Shawn Michaels is my favorite wrestler of all time. This has been the case for nearly twenty years, even before he made his miraculous 2002-2010 comeback. For my money no other wrestler has stolen as many shows or pushed the performance envelope like Shawn Michaels has (though Okada and Omega may eclipse him when all is said and done). And as a huge, longtime Shawn Michaels fan, it pains me to say that his returning to in-ring action, in 2018, at the age of 53, is ri-goddamn-diculous.
Michaels has been away from the ring for eight-and-a-half years now. He looks and carries himself like an old man. His fellow retiree The Undertaker looks equally run down. Aside from a giant paycheck, why on this planet would Shawn and Taker cheapen their respective retirements and their legendary series of matches with an old timers' tour? One would assume this DX vs. Brothers of Destruction match signed for Saudi Arabia is a one-time deal, but there are rumors that it's building to a Shawn vs. Taker singles match down the road. Again, their pair of WrestleMania matches nearly a decade ago are heralded as all-time masterpieces. Why the fuck would we want to see them even attempt to equal those two matches nine years later, at a combined age of 106?
The Vince McMahon of 1998 would laugh mercilessly at the desperately out-of-touch old man he's become.
In 1996 the WWF included, as part of the WrestleMania 12 pre-show, a segment called the Geriatric Match, pitting parodies of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage against each other. It was literally a stereotypical "old person fight," with the "Huckster" needing a walker to stay upright, and both men eventually passing out from exhaustion after doing basically nothing. To view these segments you'd think the real Hogan and Savage were in their 60s at this point. Nope. 42 and 43 respectively. Combined age, 85. 1990s Vince McMahon ruthlessly made fun of the age of two former employees, both of whom were in their early 40s. Yet 2018 Vince McMahon has no problem headlining a PPV with a 27-minute match between a 53-year-old and a 49-year-old. 90s Vince may have been a passive-aggressive asshole (and let's be honest, his 2018 counterpart is too), but at least that guy understood that for the most part wrestling is far more exciting when it's built around young stars in their 20s and 30s. I'm not saying Vince should be lampooning anyone past the age of 40, but two dudes who peaked during the Dubya Administration have no business main eventing a PPV in 2018. In no decently run wrestling company should the two top champions be lower on the card than a bunch of 50-year-olds.
I think what bothers me the most is that Shawn refused a WrestleMania program with AJ Styles because he didn't want to crap all over his retirement. But a throwaway tag team match where the four men involved total 206 years of age is fine? AJ could've used the rub from working with a performer as accomplished as Michaels; a match like that would've fully legitimized AJ as a WWE headliner (fortunately AJ has since managed to do that on his own). What does this tag team match accomplish, aside from all four guys getting to shower in corrupt Saudi money?
And for fuck's sake, the De-Generation X gimmick absolutely does not work when both members are old enough to have grandchildren. Stop it.
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