1.1) What is Shawn's real name?
Shawn's real name is Michael Hickenbottom, not Shawn Hickenbottom. The confusion comes about like this: Shawn's full name is Michael Shawn Hickenbottom. In the part of Texas where he comes from, people are generally called by their middle names for whatever reason. So most people, including friends and family, are apt to call him Shawn and not Michael. However, his legal name IS Michael Hickenbottom, even if no one calls him that.
* 1.2) Is Shawn gay?
To the best of anyone's knowledge, Shawn Michaels is not a homosexual. Shawn was married last month, which should hopefully end the rumors once and for all.
1.3) Why did he forfeit all those belts?
Shawn has not only set a record for winning titles in the WWF, he has also set a record for losing them by means other than actually being pinned in the ring. He has won the Intercontinental title three times. The first one was won from Davey Boy Smith on 10/27/1992 and lost to Marty Jannetty on an episode of Monday Night RAW, 05/17/1993. The second was regained from Jannetty on 06/06/1993, and he was eventually stripped of it due to not defending within the 30-day period, which was in turn due to Michaels "sitting out" during a contract dispute. The third title was won from Jeff Jarrett at In Your House II (07/23/1995) and forfeited to "Dean" Douglas at In Your House IV (10/22/1995), due to injuries sustained from the so-called Syracuse incident.
NOTE: A popular misconception has Shawn losing one of his I-C titles to Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania X's famous ladder match and regaining it at Summerslam 95's ladder rematch. This is patently WRONG. Shawn was not champion going into the first ladder match, Razor was. Shawn was only carrying around a belt. Conversely, Razor was not champion going into Summerslam, Shawn was. Razor won *his* fourth title shortly after this match, which may be where the misconception comes in.
Shawn has won the WWF tag team titles two times officially, and twice under very suspicious circumstances. He has never lost a WWF tag team title in the ring. The first disputed title reign was the infamous "phantom" title reign of the Rockers in 1990, which will be covered later. His first officially recognized tag title in the WWF was his reign with Diesel in 1994, which lasted from 08/28/1994 until shortly after Survivor Series of that year. He vacated the tag titles when the team split up, rather than losing them in the ring. The team of Michaels and Diesel re-teamed at In Your House III (09/24/1995) to win the tag titles from Owen Hart and Yokozuna while both Shawn and Diesel held the I-C and World titles respectively. However, a technicality as to the legal man pinned gave the belts back to Owen and Yoko the next night on RAW. Whether or not a one-day title reign for Shawn and Diesel actually existed is a matter of much conjecture, although it should be pointed out that Pro Wrestling Illustrated recognizes a title reign, and they are generally considered to be the authority on these matters. His final reign came with partner Steve Austin, as they teamed up to defeat the team of Owen Hart and the British Bulldog on 05/25/1997, then were stripped of the titles after Shawn "injured" himself in a legitimate fight with Bret Hart a few weeks following. Shawn is a three-time World champion. His first reign began at Wrestlemania XII, 03/31/1996 as he defeated Bret Hart, and ended cleanly at the hands of "Sycho" Sid (11/17/1996) at the Survivor Series. Shawn regained the title at Royal Rumble 1997 (1/19/1997), only to forfeit it on live TV in February, due to "losing his smile." In reality, this was a combination of injuries, painkiller addiction, and unwillingness to job to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13, which was the plan at the time. Ironically, Shawn regained the title on 9/11/1997 from Bret Hart in the most controversial match in modern history, and lost it to Steve Austin at Wrestlemania XIV, 03/29/1998. Shawn also held the European title from 09/20/1997 until December of 1997, when it was dropped by him in a "fixed" match against partner Hunter Hearst Helmsley, which is as good as a forfeiture by my books.
1.4) What happened in Syracuse?
The details will never be fully known, but what is generally known and/or accepted as truth is this:
Shawn Michaels, Davey Boy Smith, and Sean "1-2-3 Kid/Syxx" Waltman were in a bar in Syracuse. An altercation occurred with other patrons of the bar, which led to a heated argument. What it was about will likely never be known. The three wrestlers retreated to their car, only to be followed by anywhere from 3 - 14 men, depending on who you believe. One side continued provoking the other, before Shawn himself got into a physical confrontation with the men. Some of the men kept Smith and Waltman at bay and delivered a beating to Michaels, which left him in a Syracuse hospital with head injuries and assorted bleeding. There were two indirect results of this attack:
1) Shawn was (supposedly) left too injured to defend his Intercontinental title and had to forfeit to "Dean" Douglas. 2) Shawn was left with residual head injury and was further "injured" by an enziguri delivered by Owen Hart shortly after Survivor Series 1995. The first result is debatable at best, but Shawn was likely injured, and in all fairness looked in very poor health the night of the show. The second result was 100% work by the WWF, used to promote ratings and build Shawn as a babyface. He was fully recovered by the time of the angle, and was never in danger.
1.5) What happened, with respect to Shawn, in Montreal?
