Born Michael Shawn Hickenbottom on July 22, 1965 in Chandler, Arizona, Shawn Michaels was raised in a military family and spent some time in Berkshire, England. He was later raised in San Antonio, Texas, where he realized his dream of becoming a professional wrestler at the age of 12. At a young age, he was already playing football and pursued this until he was in high school. He later attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, but realized that college wasn't one of his interests. He then opted to pursue a career in professional wrestling. He then trained with Mexican professional wrestler Jose Lothario and debuted in 1984 in Mid-South Wrestling. He also became part of the Texas All-Star Wrestling promotion, where he and Paul Diamond were awarded the TAW Tag Team Championship.
In 1986, Shawn Michaels debuted on American Wrestling Association (AWA), where he teamed with Marty Jannetty. Their team was named the Midnight Rockers, and eventually won the AWA World Tag Team Championship twice. The team debuted on WWF in July 1988, and dropped the "Midnight" in their name. They were to fight The Hart Foundation for the WWF Tag Team Championship. They were about to win the title but Jim Neidhart was rehired into the Hart Foundation and thus reclaimed the title. In 1991, Shawn turned against Jannetty, who later left WWF, thus Shawn Michaels turned heel.
In 1992, Shawn Michaels failed to capture the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Bret Hart and lost the WWF's first ever Ladder match against Hart at a House show. However, Shawn won the WWF Intercontinental Championship from The British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith) during Saturday Night's Main Event in October 1992. He then lost the WWF Championship at the 1992 Survivor Series to future nemesis Bret Hart.
Shawn Michaels won his first WWF Championship at WrestleMania XII in March 1996, when he defeated Bret Hart. During the 1996 Survivor Series in November, however, he lost to Sycho Kid.
In 1998, Shawn Michaels was badly injured after he took a back body drop to the outside of the ring and landed on a casket, thus causing him to herniate two discs and crush one completely. His injury forced him to retire after dropping the WWF Championship to Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV.
Shawn Michaels returned to Raw in 2002, winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H in the first-ever Elimination Chamber match. Five years later, he was able to capture the World Tag Team Championship with WWE Champion John Cena, in a January 2007 edition of Raw. He challenged Cena for the WWE Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania 23 but lost by submission. Michaels did, however, take the victory in a near-hour-long return match against Cena on RAW.
A year later at Wrestlemania 24 Michaels ended the career of his boyhood hero and lifelong mentor Ric Flair in one of the most emotional matches in WWE history. In 2008 and 2009 Michaels engaged in long, complicated feuds with Chris Jericho, John Bradshaw Layfield and The Undertaker.
(Photo courtesy of WWE)