Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story

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World Wrestling Entertainment fans think they know "The Heartbreak Kid." He's "The Showstopper" who pushes his high-flying abilities to the limit in the squared circle, on ladders, and in steel cages. He's the company's first "Grand Slam" champion. And of course, he's forever the guy who conspired with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to screw Bret "Hitman" Hart out of the WWE Championship in Montreal at Survivor Series on November 9, 1997.

But that's the side "HBK" has allowed you to see...until now. Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story introduces us to Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, the youngest of four children whose "really conservative upbringing" made him shy and "afraid that people wouldn't like me if I showed who I really was." But upon discovering Southwest Championship Wrestling (SWCW) on TV one Saturday night, the preteen Hickenbottom realized instantly what he wanted to become, and later would convince his father—a colonel in the U.S. Air Force—to let him pursue his dream.

From there, Hickenbottom fully recounts the events that led to "Shawn Michaels's" tutelage under Mexican wrestler Jose Lothario; working matches at Mid-South Wrestling under the guidance of Terry Taylor and the Rock 'n' Roll Express's Robert Gibson & Ricky Morton; flying high with Marty Jannetty as "The Midnight Rockers" in the American Wrestling Association (AWA); and how a barroom confrontation in Buffalo almost prevented the tandem from ever joining the World Wrestling Federation.

While reliving the crippling back injury that forced him to retire in his prime, Michaels credits the new loves in his life—his second wife Rebecca, his children, and his newfound faith—with giving him the strength to kick his habit, recover physically, and make a jubilant return to the ring at SummerSlam 2002. Now back on top and doing what he enjoys most, the WWE Superstar regards Heartbreak & Triumph as the perfect means "to review my life, and attempt to figure out how I became the person I am."
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
May 11, 2010
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781439121733
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Sports
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Throughout the years, there may have been equally charismatic performers, comparable athletes, and even better interviews, but none were blessed with the same combination of talents to manage to stay on top for over three decades.

To wrestling fans, the Nature Boy is a platinum-blond deity, a sixteen-time world champion who accurately boasted that he could have a five-star match with a broom. No matter how limited the opponent, Flair had the skill and determination to bounce all over the mat, transforming his rival into a star. When the camera light went on, "Slick Ric" could convince viewers that, if they missed an upcoming match, a momentous life experience would pass them by. Flair's opponents were challenged with this simple taunt: "To be the man, you have to beat the man."

Away from the arena, Richard Morgan Fliehr spent years struggling with his own concept of what it meant to be a man. He suffered periods of crushing self-doubt, marital strife and—in a profession where there was room for only one Ric Flair—broken friendships.

Ric Flair: To Be the Man, cowritten with Keith Elliot Greenberg, chronicles the anguish and exhilaration of Flair's life and career—in painfully honest detail. In addition to his own words, Flair's story is enriched by anecdotes from ring greats like Superstar Billy Graham, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Harley Race, Sgt. Slaughter, David Crockett, Arn Anderson, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.

To Be the Man traces the rise of one of wrestling's most enduring superstars to the pinnacle of the sports entertainment universe, and is a must-read for every wrestling fan.
He first burst onto the scene in the nineties, covered in gold face paint and exhibiting a one-of-a- kind flamboyant style that bewildered his foes and thrilled his fans. Inside the ring, Goldust is as tough as they come, known for using outrageous mind games and taking down his opponents with unparalleled ruthlessness. It’s no surprise, then, that wrestling is in his blood; Goldust is the son of Dusty Rhodes, “The American Dream.”

What is it like to be the son of a wrestling icon and follow him into the same profession? In this no-holds-barred account, Dustin Rhodes speaks frankly and openly about his journey. He talks about being a young boy who desperately missed his dad. A young man who only wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and threw aside a football scholarship to eke out a meager existence in regional wrestling. A green wrestler struggling to prove to his peers that his work, not his name, had gotten him to where he was. Rhodes describes how, in the midst of a painful five-year estrangement with his father, he finally made a name for himself as Goldust and then let it all go, tumbling into a descent of self-medication that led him away from a red-hot career as a WWE Superstar and nearly cost him his life.

