Shawn Michaels: The Showstopper Unreleased (Part 2)
by Scrooge McSuck
Last time on Shawn Michaels Unreleased, we worked our way from Shawn's early days in Mid-South through the end of the road of his team with Marty Jannetty as "The Rockers" (with a few matches from the AWA peppered in for flavor). Disc 2 picks up with the dawning of "The Heartbreak Kid" and leads us to his 1st "retirement" as the Attitude Era approaches. Once again, we're doing a points system, but if something stands out, it'll get a star rating as well.
"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. Shawn Michaels:
From the January 31st, 1992 card held at Madison Square Garden. One of our earliest looks at the new and improved Shawn Michaels since turning heel. Snuka avoids a sneak attack and knocks Michaels over the top rope with a kick to the midsection. Lockup to the ropes and Michaels with a slap to fire up the Superfly. Snuka holds on to a side headlock. Crisscross and Snuka with chops. He takes Michaels over with a deep arm drag and works the arm. Michaels uses the tights to send Snuka out of the ring for a crash landing. Michaels ignores a near-count-out to pound the ribs. You could hear the referee count to eight and stop because all referees are incompetent boobs. Shawn with a diving elbow for two. Snuka escapes a chin-lock but runs into a knee. Snuka rallies, catching Shawn coming off the top with a fist to the midsection. Whip to the corner and Snuka with a twisting body press for two. Whip and Michaels comes back with a running high knee. Michaels brings Snuka in from the apron with a suplex for two. Super-Kick and Tear Drop Suplex finishes at 12:23. Matches like these are what we call learning experiences. Dreadfully dull, but Shawn needed to start somewhere. WWE loved this enough to feature it as a "Hidden Gem" on the WWE Network, because they can't stop pining for Jimmy Snuka. 0 for 1
- From the April 29th, 1992 Superstars tapings in Syracuse, NY, it's an unaired edition of Piper's Pit. The WWF taped two that night, the other with the Brooklyn Brawler (and featured on the Unreleased 1986-1995 set). Piper's got a special microphone with "RP" on it. He introduces Shawn as the #1 contender to the Intercontinental Championship. Piper puts him over for being a good wrestler. He talked to Bret Hart and he said there's two major differences between them: He's the Champion, and he doesn't have to pay for his dates. Michaels denies ever paying for a date. Piper asks fans at ringside for dumb questions, including one to Sherri about having breast enhancement. Piper calls her the Leona Helmsley of the WWF (a reference I'm sure that went over the head of everyone in the crowd) and Shawn a spoiled brat. Michaels asks Piper to produce one girl who wouldn't kill for a chance to get a kiss from Shawn, ticking Sherri off. Piper, of course, ignores several girls clearly marking for Shawn before he takes his leave. This was... something. 0 for 2
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Mr. Perfect:
Taped on April 5th, 1993 from Phoenix, AZ. Their match taped on April 6th was featured on the 1986-1995 Unreleased Set, and I almost crucified the WWE production staff for recycling a match when I got the dates confused. Better camera work here suggests it might've been taped for Coliseum Video, but who knows with footage that's 25-years old. Perfect rushes the ring and unloads with rights. Whip to the ropes and a back drop, followed by a running knee lift that sends Shawn into the corner. Whip across the ring and Shawn with the Harley Race bump to the floor. Perfect follows and introduces him to the ring steps. Shawn uses a distraction from referee Bill Alfonso to through Perfect into the security rail. Back inside, Michaels with a thumb to the throat and rake of the eyes. Snap mare out of the corner into a chin-lock. Perfect escapes with elbows and unloads with rights. He grabs a double handful of hair, tossing Shawn across the ring. He unloads with more mounted rights and caps it off with a slap to the face. Whip to the corner and the "Axe" forearm gets two. Alfonso gets bumped, allowing Shawn to fetch his IC belt. Perfect counters with a low blow and the Perfect-Plex finishes at 5:42 when Earl Hebner runs in to count the fall. BUT WAIT! The referee's dispute the finish, and Perfect's victory would be changed to a DQ win when Shawn hit Alfonso, even though it was accidental. Decent, but too short. 0 for 3
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
