It’s Day Three of #ShawnMichaelsWeek, a celebration of all things HBK and the eighth installment in our patent-pending Juice Make Sugar Wrestler of the Week series. We started off with A Wrestler You Should Probably Know Better, before we gave you the finer points of the Michael Hickenbottom oeuvre with some Essential Viewing. Today, we marched through Hump Day with a GIF parade and, because we love you, we’re back to give you some hidden gems from the Showstopper’s catalog. Tomorrow we’ll make our “Amazon.com on steroids” dream come true with Juice Make Sugar Recommends… before finishing everything off on Friday with a Difference of Opinion (where JMS HQ erupts in a Sweet Chin Music-fueled civil war.)
Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena, Monday Night Raw (04/23/07)
Easily the best “free TV” match in WWE history, this is at or near the top of the catalog for either man. If you watch this match and still don’t think John Cena can wrestle, you are an idiot.
Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart for No. 1 Contendership, In Your House 6: Rage in the Cage
A fun, and surprisingly long, match between the two most innovative workers in the company at the time. Owen had (kayfabe) knocked Shawn out of commission for a little while with an enziguri during the previous fall, with Michaels even teasing retirement due to the concussion (again, kayfabe) Hart had caused. After his triumphant return and subsequent Royal Rumble victory, the two fought for the chance to face Owen’s brother at WrestleMania 12. That this would eventually lead to WrestleMania XII Iron Man match shouldn’t be held against it.
Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (C) for the WWF Championship, Survivor Series 1992
The second best PPV match between the two, it’s the only time that Hart is the clear favorite and clear babyface, which provides the most interesting dichotomy between this and the two better known matches (Iron Man and Screwjob). While certainly not either of their best work, it’s easily the best thing on the card and one of the better matches of the year for a company that desperately needed stars after the departure of several major stars.
Shawn Michaels vs. 123 Kid, Monday Night Raw (03/04/96)
In the era of Daniel Bryan/Rhodes Boys vs. The Shield six-man tags this may seem like a fairly standard match, but for the time, giving away this match — or the next one on the list — was a revelation, and a subtle indicator of the competition that the WWF was feeling from its competitors at the time. Also, a less-than-subtle indicator of how nice it was to have the Heartbreak Kid considering you a friend.
Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty, Monday Night Raw (05/17/93)
Another fantastic Free TV match, with both guys looking great. As the commentors on this video pointed out in between homophobic slurs, if Marty Jannetty could have kept his nose clean (both literally and figuratively), he wouldn’t be the namesake for our imaginary Jannetty Scale. The pre-match talking segment gets the crowd electric, and they never really lose it. Definitely the highlight of Jannetty’s career, which is a real bummer (both that fact and his career).
Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Savage (C) for the WWF Championship, European Rampage
Part of a series of matches they worked during the European tour that immediately proceeded WrestleMania VIII, this is worth sitting through the three separate videos for. Randy Savage is The Best, and the crowd in Sheffield, England loves him (and the fact that there is WWF wrestling in England). Sensation Sherri spends a lot of the match giving a really strong argument for her “Best Manager Ever” case, and shows why she was a surefire Hall of Famer. Although there was really no chance he was going to win the match, Shawn Michaels proved that he was a top-flight performer that the company would be well served to get behind. They did, and the rest is history.