Robbie's Top 20 WrestleMania Moments – 3. The Boyhood Dream Comes True
Sup yo? If you’re unaware, I’ve been doing a blog per day leading up to WrestleMania where I talk about my personal favorite 20 Mania moments of all time. Keep in mind I’m 18, so a lot of my picks will be on the more recent side.
3. The Boyhood Dream Comes True
We’ve reached the top 3, a monumental moment in our long list of moments. Today, we’re going to talk about the first WWE Championship win of a little guy named Michael Hickenbottom. I’ve talked about him a few times before in this list. I mean, he’s fucking OWNED this list. It’s his.
Shawn Michaels made his pro wrestling debut in 1984 for Mid South wrestling, and was immediately a stand-out. His athleticism and natural charisma was so clear in his first few matches, he had no trouble being booked all over with tag partner Marty Jannetty. In 1987, they got their big break when Vince Jr. signed them to the New York territory…and fired them two weeks later over a “misunderstanding” at a bar. If you’ve heard any backstage stories about The Rockers, you’d know this was probably not a misunderstanding. A year later, the duo was given another chance with the WWF, and they were wildly successful. The energetic high flying tag team wore vibrant colors, did everything in sync (including cocaine allegedly), and won the hearts of every WWF can there was. Unfortunately, when The Rockers were finally rewarded with a Tag Team Championship victory, the ring ropes snapped and the match never aired. They’d go on to split in late 1991 when Shawn Michaels turned heel on Jannetty, throwing him through Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s window.
For the next few years, Shawn perfected his heel character, “The Heartbreak Kid”, with the help of a few managers…Diesel, Sensational Sherri, and Jose Lothario. While he did nothing but be a villain, you couldn’t help but like Michaels. Guys wanted to be him, and girls wanted to be with him. His string of WrestleMania matches at VIII against Tito Santana, IX against Tatanka, and X against Razor Ramon stole the show, and while his match at XI against Diesel was subpar, it was basically against a broom at that point.
Onto WrestleMania XII, Shawn had suffered many setbacks, both in real life and in kayfabe. In reality, he was beat the shit out of by Marines at a nightclub and became a target backstage for leading a group known as The Kliq. In kayfabe, Shawn was concussed by Owen Hart, had failed attempts at the WWF Championship, and was betrayed by Diesel, who was formerly his best friend. The Heartbreak Kid was suddenly a likable underdog character, not as smug as he used to be. Michaels earned himself a WWF Championship match against Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII, but with a very difficult stipulation: a 60-minute Iron Man Match.
The match itself received a lot of mixed responses. Some love it, call it a masterpiece, and consider it the greatest match ever wrestled, and some walked out of the arena while it was going on. I’m personally on the masterpiece side, as two of the greatest of all time wrestled without a single fall for 60 minutes, and kept me engaged throughout.
The sudden death victory, and call of “The boyhood dream has come true for Shawn Michaels!” make this such an emotional, captivating moment, which made it a clear #3 in my eyes.
Catch up on the list:
20. Butterbean Knocks Bart Gunn Into Another Dimension
19. The Term “Divas” Is Abolished As The Women Steal The Show
18. Hogan V. Vince: 20 Years In The Making
16. The Undertaker Pulls Off The Greatest False Finish Of All Time
15. The First Ever Ladder Match On The Grandest Stage Of Them All
13. Rey Mysterio Wins Gold In Honor Of Eddie Guerrero
11. Stone Cold Opts To Black Out, Not Tap Out
7. Macho Man And Miss Elizabeth Reunite