Shawn Michaels Heartbreak and Triumph DVD Review

Shawn Michaels; The Main Event, The Showstopper, The Icon. Whatever you want to call him, and whatever your personal opinion of the man away from the ring, his ability between the ropes cannot be denied. This DVD covers the life and times of HBK, from the day he was born, through both incarnations of DX, up to his run towards the Wrestlemania 23 main event against John Cena.

shawn-michaels-heartbreak-and-triumph-dvd-cover

Certificate: 18

Running Time: 573mins (9hrs 33mins)

Discs: 3

Chapters

Disc 1

  • Growing Up
  • Learning the Ropes
  • Midnight Rockers
  • Big Break And Downfall
  • Second Chance
  • Heartbreak Kid
  • Diesel
  • Suspension
  • The Ladder Match
  • Clique
  • Friends Fight For the Title
  • Knocked Out
  • Boyhood Dream
  • Curtain Call
  • A Champion’s Struggles
  • Hometown Hero
  • “I Lost My Smile”
  • Hell In A Cell
  • D-Generation X
  • Montreal
  • Rock Bottom
  • Faith
  • Return
  • Fan vs Idol
  • Brother, Brother, Brother
  • No Holds Barred Against the Boss
  • D-Generation X Reunion
  • …Still the Main Event
  • the Best Ever?

Deleted Scenes

  • Wrestling Academy
  • Bible Teacher
  • Colorado Expedition
  • Who’s the Greatest Wrestler?

Promos

  • Raw 4/4/94 – Heartbreak Hotel
  • Tell Me A Lie Music Video
  • Raw 8/1/05 – Larry King Spoof

Stories

  • High School Prankster
  • High School Talent Show
  • Letter Jacket
  • Mom’s Approval
  • The Bruise
  • The Rockers “Fight”
  • This Is a Little Higher Than I Thought
  • Brown Pants

Disc 2

  • Shawn Michaels vs. Billy Jack Haynes (WCCW 11/01/85)
  • AWA Tag Team Championship Match – The Midnight Rockers vs. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers (AWA 10/02/87)
  • AWA Tag Team Championship Match – The Midnight Rockers vs. Super Ninja & Ninja Go (AWA 12/06/87)
  • The Rockers vs. The Brainbusters (MSG 23/01/89)
  • World Tag Team Championship Match (2 out of 3 falls) – The Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation (October 1990)
  • The Rockers vs. Orient Express (Royal Rumble 19/01/91)
  • Intercontinental Championship Match – Shawn Michaels vs. The British Bulldog (Saturday Night’s Main Event 08/11/92)
  • Shawn Michaels enters #1 and wins the Rumble (Royal Rumble 22/01/95)
Disc 3
  • Intercontinental Championship Match – Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Jarrett (In Your House 23/07/95)
  • WWE Championship Match – Shawn Michaels vs. The British Bulldog (King of the Ring 23/06/96)
  • World Heavyweight Championship Match
  • Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (RAW 29/12/03)
  • The Rockers vs. La Resistance (RAW 14/03/05)
  • Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (Vengeance 26/06/05)
  • Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena (RAW 23/04/07)

The first thing I noticed about this collection is that it focuses the entire first disc solely on the documentary on the life of HBK both in the wrestling business and in his personal life. The matches are kept seperate on discs two and three, and this makes ‘Heartbreak & Triumph’ stand out from the recent Triple H and Rey Mysterio DVDs.

The early chapters will be familiar to those who have seen the “Before They Were Superstars” collection. They retread the story of how Shawn’s mom was disappointed to have a son (she really, really wanted a girl) and his growing up as a military kid.

His best friend, Kenny Kent, speaks on the days at school where they performed a 30+min wrestling match as part of a talent show (Kenny is also ringside when Shawn wins his second WWF Title, with HBK going straight over and hugging his friend in a touching moment after the match).

We learn a little more about his pre-WWE career, specifically his runs in the AWA and Memphis and the circumstances surrounding the formation of The Midnight Rockers (shortened to simply The Rockers when they arrived in WWE). Shawn and Marty talk about their initial run with WWE and how disastrous it was after Jimmy Jack Funk hazed them in a bar.

From there, we find out about The Midnight Rockers going back on the road with the AWA and how Shawn was pissed off about blowing his chances at the big time. Michaels felt that he had made it to where every pro-wrestler wants to be and had messed it up beyond repair… but he was wrong.

