Home > Columns, wwe > Guest Column: An Ode to Shawn Michaels by Jaykob

Guest Column: An Ode to Shawn Michaels by Jaykob

Note from John: This is a one time column from a reader named Jaykob. He sent it to me saying it wasn’t even meant to be a column. However, I read it and liked it so much that I told him I’d share it. Why? Because it’s about my favorite wrestler ever: Shawn Michaels. This doesn’t mean you should be writing me long letters about your love for HBK. I’m not posting random stuff. This is an exception. Enjoy it.

An Ode to Shawn Michaels
By Jaykob

As I watched RAW this past Monday, I was struck by the video package the WWE made of Shawn Michaels. It featured an excellent cover of Kate Bush’s song “Running Up That Hill” by Placebo. I also marked out when the stipulation, career vs. streak, for his rematch with The Undertaker was revealed. Now, before someone accuses me of being a mark, I realize that, even though it’s billed as a retirement match, Shawn will probably be back even if he loses. With that said, regardless of the outcome at Wrestlemania, the career of HBK is coming to an end sooner than later. I thought I had already accepted that, but something about this past RAW made that realization really hit home with me and I started thinking about my own story as a fan of professional wrestling and the impact that Shawn Michaels has had on my childhood. Needless to say, I had underestimated just how important the guy was to me, and so I was inspired to write a little something about how I was feeling. Despite this not being a Pulitzer Prize piece of writing, I hope you, the patrons of this blog, read this and identify with my feelings as a long time fan of professional wrestling even if you are not a big fan of Shawn Michaels specifically. Every wrestling fan has their heroes and Shawn Michaels just happens to be mine.

In the early to mid-nineties the WWF product was crap save for two shining jewels: Shawn Michaels and Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Back then, I was just a kid, but I couldn’t bring myself to jump over to WCW no matter how bad the product degenerated. Kids like me who stuck around after Hogan and the big boys left, we fell into two camps: those who were for Bret Hart and those who were for HBK. Over a decade later, I think the lines of distinction we drew as kids never faded away and most of us who remember being a kid in that era still experience that divisive mark as a feint outline. But this isn’t a post about Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels. Regardless of which camp one chose back then, you couldn’t go wrong. It was simply a matter of taste.

Again this blog is mostly about me, and I was firmly in the camp of Shawn Michaels. I don’t know exactly why — I still loved Bret Hart and everything, but there was something about Michaels’ swagger, his contempt for authority, his unscripted humor, and this genuine quality of recklessness he exuded that just resonated with me. Years later, I discovered that the man behind the character I adored was a prima donna in real life at that stage of his career, but it didn’t matter at the time. When I was a kid I had no knowledge of backstage politics. This was way before I had any concept of an Internet Wrestling Community, before TMZ, before “kayfabe” was a known term to the average fan. And I had followed HBK’s career as a Rocker, his first IC title reign, his first ladder match. I remember marking out when he won the WWF Title at Wrestlemania 12, going crazy when I watched him in the First Hell in the Cell match against the Undertaker, ect.. It didn’t matter whether HBK won or lost, I was always in awe of what he did in the ring. He was the greatest wrestler I had ever seen; the perfect performer. He always promised to steal the show and he always did. He was the surest thing in wrestling at the time and it was worth putting up with all the terrible gimmicks, bad matches, and horrible commentary just to get to the match Shawn Michaels was wrestling in.

When Shawn injured his back and retired, right before the Attitude Era was really about to explode, I was crushed. Like a lot of people, I thought his career was over and that he would never wrestle again. But Despite the loss, however, the wrestling business was changing and so was I. WWE was putting aside cheesy gimmicks, clowns, and a kid friendly product and exchanging them for an edgier image. At the same time, I had also developed into a rebellious teenager, the perfect demographic for the new WWF/E. I also started perusing wrestling websites, posting at wrestling message boards, and honing a finer appreciation for the subtle intricacies of professional wrestling. To be honest, amidst the excitement of the Attitude Era, it was easy to get over Michaels’ departure, simply because the greatest era of wrestling had so much more than any one man could offer: Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Mick Foley, Edge, Christian, and on and on. During this era, I saw some of the greatest matches of all time (Austin vs. Rock at X-7 always stands out).

