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LOOKING AT SHAWN MICHAELS' RETIREMENT

By Dave Scherer on 2010-03-30 14:45:24

Given the amount of audio we have up on the site the last few days, I figured that I would do a column today with thoughts from last night's shows instead of doing the usual hotline.  Also, since I know that some people don't always get to listen to audio, I wanted to make sure to write about last night's Raw here to let everyone who didn't watch it know that you absolutely must watch the Shawn Michaels retirement segment.  It was one of the best things that I have ever seen on a wrestling show.  Hell, it was one of the best things that I have ever seen on any show.

Do whatever you have to do to see his retirement speech.  Catch the replay on the Universal HD channel this weekend.  Watch it online if you can find it.  Catch the Spanish feed on Mun2 if they still air it.  Whatever you do though, watch it because it was just amazing.

Having followed Michaels for all of his years in this business, I can tell you that last night was truly the end of an era.  Going into WrestleMania I, like most people, assumed that if he lost to The Undertaker it would be to give him some time off before making another return down the road.  Sure, the stipulation was that he would have to retire if he lost, but this is wrestling.  No way it would actually happen, right? 

Well, over the weekend, more and more people started telling me that they were hearing that Shawn really would hang up the boots "if he lost".  He wasn't saying to the masses what he would do, but the vibe was starting to change with people who had assumed he would just take a break.  Then after Mania, he was already saying goodbyes to people.  Suddenly, this situation took on a totally different feeling.

I have been around long enough to know that retirements in wrestling almost never stick, but last night's segment did not feel like I was hearing from a guy who will start to miss the business in a few months and need to do a 180 and come back.  It sounded like I was listening to the guy who last year talked about walking away, only to come back for a last run.  With every word that Michaels spoke while saying goodbye, it started to feel more and more legitimate, more real, more final.

He's 44 years old.  He has a wife and family that he adores.  He has come back from a back injury that could have ended his career, and had another great run, a second act that cemented his already Hall of Fame career as being one that will compare favorable against anyone who ever stepped into that right. 

He had also just wrestled a match that was an all-time classic the night before.  For 2010 version of Mr. WrestleMania, it has never been about winning and losing, but rather the quality of the work, and he certainly delivered that on Sunday night.  Given that wrestling is a worked business, an analogy can be made that if Shawn hangs it up for good, it's like he did so after winning the World Series or The Super Bowl.  He left when he was still at the very top of his game, with a match that will go down as one of the best in the history of wrestling's biggest show.

If it turns out as it feels like it just might, Shawn got to walk away on his own terms, as one of the greatest of all time, while he is still the best there is, and he gets to do so a man who has grown in every possibly way from the petulant kid that he was when he entered into the business.  When you look at every aspect of his time in wrestling, from his body of work to the way he evolved as a person, friend, father, husband, co-worker and man, I would be hard pressed to think of a better ending to the "boyhood dream".

Last night Shawn Michaels said goodbye and thanked us, his fans.  Today, I want to return the favor.  Thank you Shawn for everything you do, for every match you had, every bump you took, every day you spend away from your family.  Thanks for all of the entertainment you gave me over the years.  Enjoy whatever you choose to do from here on out.  You have earned the right to do it.  You will be missed.

 

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