michaels was unable to appear; Lesnar defeated Triple H at the event.
On the January 24, 2013 episode of NXT, Michaels announced a tournament to crown the inaugural NXT Tag Team Champions. On the April 1, 2013 Raw, Michaels returned to offer to corner Triple H in his match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 29. During that match, Michaels superkicked an interfering Paul Heyman, helping Triple H win and keep his job. He returned on the May 27 Raw in a backstage segment with John Cena, and again on the SummerSlam pre-show.
In October 2013, Michaels won a fan poll to become special guest referee for the Hell in a Cell match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for the vacant WWE Championship. He performed Sweet Chin Music on Bryan, allowing Orton to win. The next night on Raw, he explained that he was upset with Bryan for attacking Triple H during the match. He degraded Bryan for not showing him respect, turning heel for the first time since 2005. Bryan applied the "Yes!" Lock on Michaels to end the segment. On December 9, he presented Bryan with the award for Superstar of the Year. Later that night, Bryan attacked Michaels with a running knee after Michaels attacked CM Punk with Sweet Chin Music. All three legends then became involved in an altercation with Big Show. Michaels appeared at WrestleMania 31, interfering as a member of DX in the Sting vs. Triple H match, performing Sweet Chin Music to Sting. Michaels appeared on the October 19, 2015, episode of Raw, confronting Seth Rollins who was cutting a promo on relieving Kane of his duties as Director of Operations.
At WrestleMania 32, Michaels made an appearance during the event in his in-ring attire, confronting The League of Nations alongside Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin where Michaels delivered Sweet Chin Music to Alberto Del Rio and King Barrett before celebrating with Foley, Austin and The New Day.
In late 2016, Michaels became a trainer at the WWE Performance Center.
On the January 9, 2017 episode of Raw, Michaels returned to WWE, promoting his new film. Michaels was then confronted by Rusev, Lana and Jinder Mahal, before Enzo Amore and Big Cass came to Michaels's side, leading to a match between Big Cass and Mahal, with Michaels being in Big Cass's corner. Big Cass won the match after Michaels superkicked Rusev at ringside, distracting Mahal. On the March 13 episode of Raw, Michaels gave Roman Reigns advice about The Undertaker for their match at WrestleMania 33, before Braun Strowman attacked Reigns on the entrance ramp.
Michaels and numerous other WWE legends appeared on the January 22, 2018 episode of Raw 25 Years.
One match return (2018–present)
On the September 3, 2018, episode of Raw, Michaels made a special appearance to promote the match between Triple H and The Undertaker at Super Show-Down, during which he was confronted by The Undertaker himself. At Super Show-Down, Michaels assisted Triple H in defeating The Undertaker, after which, he was attacked by Undertaker and Kane. On the October 8 edition of Raw, Michaels appeared with Triple H and announced that he was coming out of retirement to reform D-Generation X. At Crown Jewel, D-Generation X defeated The Brothers of Destruction. The match was poorly received by fans and critics alike, eventually being voted Wrestling Observer Newsletter's "Worst Match of the Year" award. Afterwards, he confirmed that he would be going back into retirement. On the February 25, 2019 episode of WWE Raw, Michaels along with special guests Ricky Steamboat, Kurt Angle and Sting appeared during the main event segment to celebrate the 70th birthday of Ric Flair. However, Flair would be attacked by Batista instead of appearing on-screen. In April 2019, Michaels was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for the second time as a member of D-Generation X as part of the 2019 class.
Michaels is considered one of the greatest wrestlers in history. He received praises for several matches, including 15 Match of the Year awards between Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Also, his match at WrestleMania 24 against Ric Flair was named Match of the Decade by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Dave Meltzer, from Wrestling Observer Newsletter, gave him two 5 stars matches (the Ladder match against Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X and the first Hell in a Cell against The Undertaker at Bad Blood 1997). After several acclaimed matches at WrestleMania, Michaels has been known as Mr. WrestleMania. Sumit Rehal of Independent UK in his top 10 WrestleMania matches listed Michels 3 times (vs Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X, vs Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII and vs The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV). In 2016, Dave Richard of CBS Sports ranked his match against Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV as the best main event in WrestleMania history.
