March 27, 2010
The Powerdriver Review
Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story
Released: November 27, 2007
Sean Michaels vs. Billy (Jack) Haynes (w/Sunshine) – (WCCW, 1/11/85)
It’s “Sean Nichols” from Georgia! Well, that’s certainly a stretch. Remember that Shawn had only been a pro for about three months here. It’s a friendly battle until Shawn corners Haynes and starts pounding on him. Shawn does that backflip out of the corner off a whip and gets caught in the FULL NELSON for the submission. (1:44) I can’t even watch a Billy Jack Haynes match any more without thinking about how crazy he has become. As you can tell, this was just a quick TV squash match.
**EASTER EGG** Highlight “Billy Jack Haynes vs. Shawn Michaels” and press “RIGHT” once then “LEFT” once. Shawn tells a story about Jose Lothario teaching him how to do the backflip off the top turnbuckle.
AWA World Tag Team Champions The Midnight Rockers vs. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers (w/Sherri Martel) – (AWA, 2/10/87)
What a difference a year made in the career of Shawn Michaels as this feud with Rose and Somers had been going on now for close to a year. This is billed as the final title shot for the Rockers against the champs. The Rockers control to start as they double hiptoss Somers and Jannetty catapults Rose into a right hand from Michaels – ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Nah I’m just kidding. Rose tries to catapult Jannetty, but he knows what’s coming next and avoids the right hand from Somers. Of course Somers nails Rose and the champs are forced to regroup. Back in, Jannetty becomes *your* face in peril while Shawn’s patience gets tested on the apron. Eventually, Shawn gets the hot tag and Rose cools him off as he telegraphs a backdrop. The champs work over the back. Michaels kicks off the top turnbuckle during a Canadian Backbreaker from Rose and flips over on top for 1-2-NO! They take Michaels to the floor to kick him around while Jannetty causes more harm on his partner than good. Shawn beats the count back inside, but walks right into the hands of the champs. Somers delivers a piledriver and Rose gives Michaels a superplex, but nothing finishes him off. Billy Robinson backbreaker only gets a two-count as well. Double-KO ensues and that leads to a HOT TAG TO JANNETTY! STEREO SUPERKICKS takes out Rose as the Rockers put Somers away with the ROCKERPLEX to win the match and the tag belts. (18:41) Despite the huge pop at the end, the match itself felt extremely anticlimactic in the overall feud when you consider how bloody the whole feud was throughout 1986. If you had just watched the title change and knew nothing of the previous matches, the idea of a year long feud would probably bore the crap out of you when it was actually pretty good. All the same, it was a long time coming and a big win in the career of the Midnight Rockers. **¼
AWA World Tag Team Champions The Midnight Rockers vs. Super Ninja & Ninja Go – (AWA, 6/12/87)
Anybody remember the character Han Zo Man from WCW/nWo Revenge? That’s what Super Ninja looks like. Both guys dawn masks – Super Ninja is better known as Steve O from Georgia and Ninja Go is a guy named Ryuma Go. Interesting note: Ryuma Go is one of three men who started the first-ever independent promotion in Japanese wrestling history in 1988. They called it Pioneer Senshi, which lasted for a few years until FMW put them out of business. Onto the match, Shawn is looking especially scruffy today. He looks like he’s pissed to be working because he’s got such a bad hangover or something. Shawn armdrags the challengers out the ring to start. Back in, Super Ninja gets his arm splashed by Jannetty and tags out because that’s just MORE than he can handle right now. Ninja Go takes a running powerslam for two. Tag to Super Ninja, Jannetty takes him down into an armbar. So yeah, Super Ninja has swastikas on his glove. I know it’s the symbol used on Buddhist temples in Japan, but didn’t anybody in the AWA think that might be a little distasteful? Anyways, cool spot as Super Ninja jumps over Shawn, but ducks a leapfrog from Jannetty and tumbles out to the floor. He gets flipped back in and STEREO DROPKICKS sends Super Ninja out. Meanwhile, Michaels whips Ninja Go into a dropkick from Jannetty. Now Michaels shoots out with a pescado to wipe out Super Ninja. Back to Ninja Go, Shawn keeps him grounded with an armbar. Tag to Jannetty, Ninja Go has enough of that crap and trips up Jannetty out of an overhead wristlock. Super Ninja tags and draws in Shawn while Ninja Go chokes on Jannetty in the corner. The Ninjas continue to frustrate Michaels while they keep Jannetty on their side of the ring. Double-KO ensues, but Ninja Go gets a quick tag. Jannetty gets a few hope spots and then we see a false tag to further irritate Shawn. As Jannetty starts to fight out of a