From the August 30th, 1994 TV Tapings in Milwaukee, WI. Diesel and Shawn won the belts in Indianapolis two days earlier, the night before SummerSlam, which advertised the Headshrinkers defending the titles on the PPV. Shawn and Fatu start. They immediately crisscross until Fatu catches him with an inverted atomic drop. Double-team Hot Shot and clothesline sends Michaels to the floor. Diesel in, hitting both Headshrinkers with a double clothesline. He gives them a double noggin knocker that is obviously no-sold and they pound away on him in the corner before knocking him to the floor with a double Super-Kick. The Headshrinkers prevent the Champs from taking a walk. Back inside, another noggin knocker is no-sold and Diesel gets sent out of the ring with a double headbutt. Order is finally restored with Diesel and Samu trading wrist-locks. Diesel with a whip to the corner followed by clothesline. Samu counters a second attempt with a clothesline of his own, followed by a dropkick. Shawn with a cheap-shot on Fatu, allowing Diesel to turn him inside-out with a clothesline. Shawn with a double axe-handle from the apron. Back inside, Diesel with elbows to the side of the head. Shawn with a flying elbow drop for two. Diesel with the seated splash across the back and an elbow drop for two. Whip to the ropes and Diesel with a big boot. Fatu fights out of a front face-lock and connects with a back breaker. Samu with the hot tag, unloading with rights. Shawn gets flipped to the apron and brought back in with a sling-shot. Samu manages to fend off both Diesel and Michaels at the same time. Power-slam on Shawn but Diesel breaks the cover. The referee gets bumped, allowing shenanigans to take place. Shawn brings a tag belt in and whacks Fatu with it, but he no-sells, grabs the belt, and hits Shawn with it in view of the referee for the cheap DQ at 12:19. The Headshrinkers celebrate with the belts because they're uncivilized savages. Nothing spectacular, but perfectly fine wrestling before the cheap finish. 1 for 4
Shawn Michaels & Diesel (c) vs. The Headshrinkers (w/ Afa & Lou Albano):
- From the "WrestleMania XI Warm-Up" that took place in Time Square on March 28th, 1995, Todd Pettengill introduces Shawn Michaels and his new bodyguard, Sycho Sid to hype the WWF Championship Match at WrestleMania XI. Michaels calls himself the leader of the "New Generation" and promises to win the WWF Title on April 2nd. Interesting visual to see traffic flow in the background and maybe less than a thousand people paying attention. Sid cuts his usual nonsensical promo that is thankfully interrupted by Diesel's music... and then he resumes babbling nonsense. Diesel moseys by Gerald Brisco and Bruce Prichard before getting in the ring for a face-to-face confrontation. Diesel says he doesn't need help Sunday, and that he's not the one who recruited help. Lex Luger and Davey Boy Smith arrive to remind us how hard Luger's push fell compared to the build-up to WrestleMania X, and that's all folks. Pointless fluff, but visually it's something different. 1 for 5
King of the Ring Qualifying Match:
From the May 22nd, 1995 episode of Monday Night Raw, taped on May 15th from Binghamton, NY. This is Shawn's return to the ring after Sid's attack the night after WrestleMania XI, and his first match as a babyface since the end of 1991. The less said about the 1995 King of the Ring, the better. Bundy's sneak attack fails, and Shawn clears him out before resuming his wardrobe removal. Shawn follows him out with a flying body press from the top rope. Back inside, Shawn unloads with right hands. He slides to the floor to mess with Dibiase and comes back in with a double axe-handle across the back of Bundy. Whip to the corner is reversed, sending Michaels flipping over the top rope. Bundy follows, planting Shawn with a slam. Bundy with a high back drop and an elbow drop across the back. Shawn escapes a bear-hug, but a sunset flip is easily countered with a seated splash. Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow watch backstage on an 8-inch monitor. We come back from commercial with Shawn coming off the second rope with a clothesline, followed by a twisting body press. Super-Kick finishes at 6:04 (shown). That was abrupt. Post-match, Shawn and Diesel become bosom-buddies once again. Started off well, but Bundy killed the match with a long bear-hug and chin-lock. 1 for 6
Shawn Michaels vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Ted Dibiase):
Shawn Michaels & Bret Hart vs. Jacob & Eli Blu (w/ Uncle Zebekiah):
