Shawn Michaels is considered to have been one of the greatest wrestlers to have ever been a part of WWE programming, following a highly successful second stint with the company in the mid-2000s.
This wasn’t always the case; after he left WWE in 1998 following a serious back injury, the pain of the injury forced him into a drug addiction that he needed serious help to climb back out of. Luckily, Michaels sites the fact that he found God as the reason he managed to fight the addiction and returned to WWE and become one of the greatest of all time.
Michaels then had a decade long run with the company that saw him compete in a hellacious, no-holds-barred match against Vince McMahon at WrestleMania, reunite with Triple H to become D-Generation X and end Ric Flair’s career at WrestleMania 24.
Michaels fought The Undertaker twice at WrestleMania after he decided the first match was so good that the second one could be his final one. It failed to top the impact that the first match had, but it was still one of his best. It saw him walk away from the company with his head held high.
The Texas native has been retired from WWE now for six years, which means he has had a lot of time to change career direction, or to be a part of things he never could with WWE’s hectic travelling schedule. Here are the 10 things that Shawn Michaels has accomplished in the past six years.
10. WWE Ambassador
Apart from being considered one of the greatest of all time, Michaels is also one of the most recognised wrestlers of his generation. It came as no surprise that following his final match at WrestleMania 26, Michaels was offered the position as a WWE Ambassador.
Michaels signed the deal with WWE just months after his final match, and the deal means that he can still stay at home and spend time with his family (because that was the most important thing for him), and he can return to WWE TV whenever he and the company agree that he is needed.
9. WrestleMania 31 Appearance
WrestleMania 31 was one of the biggest WrestleManias of all time and this was mainly down to the Triple H vs. Sting match. The match had it all, it was truly an end of an era in the WWE vs WCW saga and WWE played it brilliantly.
The Kliq and The NWO came to the ring to help favour either superstar, before Shawn Michaels ran into the ring and delivered Sweet Chin Music to Sting. Michaels was a part of DX with Triple H and WWE decided that he also deserved to be a part of the match, and it made it a momentous occasion.
8. Daniel Bryan Saga
The Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority saga gripped WWE for the best part of 2013 and 2014, before Daniel Bryan finally defeated Triple H and went on to lift the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30.
Shawn Michaels was dragged into this saga because he was Triple H’s best friend and he also trained Daniel Bryan to become a pro wrestler. He was chosen by the fans to be the special guest referee for the Hell in a Cell match between Bryan and Randy Orton at the pay-per-view of the same name, because fans believed he would be unbiased. Instead, he superkicked Bryan and cost him the match.
7. WWE Appearances
Being a WWE Ambassador, Michaels is available to make on-screen appearances for WWE whenever the company feel he is needed. Since his retirement he has been a part of many different story lines without actually needing to wrestle.
One such appearance on an episode of Raw, Michaels was in a particularly bad mood and following a confrontation with CM Punk, he went on to super-kick David Otunga, Drew MacIntyre and Cutis Axel. He has also made appearances on NXT, which is controlled by Triple H, and helps the next generation at the Performance Centre.
6. Slammy Award
The match between Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26 won the Slammy Award for Moment of the Year, but Michaels wasn’t there to collect the award. Instead, he thanked the WWE Universe via satellite.
This wasn’t the only Slammy Award show that Michaels was a part of; following the part he played in the Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority story, Michaels returned to WWE TV to present the award for the 2014 Superstar of the Year to Daniel Bryan. The two engaged in a stare down before Bryan went on to attack Michaels later that night.
5. No WrestleMania Match in Texas
WrestleMania 32 takes place in Shawn Michaels’ home state of Texas, and it is to be believed that WWE wanted Michaels to return to be a part of the event.
Michaels has quite a following in Texas and WWE were hoping this would help them to sell more tickets, especially given that “The Texas Rattlesnake” himself Steve Austin will not be in attendance. Michaels apparently turned down WWE’s request because he is happy at home with his family watching WrestleMania from afar. He said he would be open to a return if he was offered the right match, but this wasn’t it.
4. Royal Rumble 2016
The WWE Royal Rumble signals the beginning of The Road to WrestleMania, but the 2016 version of the event lacked star power.
Shawn Michaels revealed that WWE had offered him a large sum of money to return and be a part of the Royal Rumble for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but he had turned down their offer. The match was eventually won by Triple H after the Champion Roman Reigns was eliminated and the match came down to Dean Ambrose and the COO. There was no mention of what part Michaels would have played in this.
3. Jim Ross’ Podcast
Shawn Michaels has published many books about his WWE career and he has opened up a lot about his family and his wrestling life, but his 2015 appearance on The Ross Report was one of the most open interviews Michaels has ever done.
In the interview, Michaels talked about The Montreal Screwjob, why he left in 1998, how he managed to beat his drug addiction and return to the ring, whether he would like to be a creative writer with WWE and his thoughts on the booking of the current product. It was a well structured interview from Ross that added a fresh perspective on an incredible career.
Michaels finally joined Twitter in May 2010, just a month after his final match at WrestleMania 26. Michaels uses his Twitter account to interact with fans and to talk about any upcoming appearances outside of WWE.
It makes sense that Michaels waited until he retired from WWE to create a Twitter account because he now no longer has to live in the world of WWE’s Kayfabe, which means he is free to tweet and share whatever he wants without any limitations. He has stated many times that Twitter is the only form of social media that he has.
1. WWE Hall of Famer
After a career that spanned more than two decades, Shawn Michaels finally took his rightful place amongst wrestling’s elite at the 2011 Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Michaels was inducted into the class by his best friend and long time wrestling team mate, Triple H, and fellow Kliq members Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman (X-Pac) joined, too. The group joined Michaels on stage after what was a heartfelt and emotional speech by “The Heartbreak Kid.” It was the ending that Shawn Michaels deserved after such an illustrious career, and it was a fantastic gesture from WWE to allow it to happen.