WWF.com article-late 1999
by Phil Speer

After his beating by the Corporation, and with back surgery on the horizon, Shawn Michaels is contemplating retirement, a newspaper in Texas is reporting.

"I've accomplished many things in the ring, including reaching the top as a world champion," Michaels told his hometown newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News. "If I hadn't won the title, then perhaps I would still be trying to get back in the ring one way or another, but you have to start thinking about your personal life."

It’s not the first time that Michaels has talked openly about hanging it up. He suffered multiple injuries and a concussion this past week on RAW. It is reminiscent of 1995, when a group of thugs in Syracuse, New York, dragged Michaels from his car and assaulted him, leaving him battered and with a concussion.

I was a student at Syracuse University in 1995 and the assault generated widespread local publicity. There was rampant speculation that Michaels would retire. Dealing with traumatic Post Concussion Syndrome, doctors encouraged him to do just that.

Of course, he returned, won the 1996 Royal Rumble, and went on to capture the World Wrestling Federation Championship for the first of three times.

Doctors are once again encouraging him to retire. The Heartbreak Kid faces back surgery later this month to fuse two damaged vertebrae in his lower back that have left him out of action since WrestleMania in March.

Michaels could easily walk away.

The goals that Michaels came back three years ago to accomplish have all been accomplished. He is the only superstar in history to hold the Tag Team, European, Intercontinental and World Wrestling Federation Championship. He has worn the Federation Championship on not one but three occasions. He is rich and famous, and is set to open a wrestling school in the next few months to keep him occupied.

His body is bruised from the punishment he took from the Corporation as so is his ego. Michaels must be speculating, like all fans, that D-Generation X indirectly assisted in the attack by giving Michaels the wrong car keys and trapping him outside alone.

Plus, knowing Mr. McMahon, the man who gave Michaels his opportunity so many years, orchestrated the assault may also be weighing on Michaels’ mind. Does HBK have any friends in the locker room that will watch his back?

It is easy to see why Michaels is telling the San Antonio Express-News that he is thinking about walking away.

But how many times do we see high-profile athletes say they are going to retire, and then come back? Michaels himself has already done it. Michael Jordan insisted he was done with basketball after his father was killed, only to return two seasons later.

Just as Jordan has basketball in his blood, the World Wrestling Federation runs through Shawn’s veins. The superstar bleeds Attitude. Remember, Michaels left to heal his wounds after WrestleMania, but could stay away. Still too injured to compete, he returned last summer for guest commentary on RAW. Remember the excitement in Michaels’ face when he first showed up? That excitement from the crowd, that "pop", is what it’s all about.

The Heartbreak Kid is also a competitor. There are always more championships to win. More main events to compete in. More shows to stop for the showstoppa. You think Michaels is satisfied being a three-time champion?

Sure, he’s in pain. He’s got a concussion. Maybe he’s got no friends.

But, still in his early 30’s, can the most charismatic and resilient superstar of all time actually walk away?

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