Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wrestlemania Rankings - The Showstopper

Here we are at our penultimate Wrestlemania rankings, as we look at the matches of the man who is perhaps the greatest competitor in the history of the event, Mr. Wrestlemania himself, Shawn Michaels.


The Rockers vs. The Orient Express

Wrestlemania VI
Toronto, Ontario

While this is not a bad match by any stretch of the imagination, it still could have been better. I was not a huge fan of the "salt in the eyes lead to a count out" finish. These two teams would have a much better match at the following years Royal Rumble. Had that match have taken place here, then it would be far higher on the list.

Shawn Michaels vs. Tito "El Matador" Santana

Wrestlemania VIII
Hoosier Dome
Indianapolis, IL

As I said in my Openers list, "This was a fun match, between two very talented performers, but it lacked the necessary emotion to push it into greatness.". Not much more to add here, although it is interesting to here Bobby "The Brain" Heenan say that Michaels was going to be the biggest star of the 90s, funny how things work out.

Intercontinental Title Match
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Tatanka
Wrestlemania IX
Ceaser's Palace
Las Vegas, NV

Another match that I already mentioned. It was certainly a good one, but marred by the disqualification finish, and the lack of real emotion.

The Twin Towers vs. The Rockers
Wrestlemania V
Trump Plaza
Atlantic City, NJ

Hardly the biggest debut for the future legend. These two teams worked a good Big Team vs. Little Team match, which The Rockers would become famous for. This is well worth a watch, for the nostalgia factor alone.

Street Fight
Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon

Wrestlemania 22
All State Arena
Chicago, IL

As I have said a number of times, this was too long and too much of Michaels beating on McMahon. While that is enjoyable to a point, they may have taken it too far and too long with this one.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's were we go from good, to great)

The Rockers vs. The Barbarian and Haku

Wrestlemania VII
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Los Angeles, CA

I ranked this one #5 on my "Openers" list, and in retrospect, I may have underrated it. It was that good.

WWF Title Match
Diesel (c) vs. Shawn Michaels

Wrestlemania XI
Hartford Civic Center
Hartford, CT

The match that really showed that Michaels was a viable main event player. During this match, Diesel was supposed to be the dominant face, but Michaels did such a good job in this match that the Hartford fans started to cheer him on (a near unheard of thing in 1995). The Showstopper truly arrived here.

WWF Title Match
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

Wrestlemania XIV
Fleet Center
Boston, MA

Probably the manliest performance of Michaels' career. He had already suffered a career ending back injury, months prior, but he still fought it out for this match, and absolutely delivered. This appeared to be the last match of his career, until his miraculous 2002 comeback, and had it been, it would certainly be a good way to go.

WWE Title Match
John Cena (c) vs. Shawn Michaels
Wrestlemania 23
Ford Field
Detroit, MI

While this match gets mixed reviews, I quite enjoy it. These two worked a very nice mix of technique, brawling, and high spots into one match. I really enjoyed the cross body-FU-Superkick-STFU counter series near the end. This really was a great way to end a very solid event.

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
Wrestlemania XIX
Safeco Field
Seattle, WA

This was from their first feud back in 2003, and not their epic feud of last year. That being said, this was an absolute dream match for me, as two of my all-time favourite performers stepped into the same ring for the first time. While it is strange to think of now, at the time, this was a novelty, as it was one of his first few matches back from his comeback, and nobody was certain how much longer he would be around for. My hopes were high, and I was certainly not let down. This is well worth a watch, even if you aren't quite as big of a fan of these two as I am.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Here is where it gets spectacular)

Iron Man Match for the WWF Title
Bret Hart (c) vs. Shawn Michaels

Wrestlemania 12
Arrowhead Pond
Anaheim, CA

This is perhaps the most overrated match in the history of the WWE. Many people call it the best match ever (as it was voted the best Wrestlemania match ever before Wrestlemania XX), and it certainly is a very good match, but the praise it receives may just be a little much. These two men delivered for an hour, which was something that we were not seeing at the time (and had not seen since Flair's glory days in the 80s). My biggest complaint is the lack of falls, they announced the Iron Man stipulation, yet did nothing to play into it, as both men were tied 0-0 at the end of the hour. A 1-1 tie would have been more effective. Still, well worth a watch if you have an hour to kill.

Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title
Razor Ramon (c) vs. Shawn Michaels

Wrestlemania X
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY

Arguably Shawn's greatest match before his comeback, and the day that he started to become "The Showstopper". These two men went out and gave us something that we had never seen before. Sure the high parts have been topped since then, but words can not express how ground breaking this match was, as so much of the death-defying moves that defined the late 90s and early 00s take roots from this match.

Career Threatening Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair

Wrestlemania XXIV
Citrus Bowl
Orlando, FL

The last match in the career of the greatest in-ring performer against arguably his closest equal. While this match may not have been a technical classic like the Iron Man Match, or as jaw dropping as the Ladder Match, this match had far, far more emotion. The story going into this was fantastic, as Flair asked Michaels to give him a Wrestlemania moment, but Shawn was hesitant to retire his friend, yet Flair insisted that he give him his all. In the end Shawn uttered "I'm sorry, I love" before giving a final superkick and ending the career of Ric Flair in what was one of the most emotional moments in the history of this pseudo-sport

World Title Match
Triple H (c) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit

Wrestlemania XX
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY

While this is controversial given the news that surrounds Mr. Benoit, I decided to let this match stand on it's own merits, and those are quite high. These three men delivered an absolute classic in every sense of the world in what is arguably the triple threat match ever, Triple H's best match ever, and ranks among the best matches of Michaels and Benoit's great in-ring careers. While many at the time were critical of Michaels's involvment in the match, he certainly added his own flair to the affair, and helped the dynamics of the match. If you can get past the sickening events surround Mr. Benoit, and the surreal hug at the end of the match, this is simply a fantastic match.

Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle

Wrestlemania 21
Staples Center
Los Angeles, CA

The premise was simple. Who was the best, not just at the time, but of the generation? This pitted the best wrestler of the 90s against the best of the 00s. The results? Simply the best that you could ask for. Find a way to watch this match, even if you are not a fan, it will not let you down.


While I said that this Sunday's match could be Taker's best ever, I am not certain that it will be the same for HBK's, he has some pretty stiff comeptition, that being said, this should still be a classic.

Until next time,


Achieved Posts:

The Openers
The Intercontinental Title
The Tag Team Titles
Extreme Rules
Women's Matches
The Dead Man
The Showstopper
The Main Events

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