It's a 51-mile drive from Chandler, Arizona to Glendale. The former is the birthplace of one Michael Shawn Hickenbotton, aka Shawn Michaels, while the latter is the site of his final wrestling match at the age of 44. "The Heartbreak Kid" decreed one year earlier in a radio interview that WrestleMania 26 would be the probable end of his long, controversial, and memorable career, and it just so happened to be taking place in Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium, moderate driving distance from where he was born in 1965.
At the time of Michaels' departure, WWE had since fulfilled McMahon's long-standing desire to embrace celebrity hobnobbing with a full-on leg hump, turning Monday Night Raw into an irksome variety show with guest hosts and "comedy" writing that was generally less funny than your average head-of-state funeral.
Across his two-plus decades as a member of the WWE family in one form or another, Michaels witnessed many changes to the aesthetic and tone of his employer. The WWE he was leaving behind stank of desperation and hollow jubilation. As Max Landis would say, "wrestling isn't wrestling", but WWE in 2010 was becoming something altogether unfamiliar and offbeat.
At least Michaels got to leave in a way that wrestling fans would best recognize him: as the undoubted "Showstopper".
10. Hideo Itami Was In Attendance For WrestleMania Weekend
Itami would receive a "WrestleMania moment" of sorts when he took part in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal preceding WrestleMania 31. However, the first brush that Itami would have with any 'Mania came four years before he signed with WWE.
Before rechristening himself as 'Hideo Itami', he was KENTA, one of Pro Wrestling Noah's premier athletes and most gifted junior-heavyweight marvels. At the time of WrestleMania 26, KENTA was out of action with a long-term knee injury, but made the trip to Glendale in order to be present for Antonio Inoki's Hall of Fame induction. Joining him for the cross-Pacific journey were Jado and Gedo, the veteran New Japan tandem that would eventually become the promotion's well-regarded bookers.