As the 1000th of episode WWE Raw draws ever closer, we at What Culture are continuing to reminisce about the past figures that made Raw the Supershow it is today.
After John Laurinaittis managed to sneak in at our number 10 spot for the Top Ten GM’s Raw has ever had, here we continue the countdown with another memorable figurehead boss…
Shawn Michaels: November 1998 – June 2000
The Heartbreak Kid, The Showstopper, Mr Wrestlemania, whatever you wish to call him, Shawn Michaels has played a big part in the history of WWE Raw. Whether fighting for the Championship, making Sgt Slaughter’s life hell with his degenerate buddy Triple H, ending careers or donning a suit for more formal business, HBK has been a relevant cog in the WWE machine since Raw’s inception.
Acting as the Commissioner of the then WWF, Shawn Michaels succeeded Sgt Slaughter after Vince McMahon declared that an Independent Figure was needed to book matches – ‘For the benefit of the wrestlers and the WWF fans, one that would not adhere to Vince McMahon himself and will have the full rights and privileges to treat WWE superstars with the quality and dignity that they deserve.’ The Showstopper was now ultimately in charge of the show.
After having had to retire due to the back injury he sustained in a casket match at the Royal Rumble 1998 PPV during a bout with the Undertaker, Michaels was kept fresh in the fan’s minds with this non-contact role. WWE utilised his abilities to cut promos and get the crowd worked up which benefited both HBK and the WWE Universe, allowing Michaels to stay relevant and adapt his mic work as an unbiased official (or as often seen, a rather biased official). Whilst not constantly present, Shawn had the tendency to show up unannounced and rectify a situation that he saw tumbling out of control or, just because the Heartbreak Kid felt like it.
Although McMahon brought Shawn in as the Commissioner he would soon rue the day. Having split from the Corporation Shawn began siding with the rising star Stone Cold Steve Austin after McMahon had attempted to fire him. It was only after Michaels had reminded the Chairman that his contract was in fact ‘Iron Clad’ and the only way Shawn could be discontinued from his position was if he himself quit. Notably infuriating McMahon at the Royal Rumble event of 1999, after Austin had drawn the number 1 spot Michael’s declared that Vince would not be entering at number 30 as previously stated, but as the second entrant, much to McMahons displeasure. It was decisions and over-rulings like this that sent intrigue and excitement through the air when Michaels music hit.
Click “next” below to read part 2…