The Rockers To Only HBK
THE MIDNIGHT ROCKERS
It was here that he
teamed up with Paul Diamond to make up the team of American Force. The combination was a successful one, as they were able
to capture the Texas All-Star Tag Team Championships twice. After about three months, Michaels headed to the American Wrestling
Alliance (AWA) with a friend he had met in Kansas City. That friend was Marty Jannetty who went on to become HBK’s tag
team partner. The duo was dubbed the Midnight Rockers.
They quickly became one of the hottest teams in the AWA, which
caught the eye of World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE invited the Midnight Rockers to a live event for a tryout. Unfortunately
for the young duo, WWE officials felt the Midnight Rockers were a bit too immature at that time. The Midnight Rockers headed
back to the AWA, but WWE hadn’t heard the last of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty.
While back with the AWA,
the Midnight Rockers captured the Southern Tag Team Championship twice and won the AWA Tag Team Championship for a second
time. All of the hardware the Midnight Rockers had been sporting again caught the eye of those with WWE, and this time Michaels
and Jannetty made the most of it. They both signed contracts, dropped the “Midnight” from their name and the Rockers
had been born.
Because of their high-flying abilities and their boyish good looks, the Rockers became an instant hit
with both male and female fans of all ages. They made their pay-per-view debut at the 1988 Survivor Series as they teamed
with The Powers of Pain, The Young Stallions, The Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs. The Rockers were eliminated, but
their team came out on top. After making their Royal Rumble debut in the 1989 Royal Rumble, the two had a classic encounter
with the Twin Towers (Big Boss Man and Akeem “The African Dream”) at WrestleMania V. Their mammoth opponents proved
to be just too big to handle, but the high-flyers kept the giants off balance almost the entire match making all other teams
take immediate notice of their potential.
In 1990 the Rockers earned themselves a Tag Team Championship match against
the Hart Foundation on an edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event. The Rockers came out on top, but during the match,
the top rope malfunctioned. Days after the match, it was ruled that since the rope had broken, the match as invalid, and the
titles were returned to the Hart Foundation. This was the only time the Rockers would sniff gold.
The Rockers were
back in the Survivor Series in 1991 teaming up with the Bushwhackers against The Nasty Boys and The Beverly Brothers. After
the Bushwhackers were eliminated, Michaels inexplicably walked out on Jannetty. He later explained his actions by saying that
he had been carrying the team and was fed up about it. A couple months later, the two met on a segment of the Barber Shop
to try an iron out their differences. Just when it appeared that the Rockers were back together, Michaels threw Jannetty head-first
through one of the glass windows. The Rockers were no more.
AFTER THE BREAK UP
The breakup of the Rockers was the end of a successful tag team career
for Michaels, but it also meant the birth of a singles career that would propel The Showstopper to new heights. Michaels promptly
added Sensational Sherri as his manager, and on Oct. 27, 1992, he dethroned the British Bulldog as Intercontinental Champion.
By the time the Royal Rumble rolled around in January of 1993, Jannetty was fully recovered and had revenge on his mind. The
two squared off at the pay-per-view, and during the match Jannetty was all set to smash a mirror over HBK’s head for
the ultimate pay back. Michaels shoved Sherri in front of him, allowing her to take the full blow to the head. Even though
Michaels retained the title, Sherri left him for Jannetty after that.
After losing Sherri, Michaels had a void to
fill by his side. Instead of going for an attractive and cunning sidekick, HBK employed the services of Diesel, a man who
epitomized brute force. Michaels was forced to drop his Intercontinental Championship due to the fact that he had not defended
it within 30 days, but at WrestleMania X, Michaels returned and faced Razor Ramon in the first-ever pay-per-view Ladder Match
for the title. The Ladder Match is one that is still talked about today as one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all
time. After brutalizing each other with innovative moves that had never been seen before, Razor Ramon came out on top.
the Showstopper wouldn’t let himself stay down for long. Michaels and Diesel picked off the Headshrinkers for the World
Tag Team Championship. Three years after the Rockers had broken up, Michaels enjoyed his first Tag Team Championship reign.
Soon after, Diesel defeated Bob Backland for the WWE Championship, and the pair had to give up the tag straps, so Michaels
was back to focusing on his singles career.
And what better way to get back into the WWE Championship hunt than make
a big splash at the Royal Rumble. In 1995, Michaels entered the January classic at No. 1. It seemed like he was merely being
thrown to the dogs at such a number. No one had ever won after being the first participant. But HBK was out to make history.
In fact, the British Bulldog had the same thoughts on his mind. The Bulldog entered at No. 2, but just as he and Michaels
stood alone in the ring at the beginning of the match, when the smoke cleared, it was the same pair going toe to toe at the
end of the match. After gaining the upper hand, the Bulldog clotheslined Michaels over the top rope, but only one of his feet
touched the floor. Thinking that the win was his, Bulldog turned his back on Michaels and began his victory celebration. Michaels
snuck back into the ring and knocked out the unsuspecting Bulldog to win his first-ever Royal Rumble.
on to WrestleMania to compete for the WWE Championship, but his former bodyguard Diesel was able to retain. After a couple
of months of feuding, the pair patched up their differences and moved onward. He went on to defeat Jeff Jarrett for his third
Intercontinental Championship but was challenged soon after by a familiar foe – Razor Ramon. After their historic battle
at WrestleMania X, there was only one way to settle the score: with another Ladder Match. So the two hooked up for their second
Ladder Match at SummerSlam. Learning from his past mistakes, time HBK came out on top and retained his title in another classic
match that arguably was even more brutal than the first.
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