But even the greatest era in WWE history had to come to an end eventually. It didn’t go out of style over night, but slowly dwindled, until it became stale and then, finally, a parody of itself. As the WWE’s attitude era wound down, however, an amazing thing happened – Shawn Michaels came back. I remember, when they first announced that he’d be wrestling again, everyone assumed that his match against Hunter – a street fight—would be a one time event. Furthermore, there was a sense that not much could be expected match-wise because even Shawn had openly stated that he preferred a gimmick match to a regular singles wrestling match. According to Shawn, it allowed him to disguise his “limitations”.

What limitations? His return match was triumphant and might have gone down as one of the most memorable Michaels matches ever, just by virtue of the fact that he exceeded even the most unrealistic fan’s expectations. It would have too if not for the fact that Shawn would overshadow that performance, continuing to top himself again and again for another eight years. Who could have predicted such a thing? If you would have told an avid wrestling fan at the time that HBK’s second stint as a professional wrestler would result in matches that outdid his matches in the 90s, they would have laughed in your face. But year after year he continued to amaze, retaking his place as the “Showstopper”. It didn’t matter that he worked a reduced schedule or that he rarely wrestled singles matches on live cable shows. When it came time to deliver the goods, Shawn was always ready, giving us classics like Angle/Michaels I, II, and III, a classic feud with Chris Jericho, numerous battles with Triple H, and of course an epic match at Wrestlemania 25 against the Undertaker.

As I reflect on Shawn’s career, I find myself thinking the following: as ridiculous as it is, as moronic and incomprehensible as it may seem to the non-fan, I LOVE professional wrestling – and Shawn Michaels was and always will be my favorite wrestler. In my eyes, he is the complete and total embodiment of everything that made me smile as a kid when I watched WWF Superstars of Wrestling on Saturday mornings and everything that made me stand up and shout when I was a teenager marking out to a PPV at my friend’s house (he had a descrambler). And what I think makes that fact even more special is that I got to fall in love with his persona twice.

So when the time comes to finally say good-bye to Shawn Michaels, I will in-turn be bidding a farewell to a piece of my childhood. But as somber as that thought is, I am completely, utterly, absolutely convinced that Shawn Michaels will give my childhood the most memorable send-off possible; one greater than I can imagine right now. I have faith in this because I know that he is the Heart Break Kid; the Showstopper; the greatest wrestler that has ever lived.

Categories: Columns, wwe Tags: ,
  1. Rated RKO
    February 25, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    i liked the Ultimate Warrior blog better

    • Jaykob
      February 25, 2010 at 10:24 AM

      Me too, and I wrote this. But I hope people can view it for what it is and not view it as a replacement for the other blog. I think it just so happened that this was being posted afterward.

      • Robbie O
        February 25, 2010 at 10:40 AM

        You can view it however you want, but that’s all this was. He needed something new to post that wasn’t an apology so he threw this up. No offense but we don’t come to the John Report on Thursdays to read HBK love notes, we come to laugh. This just didn’t live up to what we have come to expect.

        • Jaykob
          February 25, 2010 at 10:50 AM

          Listen, it’s fine that you didn’t like what I wrote, but this post was going up today regardless. I don’t think the timing of this had anything to do with Andrew’s post coming down, but I’ll let John speak to that.

          Regardless, I’m just a dude with an opinion, just like you.

          And I don’t think every article has to be funny to be entertaining. There are other reasons to like professional wrestling other than the humor. Maybe I failed at capturing what that is in my “column”, but I don’t think the only relevant posts here should be the funny ones.

          • Robbie O
            February 25, 2010 at 10:57 AM

            Not every article needs to be funny, but Thursday’s are laugh days here at the John Report. Granted it has only been that way for a month, but I for one looked forward to Sports Entertainment Weekly.

            • Jaykob
              February 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM

              I stole your smile, didn’t I?

          • JCITY617
            February 25, 2010 at 12:47 PM


            • Eric Johnson
              February 26, 2010 at 2:46 PM

              Robbie you are the embodiment of a douche bag.

        • Lou
          February 25, 2010 at 1:20 PM

          so you speak for everyone now there buckaroo?

          “This just didn’t live up to what we have come to expect.”

          it lived up to what I expected, a blog about a wrestler on a wrestling blog.

          nice job Jaykob, I enjoyed reading your post as much as I have enjoyed reading all of the other guest columnists.

  2. Robbie O
    February 25, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    Weak attempt at making up for “Johnsongate” their buckaroo. If someone writes bad things about HBK are you going to censor them too?