A quick call to WWE was all it took to have The Midnight Rockers added to the roster for a second time. Known as The Rockers, Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels returned to the company and became one of the hottest acts in the process. The team had great matches against The Orient Express, The Brainbusters, Demolition, Barbarian & Haku, The Hart Foundation, and others. The tag title switch that never was is also covered, with the match being included on the second disc of the set as well.

The break-up of The Rockers (which was set-up with an angle where Shawn Michaels started acting arrogantly in matches. Things like not tagging in Marty or just toying with opponents were used to get this across), still one of the most shocking angles the WWF ever did, is shown and both men involved talk about how it went down.

The Rockers are dead, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels is reborn. The nickname was a throw-away quip by Mr. Perfect that stuck (to be fair, it was, no pun intended, a perfect nickname for the character at the time). Pat Patterson was the person who put forth that Shawn would work with Sherri Martel (the two had worked together in the territories). It was seen as a move to legitimise Michaels’ singles run in the eyes of the fans. It was deemed that Sherri, who had been the valet of Ted DiBiase and Randy Savage would add an aura of authenticity to the character.

Shawn and Sherri weren’t an on-screen pairing for that long, as an angle with the returning Marty Jannetty turned Martel face for the first time in WWE and led to some excellent matches between the two partners after Shawn had won his first Intercontinental Title, from The British Bulldog, on the last edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event. This turn of events allowed Kevin Nash (blundering his way through WCW as Vinnie Vegas at the time) to come in as HBK’s bodyguard, Diesel and led into a fued with Razor Ramon over the IC belt.

Shawn had been suspended from the company (and thus stripped of the IC title) for alleged steroid abuse (which Shawn denies on this DVD). He was asked to return the strap and refused, causing WWE to give Razor a new belt when he won a match against Rick Martel (after both survived a battle royal) for the vacant title. HBK returned with his old title belt and WWE ran with an angle stemming from this real situation in which both men would lay claim to the title and settle it in what is considered the first ladder match (even though it isn’t) in WWE.

The formation of the Clique is discussed, with Shawn being defensive of the reputation they’d earned for using political backstage influence. This could fill a DVD all by itself, so the little mentioned in this chapter is really just to whet your whistle on.

The disc then flashes through the HBK/Diesel tag team, Wrestlemania XI, the attack in Syracuse, New York (some Marines beat up Shawn for real and left him pretty banged up. Triple H throws in some comments about this which are pretty interesting), the “Shawn collapses” angle with Owen Hart and into the Iron Man match at Wrestlemania XII (which is still called the greatest wrestling match in history by most on this disc. It’s not.). This is followed by the Curtain Call and then the greatest reception HBK has ever had as he regained the WWF Championship against Sid in his home town.

The infamous “Lost Smile” incident is explained in more detail (blame Shawn’s mom), before we get to another first that Shawn was involved in; the Hell in a Cell match. A lot of people say that Undertaker v Mankind is the greatest HiaC match of all time, but they would be wrong. As much (deserved) press as that match gets (due to the insane bumps Foley took), it is vastly inferior to the original. Shawn and ‘Taker delivered an absolute masterclass in how to get a new gimmick over as well as entertain the fans. The blood lost from HBK during the bout could have redefined the Muta Scale.

Shawn won the match courtesy of a debuting Kane, meaning he was now the #1 contender to the WWF Championship and would challenge Bret Hart (who had won the belt from Undertaker at Summerslam ’97 due to a botched chairshot from Shawn) at Survivor Series. We all know how this turned out.

Vince McMahon screwed a WCW-bound Bret Hart out of the WWF title live on PPV. Regardless of the rights or wrongs on both sides (Bret should have understood that the titles are merely props for the owner of the company to do what he wants with, while on the other side of the coin, Vince should have honoured Bret’s creative control clause), this situation, to this day (more than 10yrs later) is still the single biggest incident in pro-wrestling history and the “JFK shooting” for pro-wrestling fans of a certain age.

Shawn was the bad guy, deserved or not (I say not, simply because if it wasn’t HBK, someone else would have done it and it was Triple H’s idea – the guy was a politician even back then). Bret was off to WCW, DX came to the fore and Mr. McMahon was born (although he wouldn’t come of age for another few months yet).