sleeper, Ninja Go tosses him out. Shawn comes over to help and Super Ninja threatens him with a chair! Over comes Ninja Go, as Shawn chases him away. That just allows Super Ninja to continue abusing Jannetty without anybody to stop him. Eventually, Michaels has to start slapping Jannetty around to get him FIRED UP! Well, that’s certainly better than throwing him through a barber shop glass window. Jannetty tries to tumble with the challengers, but he’s just too beaten up for it to matter. Double clothesline fails as Jannetty dives on the clutched hands to send them into one another. Shawn comes off the apron and SLAPS Jannetty again from the floor. That wakes him up for a HOT TAG TO MICHAELS! DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER! Just when the Rockers have things going their way, Shawn telegraphs a backdrop. Awwww. As Ninja Go tries a suplex, Jannetty comes in and breaks Shawn’s fall. STEREO SUPERKICKS to Ninja Go! Shawn covers for the 1-2-3! (17:38) The Rockers were over like gangbusters here. Good little tag match as the Ninjas tried to cause as much chaos as possible and make the champs go all but insane – specifically Shawn. ***¼
The Rockers vs. The Brain Busters – (Madison Square Garden, 1/23/89)
This is the first MSG appearance for the Brain Busters. Oh geez, Rod Trongard and Lord Alfred Hayes are on commentary. No Bobby Heenan at ringside possibly because it’s a house show and I don’t think he did as many house shows by 1989. AA and Shawn start us off. Arn does that spot where he knocks in this case Jannetty off the apron and then when Shawn whips him into the ropes, AA puts on the brakes and heads to the floor thinking he’s the smarter man, but then he turns around and meets a right hand from Jannetty. The Rockers clean house on the Busters. Back inside, Arn slaps Michaels across the face and pays for it with a barrage of rights and a slap in the corner. Tully tags in and Shawn hits the floor. It must be an amazing experience wrestling one of your inspirations. Blanchard, being the genius that he is, tries to deceive Shawn into the Busters corner. Michaels knows what’s coming though and backs away. Blanchard heads towards the Rockers corner and gets taken over with an armdrag. Tag to Jannetty, he gives the arm a running splash. While Jannetty has on the armbar, Blanchard tries to wiggle his way over to Arn. AA tags Tully’s boot, but that doesn’t count! Meanwhile, the Rockers switch on the armbar. Tully wiggles back over to Arn for a second time and makes the tag, but the ref doesn’t see it. Blanchard escapes with an overhead wristlock. While the ref is with Shawn, Arn comes in and grabs an overhead wristlock on the other hand, which Jannetty flips out and armdrags them both over. He dropkicks both the Busters at the same time! Jannetty slams AA and nails Blanchard coming off the top. STEREO SUPERKICKS wipes out the Brain Busters to send them rolling out to the floor. Arn wants a timeout. Back inside, Michaels flips over AA out of the corner and delivers a hurracanrana. And once again, the Rockers send the Busters to the floor this time with STEREO DROPKICKS! Finally, the Busters have enough of this as Tully draws Shawn around ringside for AA to sneak in a surprise clothesline out of nowhere. Always awesome. Back in, Shawn gets stuck in the Brain Busters corner which is a bad place to be because they are constantly blind tagging each other to maintain the advantage. It’s just the little things Arn and Tully do that make them so great. At one point, Shawn tries to make the big dive over Tully and gets caught for an inverted atomic drop to keep him cornered. SPIIIIINEBUSTER by Arn! Cover, 1-2-NO! AA tries to splash Shawn while he’s got him pinned to the mat, but Shawn brings the knees up to block. HOT TAG TO JANNETTY! Double backdrop fails as Jannetty fights back with a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER! Shawn hits a flying clothesline on Tully as he leaps off Jannetty’s shoulders for 1-2-NO! Shawn knocks AA to the floor, but he’s going to wish he hadn’t done that. While the ref takes care of Shawn, Arn trips up Jannetty when he tries a suplex and Tully falls on top. With AA holding Jannetty’s foot on the mat, the three-count is inevitable as the Brain Busters win the match in their first match in Madison Square Garden. (16:19) This was nothing different for the Brain Busters as they just took what they had been doing down south for two years with the babyface tag teams there and took it to NYC. ****
**EASTER EGG** Highlight “The Rockers vs. The Brainbusters” and press “LEFT” three times. Tully Blanchard tells how when they went back through the curtain after the match, Hulk Hogan was waiting there to ask them how he was supposed to follow that. HA! Another difference in Hogan and Flair – Hogan sees a great match as a threat, Flair sees a great match as a challenge.
