AS I SEE IT: Shawn Michaels’ retirement

AS I SEE IT
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
PWBTS.com

“Think of seasons that must end…
See the rivers rise and fall…They will rise and fall again…
Everything must have an end
Like an ocean to a shore…Like a river to a stream…
Like a river to a stream…It’s the famous final scene…

Now it’s finally time to leave…yes, it’s finally time to leave..
Take it calmly and serene…it’s the famous final scene…
It’s been coming on so long….

Now the lines have all been read…and you knew them all by heart
Now you move toward the door…here it comes, the hardest part
Feeling different, feeling strange…this can never be arranged
As the light fades from the screen, from the famous final scene.

Bob Seger, The Famous Final Scene, Stranger in Town, 1978

I included these lyrics in my post-Wrestlemania column last year about Ric Flair.They’re just as accurate a representation of what we saw last weekend.

As most of us figured, Wrestlemania 26 was the end (at least for now) for Shawn Michaels. But the ending wasn’t what at least some of us feared involving a screw job finish involving a HHH heel turn. Undertaker and Michaels got to pull out a real classic that at least equalled last year’s match to give Michaels his deserved farewell.

The next night, Michaels did his farewell speech, among other things thanking Bret Hart for forgiving him, ending a 13 year chapter involving the most controversial moment in WWE history. In many ways, making peace with Hart may be the most important aspect of Michaels’ departure. If you’ve read both of their books and seen Wrestling With Shadows, you know about the depth of feeling both had about Montreal and about each other and Vince McMahon’s role in it. Yet Michaels was able to apologize to Bret Hart last Monday; saying that he “drove [Hart] crazy in the ’90s”, admitted that Hart “had every right to say everything he ever did” about him, and thanked Hart for forgiving him and for being his friend again.

Bret Hart responded on his Facebook page to Michaels: “I know we’ve had our differences, but nobody can ever take away his greatness in the ring and, without him, it will truly never, ever be the same.”

The last two years, Wrestlemania has had memorable farewells (even if one didn’t last owing to financial problems); both farewells making me feel a lot older. Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels are two wrestlers who have symbolize the wrestling I’ve enjoyed…men who put on great nightly athletic portrayals that told a story but didn’t insult my intellgence, rather than the cartoonish product with no storyline logic that all too often passes for professional wrestling.

In more significant and truly sad news this past weekend, Chris (Kanyon) Klucsaritis was found dead in his New York apartment as the result of a suicide late Friday night. A pill bottle and several notes were found close to the body. Klucsaritis had been known for having issues with bi-polar disorder in recent years, and had threatened suicide on more than one occasion.

Klucsaritis worked both as Kanyon and Mortis in WCW/WWE, winding up involved with the Invasion angle. Klucsaritis made headlines after his WWE run concluded by coming out; and appeared on the Howard Stern radio show several times as a result. Klucsaritis had retired from wresting, but came back to to work a couple of independent matches earlier this year.

Klucsaritis was twice the co-WCW World Tag Team Champion with Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigelow at the same time as the Jersey Triad (ala the Freebirds) ; in the World Wrestling Federation he was once the WCW United States Championship and once the co-WWF Tag Team Champion with Diamond Dallas Page.

His death has hit the mainstream press with such sensational erports from tabloid newspapers such as the New York Daily News reporting that “scores of pills were found near his body… and his death is being [investigated] as a suicide,” according to the newspaper’s “police sources”.

Hopefully, wherever he is, he has found the peace he sought in life. But given the mentality of the Internet and the tabloids, that resolution won’t come for awhile, as readers can be sure that we’ll hear sensationalized versions of what may have happened for some time to come.

Until next time…

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