Shawn Michaels’ Wrestlemania Career – The Rockers vs. Barbarian & Haku: Wrestlemania VII
Third time is the charm when it comes to The Rockers at Wrestlemania. After taking losses at Mania V and VI, The Rockers opened Wrestlemania VII in the city of Angels against the team of Haku and The Barbarian. The match would not only be the last of The Rockers at Wrestlemania, it would be part of the last run of the team. A few months earlier, The Rockers had successfully captured the Tag Team Championships from the Hart Foundation, but backstage politics, or other factors are rumored to have rewritten history to ignore the title change. Due to this, the climax of The Rockers never occurred as history denies them as Champions. Then perhaps, it was their match at Wrestlemania VII that acted as the positive climax of their team. At Wrestlemania VII, The Rockers were finally able to win a match at the showcase of the immortals and it gave Shawn Michaels his first career Wrestlemania victory in grand style.
The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena explodes to start the show as The Rockers come running down the aisle. Shawn Michaels starts off the match with his quickness and Haku tries to keep up. The two men would trade a few irish whips as Michaels would continue to show great agility in a way he had not on the Wrestlemania stage. The two would combat to a stalemate until The Rockers would unite to show their patented hip toss, elbow, nip up combination, but The Barbarian would interrupt their momentum with a huge double clothesline that would send The Rockers into orbit. Michaels and Jannetty would answer back with a combination of superkicks on both Haku and The Barbarian sending them to the outside to seek advice from The Brain himself, Bobby Heenan.
Jannetty took the reigns from Michaels, but he would walk into the barbaric offense of The Barbarian. Puns aside, Jannetty was grounded by The Barbarian. Jannetty would use his speed and create a chase. He would end up on The shoulders of The Barbarian and Michaels performed a dropkick to his back as Jannetty turned that into a unique dropkick and hurracanranna combination. Shortly after, Jannetty found himself in trouble due to the teamwork of their rivals. Jannetty spent a good deal of time taking punishment. Haku would be particularly harmful, until The Barbarian missed a big splash from the top rope and gave Jannetty the chance to get the hot tag to Shawn Michaels for the last time on the grand stage.
Michaels would come in, pick up the tempo and take over the match. With the crowd behind him, Michaels gained a good series of offense, until he attempted a sunset flip on Haku that wasn’t enough to take him down, but Jannetty was there with a running clothesline and a combination of dropkicks to permanently take care of The Barbarian. The Rockers ascended to the top rope as Jannetty landed a dropkick and Shawn Michaels would land a crossbody for the first Wrestlemania victory of his career and the only Wrestlemania win for The Rockers. The crowd erupted in celebration in what I will always consider the final rising action of The Rockers tag team before backstage politics and Barber Shop segments would tear the high-flying dynamic duo apart.
It was a fun match to finish the history of The Rockers at Wrestlemania. None of the matches were particularly memorable, or important, but they were enough to give an insight into the early Wrestlemania career of HBK. At Mania V, he was green. He was barely a part of his match at Mania VI, but he was the hot hand during this match with Haku and The Barbarian. He showed a great deal of athleticism and skill. It was clear between watching these three matches of how much he improved in such a short time. It is even clearer that Michaels had something else that could be expanded upon. At this point in his career, HBK was a tag team specialist who had more flair than legitimacy as a wrestler and as an in ring performer. We know now that he had so much more in the tank, which makes going back through his career thus far almost like watching a bird trapped in a cage. The bird may fly around a little inside, until the bar gets in his way. Tomorrow, we get to watch Shawn Michaels on the grandest stage of them all free of the cage for the first time, and as far as I’m concerned, that is when the show that only The Heartbreak Kid can perform. The show that we have never ever seen before truly begins.
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