Taped on July 24th, 1995 from Louisville, KY. The last time we saw Bret and Shawn as a team on an Unreleased set, it was one of the worst-matches you could imagine with the two of them involved, and that was against GOOD workers (Hakushi and Lawler). For those unfamiliar, Uncle Zeb is Dutch Mantell, who later returned to the WWE in 2013 as "Zeb Colter." Bret and Jacob (as if it matters) lockup, with Jacob sending Bret into the corner. Bret avoids a charge and takes him over with an arm drag. Whip to the ropes, Bret ducks a clothesline and comes bouncing back with a body press for two. Shawn in with a double axe-handle from the top rope. Eli tries his luck and gets worked over just the same. Crisscross and Shawn with the diving forearm, sending Eli to the floor for a breather. Bret and Shawn have already made more tags in this match than the one I previously talked about. Bret bites his way out of a bear-hug and goes back to the arm. Jacob pulls the ropes down on Shawn to finally take advantage away from the Super-Team. Back inside, Eli with a spinning back suplex for two. Jacob traps Shawn in a tree-of-woe and puts the boots to him. Eli with a slam, but he misses something from the middle rope that 23 years later cannot be identified. Bret with the tag (and no pop whatsoever), unloading on both, including a double noggin knocker. Whip, fist to the midsection, and Russian leg sweep gets two. Small package is broken up at two. Back breaker and second-rope elbow for two. Shawn sends Eli out of the ring for constantly breaking the covers and Bret finishes Jacob with the Sharpshooter at 8:10. Shawn and Bret seemed game, so I'll be generous here. 2 for 7
Elimination Tag Team Match:
Taped on July 25th, 1995 from Evansville, IN. The Coliseum Video banner is flying high, and the production quality is up there with the stuff from TV, so it's likely this was scrapped at the last minute for whatever reason. The Corporation trio play "hide on the floor" for a while. Then Sid plays the coward, refusing to step in the ring with Diesel. Finally, at 3:50, 1st contact is made with Diesel punishing Tatanka with forearms. Whip to the ropes and Tatanka lays him out with a diving shoulder tackle. Whip to the ropes and Diesel with a big boot for three at 4:23. Kama comes in and gets planted with a slam. Shawn tags in and gets the rocket launcher body press, but Kama kicks out at zero and decks him with a right hand. Sid tags in to lay into Shawn with goofy punches. Diesel and Taker come in to slug it out with Sid and Kama because why the hell not. Diesel ends up being Disqualified at 6:00 for... something? Maybe he didn't flip his hair back enough times in a specific span of time. Meanwhile, Kama pounds on Undertaker at ringside. Taker no-sells the steps and headbutts Kama into the ring, where he resumes working over Shawn. HUH? Kama with a slam, but he meets knees going for the Vader Bomb. Taker gets the hot tag and lays into Kama with rights and boots. Whip to the ropes and Taker with the diving lariat. He plants Kama with the Choke-Slam but misses an elbow drop. Kama sends him to the floor with a clothesline, Taker drags him out, and it's a Double Count-Out at 9:25. Sid didn't even wait for the count to conclude before attacking Shawn in the corner. Shawn ducks a clothesline and hits Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere for three at 10:47. The quality of matches is leaving a bit to be desired lately. 2 for 8
Shawn Michaels, Diesel, and The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Sycho Sid, Tatanka, and Kama (w/ Ted Dibiase):
Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. The 1-2-3 Kid (w/ Ted Dibiase):
From the April 27th, 1996 episode of Superstars, taped on April 2nd from San Diego, CA. Non-Title Match. Nice to see them pull stuff from the end of Superstars run in syndication, since nobody (except me) was watching at the time. In what bizarre universe did Vince McMahon think Shawn needed JOSE LOTHARIO in his corner, and why did he keep him there for nearly a year?! Dibiase bargains with Shawn, but the distraction doesn't work, as Shawn cuts off a Kid sneak-attack. He takes the Kid over with a back drop, clotheslines him over the top rope, and comes back in by skinning the cat. Back inside, the Kid with a series of strikes. Crisscross and Shawn catches him with a tilt-o-whirl back-breaker. Shawn blocks a sunset flip, driving a fist into the forehead. They trade rights until the Kid goes to the eyes. Shawn ducks a spinning heel kick. The Kid avoids a charge and follows Shawn into the opposite corner with a dropkick for two. The Kid with a series of kicks in the corner before posting Shawn's shoulder for a near-fall. Kid with a snap leg-drop for two "as Superstars Continues." We return, with the Kid missing a senton from the top rope. Shawn with a vicious piledriver. Whip and Shawn with the diving forearm, followed by a power-slam. Shawn with the flying elbow drop, then a press slam that sends the Kid to the floor. He mugs Dibiase afterwards and throws Kid on the arena floor with a hip toss. The aggressive behavior continues, ramming the Kid's crotch into the post. Back inside, Shawn comes off the top with a double axe-handle, and Sweet Chin Music finishes at 7:33 (shown). The added aggression was to sell the upcoming match with Diesel at Good Friends, Better Enemies. Post-match, a Steve Austin attack is thwarted. *** No generosity here, this was a good TV match. 3 for 9
