The inductee was announced on the first week edition of “Monday Night Raw” this new year. HBK will join the likes of Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Bobby Heenan, Curt Hennig, Gorilla Monsoon, and many of the history making stars throughout the years.
The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony typically takes place the night before the annual WrestleMania extravaganza, and then the entire class for that year is brought out in front of the often sold-out Mania crowd for the fans to show their admiration and respect for the men that helped pave the way for many of today’s superstars.
Michaels began his career in 1984, and before long was rising to the top of the tag team division of the now-defunct AWA promotion. He was a part of a team known then as the Midnight Rockers, alongside Marty Jannetty. Together, The Rockers claimed the AWA Tag Team Titles on several occasions, having well-documented feuds with Buddy Rose and Doug Somers. Then they moved on to what was then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where Jannetty had limited success. However it would be Michaels that would turn out to be the breakout megastar.
Michaels meteoric rise to the top began after he and Jannetty on-screen split in early 1992. From there, building Intercontinental Championships, six Tag Team Titles (with four different partners, none of which was Jannetty), a run with the European Title, one World Title reign, and three WWE Championships. All of that gave him the distinction of being the first ever Grand Slam Champion, and the fourth Triple Crown winner. According to Wikipedia, there have been 21 Triple Crown Champions, and 10 Grand Slam Champions.
Michaels was also credited for co-founding the controversial group known as DeGeneration X. Together with Triple H, the two pushed the limit on television every week to see what they could get away with. They were obnoxious and arrogant, but also one of the most widely-followed factions of the modern era. DX would be realigned after Michaels went into a period of retirement back in 1998. Michaels returned 1999 to have a brief feud with the group while he was the “Commissioner” of the WWF. Then, after he was fired on-screen by the Chairman, Vince McMahon, Michaels would not return until 2002 when he came back to defeat Triple H in a streetfight at SummerSlam.
DX has been reunited a couple of times since, but Michaels has found ways to reinvent himself to keep his legacy fresh. At the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania in 2009, Michaels challenged The Undertaker to a match in Houston, Texas. The Undertaker was notorious for his undefeated streak, which stayed alive after he defeated Michaels in what many called the match of the decade.
Then in 2010, Michaels wanted one more shot at The Undertaker’s streak. During the 2009 Slammy Awards, Michaels won his record-shattering 11th Slammy Award (for the Wrestlemania match) and challenged the streak one more time. The Undertaker initially denied Michaels’ request for the match, but after weeks of back and forth confrontations, The Undertaker granted Michaels his rematch. However the stipulation was that if Michaels lost, he would be forced to retire. They agreed on the match, and at WrestleMania 26 in Arizona, they went to war one more time. The match rivaled their encounter from a year prior, keeping the fans on their feet throughout the match. But in the end, it was Michaels that gave a wakeup slap to The Undertaker and fell victim to a Tombstone for the second consecutive year.
Since his retirement, Michaels has embarked on a new hunting experience that according to him, will spawn a television series scheduled for sometime in 2011. With the announcement that he will be inducted into the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame, it will cap off an impressive 20-plus year career that has landed him on every corner of the earth and achieved nearly every major accomplishment in the industry. Congratulations are highly in order for one of the most deserving superstars to ever grace the squared circle.