Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, born 1965, is a retired American professional wrestler who previously performed with World Wrestling Entertainment and the American Wrestling Association under the ring name Shawn Michaels. He was trained by Jose Lothario and made his debut on October 16, 1984 with the Mid-South Wrestling Association. He is best known for his involvement in the Montreal Screwjob. He is known as the greatest in-ring performer of all time. His achievements (in WWF/E) include becoming the WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, Intercontinental Champion, European Champion, and a World Tag Champion. He is also a two time Royal Rumble winner (1995&1996). His career culminated in his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in the Class of 2011, the year after his retirement. His nicknames include: The Heart Break Kid, The Showstopper, The Icon, Mr. Wrestlemania, The Main Event, and Mr. Hall of Fame.
Michaels briefly appeared in the WWF in 1987 alongside tag team partner Marty Janetty. The two quickly got a reputation for their hard partying and were quickly let go by the company. The following year, the duo were given another opportunity and achieved some level of success before ending the team and focusing on solo careers in 1991, with Michaels turning heel on December 2 that year in an angle where he attacked Janetty on WWF television and developed a new gimmick as an egotistical villain. In 1992, Michaels added Sherri Martel as his manager and went on a winning streak that culminated in him winning the Intercontinental Title. His new found fame ultimately went to his head and he became difficult to deal with back stage. Recalled Michaels: "I don't deny it at all...I was a son of a gun." He was suspended for refusing to lose the title.
Michaels befriended powerful sports entertainers Triple H, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. The group became known backstage as "The Kliq". Triple H is one of the greatest practitioners of the craft of professional wrestling, while Nash is one of the greatest big men of all time, and Hall is a top-tier performer.
Michaels attributes his conversion to Christianity to his wife's influence. Michaels: "She was a witness by example. One day, I just cracked open a Bible and started reading it, and it progressed from there."
- Interview with WWE Raw Magazine, April 2004