When he finally hit bottom, Rhodes knew where to look for help from the family he always had: his father and World Wrestling Entertainment. When he got clean and sober and was offered the chance to wrestle for WWE, he snapped up the offer. The everyday existence of life on the road, working with and watching the new Superstars— like his brother Cody Rhodes—has reminded Rhodes of why he loves being a wrestler.

Cross Rhodes is an intimate portrait of one man’s road to redemption and a unique glimpse into one of the most famous families in WWE.
"Classy" Freddie Blassie is universally acknowledged as one of the most hated heels in wrestling history. Freddie really knew how to antagonize the fans -- how to "get heat." Death threats were frequent, enraged fans stabbed him twenty-one times, and he was even doused with acid. Undeterred, Blassie just took the action up a level. He reveled in being the heel. It was almost commonplace to see him biting his opponents and then spitting out their blood. Blassie would routinely "file" his teeth during interviews. His matches in Los Angeles' Olympic Auditorium brought him to the attention of Hollywood. Freddie's style and unpredictability made him a natural for the medium and he became one of the biggest draws in the wrestling business. In the early '60s, this notorious heel was invited to wrestle in Japan. Blassie both horrified and mesmerized sedate Japanese society. It was reported that a number of Japanese television viewers suffered fatal heart attacks after seeing Blassie bloody an opponent in the ring.

A child of immigrants, Freddie grew up in a working-class neighborhood in south St. Louis. At seventeen, Freddie made his wrestling debut in a carnival. Unhappy with his choice of occupation, his family persuaded him to keep his "real" job, and for a while he worked as a meatcutter. But after serving in the Navy in World War II, Freddie returned to the world of wrestling, which was at the time still something of a carnival sideshow. Here he picked up his catch phrase: "pencil neck geek."

Early in his career, Blassie wrestled on cards promoted by Jess McMahon, and would later work for both his son, Vincent James McMahon, and his grandson, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the current owner of World Wrestling EntertainmentTM. Even after his active days in the ring came to an end, he showed that he still had the power to generate heat: "Classy" Freddie Blassie became the manager of heels, transferring to a whole new generation of wrestlers the style and knowledge that had made him a legend of wrestling.

Blassie is still provoking the public, with his autobiography -- Legends of Wrestling: "Classy" Freddie Blassie -- Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks -- written with Keith Elliot Greenberg. Freddie weaves vibrant tales of his days in wrestling with the likes of Hollywood Hulk Hogan, The Rock, George "The Animal" Steele, Capt. Lou Albano, John Tolos, The Destroyer, Killer Kowalski, Nikolai Volkoff, and the Iron Sheik. He frankly chronicles his dealings with colorful members of the wrestling fraternity and the promoters, even recounting the controversies -- like the infamous "boxer vs. wrestler" match with Muhammad Ali, who was managed by Blassie. His out-of-the-ring stories are equally compelling.

Freddie details his countless sexual exploits and his three marriages. He reflects on the cult status that he gained after his song "Pencil Neck Geek" rocketed to the top of the Dr. Demento Show playlist. He recounts his touching relationship with comedian Andy Kaufman, who cast him in Breakfast with Blassie -- an underground classic in which Blassie uttered: "What the hell ever happened to the human race?"
It’s the week of WrestleMania, an event that’s flourished in parallel with Shawn Michaels’s decorated career, an annual spectacular that The Heartbreak Kid seized time after time as his personal stage of excellence. Such a grand setting could not be more appropriate for WWE’s one and only Showstopper to add “Mr. Hall of Fame” to his myriad monikers.

From his debut in 1984 to his final WWE match in 2010, the world has seen Michaels allure audiences and perform like no other entertainer in history. But that’s inside the ring. What if you could walk beside the incomparable Heartbreak Kid outside the squared circle, beyond the curtain, and spend four days with the man living a boyhood dream?

Diary of a Heartbreak Kid shadows Shawn Michaels for an immensely poignant occasion of reflection, introspection, and celebration as The Heartbreak Kid is inducted into the esteemed WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 2, 2011.

