Heartbreak & Triumph
The Shawn Michaels Story
Author: Shawn Michaels with Aaron Feigenbaum
Pages: 352 (paperback)
Synopsis: The autobiography of The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels.
Who knew what Vince had heard, but I was going to tell him the truth. I had been broken in with the old "everything's a work in this business" attitude, but every now and then I felt the truth needed to be told. This was one of these times. We were talking about the chance of a lifetime here.
We flew up to Connecticut and were sitting on a couch outside of his office. We were nervous, but we thought once we cleared up what actually happened, everything would be all right. We sat for a while before Vince stuck his head out of his office and looked at us. Both Marty and I were wearing cowboy boots. "Nice boots," he said.
"Thank you very much."
"They are made for walking, you know." Then he broke out in a big chuckle. "Just kidding, come on in."
Then he fired us. We sat down and Vince said, "Sorry, but we are going to have to let you go." He said he still wanted to hear our side of the story, which we told him.
"I believe you," he said, "But the thing is, these guys don't want you here and they are not going to allow you to be here. They'll drive you out. You have to understand that we have a family here, and if they don't want you here, it's not going to happen."Vince also told us we were young, talented, and had a future. He told us to work somewhere else and maybe someday we'd try this again. "The door is always open," he said.
If you look up the definition of "damage control" in the dictionary, you may very well find a picture of this book.
I get the impression that Shawn Michaels definitely wanted to dispel some commonly-held thoughts about him. From everything I've read, Michaels cleaned up his act CONSIDERABLY when returning to WWE in 2002. During the second part of his active career, he gave more, jobbed more and almost always put on the match of the night (if not year).
Yet Heartbreak & Triumph is more about re-telling history through his eyes. On the plus side, he's had a fascinating ride, and the story of his journey to the top is worth telling. Whether it was Michaels or Feigenbaum putting together the narrative, I'm not sure, but it flows together nicely.
Yet when it comes to taking the blame for his shortfalls, Michaels is often reluctant. It was usually someone else's fault, be it Bret Hart, Marty Jannetty, or whomever. Either that or the incident was overblown, or simply never happened.
The only people he seems to have glowing praise for are the Triple H's, Vince McMahon's and Undertaker's of the world -- in other words, the asses he still had to kiss at the time of his writing.
That's not to say the book isn't without its charm. Michaels recalls his struggles with painkillers with remarkable candor, and his relationship with his family is touching. Even when he finds religion, it is not as "in your face" as some people may expect, and really is only used to explain his life.
Rating: Transitional Champion. This has some flaws in its believability, sure, but it's more that this book doesn't tell me anything new. You think "Heartbreak & Triumph", you think of huge ups and downs. While there are obvious peaks and valleys here, I get the impression Shawn didn't put as much effort into this project as he does in some of his WrestleMania matches.