- WWF Championship Match:
Shawn Michaels (c) (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (w/ Ted Dibiase):
Taped on April 30th, 1996 from Des Moines, IA. How many people did Ted Dibiase manage during the mid-90's?! I expected this to be recycled from Monday Night Raw but am pleasantly surprised to see it's a never-before-seen Dark Match. Lockup into the corner and Shawn slips out of potential trouble. Whip to the ropes and Austin with a shoulder block for two. He takes Shawn over with a snap mare, but Shawn counters a head-lock with a hammer-lock. They fight for control, trading holds. Whip to the ropes and Austin knocks the spit out of Shawn with an elbow. He moves in for a chin-lock, but Shawn counters with his own. Crisscross sees Shawn tossed over the top rope, but he skins the cat in and takes Austin over with a hurricanrana. Whip to the ropes and Austin connects with a double axe-handle. Austin with a snap mare and elbow drop from the second rope for a two-count. Shawn fights out of a chin-lock, but a crucifix cradle is countered with a Samoan drop for two. Austin with another elbow drop, followed by a knee to the chest for two. Things slow down with another lengthy chin-lock. Shawn fights to his feet and hookers a sleeper, but Austin quickly counters with a jaw-breaker. Shawn avoids the seated splash in the ropes and starts his comeback, unloading with right hands. Whip to the ropes and he connects with the diving forearm. Austin runs into an inverted atomic drop and gets dropped with a pair of clotheslines. Shawn to the top rope, connecting with a double axe-handle. Whip is reversed, and Austin hits the Stun Gun for two. He goes for the Million Dollar Dream but Shawn cradles him for two. Shawn plants Austin face-first to the canvas and finishes with Sweet Chin Music at 12:04. This one was looking a little rough, but the hot finish brought it up to make the grade (anyone else remember that kid's game show?). 4 for 10.
WWF Championship Match: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Yokozuna:
Taped on May 10th, 1996 from Kuwait City, although the DVD doesn't list the date other than "May 1996." Yokozuna was already a babyface at this point, so this is an odd choice to throw out there for the WWF audience in 1996. Yokozuna is GROTESQUELY out of shape at this point, and it got so bad he failed a physical that banned him from working in most states in the country. I feel like this match made the rounds on YouTube, but in much, MUCH worse video quality. Lockup and Yoko tosses Shawn across the ring with ease. Yoko catches Shawn off the ropes with a slam but misses an elbow drop. Shawn unloads with right hands, knocking Yoko to his butt. In Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, this is practically a KO. Yup, just compared Yokozuna's physique to King Hippo. Shawn keeps going for the arm to pace the match. He comes off the ropes with a dropkick, taking Yoko off his feet, again. Shawn unwisely attempts headbutts. I guess they stopped pretending he was Japanese at this point, since that's a Samoan trademark. Yokozuna with choking. Lots of it. He cuts off Shawn's comeback and grabs a nerve hold. I typed that about 30-seconds before it happened, based on his staggering about, sucking the air from the first dozen rows. Shawn fights free, only to run into an elbow. Yoko grabs another nerve-hold to chew 5-minutes off the clock. Shawn rolls away from a splash, and MY GOD, the size difference is unbelievable just looking at them laying around. Shawn makes his comeback, coming off the ropes with the diving forearm. Yoko blocks Sweet Chin Music(!) and counters with a Samoan Drop. Shawn avoids a leg drop and Sweet Chin Music connects on the second try for the finish at 14:53. They make nice afterwards and YOKOZUNA JOGS AWAY. Long and dull. People complain about matches going long these days? Watch this. Almost got a point for Yoko jogging after working for 15-minutes. 4 for 11
Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. Justin Hawk Bradshaw (W/ Uncle Zebekiah):
