(OK, now that it’s not a spoiler anymore, I feel comfortable posting this, with apologies to Jeremy for burying his post.)
I would never wish an injury on a pro wrestler, as, unless they have some crazy stipulation written into their contract, an injury can mean a hefty loss in pay. But Shawn Michaels’ triceps tear happened at a pretty good time, all things considered.
Michaels is in the midst of a hot feud with Chris Jericho, a feud which is neck-and-neck with Undertaker vs. Edge for feud of the year. And no one else is even close. I say they’re in the “midst” of the feud, but Michaels and Jericho are scheduled to have an unsanctioned match at Unforgiven in six days. It’s not improbable that WWE planned to end this marriage with that match, but it would have been very unfortunate if that were the case. It doesn’t feel like this roller coaster is anywhere near ready to end.
At the same time, though, while it’s hard to say too many good things about the feud as it is at this point, there’s always the chance for things to derail or just go a tad wrong. More on those in detail in a second. But the gist is, maybe, just maybe, this injury is the best thing that could have happened to this angle.
A few points here. One, Shawn Michaels is attempting to come back from a storyline eye injury that his doctors, and even he, thought should have caused him to retire from the sport. There is no way he should be wrestling a competitive match this soon after that prognosis. His spirit pushes him to make the challenge, but his body shouldn’t be able to hold up. Side note: Hopefully this injury eliminates the possibility of Michaels winning the unsanctioned match, as that would not have been the best finish for this match.
Two, if this was the blowoff, it would be a shame for it to have been held at an In Your House PPV. This is a WrestleMania-quality feud, something that doesn’t come along all the time. What would be even greater about a WM25 blowoff is it would make this a nearly year-long feud with minimal, logical twists and turns. Side note about that: The beauty of this feud is its simplicity. It started with Michaels vs. Ric Flair, turned into Michaels vs. Batista, and employed a sensical Jericho heel turn and the heat-seeking involvement of a woman, the punching of whom was actually the babyface’s fault. How awesome is all of that? No, Lance Cade didn’t come to the ring wielding a softball bat, foreshadowing the return of Sid; Marty Jannetty hasn’t come down from the rafters in an Undertaker costume; and Batista didn’t get some weird coded language tattooed around his belly button. It’s not that hard.
Finally, Michaels is the quintessential underdog in professional wrestling, and a good six-minute ass-kicking by Chris Jericho (think Matt Hardy vs. Edge) would have people climbing the walls for HBK’s eventual return. And Jericho would without a doubt be the No. 1 heel on Raw because of it. I would have no problem with the next turn in the road being a white-hot Jericho beating CM Punk for the World Title. He would have a great run, and then Michaels could come back and cost him the belt before their WM match. Pardon the fantasy booking, but I dig that idea.
Shawn Michaels triceps injury sucks. It sucks for him as a wrestler, as a husband and as a father, and it sucks for us as his fans. But if it had to happen at all, at least it happened now, when it can be worked around.
(Big thanks to BigRoundWizard for being a sounding board. Write to Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.)