Classic Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon

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June 19, 2012

The relationship between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon is much, much deeper than a single WrestleMania moment. Many are familiar with The Kliq, the infamous union between Michaels, Ramon and Kevin Nash. However, their friendship goes further back than that, to when Michaels was 19 years old, working his way up the ranks in the Kansas City, Mo., territory. With just six months of in-ring experience, the competitor who would become a WWE Champion found himself on the opposite side of the squared circle from a mountain of a man named Scott Hall, who was teaming with Dan Spivey as American Starship.

“We hit it off right away,” Michaels said of Hall. The two gelled inside the ring and out, which carried over to their time in AWA, where Michaels teamed with Marty Jannetty and Hall paired up with another legendary star, Curt Hennig. Soon, the pals parted ways, with Michaels heading for WWE and Hall for WCW. They’d reunite in 1992 and slowly start on a path toward revolutionizing sports-entertainment.

Surprisingly, it was HBK’s notorious attitude that kick-started his rise to the top. During his Intercontinental Title reign in 1993, Michaels nearly got himself kicked out of WWE for “failing to make contractual obligations.”

“It was me being a big pain in WWE’s butt,” he explained. “I was getting in trouble and got suspended.”

In a bind, WWE vacated the title, holding a mini-tournament over two weeks on Raw. Hall, then known as Razor Ramon, emerged victorious and was crowned the champion, which created a perfect storm for Michaels and Hall to get back in the ring and work their magic.

“Being the troublemaker that I was, I had literally taken my title home and wouldn’t send it back,” HBK said.

When his suspension was lifted, Michaels returned with his Intercontinental Title and claimed to be the true champion, having never been beaten. Razor quickly disputed HBK’s claim to the throne and challenged Michaels to step in the ring and find out who the real champion was.

Initially, though, their dispute wasn’t going to be settled on The Grandest Stage of Them All. “At the beginning, we were just going around, town to town,” HBK said. “It wasn’t suggested for pay-per-view or WrestleMania, it was just on [live events].”

Still, the two friends had unmatched chemistry in the ring and ended up stealing the show every night on the road, turning heads, which paid off for the pair.

“Vince [McMahon] was a little resistant, because they just didn’t know how our match would come across on pay-per-view,” Michaels recalled. “But Pat Patterson wore him down and our match got put on WrestleMania.” 

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