    • Lou
      February 25, 2010 at 1:14 PM

      internet tough guy is tough

  3. egg
    February 25, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    i enjoyed it..
    felt it was good, accurate etc, and everyone deep down is a HBK mark so why not celebrate that fact? I read the johnson article, i posted i think as it was to be taken down, i wasnt particularly offended, i see the offence, however, but i think meh, let it go, free speech and all that jazz..

  4. Jerichoholic
    February 25, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Seriously John? This is what we get for being loyal readers? Never knew you were one to buckle under the pressure.

  5. Sargon
    February 25, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    I think if you’r going to write an ode to someone, you owe it to all parties to touch on the negatives too. The MSG Incident, the ass kicking in Syracuse, etc. In all honesty, adding those elements and showing he was a little bit of a prick when he was younger could’ve tied it all together better – illustrate how far he’s come.

    • Jerichoholic
      February 25, 2010 at 10:17 AM

      Completely agree, Sargon. I bet Shawn Michaels called people retarded in his day, but John won’t post that stuff. He has to appease the two or three people that get offended.

      • February 25, 2010 at 10:32 AM

        So this is what’s gonna happen? Other people’s work is going to be ruined because I took down a column? That’s a shame.

        • JCITY617
          February 25, 2010 at 12:51 PM


      • Jaykob
        February 25, 2010 at 10:34 AM

        Again, I loved Andrew’s blog and I’m sorry that some people perceive this as some make-shift replacement for it. I completely agree that Andrew’s post was more entertaining than this one. I don’t think John ever intended for this to fill the shoes of Andrew’s post.

    • Jaykob
      February 25, 2010 at 10:31 AM

      This is fair criticism and I think you’re right.

      But keep in mind I didn’t really write this as a column. It was more of a self reflection. In fairness, I did mention that he was a prick (and I alluded to divisiveness between HBK and Hart fans), but I didn’t go into detail because that stuff didn’t matter to me as a kid. Also, I didn’t want to get into some “look how far he’s come” dialogue about Shawn’s character because I really don’t know the guy personally; I don’t know “how far he’s come”.

      Still, point noted. And if I ever end up writing for the John Report in the future, I’ll make sure that, in pieces such as this, I’ll pay more attention to the other side of the argument.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      • Sargon
        February 25, 2010 at 10:48 AM

        Jaykob – Good point. It was a personal reflection, so what you want in there is your call. Personally, I remember those years a bit better, because I wasn’t around the last five or six. Good job though and I look forward to reading anything else you put up.

  6. Aaron
    February 25, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Can’t ever say I was a big HBK guy. My friends growing were big HBK guys.. as well as Bret guys.. I hadn’t smartened up yet. I respect HBK and Bret for what they’ve done adn the matches I can look back on now. HBK is a legend in the biz, and can understand they he garners reactions such as this.

    It felt like a personal message, and that’s how it came accross.

    Now I will be submitting my ode to D’Lo Brown in hopes that it is posted. THAT will be a read. :)

    • Jaykob
      February 25, 2010 at 10:43 AM

      I can see “An Ode to D’Lo Brown” being an hilarious post especially if it was an obvious parody of my article.

    • Shane
      February 25, 2010 at 5:24 PM

      “I think you better recognize!!” lol… I didn’t mind D’Lo at all – actually quite liked the “sky high”… I dunno what that means for me. At risk of a further backlash, I would say he was a bit “under-rated” …

  7. February 25, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    I don’t know why everyone is making a big deal out of this, but it needs to stop. Jaykob did a great job with this, and I for one really enjoyed reading it. Seriously Jaykob, well written. I’d post your stuff any day.

    • Jaykob
      February 25, 2010 at 11:10 AM

      Thanks Andrew. Wow, didn’t expect this shit storm when went to check the blog today. It’s funny because before this was posted I sent John this message:

      “Yeah, I’m interested in what your readers will say about my piece because it’s quite different than a lot of stuff that gets posted there. It’s not exactly funny or anything and it’s not an informative wrestling piece…I’ve never submitted my writing to a public audience like this before, so it is exciting in a way because I know your blog is really popular among the IWC.”

      I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I actually find it highly amusing that the one time ever in my life I submit my work to public viewing there is the biggest shit storm in the history of The John Report. We should make this into a gimmick.

      • February 25, 2010 at 11:15 AM

        This is nothing Jaykob. You should have seen the backlash from my blog about a local universities talent show I did last month. You would have thought I tried to raise Chris Benoit from the dead after reading all the hate mail I got.