WWF World Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation vs. The Rockers – 2/3 Falls (WWF TV, 10/30/90)
It’s the phantom title change! This was originally supposed to air on the post-Thanksgiving Saturday Night’s Main Event show, but NBC decided to move the show to Friday due to decreased ratings and gave them only an hour of airtime instead for a lackluster fourth installment of the Main Event series (which had annually aired in February), which is one of the reasons this match and the title change never made it to TV. Bret and Marty start us off. They trade armbars until Shawn comes in and helps out with a double backbreaker on Bret. STEREO SUPERKICKS take out Neidhart! Bret stops the Rockers with a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER and Neidhart runs them over with a clothesline. Once the action settles, the Rockers attempt to work on Neidhart’s arm, but he keeps on bowling them over. Jannetty hits an atomic drop and STEREO DROPKICKS to take over. Bret spends the next several minutes trying to keep the Rockers from defeating his brother in law. He stops Shawn during the STEREO FLYING FIST DROPS and breaks up the pin. Neidhart hits the STANDING POWERSLAM on Shawn, but only gets two. Bret works over Shawn with his famous five move sequence, but can’t get the pinfall. Jannetty gets the tag, blocks a sunset flip, and hooks the legs for the 1-2-3. (Rockers – 1 | Harts – 0 | 9:31) Back in, the Harts work over Jannetty. During a suplex contest when neither man can pull off the move, Michaels comes in and saves Jannetty as they take down Bret with a clothesline. It’s right around here where the top rope gets detached from the turnbuckle pad. Bret and Shawn go down for an extended front headlock segment while they try and figure out what they want to do now that there’s no top rope. Bret does the sternum-first bump into the middle turnbuckle. HOT TAG TO JANNETTY, but Bret cuts him off. We see the Demolition Decapitation, but Shawn prevents the pinfall. The Harts try for a Rocket Launcher, but Shawn runs in and dropkicks Bret out of the Anvil’s arms to the floor! Back inside, Shawn gets caught in the HART ATTACK to send this into the third fall. (Harts – 1 | Rockers – 1 | 19:20) During a commercial break, the WWF ring crew people try and fix the top rope for the final fall. The Hart Foundation continue to work over Shawn until Bret tests the ropes by taking a signature bump crotching himself off a crossbody block. HOT TAG TO JANNETTY! A pier-six brawl erupts and the Harts get whipped into one another. That leaves Bret all alone with the Rockers. Bret does a criss-cross with Jannetty, which fails. Tag to Neidhart, the Harts begin to double-team Jannetty while Shawn keeps hopping into the ring taking away the ref’s attention. Finally, Neidhart tosses out Shawn so the Hart Foundation can go for the HART ATTACK without any problems. Just we say that, Shawn runs back in and cuts off the clothesline from Bret as Jannetty shifts his weight to tumble Neidhart over for the 1-2-3 and the tag belts. (Rockers – 2 | Harts – 1 | 24:56) Since the match was never aired, everybody acted as though nothing ever happened and the tag belts went back to the Hart Foundation until they eventually lost them at WrestleMania 7. Why they didn’t just redo the match on a later date? Sadly, I have no answer for you. It was a great ten minutes or so and they tried to lift this one out of the dumps by the third fall, but the second fall really threw them off their game. **½
The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (w/Mr. Fuji) – (Royal Rumble 1991)