If you believe in karma, then what happened at the 1998 Royal Rumble probably made you smile. Shawn was defending the title against Undertaker in a casket match and took a bad bump onto said casket and really messed up his back. He gutted it out (to his credit) and made it to Wrestlemania XIV, adding Mike Tyson to DX along the way, to lose the WWF Championship to Steve Austin and ignite the hottest period in US wrestling history.

As the WWE were on fire, Shawn flitted in and out of the company with a variety of on-screen roles, but his drug use was getting to be too much (Triple H mentions a time when he showed up out of his face and Undertaker went to “sort him out”  in a physical manner).

While he was out, he tuned into Nitro and saw the woman who was destined to be his wife, Nitro Girl Whisper. The trials of their courtship is mentioned, as is their wedding and the birth of their first child. But Shawn was still getting wasted on a regular basis.

It wasn’t until the time he passed out on a sofa with Connor crawling all over him that he realised what he was becoming and decided to change. He quit the drugs and alcohol that night and (according to this DVD) never touched them again. He joined Rebecca’s (Whisper’s) church group and found salvation in Jesus Christ. From all accounts, this has changed who Shawn is as a person and led to his return to the ring at Summerslam 2002.

The angle for Shawn’s return was perfectly executed, with Triple H turning on HBK and attacking him in a parking lot (putting his head through a car window for good measure). Summerslam 2002 was to feature the return of HBK in a streetfight that Eric Bischoff (in another great part of the angle) refused to sanction.

It was only supposed to be a one-off match so Shawn’s son could see “daddy” do what he did best, but the reception to the contest (which was awesome), as well as the performance of Shawn himself (made all the more remarkable considering he had only competed in one match ” taking on Justin Credible for his own promotion ” since his departure four years earlier) meant that a full-time comeback was a possibility. What no-one expected was another World Title run, but at Survivor Series 2002, that’s what we got as HBK won the first Elimination Chamber match to win the big one in the greatest comeback in wrestling history.

The disc rounds itself out with Shawn talking about his matches against Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon and the Degeneration X reunion (and how he worked that around his religious beliefs).

We close on a mini-discussion on Shawn still being a main-event level performer and whether he is the best all-round wrestler to have laced up the boots. Watching this retrospective, it’s hard to argue against him.

Extras

There are a lot of extras on the first disc, with highlights being everyone mocking the brown tights HBK wore at Survivor Series 2004, a tale of when Shawn got his Letter Jacket at high-school and the story behind “The Bruise” that is quite hilarious.

There are some promos and deleted scenes that are interesting to watch, but the last deleted scene is probably the most intriguing. It talks about the HBK/Kurt Angle feud and portrays Kurt in a very positive light; surprising due to the way Angle left the company and the fact he is (more or less) the face of their closest opposition.

The first disc is awesome, and the extras are pretty good too.

Now, it’s on to the matches.

Disc 2 & 3

The second and third discs are made up entirely of matches from Shawn’s career, and even though there are a lot of awesome ones missing (hard not to when HBK has had so many fantastic matches over the years).

There isn’t a bad match on either disc, but some of them are forgotten classics. The Rockers v The Brain Busters, HBK v The British Bulldog, HBK v Jeff Jarrett (a fantastic contest from IYH2), HBK v The Bulldog for the WWF Title and The Rockers v La Resistance are all belters and well worth inclusion on this disc.

The Rockers v The Hart Foundation is a curiosity, with the men having to work without a top rope for the majority of the contest. The 1995 Rumble win, impressive as it was, is downplayed by the fact it went less than 40mins in total, while there are some great matches left off the disc for various reasons.

All in all, this is a great collection of wrestling matches.

Overview

An absolute belter of a collection that should become a template for how all profile DVDs are done in the future. The documentary on the subject is on one disc and all the matches are on other discs. We learn more about Shawn Michaels (which is the point) and about his journey from a no-name talent in the territories to the pinnacle of the profession to the man he is today.

It really is a great story to listen to and has given me a new respect for Shawn Michaels the man as well as Shawn Michaels the performer.

The extras are all worth a viewing and the matches are a good representation of the various aspects of HBK’s career, even if there are some worthy bouts missing.

All in all, the best profile DVD the WWE have ever released.

Points: 9 / 10

Buy It:

 

UK: DVD

USA: DVD

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