The Search For Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels has worn a lot of hats over the years. Since I don’t know much about idioms or the English language in general, I’ll assume that expression refers to actual headgear…

…of which Shawn has had no shortage over the years.

Kangols, cowboy hats, sparkly leather caps, Shawn has worn them all…

…including, on more than one occasion, a chef’s hat.

But in 2009, Shawn’s turn under the toque had nothing to do with weenie jokes. Or at least, not everything to do with weenie jokes.

In the summer of 2009, Triple H sought to single-handedly beat the team of Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase, Jr.)

His plan to beat Legacy hit a snag, however, when he realized there were two of them. If Hunter wanted to win, he’d need to get an old faction back together.

Now, an Evolution reunion couldn’t happen, in part because Batista was, in Triple H’s words, “always hurt”.

No, the faction he meant was D-X, last seen together at New Year’s Revolution 2007.

Hey, what happened then?

The only problem was, no one had seen Shawn Michaels, his D-X partner, since WrestleMania25. That night, he and The Undertaker had put on an absolute classic — perhaps the single most influential match of this century.

When Shawn Michaels kicked out of that first Tombstone, a move protected for nearly two decades…

…when the camera zoomed in on an incredulous Undertaker wondering, What is it going to take to beat this man?

…when the last ten minutes saw the two men hit almost nothing but finishers…

…the fans had never witnessed anything like it. It was a truly one-of-a-kind match that we’ve seen every single night since.

Speaking of repetition ad nauseam, there was another D-X reunion to put together…

…so the next week, Triple H headed to an office building in City Name, Texas to find Shawn.

As Hunter poked around the food court and left a voicemail for Shawn Michaels, a man wearing the cheapest of ponytail wigs sat his tray down.

That must be Shawn! thought Triple H, who has since gotten glasses.

Triple H called the man, “sexy boy” and told him he was used to seeing him in chaps.

So imagine his surprise when the guy turned out not to be Shawn Michaels, but an office worker. A gay office worker. Uh oh!

Hehe… “weenie”

Things turned no less hilarious when a bratty girl spammed the bell on the deli counter…

…shouting, “I want my hamburger!” over and over again.

That was bad enough, but what really makes her insufferable is that she pronounced it “ham-booger”. How could anyone who pronounces it like that, still have the appetite to eat it?

Anyway, Shawn Michaels walked out with a chef’s hat to shut the girl up. Shawn Michaels? Working in food service?

At least it wasn’t X-Pac.

And on that cliffhanger, Raw went to commercial.

Later in the night, Shawn explained that ever since WrestleMania, he didn’t feel like wrestling anymore. Instead, he’d rather…

…well, you can see the hat.

So in WWE canon, after losing to The Undertaker in one of the greatest matches in WrestleMania history, Shawn Michaels decided to retire and become a cafeteria cook.

Still, that’s only marginally sillier than a depressed Undertaker locking himself in his room and cutting off his hair after *beating* Triple H at WrestleMania.

I’d say the quality of wigs was about the same.

While not Shawn’s worst excuse to walk out of WWE, the career change made little sense financially or personally. In fact, the whole premise was just an excuse to set up some uproariously funny jokes that, of course, never materialized.

As Triple H tried to convince Shawn to come back to the ring, Michaels assured him that at least he was respected around here.

Just then, the brat returned, telling him his tater tots sucked before throwing them in his face. I will give this sketch some credit — this is still the funniest tater tot joke in WWE history.

But disrespect aside, Shawn was good at his job —

— except for the grill that burst into flames!

A member of D-X with black all over his face? Now I’ve seen everything!

The play’s third act would come later in the night.

In it, Shawn’s boss showed up to yell at Shawn, whom he called, “Hickenbottom”. Hickenbottom is of course Shawn’s real last name…

…though no one told that to the closed-captioner, who called him “Dicken Bottom”.

Imagine how much heat Shawn Michaels could have gotten in the 90s with that name.

The boss chewed out Shawn about all the ways he’d screwed up that day — yelling at a little girl, burning the kitchen, letting a cameraman have free rein of the food court…

Finally, Shawn had had enough, superkicking his boss and walking off the job. He and Triple H started reciting their catchphrase…

…which an older lady finished.

But that hamburger brat wasn’t through with Shawn…

…so Michaels superkicked her off screen.

Sometimes, WWE sees a skit flop and buries it the following week, laughing about how bad it was.

But not this time! Instead, WWE replayed nearly the whole thing, including the gay guy and the tossed salad.

Hunter and “Shawn” got the heart-wipe treatment…

…while Shawn’s battle with the grease fire got a hard rock accompaniment.

Later that night, D-X made their first public appearance in over two years. But before they could tell the WWE Universe to suck it (if they weren’t down with sucking it in the first place), Legacy attacked.

D-X ended up beating Legacy 2-1 in pay-per-view matches.

Shawn Michaels then made it his life’s mission to avenge his WrestleMania loss to The Undertaker.

So consumed was Shawn in his quest that all other aspects of his life and career quickly spiraled downward. He lost the Royal Rumble, actually lost the WWE tag titles, and broke up D-X.

In the end, Shawn made the fateful decision to put his entire career on the line for a chance to end The Undertaker’s Streak. For the legendary Shawn Michaels, this feat mattered more than anything.

“If I can’t beat you,” said Michaels, “I have no career.”

Shawn Michaels

Of course, these words lost just a little gravity when you remembered he’d already quit to work in a cafeteria.

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