Shawn's part in the Montreal fiasco may never be fully known, but several things *are* known: 1) A meeting with several high ranking officials in the WWF was called the night before Survivor Series. Shawn was there, Bret Hart was not.2) Shawn was fully aware of Bret's aversion to dropping the title to him. 3) According to Bret Hart, Shawn promised not to degrade Bret Hart or formally accept the World title shortly after the match ended. Shawn proceeded to degrade Bret Hart while formally accepting the World title on RAW the next night in Ottawa. 4) Shawn himself acted surprised at the shocking decision when he was declared the new World champion out of nowhere. He also played along with the storyline of the match, even after the bell rang. The author leaves it to you, the reader, to decide for yourself whether Shawn was "in on the fix" in this case, since the only one who really knows for sure is Shawn himself. For more on the Bret Hart situation, please see the full Dave Meltzer document at http://www.planet.eon.net/~skeith/hart.txt1.6)
Does he really hate Bret Hart?
Yes. Not only does Shawn Michaels the character hate Bret Hart the character, but Mike Hickenbottom the person has been feuding off and on with Bret Hart the person since 1992. The exact circumstances of the feud's beginning are unknown, but it is generally accepted that the breaking point for their relationship was Wrestlemania XII and the buildup to it. Bret did not want to job the World title to Shawn, and Vince wanted Shawn as the #1 man for the company. The feud lay dormat for months after Bret "retired" in 1996, and kicked into full gear in 1997 as Bret and Shawn engaged in an impromptu lockerroom brawl in June of 1997. Bret has publicly stated his dislike for Shawn in interviews, as has Shawn. Shawn has also been notable in public attempts to sabotage Bret's personal and professional life, as with the "Sunny days" comment (see related question). In short, they hate each other's guts and both may very likely be much happier apart from each other as they now are.
1.7) Are the Rockers former WWF tag team champions?
Yes and no. Shawn Michaels and MartyJannetty won the WWF tag team title from Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart in October of 1990 at a taping for Saturday Night's Main Event. Neidhart had been fired and was filling contractual obligations, which including jobbing the tag titles to another team. In what should have been a minor point, the top rope broke at one point during the match. The Rockers defended the titles for a week after that, but then Neidhart was re-hired by the WWF, and Vince McMahon decided that the title change never actually happened, in one of the goofier decisions of the 90s, and one of many to affect the careers of Shawn and Bret. As an explanation, a story was sent to Pro Wrestling Illustrated about the rope break causing an "unfair working environment" for both teams, and hence the title reign was annulled. This was simply to cover up for the fact that they reported the title change as fact a week prior and needed a reason to no longer report it as such. The title change was edited out of the Main Event broadcast, and that was that. Almost.
Since this is professional wrestling, and things like this never go away quietly, in 1995 the phantom title reign was resurrected out of nowhere as WWF announcers began hailing the Rockers as former tag team champions in a bizarre turnabout, since the title reign had only been an urban myth of sorts that very few had even heard about. No footage was ever shown and the details were never discussed in detail, but as of this writing, the WWF recognizes the phantom title reign as an offical reign, although it should be noted that no one else does. Feel free to make your own judgment on the matter. Everyone else does.The Rockers are, of course, two-time former AWA World tag team champions, although the prestige of those belts was (and still is) minimal compared to WCW and the WWF's versions.
1.8) Who is Charles Austin?
In December 1990, Austin and The Genius (Lanny Poffo) jobbed for The Rockers (Jannetty & Michaels) at a WWF television taping at the Sun Dome in Tampa FL. Before the finish, Jannetty executed the Rocker Dropper on Austin. Instead of taking the planned face-first bump, Austin attempted a forward roll and wound up landing on his head, breaking his neck. The match then finished when Jannetty rolled a limp Austin over and Michaels came off the top rope with a splash for the pin. At the time of the accident, doctors feared that Austin would be a tetriplegic (paralyzed from the neck down) for life. By mid 1994 Austin had regained some feeling in his arms and legs and can get around with crutches. Austin sued the WWF, Jannetty, and Michaels for US$3.8 million. Michaels was dismissed from the suit by a judge. On April 29, 1994, after a two-week trial and deliberation, a Hillsborough County FL jury awarded Austin US$26.7 million. The jury determined that Titan Sports was 90% responsible (US$23.5 million), that Jannetty was 5% responsible (US$1.3 million), and that Austin was 5% responsible.
1.9) Was Shawn ever in any adult movies?
No. The person you're thinking of is Sean Michaels, a relatively famous porno actor and a completely different person. To the best of anyone's knowledge, Shawn Michaels has not done any work in the adult film industry. The confusion arises because many magazines used to spell Shawn as "Sean" during his time with the Rockers. Shawn did, however, pose wearing only the WWF championship in an issue of Playgirl in 1996.
1.10) What was the "Sunny days" comment?
Tammy "Sunny" Sytch has commented on a few occasions that she would have liked to manage Bret Hart. This was somehow construed by Bret's wife as meaning that Bret and Tammy were somehow romantically linked. This of course caused much tension in the Hart household, which went away with time. Until Shawn Michaels, in his eternalquest to annoy Bret Hart, made an off-hand comment in an interview about Bret's "Sunny days," which then re-fueled the Hart family tension and became yet another reason for the two to hate each other.
1.11) What does "HBK" stand for?
Newer fans might not be aware that Shawn's nickname before the"show-stoper,scene-stealer..." spiel was the Heartbreak Kid, which he started abbreviating as "HBK" and never uses anymore except for calling himself "HBK."
1.12) Where is he now? Is he coming back?
Shawn was severely injured going into Wrestlemania XIV against Steve Austin, and has been recuperating at home ever since. He is not expected to return until 1999, if even then. More recently, Shawn actually announced his "retirement", although most feel that if Shawn can work, he will.