Goodbye Sato, hello Kato! Kato is the masked Paul Diamond, which reunites the former AWA tag team known as Badd Company. You know you’re bad when you’re SO bad, you get two D’s to describe just how bad you are. In fact, Badd Company defeated the Rockers in ‘88 for the AWA World tag titles, which shows how far back their history went. On to the match. Jannetty gets dumped immediately, leaving Shawn alone with the Express. He takes a HIGH double-backdrop before Jannetty comes back in for the save with crescent kicks. Now Tanaka ends up alone with the Rockers and takes a double-slam. The Rockers go up top for the possible finish, but Kato pulls Tanaka out on the floor. The Express get a breather, but then the Rockers come at them with STEREO SUICIDE DIVES! We get a regular tag match now as Kato tries to calm down the “USA” chants. I know what will do it. Kick Jannetty in the balls! The crowd would HATE that and so would Jannetty! Kato tries to escape out of a headlock, but he can’t seem to shake off Jannetty. He finally shoves out, but falls into a headscissors on the mat. Bridge/backslide sequence happens next and gets two for Jannetty. Tanaka distracts Jannetty long enough for Kato to nail him and tag Tanaka. Jannetty leapfrogs a charging Kato, causing the Express to collide. Jannetty grabs an armbar and then tags Shawn. Tanaka fights out of an armbar and catches Shawn with that jumping back chop for two. Tanaka hooks a chinlock. Shawn elbows out, but Kato gets a blind tag. The Express nearly collides into one another again, but Tanaka puts on the brakes and settles for a DOUBLE NOGGIN-KNOCKER thanks to Shawn instead. Tanaka elbows out of a chinlock, but then runs into a sleeper! Kato draws Jannetty in the ring so he can break up the hold. Tanaka and Shawn go back and forth wailing on each other. All four men are in now, as Shawn stops doing the ten-count corner punch on Tanaka and delivers a moonsault press on Kato! Amazing! The heels do a corner-to-corner doe-see-doe spot, but it backfires and they end up taking STEREO DROPKICKS out to the floor. Not only that, but the Rockers follow THAT up by leaping down on them from the top-rope! I believe STEREO TOPES is the appropriate description. Back in, Shawn covers Kato for two. Jannetty tags and applies a chinlock. Shawn tags and delivers a stalling suplex for 1-2-NO! Shawn whips Kato in the corner for a monkey-flip, but Kato stops that as Tanaka runs by and assists in a tide-turning hotshot. Kato messes with Jannetty, which turns the ref’s attention to them while Fuji whacks Shawn in the throat with his cane! The Express hit the leapfrog/backbreaker double-team before Tanaka grabs the nerve hold. Shawn fades away, but his arm doesn’t drop three times! He fades away again as Tanaka lets go and covers instead for two. Shawn looks to mount a comeback once Kato tags in, but Kato reverses a whip and sends Shawn in for the Flair corner flip. He staggers on the apron and doesn’t see Tanaka come by and superkick him back into the ring. Jannetty’s frustration gets Shawn in more trouble, as the Express deliver a double-clothesline as Shawn does the 360-degree sell for 1-2-NO! It comes down to the big mistake of Tanaka, as he ducks low off a whip and gets his face slammed into the mat. Or DOES IT? Kato runs in and nails Jannetty so the Express can double-clothesline Shawn with Kato’s black belt, but Shawn ducks and throws himself on the belt to cause the Express to collide into each other! HOT TAG TO JANNETTY! He goes SLAM CRAZY! Powerslam to Kato gets 1-2-NO! Shawn and Tanaka go to the floor while in the ring, Jannetty and Kato fight for a backslide. Tanaka sneaks back in and kicks Jannetty down, but it only gets two for Kato. Jannetty ducks a clothesline off a whip, so Shawn trips up Kato for two. Shawn comes in illegally for a double-superkick on Kato. The Rockers go for the Rocker Launcher (!!), but Tanaka stops that and shoves Shawn off the top and to the floor. While Shawn recovers on the floor, the Express deliver a Kato catapult into a Tanaka chop. They go for it again, but Shawn gets back in and nails Tanaka in the gut. Meanwhile, Kato has no idea and catapults Jannetty over Tanaka for a sunset flip for 1-2-3! (19:14) What a match! Definitely one of the best PPV openers ever. It had so much high-flying, tag-team goodness and plenty of time to make it work extremely well. ****¼
