Saturday, August 13, 2016

Controversial thought - Shawn Michaels

*Note - Controversial thought will be a semi -regular piece.

After spending many years defending my stance, I am going to write about one of my favorite topics.
Shawn Michaels was not as big of a star as WWE would like you to believe.

I started watching wrestling at the end of of the Saturday Night Main Event Era and was a huge fan of Superstars of Wrestling every Saturday Morning.  I was a fanatic during the "New Generation" and it carried on to the "Attitude Era".  I am still a fan today, but I often chuckle when packages about Shawn come across my television or read social media posts about him.

Let's start with this.  Shawn Michaels was a tremendous athlete (top 5 all - time in that category in my opinion) and a great bump taker.  He was also an excellent heel during his first singles run in the early 90's.  He is also well deserving of his Hall of Fame induction from the WWE.

Shawn Michaels
Upon reflection though, I never knew a single Shawn fan personally until the mid - 2000's.  Watching him on television, he struggled mightily as a baby - face during his Main Event tenure.  Mid 90's RAW is suspect at times as they promoted him in multiple segments, even to the point where he is severely overexposed.  Go back and watch the crowd responses to him.  He is nowhere near Bret Hart, Undertaker, Razor Ramon, or even Sid when it comes to the adulation from the crowd.

There are many possible reasons for this, but there are two reasons I would say are the biggest contributors to this.  The first is that his gimmick was not designed to be a babyface character.  (I personally didn't find the strip shows that entertaining)  The second is that his personality is naturally a heel character.  This is where he really shone and for whatever reason, they never really went back to this in latter years.

The main thing that I notice with Shawn is that the company has spent hours and hours of television time in recent years stating that Shawn is "The greatest in-ring performer of all -time."  It's a good marketing ploy, especially in the social media era to get people wanting to see him on television and for personal appearances.  It's very subliminal in the sense that if they promote it enough, the fans will go with it.  Truthfully, that statement is very subjective and depending on your personal preference, time period you watched, and where you grew up, you may have a varying list.

That being said, there is no bigger marketing machine than the WWE and if this is the message they want to get across, so be it.  I just don't happen to agree.

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