        Welcome to the world of online publication. You’ll get your complimentary shot glass and liquor coupons in the mail.

        • Jaykob
          February 25, 2010 at 12:16 PM

          In hindsight, I think it would have been better if I responded to this controversy simply by saying: “YOU DESERVED TO BE SCREWED, YOU DESERVED TO BE SCREWED!”

  8. Taylor
    February 25, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    Poor Jaykob. Casualty of blog war…

  9. Andre
    February 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    I liked this. HBK is one of the greatest of all time.

  10. What the Face?
    February 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Wrestling website = wrestling content.

    Objective achieved.

    • February 25, 2010 at 1:27 PM

      One of the most accurate things I’ve seen all day.

  11. Rhyme Tyme
    February 25, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    jaykob, have you read his autobiography? I thought it was really good.

    • Jaykob
      February 25, 2010 at 1:25 PM

      I have not. I really should read it.

      • JCITY617
        February 25, 2010 at 6:06 PM


  12. meganon
    February 25, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    meganon!? saging lang ang may puso at megasardines!

  13. meganon
    February 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    i am meganon prom d pasifik osyan! it 2:16 am in here and i am drunk!

  14. Darth Randall
    February 25, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    Jaykob you did fine. I have been a fan of professional wrestling sience the early 90’s and have followed HBK’s career throughout. I think you did a nice piece on him. People are just pissed that their comedy for Thursday is down, they get used to a schedule you see. They can go to cracked to get their fix, i did. I liked your piece and i think as professional wrestling fans we all can share opinions about what we think of the men and women that entertain us. If you write another post i will read it. Thanks.

    • JCITY617
      February 25, 2010 at 6:14 PM


  15. Randall
    February 25, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    Are you people serious? It’s a good article, if you don’t like the content of it, so be it….state it and move on, but to call out John for positing it? You people act like it’s your RIGHT for John to have a WWE blog for you to read, to post funny stuff every week, and to entertain your sorry asses everyday. It’s not, he does it out of passion and he does it on a voluntary basis. Stop bitching and grow up.

    As for the article, I enjoyed it. I have similar feelings towards ole’ HBK. He goes out there every week and leaves everything in the ring. He has a sixth sense for what makes a match tick, it’s truly something to behold. Even at the house show matches I’ve seen, HBK goes 100%.

    • kamoteng kahoy
      February 25, 2010 at 1:39 PM

      i am kamoteng kahoy prom d pasifik osyan! it 2:16 am in here and i am drunk!

  16. Dave
    February 25, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Nice article. Still can’t believe people were offended by the Warrior blog. How people even have the time to be offended by a wrestling blog is beyond me. The women should stick to the cooking blogs.

  17. Riley Keenan
    February 25, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I liked it!

  18. Diz
    February 25, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    Good article with lots of heart. Don’t worry about the haters; many of us are jealous because we’ll never be ‘published’…We want John to love us too!

    Obviously, John was able to see your love for this business. This article is ‘blog worthy’ because you have a legitimate care for WWE. Plus, this is a great break from many egotistical wrestling columns on other sites.

  19. Rated R
    February 25, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    I’ve never liked Shawn Michaels, personally, and I’m perfectly aware of how good he is. I guess I’m just into wrestlers with strong characters, patricularly heels. It’s also something about his face. As stupid as that sounds, he was just one those guys I didn’t like at the very first time I saw them. You know… there are always those you become interested in the second you see them. Still to this today, after watching all the great matches with him, I’ve never liked him. Great wrestler, weak character (compared to the likes of CM Punk and Jericho).. Although I must admit his recent Undertaker-obsessed character has been fun.

    I’m a little sick of people talking about him to be honest and this time it was too much man, lol. I just don’t see the appeal in him and I can’t make myself to like the guy.

    I also have to give my comments about the Ultimate Warrior blog. I find it really lame how John has apologized for a freaking blog entry. It was also weird for him to give apology for saying the Undertker situation at the EC was funny. Yes it was funny, and nothing happened, so get over it. I feel like you’re pulling a WWE PG thing over here. Nothing wrong with being edgy and give critical thoughts on an internet blog.

    • Jaykob
      February 25, 2010 at 3:50 PM

      That’s cool and I know there’s a lot of people out there who do not like Shawn. At the same time, I bet there is someone you DO like as much as I like Shawn. And if you can remember what kind of emotions you went through when they retired or, if they are still actively wrestling, imagine what you’ll feel when they do retire, you should be able to identify with the sentiment I’m trying to express if I did my job. Every real fan of professional wrestling has their heroes that embody what they love about it. As I said in my piece, Shawn just happens to be that guy for me.

