Welcome to my second Throwback Thursday article guys! Thanks for the great feedback on last week’s first-ever edition. In case you missed it, Throwback Thursday will be a weekly column that’s dedicated to a past wrestling show or event. For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’ve decided to talk about the kick that was heard around the world.
After over 3 years of wowing crowds with their dynamic performances, The Rockers experienced their first bit of on-screen tension. At the 1991 Survivor Series, The Rockers teamed with The Bushwhackers to go up against The Nasty Boys and The Beverly Brothers. After the New Zealanders were eliminated, Michaels and Jannetty had to scramble from being down 4-2 to try and pull out the victory.
Things were looking up after Michaels managed to eliminate Beau Beverly with a backslide. The Rockers were rocking with a tidal wave of momentum. Jannetty attempted to slam Jerry Sags, but Sags’ boot caught Michaels in the face as he was being picked up. Michaels was stunned and fell back into a pinning combo from Brian Knobbs, which sealed the kid from San Antonio’s elimination.
After the pin, Jannetty was oblivious to the miscue and he got brow-beaten and berated by a livid Michaels, who couldn’t believe what had led to his elimination. Michaels stormed off, leaving Jannetty to try and figure out this 3-on-1 encounter. He fought valiantly, but he succumbed to an inside cradle, leaving the Nastys and Blake Beverly as survivors.
Suddenly, the team found themselves completely out of whack. That was never more evident than on the December 21, 1991 episode of WWF Superstars, when Michaels refused to tag Jannetty in as the team faced two enhancement talents. Michaels worked over both opponents for three whole minutes, winning it by himself. This time, Jannetty stormed off and left Michaels to brazenly and arrogantly celebrate his win.
One week later, on December 28, The Rockers got what would be their final shot at the WWF World Tag Team Titles against the Legion of Doom. Much like Survivor Series, it was a miscue that did the damage. Michaels dropkicked Animal, who was holding Jannetty, and Animal wound up powerslamming his opponent to retain the gold. After the match, an incredulous Michaels repeatedly slapped Jannetty, before leaving his dumbfounded partner behind.
As 1992 began, fans of The Rockers wondered what would become of their favourite team. Would they mend fences and continue toward their goal of becoming tag team champions, or would Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty burst at the seams, bringing the team down in a fiery blaze?
On January 12, 1992, a week before the Royal Rumble where the World Title was at stake in the 30 man gauntlet, The Rockers appeared on Brutus Beefcake’s “Barber Shop” segment, where the eccentric barber attempted to hold a summit between the troubled stars. Jannetty wore typical street clothes, but Michaels wore a black leather jacket with no shirt, as well as black pants, befitting the darker attitude he’d been showing in recent weeks.
Each man aired their grievances, with Marty sounding sincere and optimistic about the team’s future. Shawn, however, seemed distant and self-important, apparently having already made up his mind concerning the team. The ideas that Jannetty was pitching were falling at the feet of the apathetic Michaels.
Finally, Marty told Shawn to make his decision, and then turned his back to his long-time friend. Michaels briefly thought about it, as the fans screamed encouragement to him. Finally, Shawn spun Marty around and extended his hand in allegiance. The two hugged and raised arms to a thunderous ovation. It seemed like they were preparing to start part 2 of their journey, but it wasn’t the journey that Marty Jannetty hoped it would be.
Michaels nailed Jannetty with a superkick, dropping him to the stage floor. As the fans went quiet in shock, Michaels pulled Jannetty to his feet and, in one of the most memorably infamous moments in wrestling history, threw Marty face first through the glass window that was part of the barber shop set.
While Beefcake and officials rushed to a bloody Jannetty’s aid, Michaels picked up a magazine that had a photo of the Rockers. He looked into the camera and said “Is there a problem?” before ripping the magazine in half, throwing Marty’s “half” at him, and holding up the Michaels portion, quipping “I don’t THINK so”.
Let’s consider the ramifications if HBK hadn’t have superkicked Jannetty. There would have been no D-X. We’d never have seen ANY of the amazing feuds that HBK had over his 20+ years with the WWE. For better or for worse, we would never have seen the Montreal Screwjob. There would have been no epic WrestleMania encounters with The Undertaker.
The Barbershop was an important moment in the wrestling world and an important one for me as a HBK mark. I thought I’d wrap things up by including that classic WWE moment below:
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