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Thank You Shawn

As I get older, it becomes harder to excuse myself for being a wrestling fan. The product isn’t necessarily geared toward someone like me. I’m in my early 30s, have two children, work in the Silicon Valley, and am a hardcore sports fan. I’m much more in MMA’s demographic than the wrestling demographic these days. It’s been that way for years now. And yes, if I have the choice, I’ll say I’m a MMA fan first, wrestling fan second, even though it’s not the case. I’m a wrestling fan first, and I guess, I always will be.

Wrestling at times can be so immature, irresponsible, idiotic, and terribly presented that it’s hard for me to even want to identify myself as a pro wrestling fan. But on nights like last night and tonight, I don’t have to run away from being a pro wrestling fan.

Last night, at WrestleMania XXVI, I watched one of the greatest displays of drama and passion I’ve ever seen at a “sporting” event. Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker put together a story that had a beginning, middle, and end that put most matches I’ve seen to shame. The story told was that Shawn Michaels would rather quit wrestling than come back to wrestling as not having beaten the Undertaker. He was against all odds, but it was the risk of finality that pushed him.

The match wasn’t technically better than last year’s match spot for spot. But it told the much better story. And that’s what I’ll remember rather than a bunch of spots and false finishes.

Tonight on Raw, Michaels said that he wasn’t coming back and that it was indeed his final match. He said that he was going to do whatever it took to make sure that he never wrestled again. In athletics, you’re forced out as your skills erode. You usually don’t have the choice to say when you call it quits. Actors can act until they die. For Michaels, I’m not sure why he wants to completely end it, or if he even will, but it’s his choice. That’s powerful.

He may even come back. Very few have quit and not come back for whatever reason. Bret Hart hadn’t wrestled in over 10 years and had his last match just last night. If Shawn needs the money or if he just gets creatively bored, he may come back. But for now, on his own accord he says it’s over.

From last night to tonight, I almost wish I didn’t ever have to watch wrestling again. To see one of the greatest to put on the tights say that he’ll never wrestle again and proving until the very end that he is still one of the best, was poetry in motion.

And the crowd chanted, “Thank you Shawn. Thank you Shawn. Thank you Shawn …”

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