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The End Of The Greatest Era

It is time to forget the fact that no English Team will represent the EPL in the Champion's League anymore. Discard also the notions of an epic Woods or Schumacher comeback. Block your mind to Shoaib Akhter making a shocking return to the world of cricket by shaking the NCL T20. Even David Beckham's impending retirement notice fails to measure up to the biggest sporting news of this year. Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, with a heavy stone set in our hearts, it is now time to bid farewell to the Heart Break Kid, Shawn Michaels.

This March 28th, in the Grand-daddy of all events, Wrestlemania 26, Shawn Michaels put his career on the line. The Icon, The Show-stopper, Mr.Wrestlemania himself, declared that his career, all 25 years of it, would mean nothing if he could not break the Undertaker's 16-0 streak. When these two met in the last edition of Wrestlemania, the match transcended all boundaries of modern day mockery and play fighting and left people reminiscing about the glory days of WWF. Would this time be any different? Shawn made sure it would be when he accepted 'Taker's challenge to put his career on the line against the legendary streak. THIS was the stuff that legends are made off.

From the minute Shawn's entrance theme blared from the speakers, the crowd went wild. Who would have thought that Shawn and 'Taker, both past their prime at best, would headline Wrestlemania for one last hurrah? When 'Taker rose from under the ground and walked towards the stage, it was as if the years had rolled back. And what a match they delivered. Shawn, fearless with everything to lose and Undertaker knowing that a loss would dent the fearsome and invincible reputation he had build for 16 years, both went at each other with a vengeance, an urgency so clear, you forgot that it was all supposed to be method-acting.

Sweet Chin Music, the Last Ride, A Chokeslam, A Tombstone, Snake-Eyes, The Chops, the aerial assaults and every last weapon at the two athletes' disposal was used. The crowd could not stay on their seats, rising to the tip of their toes with every move. But then came 'Taker's show of force and his assertion to the idea of why he can never be defeated at Wrestlemania. Even with a limp, Taker slammed Shawn down and then stood facing the man he had feuded with for over two decades. Undertaker's Legacy, WWE's attitude Era, The Montreal Screwjob, Rocky Mavia's rise from Corporation, Ric Flair's farewell, Stone Cold's build up, Jericho's rise to fame, all of it happened in part because Shawn Michaels was there. Undertaker, for once in a wrestling match, forgot his promise of evil and asked Michaels to stay down. But the ever fearless icon, defiant even at death, clambered up, looked the dead man in the eyes and then slapped him, epitomising the concept of 'going down with a fight'. What happened next was the Tombstone, the pin fall, Undertaker's victory and then the end of an era…Shawn Micheals love-story with WWE had finally come to an end. As Undertaker pulled himself up, he did not leave the stage with his arms raised. Instead he raised Shawn and the two men embraced.

When finally Michaels was left alone on the stage, everyone, all 72,000 people, got up and applauded the man who had given us so much for so many years. Shawn wasn't the only one to shed tears on that day, he was one of millions. The WWE universe had finally bid farewell to one of it's brightest stars, and what a fitting farewell, in the grandest stage of them all, in the main-event, in a match with WWE's last remaining Legend. The Heartbreak Kid will never ever be forgotten. And this too coming from a Bret Hart fanatic.

By Osama Rahman


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