Written by Niall Kenny
Here’s one match that never happened that could have been a 5 star classic. Two of the greatest icons in the history of the business: The Rock and Shawn Michaels. The two men never faced off in a match despite the fact that their careers overlapped. It could be argued that Shawn is the greatest in-ring performer in the history of our business. No-one has more memorable spots or more “Holy Shit” moments than Mr WrestleMania. The Rock is widely considered the most charismatic man to ever grace a WWE microphone. It’s a criminal oversight that The People’s Champion and The Showstopper never got it on in sanctioned competition.
Build Up :
I firmly believe that with the appropriate build up, The Rock vs Shawn Michaels could have been one of the most anticipated match ups of all time. When I imagine it, I like to think both men would be face heading into the match. The Rock could cut a promo in the ring along these lines: “The Rock has done it all. The Great One has conquered everyone there is to conquer. John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin. There is no-one in this business that can hold a candle to The Rock”. Then HBK’s music hits. Shawn, microphone in hand, addresses Rocky from the ramp: “Rock, you’re undeniably a legend of this business. But to earn the respect of the Heartbreak Kid, you’ve got to beat the Heartbreak Kid.” Obviously, this is a very simplified version of how it would play out, but the build up could go on from there, with Rock concerts poking fun at Michaels, and Michaels laying out The Rock with superkicks. Billed as The Brahma Bull vs The Main Event, this one would have fans on the edge of their seats.
You only have to look at each man’s routine to know that Shawn and Dwayne’s styles would gel magically in the ring. Rock was never anywhere close to Shawn in terms of in-ring ability but he’s worked countless great matches all the same. It could be argued that Shawn could put on a classic match with a coffee table, but it’s safe to say that The Rock could hold his own and give his 50% of the performance. Both men are known for using the kip up, undoubtedly a spot that would be utilised in the match. Imagine this: 25 minutes into the match, The Rock is on offence. He Irish Whips Shawn into the ropes, Shawn ducks the clothesline and retaliates with a flying forearm. Both men are exhausted on the ground, then in a split second, they’re back on their feet. An intense staredown across the ring follows and the final act of the performance gets underway. Jaw-shattering Superkicks and chiropractic Rock Bottoms ensue in an all-out finisher-fest. The crowd is emotionally invested in every move the legends make. But which of the immortals prevails in the end?
This might be biased on my part, but I’d give the victory to Shawn Michaels. I was never as invested in The Rock’s character as most fans seemed to be. My finish for the match would play out like this: Rock hits a Rock Bottom and covers. Michaels gets a foot on the ropes. Rock grows visibly frustrated and lifts Michaels up for another Rock Bottom. While Rock has HBK elevated, Shawn counters and in a fraction of a second lays The Great One out with Sweet Chin Music. Spent and exhausted, Shawn collapses on Rock and gets the three count. HBK’s theme plays as both men lay on the mat, having given everything they possibly could. The music cuts out as both men stagger to their feet. Rock extends his hand and Shawn shakes it. A moment that would be considered cheesy elsewhere is a magical moment of respect, humility and admiration, considering the status of the performers involved.
There is no doubt in my mind that Shawn Michaels vs The Rock is the best match that never happened. If this match were to happen, Prime vs Prime, it would undoubtedly be one for the ages. Next installment of the Dream Matches series: Hulk Hogan vs “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.