      • Rated R
        February 25, 2010 at 4:42 PM

        I get where you’re coming from. Believe it or not, Batista used to be my hero. I started watching wrestling very late, back in early 2005. I only watched SmackDown at that time, and Batista was the main guy along side Ray and Eddie. I remember how much I loved Batista and how pissed I was when Big Show and Kane choke-slammed him into the announcing table in the great SS05 rivalry.

        My current favorite guy is Edge. He was the one that made me become a fan again in summer 2008 after I stopped watching in early 2006. This time I knew about the whole heel and face factor. Even though I think Edge is the most entertaining guy, I don’t see him as my hero. I guess he just hasn’t accomplished that much and hans’t done anything “legendary” up till now that makes him really stand out.

        I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a fan for a long time, and I’ll probably find that someone that I truly care about as a fan. Edge has great chances of becoming that one… or perhaps The Miz, hehe… :P

  20. Jim Brunzel
    February 25, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Liked the article. Thought it was from the heart, which means something from time to time. Except. I never liked Micheals. Ok, everyone can hate me now.
    You and I were in the same boat, where I also didnt have the desire to switch to WCW, despite the sad product WWE was forcing at me. Bret Hart (for the most part) was what was keeping me on WWE.
    To clear up any misunderstanding with HBK, I certainly respect the guys work, he’s a top 3 performer. Just never liked the guy. He was a d-bag as a rocker, a parody of himself in DX, a waste as a commissioner, and then a joke the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time around in DX.
    But then he’d just wrestle.
    But maybe my Canadian-ness just doesnt allow me to like the guy. Maybe I still have ill will after Montreal (I know, get over it).
    But again I say, well done Jaykob, I enjoyed it.

  21. Tim
    February 25, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Jaykob, I thought this was great. Actual post with some feeling. Have you thought about being a permnent columnist?

  22. JCITY617
    February 25, 2010 at 4:58 PM


  23. c_merrill
    February 25, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    First off great article who care about what haters think. I also grew up watching shawn and bret.When raw came on I rocked the brets pink glasses and the red hbk gloves. So screw anyone who think a fan can’t appreciate someone and honor them with a article.

  24. February 25, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    Jaykob, don’t feel bad about all the hate, this is good. I’m the guy that’s going to be covering NXT for John and my 1st go round didn’t seem to go so hot, but as long as you like what you wrote and John deems it good enough to be on his blog, it doesn’t matter what people think. I don’t view this as a replacement at all. John posted 3 blogs on Wednesday, he’s all about giving us content. That’s how I see it.

    • Jaykob
      February 25, 2010 at 7:48 PM

      Thanks, Dr. Money. I don’t feel back about this. A lot of people seemed to appreciate my article, so I feel mostly good about how things went down. I’m just excited that people were even willing to give my work a chance and read it. That’s what’s so cool about this experience and it’s why I feel gratitude toward everyone who took time out of their day to read my work, even toward the people who ended up not liking.

  25. Dave
    February 25, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Holy crap. HBK has a weak character? Holy Jesus. Meanwhile, we have guys like Batista running around as World Champion. Iorny at it’s best.

  26. Dave
    February 25, 2010 at 8:32 PM


  27. Adam Skinner
    February 25, 2010 at 11:52 PM

    well written, and well said, this blog totally hit my hbk spot. thank you :)

  28. Eric Johnson
    February 26, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Man there are a lot of idiots on the internet, stop being pricks. If you don’t like what the man had to say, then go the hell away. Great column, you put great emotion into it, and while there were flaws, I enjoyed it. I too love HBK and I don’t care who says my man love is wrong, HBK will always live in my heart!

  29. Anon
    March 3, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    I have been reading John Reports on Rajah.com for years but haven’t been on the forums long so I don’t know what people are talking about.

    As a criticism of the blog itself, its too personal and too biased. I admit I was a Bret fan back then. And Shawn acted like a dick and it wasn’t just for the cameras. He also has a lot to do with holding guys down (something often accredited to HHH but rarely HBK) and all of this is left out.

    However, as a personal reflection/opinion and not as a blog/review (see John’s HHH column to see good, unbiased reporting), its fantastic and you don’t deserve negative comments about it.

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