WWF Intercontinental Champion Davey Boy Smith vs. Shawn Michaels – (Saturday Night’s Main Event, 11/14/92)
It’s put up or shut up for Shawn, as he’s been chasing the IC belt for nearly six months now. DBS overpowers Shawn early using his steroid power to withstand tie-ups and shoulderblocks. Shawn outsmarts Bulldog because let’s face it; steroids don’t do much for your brains. Shawn slides underneath him and then pops Bulldog in the face. Bulldog puts on the brakes off a hiptoss, so Shawn flips off his head and gets that hiptoss anyway to set up a short-arm scissors. Davey Boy tries to lift HBK out of it and hurts his back on the first try, but lifts and slams him down on the second try. Press slam follows and Shawn is out on the floor because man does his back hurt. Back in, Shawn cheapshots Davey Boy in the corner. Davey spins out of a couple catapult attempts and then hooks an armbar. Shawn goes to the eyes to escape that, but then gets run down with a shoulderblock. He’s still able to sidestep a charge to send DBS crashing out on the floor. While the ref is counting, Shawn goes over and unties a top turnbuckle pad. Once Bulldog’s back in, Shawn stomps on the back and then hooks an abdominal stretch. DBS hiptosses out, but misses an elbow drop for two. Shawn goes back to the ab stretch, but Davey hiptosses out AGAIN and this time, connects with the elbow drop. He whips Shawn into the corner for his patented corner flip. DBS delivers a catapult and then drills him with a clothesline, but hesitates the pin and only gets two. Delayed suplex gets another two. DBS goes for a cross-corner whip into the exposed turnbuckle, but Shawn reverses it and sends Davey Boy into it instead. Both men are down. Now Shawn goes for a cross-corner whip, but Bulldog reverses and sends Shawn in all the way up to the top rope. DBS wants a superplex, but his back gives out and Shawn falls on top for the 1-2-3! (10:25) Like a gentleman, Shawn puts the turnbuckle pad back where it belongs. History is made, and Shawn earns his first televised title win. Of course I’m alluding to the crazy Rockers tag title win two years earlier. Great match, by the way, and Davey Boy Smith’s last match in the WWF for two years. He would debut in WCW at Superbrawl. ***½
The Rumble Match – (Royal Rumble 1995)
Pamela Anderson comes out and greets the crowd before taking a seat at ringside. Shawn Michaels draws #1 and McMahon already dooms him to lose. The rules have been changed for this year’s Rumble match as a new guy will enter the ring every 60 seconds as compared to the traditional rule of every two minutes. This proved to be a failure and a one time only experiment. Davey Boy Smith enters in at #2. Smith beats the crap out of Shawn until Eli Blu comes in at #3. While you’d think that Shawn and Eli would team up since they’re both heels – that doesn’t happen and it’s every man for himself. Duke “The Dumpster” Droese is our #4 guy. Shawn and Duke pair off while Smith corners Eli. Jimmy Del Ray runs down at #5. He tries to eliminate Shawn, but no dice. #6 is Sionne. He takes his turn trying to get rid of Shawn as DBS clotheslines Del Ray out. Tom Pritchard draws #7 and goes after Eli. Doink the Clown is #8 and #9 is Kwang better known as the future Savio Vega. He’s a martial arts expert! Lots of punching follows from everybody. Rick Martel makes his seventh and final Royal Rumble match appearance as he enters in at #10. DBS and Kwang take turns trying to dump out Shawn.