His rivalry with Bret Hart has been named one of the best rivalries in WWE history.
After 8 years retired from in-ring competition, Michaels made his return at Crown Jewel, receiving criticism from the fans and media. After his match, Brad Shepard from Oh You Didn't Know? said "he [Michaels] had a total disaster of a match at Crown Jewel". PWTorch's Wade Keller said "Michaels shows glimpses and didn't embarrass himself".
Hickenbottom's first marriage, to Theresa Wood, soon ended in an amicably settled divorce. He married Rebecca Curci, a former WCW Nitro Girl known as Whisper, on March 31, 1999, at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Only the couple and an Elvis impersonator were present. Their son, Cameron Kade, was born on January 15, 2000, and a daughter, Cheyenne, born on August 19, 2004 followed. His cousin Matt Bentley is also a professional wrestler, having wrestled in TNA and WWE.
In 1996, Hickenbottom posed for a non-nude layout in Playgirl magazine. Only after he posed did he discover Playgirl has a mostly homosexual readership, for which some of his fellow wrestlers teased him.
He is ambidextrous, and had trouble differentiating between right and left, which affected his football games as a boy. He uses his right hand to draw and color and his left hand to write. He typically kicks with his right leg in Sweet Chin Music, but uses either arm for his signature elbow drop, depending on the position.
In 1987, Hickenbottom developed a pattern of "heavy" substance abuse, which eventually alienated some of his closest friends. He contemplated suicide in the late 1980s, and suggested that psychological intervention was "probably sorely needed" by the late 1990s. His wife Rebecca observed: "There was something in him that he despised, and he was self-destructing." Hickenbottom's fear that he was going to negatively influence his young son, prompted him to abandon his previous lifestyle.
Hickenbottom became a born-again Christian on April 24, 2002. He was raised a Catholic, but became a non-denominational Christian because of his wife. His later ring attire often incorporated cross symbols and he made a praying gesture on his knees during ring entrances. Hickenbottom was in the audience for a televised service of John Hagee's Cornerstone Church in his hometown, San Antonio, where he is also a Bible teacher. In 2008, he appeared on a Trinity Broadcasting Network program with fellow professional wrestler Sting.
Shawn Michaels' MacMillan River Adventures
Michaels is the host of the outdoor television show, Shawn Michaels' MacMillan River Adventures. Michaels joins his hunting partner and longtime friend, Keith Mark, owner and operator of the original MacMillan River Adventures camp in Yukon, Canada, as they hunt big-game animals around the world. This series airs on CarbonTV.
|2017||The Resurrection of Gavin Stone||Doug||Debut|
|Pure Country: Pure Heart||Ted|
|2018||Avengers of Justice: Farce Wars||Incredible Master Yoga|
|The Marine 6: Close Quarters||Luke Trapper|
|2019||90 Feet from Home||James Devine|
|1999||Pacific Blue||Michael Shane||2 episodes|
During their 2015–16 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League named a line, consisting of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel, the "HBK Line" due to the fact that the trio's first initials, of their last names, recall Michaels's "Heartbreak Kid" moniker. Pens' game-day staff would regularly play Michaels' theme "Sexy Boy" over the Consol Energy Center PA system after goals or excellent shifts by line members.
After weeks of having fun with Penguins fans on Twitter, the team officially invited Michaels for their Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning (whose fanbase contains a sizable number of pro wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan and Titus O'Neil, due to Tampa long being a home base for many wrestlers), upon which Michaels accepted. Michaels met with Penguins' owner Mario Lemieux and sat with former Pittsburgh Steelers's defensive lineman Brett Keisel during the game. Keisel also gave Michaels a tour of the city including at the Steelers headquarters and having lunch at Primanti Brothers in the city's Strip District. The Penguins lost the game in overtime 4–3 but went on to defeat the Lightning in the series and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, eventually defeating the San Jose Sharks for the Stanley Cup. Michaels eventually befriended Keisel and attended his annual "Shear Da Beard" event in 2017.
While the Penguins successfully defended their Stanley Cup championship the following year, the HBK Line was broken up when Kessel was moved to the 2nd line with Evgeni Malkin and Bonino left the team in free agency.
