Heartbreak & Triumph
The Shawn Michaels Story
Shawn Michaels (with Aaron Feigenbaum)
Pages: 352 (Paperback)
Synopsis: The life and times of the Heartbreak Kid.
If you look up the definition of "damage control" in the dictionary, you may very well find a picture of this book. Of course, that would have to be a "wrestling book" dictionary, in which you might find this book under the definition of "hilarious."
My point being, I get the impression that Shawn Michaels definitely wanted to dispel some commonly-held thoughts about him. Perhaps it was because he felt some of them are unfair. Perhaps he wanted to cleanse his soul before getting his angel's wings. I have no clue.
From everything I've read, Michaels has cleaned up his act CONSIDERABLY since 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.