It's the subject of endless debate (and of a superb new WhatCulture series) but it'll always be speculative because WWE have yet again made the seemingly impossible rather tragically possible thanks - in this case, at least - to piles and piles of cash
Shawn Michaels' Crown Jewel payday was obviously enough to turn eight years of "No" into a big fat "Yes", but before that, his WrestleMania 26 retirement was the industry standard for how to part ways with a profession so few could do. Terry Funk, Roddy Piper and Ric Flair became punchlines to an increasingly unfunny joke. Retirement was a stipulation to be sold rather than a consequence to be bought until Shawn forced himself from the limelight he'd once craved.
It's sort of understandable considering his scattershot CV. Timing is everything in professional wrestling, and one of the few occasions Shawn was out of sync cost him fortunes. Suffering a devastating back injury ahead of WWE's financial rebirth in 1998, Michaels missed out on what would have been the four most profitable years of his career had he not pocketed a second life's worth of cash between 2002 and 2010 (and perhaps even more for the Saudi Arabia one-off).
Getting out when the going's good has proven harder than it would seem to us mortals. Who knew a life falling hard on your back and neck could be so intoxicating...
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.