Owen Hart is our #11 guy and he gets bum rushed by his big bro Bret for costing him the title match earlier. After Brisco and Patterson break up the fight and Owen makes it into the ring, he’s promptly thrown out by DBS. Timothy Well runs down to the ring at #12. You’d think he was getting a big pop, but it was just Owen being tossed that got them all excited. Shawn backdrops Duke out on top of Hebner. Haha. Timothy Well gets sent to the showers courtesy of Davey Boy Smith. Sionne dumps out Martel right before Shawn throws Pritchard to the floor. Doink takes a backdrop to the apron from Sionne, but Kwang superkicks him down for elimination. Just as Sionne and Eli Blu clothesline each other out of the ring leaving only Shawn and DBS alone in the ring, Bushwhacker Luke struts down at #13. Shawn gets rid of Luke pretty quickly, just not in Royal Rumble 1991 comedic fashion. Davey Boy hits a suplex on HBK as Jacob Blu comes down as the #14 guy. He trades off between DBS and HBK, but then charges at Shawn and gets dumped out to take it back to a one-on-one match. Shawn hooks and grabs and tangles himself in the ropes to avoid elimination. #15 is King Kong Bundy and everybody starts to worry. He takes turns attempting to toss the other two out. Oh no, it’s Mo. He’s #16 and charges right into a backdrop from Bundy to be eliminated. Bundy goes back to work until Mabel enters in at #17. They go nose-to-nose and exchange blows until Mabel slowly dumps Bundy out to the floor. Bushwhacker Butch comes out at #18. Much like his buddy Luke, he’s tossed out pretty quickly. Mabel and DBS join together to try and get rid of Shawn, but it ain’t happening. Lex Luger charges in at #19. He’s a HOUSE OF FIRE! Luger flips Mabel out over the top rope to the floor all by himself. He press slams Shawn and attempts to send Shawn to the floor along with DBS, but he refuses to touch the floor. Mantaur enters in at #20. He rams DBS in the corner and drops an elbow before trying to toss him out.
#21 is Aldo Montoya – better known as Justin Credible with hair and a mask! Shawn works over Montoya in the corner while Luger and DBS double-team Mantaur. Henry O. Godwinn is the #22 man. We take a look at the bored looking Pamela Anderson. To her, this would be the slowest-paced Royal Rumble ever. Billy Gunn makes his return at #23 by going after Mantaur. Montoya looks to throw out Shawn. Of course he fails to do so. Here comes Bart Gunn at #24. He gets blindsided by Mantaur. #25 is Mr. Bob Backlund. Bret runs down from the back and beats the crap out of Backlund just like he did to this brother Owen about ten entrants ago. Steven Dunn is #26. As soon as Backlund makes it into the ring, Luger runs up behind him and clotheslines him out. On Backlund’s way to the back, Bret attacks him AGAIN! Yay! Dick Murdoch is our #27 guy! He punches everybody a little bit before Adam Bomb enters in at #28. Mantaur avalanches Luger and attempts a toss out while Godwinn has Shawn teetering for like the billionth time in this match. #29 is Fatu. Luger finally dumps Mantaur out. Crush enters in at #30 and immediately Vince picks him as the winner. Everybody kind of does a freeze on being eliminated and they all just start to brawl. That is until Crush eliminates Adam Bomb with a backdrop. Right after Shawn throws out Montoya, Murdoch tries to sneak up behind him with a quick elimination, but Shawn holds on once again. Crush nails Fatu for the 360 degree clothesline sell and then dumps him out. Ha, Murdoch gives Godwinn an airplane spin and once he spins Godwinn around into Shawn’s face, Murdoch tumbles out to the floor while Godwinn manages to hold on to the ropes and slide back in the ring. Luger takes care of Godwinn and dumps him out to leave the final four.
Final Four: Shawn Michaels, Davey Boy Smith, Lex Luger and Crush. Once Luger tries for a ten-count corner punch on Crush, Shawn comes over and shoves him to the floor from behind with a little push from Crush. Now Davey Boy is in big trouble. Crush and Shawn form a temporary pact which is short-lived as Crush turns on Shawn. HBK rakes Crush in the face to avoid being pressed out to the floor. Shawn wisely ducks a DBS clothesline which nails Crush and sends him flying out to the floor. Now We’re down to #1 Shawn and #2 Davey Boy. DBS destroys Shawn and thinks he’s clotheslined Shawn out. The problem with that is only one of Shawn’s feet touched the floor and during Davey Boy’s celebration, he shoves Davey Boy from the middle rope to the floor to win the Rumble and the opportunity to go to WrestleMania to face Diesel for the WWF title. (38:45) The minute long intervals sure cut out a lot of nothing in between the entrants which is good considering the lack of star power within the roster at the time. What you’re left with wasn’t too bad. Pamela Anderson celebrates with Shawn and acts like she’s too good to be here. The only thing faker than her smile here are her sweater cows. ***¼