Championships and accomplishments
- American Wrestling Association
- The Baltimore Sun
- Feud of the Year (2008) vs. Chris Jericho
- Match of the Year (2007) vs. John Cena on Raw
- Match of the Year (2008) vs. Ric Flair at WrestleMania XXIV
- Match of the Year (2009) vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV
- Match of the Year (2010) vs. The Undertaker in a career vs. streak match at WrestleMania XXVI
- Wrestler of the Year (2008)
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement/Lou Thesz Award (2018)
- CBS Sports
- Central States Wrestling
- Continental Wrestling Association
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Feud of the Decade (2000–2009) vs. Chris Jericho
- Feud of the Year (2008) vs. Chris Jericho
- Match of the Decade (2000–2009) vs. Ric Flair at WrestleMania XXIV
- Match of the Year (1993) vs. Marty Jannetty on Monday Night Raw on May 17
- Match of the Year (1994) vs. Razor Ramon in a ladder match at WrestleMania X
- Match of the Year (1995) vs. Diesel at WrestleMania XI
- Match of the Year (1996) vs. Bret Hart in an Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII
- Match of the Year (2004) vs. Chris Benoit and Triple H at WrestleMania XX
- Match of the Year (2005) vs. Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 21
- Match of the Year (2006) vs. Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred match at WrestleMania 22
- Match of the Year (2007) vs. John Cena on Raw on April 23
- Match of the Year (2008) vs. Ric Flair at WrestleMania XXIV
- Match of the Year (2009) vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV
- Match of the Year (2010) vs. The Undertaker in a career vs. streak match at WrestleMania XXVI
- Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Decade (2000–2009)
- Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (2010)
- Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1995, 1996)
- Ranked No. 1 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1996
- Ranked No. 10 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003
- Ranked No. 33 and No. 55 of the top 100 tag teams of the PWI Years with Marty Jannetty and Diesel, respectively, in 2003
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2017
- Texas All-Star Wrestling
- Texas Wrestling Alliance
- TWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE
- WWF World Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (3 times)
- WWF European Championship (1 time)
- WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Triple H
- WWF/World Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with Diesel (2), Stone Cold Steve Austin (1), John Cena (1), Triple H (1)
- Royal Rumble (1995, 1996)
- First Grand Slam Champion
- Fourth Triple Crown Champion
- Slammy Awards (15 times)
- Best Finisher (1997)
- Best Slammin' Jammin' Entrance (1996)
- Best Tag Team (1994) – with Diesel
- Best Threads (1996)
- Double-Cross of the Year (2013) – For turning on Daniel Bryan and costing him the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell.
- Leader of the New Generation (1996)
- Master of Mat Mechanics (1996)
- Match of the Year (1994, 1996, 1997, 2008, 2009) – vs. Razor Ramon in a ladder match at WrestleMania X; vs. Razor Ramon in a ladder match at SummerSlam; vs Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII; vs The Undertaker at Badd Blood: In Your House; vs Ric Flair at WrestleMania XXIV; vs The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV
- Moment of the Year (2010) – vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI
- Squared Circle Shocker (1996) – Won for collapsing; Owen Hart accepts the award for making Michaels collapse
- Worst Tag Team (1994) – with Diesel
- WWE Hall of Fame (2 times)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Best Babyface (1996)
- Feud of the Year (2004) vs. Chris Benoit and Triple H
- Feud of the Year (2008) vs. Chris Jericho
- Match of the Year (1994) vs. Razor Ramon in a ladder match at WrestleMania X
- Match of the Year (2008) vs. Chris Jericho in a ladder match at No Mercy
- Match of the Year (2009) vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXV
- Match of the Year (2010) vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI
- Worst Match of the Year (2018) with Triple H vs. The Undertaker and Kane at Crown Jewel
- Most Charismatic (1995, 1996)
- Tag Team of the Year (1989) with Marty Jannetty as The Rockers
- Worst Feud of the Year (2006) with Triple H vs. Shane and Vince McMahon
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2003)
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Michaels, who brought Degeneration X along with him, was later betrayed by his comrades, when he was locked out of the building and pounded by the corporate thugs. That allows Michaels to be absent for awhile [sic] and he'll have back surgery.
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Bret Hart & Lex Luger
| Royal Rumble winner
1995 & 1996
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin