Shawn Michaels' return to WWE ring just gained new hope
The Royal Rumble is returning to San Antonio in January.
It's been 20 years since it last visited the home of The Alamo and 30 years since the debut of the historic WWE event that starts the "road to WrestleMania."
In 1997, the Rumble in San Antonio drew 60,525 fans, a figure that rivals today's WrestleMania numbers. The record for any event at the Alamodome is held by a George Strait concert in 2013 attracting 73,086. You know that Vince McMahon isn't going to be outdone. He has never satisfied his craving to conquer stadium attendance records in sports and entertainment.
Normally, the Rumble is held in an arena with a more modest turnout of less than 20,000. So, this year's event needs to be Trumped up at its larger venue. That's right, put The Donald in the 30-man Rumble match. After all, he's in the WWE Hall of Fame, and he can certainly employ Drew Carey's strategy.
Alright, maybe that's not the best answer. But let's not take anything off the table.
The real answer is San Antonio's favorite son, Shawn Michaels.
The Heartbreak Kid has been retired and held to that by pro wrestling standards. He's done some appearances, been a special referee and delivered Sweet Chin Music. However, he's never had another official match despite WWE's attempts behind the scenes.
Michaels hasn't came out retirement because he had a storybook ending to his career against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26. There was nothing else for him to accomplish.
I think that could be changing, and it's all about the pitch and purpose. Rumble in his hometown and WrestleMania in Orlando which might be his new home.
HBK has spent some time in Orlando guest appearing and coaching at the WWE Performance Center. It's been a heavily discussed rumor of Michaels re-locating to Orlando to take more regular position at the training facility. Nothing official has been announced but WWE executive and talent Triple H even acknowledged it on a conference call with the media in August.
Triple H says HBK loves NXT & PC and being around it excites him & he asked about being able to spend time there w/ talent.
— Justin LaBar (@JustinLaBar) August 17, 2016
Triple H says if HBK wants to be there full time than that's greatest thing ever but he can also show up occasionally. Says it's all on him.
— Justin LaBar (@JustinLaBar) August 17, 2016
So, let's start from the beginning, which is the build to Royal Rumble.
Triple H already tweeted about the event with the final line leaving open to interpretation of who could show up accompanied by a picture of his surprise entrance last year where he won the Rumble.
A return 20 years in the making...
January 29, 2017 the #RoyalRumble returns to San Antonio @Alamodome. You never know who will show up... pic.twitter.com/eKFai1pXtB
— Triple H (@TripleH) September 30, 2016
Perhaps this year it's Triple H inviting Shawn Michaels to be in the match in front of his hometown all in the name of it being "best for business." Michaels continually declines, saying those day are behind him. Triple H persists with the offer that it's all in the name of this being a big-money event. Michaels declines again. Finally, Triple H flips the switch by challenging Michaels' pride and courage. Triple H can insist Michaels has walked away, not because he's accomplished everything, but because he can't stand to be in the shadow of Triple H who has become more successful.
A promo like only heel Triple H can cut and an emotionally charged exchange only two guys who are so close in life can execute.
Michaels accepts the invite to the Rumble match but makes note that Triple H has just made things personal.
WWE production can put together another excellent video, as they do so often, highlighting Michaels at the WWE Performance Center training and preparing for his big return.
Michaels, 51, showed us with his appearance last year at WrestleMania he's still in phenomenal shape and can hang with guys half his age. The sight of his intense training will only enhance the realization this is happening and what he's still capable of in the ring.
Have him enter the Rumble match halfway and go the distance to the final four rallying his hometown crowd behind him.
Of course, Michaels shouldn't and doesn't need to win. This would be a prime situation to elevate a younger heel talent who can rain on the comeback parade.
With Triple H being the father of NXT and the plethora of talent who was or is there, it offers a lot of room creatively. You can have a talent make a statement by being involved in Michaels' elimination and potentially under the instructions of an angry Triple H.
Does it go beyond Rumble? Yes, the story has to.
Michaels could have another WrestleMania match if he's up for it. If not, another successful option would be him in the corner endorsing a young babyface talent to oppose Triple H and his heel.
He can always call upon the "HBK line" on the Pittsburgh Penguins for some help and celebrity appearance at the grand event. The last time they all supported each other a Stanley Cup was won. Certainly, they can pull off a WrestleMania win.