This week Shawn Michaels turns 51. Not exactly a Heartbreak Kid anymore! Michaels’ legendary career is split evenly between his early wild-child years, and his later respectable elder statesman run, but regardless of era, Michaels’ in-ring mastery remained a dependable constant.
Today we’re going to look at that contentious early era. The rise, the controversy, and also that time he was on Baywatch. Here’s a few things you may not know about the Shawn Michaels that was more into raising hell than hallelujahs …
Shawn Michael’s wrestling career began at a high-school talent show.
Michael Shawn Hickenbottom was born July 22, 1965, in the town of Chandler, Ariz. Shawn, who swapped his first and middle names long before he got into wrestling, was uprooted frequently until his Air Force officer father finally settled in San Antonio when he was in middle school.
Shawn was a star high-school football player, but his real passion was pro wrestling. The young heartbreaker regularly watched the likes of Tully Blanchard, Gino Hernandez and Bruiser Brody battle in Southwest Championship Wrestling and would play wrestler with his friends. Michaels’ first battle in front of an audience came during a high-school talent show, where he and a friend staged a match, complete with chair shots and “blood.”
“I remember during the match, my friend Kenny hit me with a chair, and I fell down under the table and poured food coloring on myself as blood. It was a lot of fun. He and I even got second or third place for it.”
Unbeknownst to Michaels, he’d still be doing the same thing decades later, although his days of being runner up were numbered.