In a moment-to-moment narrative, Diary captures the raw emotions and unfiltered candor of The Heartbreak Kid as he’s reunited with family, friends, and a veritable who’s who of squared circle lore—Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Ric Flair, The Rock, Vince McMahon—all of whom have crossed and shaped Michaels’s path to the Hall of Fame.

With his beautiful wife, two jubilant children, time tested faith, and nearly three decades of four-cornered memories, the retired Michaels steps back into the warmth of the limelight during the weekend of WWE’s grandest extravaganza to experience the greatest honor in sports-entertainment. And with Diary of a Heartbreak Kid, you’re riding shotgun.
The New York Times bestselling author Mick Foley returns to his fans favorite subject: Mick Foley and wrestling!

What was I thinking? Another autobiography? A third? Who did I think I was, Winston Churchill? Why would I want to set my pen loose on hundreds of sheets of notebook paper unless I really felt I had something worth writing about?

Besides, I had a wrestling comeback to prepare for, mentally and physically, provided I could get Vince McMahon and the WWE creative staff to embrace what I was sure was the single greatest storyline of my career.

Then it hit me: the storyline. I would give WWE fans unprecedented access to World Wrestling Entertainment, covering everything from conception to completion. I would recount how I felt about specific interviews and matches, whether they helped or hurt. I would expose the backstage politics, shed some light on my rocky relationship with Vince McMahon, offer insights into my personal dealings with WWE Superstars, and tell stories about my favorite Divas.

But I wasn't interested in writing just a wrestling book. I wanted to share moments from my personal life as well, from a humorous look at my unlikely dinner with polarizing neocon Paul Wolfowitz, to my haunting meeting with a severely burned boy in Afghanistan, to my peculiar obsession with a certain jolly old elf.

I knew I could make the fans care about this storyline, provided I could once again find the passion to make the story come to life in arenas around the country and on television sets around the world.

Most importantly, I had to ask myself a vital question, one upon which this whole idea, and therefore the book you hold, hinges: Was I willing to become the first voluntary member of the Vince McMahon "Kiss My Ass Club"? I sat on the idea for a few days, to let the idea ripen and mature in my mind, like a fine vintage wine, and to figure out if I was really willing to kiss his ass. I mean, literally kiss a man's ass. Sure, I'd been kissing the same guy's ass figuratively for a decade. But this was different. Did I really have the testicular fortitude required for such a task? In front of millions? Including my wife and kids?

I made the call.
One of the most inspiring stories in wrestling history, Cheating Death, Stealing Life sees Eddie Guerrero recount his saga in remarkably candid fashion, chronicling a life of heartbreaks and painful personal struggles in frank, graphic detail.

Guerrero was born into Mexico's first family of sports entertainment, and his life story spans three generations of the wrestling business. His father, Gory Guerrero, was among the greatest legends of lucha libre—Mexican wrestling. Before Eddie was twenty, he was competing in the border town of Juarez, going on to work throughout Mexico. The family name made him an instant sensation but also cast a large shadow from which he would spend years trying to emerge. Paired with the late Art Barr, Guerrero cofounded what became the most hated—and popular—tag team in lucha libre, the infamous Los Gringos Locos.

Cheating Death, Stealing Life offers a no-holds-barred glimpse behind the curtain into the secret world of wrestling, from the harsh realities of a lifetime spent in hotels and rental cars, to the politics that permeate the dressing room. Of course, tight-knit friendships are also forged. Guerrero tells of his personal bonds with such Superstars as Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko.

It's also the story of Guerrero's private struggle, of a son caught in the shadow of a larger-than-life father and three older brothers, of a marriage that reached the brink of disintegration before being reborn as a more powerful and fulfilling relationship. Throughout, Eddie Guerrero pulls no punches describing his battles with self-doubt and inner darkness. In the end, Cheating Death, Stealing Life is a story of great courage and personal redemption, of Guerrero's bravery in facing his disease and fighting to become a better man in every light.
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