I love professional wrestling in an unironic and heartfelt way. I’ve been a fan since I was five years old, and I never really looked back. I like the spectacle, the storytelling, the athleticism, and the “Holy crap!”ness of it all. Since I have been a fan for nearly thirty years, I have seen many stars and eras come and go. I’ve seen the ‘roided out big guys, the high flyers, the attitude guys, the backyard guys, and the indie guys who made it to the the top.
Of everyone I’ve seen, my favorite has always been Shawn Michaels. Growing up, Michaels was my own personal Tyler Durden in that he was everything I wasn’t. He was the center of attention where I was a wallflower, a champ when I couldn’t even warm the bench, and just all-around great at everything important in wrestling. He could take a beating, sell any story, and make anyone look amazing (the saying is that he could have a match with a mop and make it a showstopper). At the same time, he was a well-known jerk backstage. Brash, political, pushy, a pill-popper, and hard to work with.
Fortunately for Michaels and his fans, he found a way out of his destructive lifestyle through faith. As he candidly explains in this book, he very easily could’ve been one more name on the long list of wrestlers found dead in a lonely hotel room. However, he received a wakeup call when his kids could tell he was a pill-popping mess. He wanted to change, and started going to church with his wife (a WCW Nitro dancer). He’s been a pretty vocal Christian for a decade or so now. This book, published by the Christian publisher Zondervan, details a lot of how his faith changes his everyday life and his professional life. Wrestling for My Life probably isn’t for all wrestling fans, as it is primarily about Christianity instead of wrestling. However, everyone should be able to appreciate that Shawn Michaels has transformed from an egotistical jackass to a guy eager to help others.
Even if you aren’t big on faith, at least pick up the book from a library and read the last chapter about the Montreal Screwjob and Michaels’ reconciliation with Bret Hart. It’s a great read if you were a fan in the 90s.