From the September 29th, 1996 episode of Superstars, taped on September 24th from State College, PA. This is the USA Network era of Superstars, when even fewer people watched than when it was still syndicated in the Spring. Lockup and Bradshaw shoves Shawn across the ring. He grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Shawn grabs a side headlock and after a crisscross does a comedy spot on the floor with Zeb. Back inside, Shawn with a diving body press for two. He peppers Bradshaw with jabs and knocks him out of the ring with a dropkick. Back inside, Bradshaw nails Shawn coming off the ropes with a boot. Heel Jim Ross on commentary is something to behold, knocking Vince McMahon at every opportunity. Whip to the corner and Bradshaw plants Shawn with a slam. He traps Michaels in a tree-of-woe and hooks him around the neck from the floor. Bradshaw with a delayed suplex as we take a break. We come back in Bradshaw driving a knee into the midsection. He blocks a sunset flip and throws Shawn with the double-hand choke-lift. Whip to the corner and Bradshaw meets a boot. Shawn connect with a pair of clotheslines. He blocks a Powerbomb with a back drop and a school boy gets two. Whip to the ropes, Shawn ducks a boot and connects with the diving forearm. Shawn with the elbow drop from the top rope, and Sweet Chin Music finishes at 6:11 (shown). Surprisingly decent TV match, but the canned heat was ridiculous. 5 for 12
WWF Championship Match:
Taped on September 24th, 1996 from State College, PA, or so I assume. The DVD lists the date as September 29th, but that was not a TV taping, and this was the only date around that time where it logically made sense (they also met at the Superstar tapings on July 23rd in Yakima, WA). Shawn goofs around in the ring waiting for Vader to do something. Vader wants a test-of-strength as Shawn's comedy routine continues. Shawn thumbs the eyes and comes off the ropes with a diving clothesline. He sweeps Vader off his feet and crotches him on the post. Vader blocks a sunset flip but meets knees trying to sit down on him. Shawn from the top with a double axe-handle, followed by a hurricanrana. Crisscross and Shawn with the diving forearm. He runs through Vader with clotheslines, plants him with a slam, and finishes with Sweet Chin Music at 2:56. Thank you, and good night. What was the point of featuring this? 5 for 13
Shawn Michaels (c) (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. Vader (w/ Jim Cornette):
WWF Championship Match:
Taped on November 15th, 1997 from Madison Square Garden. Yes, this is really a thing that happened. The Brawler won a scrub Battle Royal at the September 22nd tapings in MSG to earn this opportunity. Lockup and Shawn with an arm drag, followed by a hip toss. Shawn with a side headlock and shoulder tackle before relaxing in the corner. Brawler grabs a headlock and a crisscross ends with the Brawler unloading on Shawn with rights. Hunter hops on the apron to take a punch and the Brawler sends Shawn to the floor with a clothesline. Hunter tries to help but gets a double noggin knocker for it. Brawler brings Shawn back in with a slingshot and works the arm. Whip to the corner and Shawn misses a charge. Crisscross and Brawler gets dumped to the floor, where Hunter introduces him to the ring steps and Chyna stiffs him with a forearm. Back inside, Shawn sends the Brawler from corner to corner, snaps him over, and hooks a chin-lock. The Brawler fights free and eventually gets a sunset flip for a near-fall. Shawn thumbs the eyes to cut off the comeback and grabs a side headlock. Shawn skins the cat, only to be met by a series of rights. He gets hung up across the top rope and Brawler straddles him for good measure. Brawler goes to the top, but Chyna shoves him off (with the referee distracted by Hunter) and sneaks in to spike him with a hurricanrana! Shawn with Sweet Chin Music to retain at 7:19. Shawn Michaels went out and had a competitive match with THE BROOKLYN BRAWLER IN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. IN 1997. AND IT WAS WATCHABLE. 6 for 14
Final Thoughts: An odd collection of matches that covered the mid 90's, with a lot of exclusive content never-before-seen (and in most cases, for good reason). A lot of this was watchable, but there were fewer matches that stood out like what was featured on Disc 1. When one of the highlights is probably the Brooklyn Brawler's best match, then there's slim pickings to sort through. Disc 3 will wrap things up, picking up at Shawn's comeback in 2002 and taking us through his second retirement.
Shawn Michaels (c) (w/ Triple H & Chyna) vs. The Brooklyn Brawler:
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