As WWF Champion in 1997

Shawn Michaels -- (born July 22, 1965, as Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, in Scottsdale, Arizona) is a retired wrestler, best known to fans as "The Heartbreak Kid," "The Showstopper," "The Main Event," "The Icon," "Mr. WrestleMania," and the best big match performer in the history of WWE.

Shawn Michaels broke into the independent ranks in 1986, but he soon found his way to American Wrestling Association where he formed a successful partnership with Marty Jannetty as The Midnight Rockers. After two reigns as the AWA Tag Team champions, they moved to the WWF in June 1988 (after a failed try-out the year before) where they performed as The Rockers through 1991, feuding with the likes of the Brain Busters, Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, Power & Glory, and the Beverly Brothers.

In January 1992, Shawn Michaels began his singles career. Initially paired with Sensational Sherri, he quickly became recognized as a reliable mid-card singles performer. By the end of the year, he was the WWF Intercontinental Champion and he headlined the 1992 Survivor Series against WWF Champion Bret Hit Man Hart. In 1993, he fended off challenges from Marty Jannetty, Tatanka, and Mr. Perfect before getting suspended for a failed drug test and stripped of the title. When he returned, HBK engaged in a memorable feud with Razor Ramon, the new champion, which leading to the first Ladder match on pay-per-view in March 1994. Two years later, he won the WWF World title in the first Iron Man match in the WWF. His reign lasted until the 1996 Survivor Series where Sycho Sid beat him for the title, but he briefly regained the belt at the 1997 Royal Rumble. Several months later, Shawn formed Degeneration X through which he and Triple H pushed the envelope in their promos and matches, which ushered in the WWF Attitude era. Their attitude caused a major rift with members of the Hart Foundation, leading to the most controversial moment in sports entertainment history. Although Shawn won his personal war against Bret, a serious back injury in January 1998 unfortunately forced Shawn Michaels out of the ring for over four years.

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As World champion in MSG

Shawn Michaels returned to WWE in May 2002 and joined the New World Order for a short time, before Eric Bischoff forced him to become HHH's manager, which culminated in a match against HHH at SummerSlam 2002. Although the original talks were for a short-term return, Shawn Michaels fortunately found that his body was capable of enduring the rigors of the ring, so he continued his WWE career for almost eight more years, winning the World Heavyweight Championship in the first Elimination Chamber and headlining three more WrestleMania events. He furthered his career achievements with several more historic matches, often at WrestleMania, as well as memorable feuds with HHH, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, Vince McMahon, and Undertaker. On March 28, 2010, Shawn Michaels wrestled his last match in the main event of WrestleMania XXVI, a defeat at the hands of The Undertaker. Shawn's career is chronicled in his autobiography Heartbreak & Triumph, as well as several VHS/DVD releases.

Outside the ring, Shawn forged a friendship with Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, Scott Hall, and HHH, known professionally as "The Kliq," which served as a precursor to the nWo and DX, even though the quintet never appeared on television as a unit. Additionally, he developed a bad reputation in the mid-90s for being an extremely difficult person to work with, which (at least in part) led to the Montreal Screwjob. However, he turned a new leaf before returning in 2002 and the second half of his career was professionally problem-free.

In April 2011, Shawn Michaels was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, in keeping with his being described as a "first ballot Hall of Famer" for years before his retirement. On the Message Boards, Shawn Michaels won the Heir to the Throne Tournament of WWE Champions to become recognized as the board's officially preferred wrestling champion.

In his personal life, Shawn Michaels married his wife Rebecca (formerly known as Nitro Girl Whisper) on March 31, 1999, and they now have two children. Additionally, Shawn became a born-again Christian between the birth of his son and his return to WWE in 2002. Shortly after his official retirement, Shawn boosted his online media presence by opening accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, by popular demand to enable his fans to keep up with his latest happenings (and equally importantly, to limit the number of false rumors attached to his name).

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