Michael Shawn Hickenbottom (born July 22, 1965), better known by his ring name Shawn Michaels, is an American professional wrestler. He performs for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), formerly the World Wrestling Federation, on its Raw brand. Hickenbottom is one of the senior performers in WWE, having joined in 1988.
Hickenbottom began his wrestling career with Mid-South Wrestling, now known as Universal Wrestling Federation, and American Wrestling Association (AWA). During his time with AWA, he performed in partnership with Marty Jannetty, as The Midnight Rockers; winning the AWA World Tag Team Championship twice. Hickenbottom and Jannetty then signed with World Wrestling Federation (WWF), while in contract with AWA. They returned to AWA, only to go back to the WWF in 1988.
Hickenbottom later worked as a sole performer, taking on a new persona of “The Heartbreak Kid.” He was the leader of a backstage group known as The Kliq, which was known for performing an unscripted act during the Madison Square Garden “Curtain Call” incident in 1996. The following year, he teamed up with Hunter Hearst Hemsley, who often was referred to as Triple H (HHH), and Chyna to form D-Generation X (DX). This group of wrestlers was known for their sophomoric crude humor. That same year, Hickenbottom took part in one of the most controversial matches in wrestling history, dubbed as the “Montreal Screwjob.” After a back injury forced him to retire following his WWF Championship loss at WrestleMania XIV, Hickenbottom opened a wrestling academy, called The Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy, in which he trained upcoming wrestlers. He made his in-ring return at SummerSlam in 2002. In 2006, Hickenbottom and Triple H briefly reformed DX, but after an injury that Triple H sustained, Hickenbottom returned to singles wrestling. Although as of 2009, the duo reunited as a tag team once more, with the two capturing the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship.
Among other accolades, Hickenbottom is a four-time world champion: a three-time WWF Champion and a former World Heavyweight Champion. He was also the winner of the 1995 and 1996 Royal Rumbles and was the company’s first Grand Slam Champion. He has also won the Slammy Award a record 10 times. Aside from professional wrestling, Hickenbottom is a born-again Christian, husband, and father of two children.