The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) first gained notoriety as a tag team in the AWA. They were originally hired by the World Wrestling Federation in 1987, but they showed up to the tapings on their first day completely hung over and still under the effects of the drugs they had done the night before (they were both known as major party animals), and thus they were fired before they even wrestled a single match.

They were given a second chance in 1989, and for the next three years, the Rockers could do no wrong. Everyone's favorite JTTS tag team, The Rockers held a clinic on high-flying, high-impact, fast-moving matches that were YEARS before their time. They took on the best the WWF had to offer--Demolition, the Legion of Doom, and Strike Force, just to name a few--and carried them to great matches. The most amazing thing is that (at the time), they were pretty much interchangeable; neither of them really carried the load of a match on their shoulders. How often do you see THAT today?

Anyway, while just about everyone else was phoning in * efforts, Michaels and Jannetty had nary a PPV match that fell below **1/2. The crowd just LOVED them, too. From 1989 until late 1991, we Rocked Rocked Till We Dropped, we Rocked Rocked Never Stopped. They were as fluid of a tag team as I've ever seen. And then came the kick heard 'round the world...

The Rockers had been teasing a breakup for weeks, doing miscommunication spots that cost them matches. The final straw came after they blew a title shot against the Legion of Doom because of such a spot on Superstars, one of the WWF's weekend shows ('Course, I was shitting bricks seeing a competitive match with The Rockers on Superstars, so I didn't much care). On a segment of The Barber Shop, Brutus Beefcake tried to get Jannetty and Michaels to make up and give it one more shot. They both agreed, and life was good again. For about 5 seconds. Suddenly, Michaels turned on Jannetty while they were celebrating, giving him a NASTY superkick that sent Jannetty THROUGH THE GLASS WINDOW on the set. Primo blade job by Jannetty, and one of the two most shocking things EVER seen on Superstars (the other being the Undertaker locking the Ultimate Warrior in a "airtight" casket and leaving him for dead). If you have a tape of this, just listen to the crowd reaction. Now that's heat, my friends.

And you pretty much know how the story turned out. Shawn Michaels was elevated to god-like status after Wrestlemania X's Ladder Match, and Marty Jannetty spent the rest of his career as a Jobber To The Stars.

Or did he?

Almost.

After 1991, Jannetty, for all intents and purposes, was a glorified jobber. His heat was almost non-existent, he matches were nothing special, and he wasn't really pushed. Except when he got within 20 feet of Shawn Michaels. Then, something went off in the head of every wrestling fan in attendance, the millions watching at home, and Michaels and Jannetty themselves. It probably sounded something like this:

ROCKERS ROCKERS ROCKERS ROCKERS ROCKERS ROCKERS ROCKERS!!!

Every time they had a segment together or fought a match, the fans exploded for Jannetty and the two of them wrestled a HELL of a match--guaranteed ***. They Rocked Rocked Till They Dropped, they Rocked Rocked Never Stop. The defining moment for this came in May of 1993. Michaels held the WWF Intercontinental Championship, and his scheduled challenger no-showed RAW. He was insane (read: stupid) enough to challenge ANYONE in the back to a match, and who should come out but Mr. Forgotten Rocker himself. They wrestled an unbelievable match that got a perfect ***** from just about everyone at the time. It was awarded MOTY (Match of the Year) honors by numerous sources, and to top the whole damn thing off, Jabnetty actually WON the IC belt there. If there was one thing around that time that you marked out for, chances are this was it.

You could probably put the two of them in a surprise match at a Pay-Per-View NOW, with Michaels' back fucked up 10 ways from Wednesday and Jannetty Rocking Rocking Till He Drops, Rocking Rocking Never Stopping somewhere out in La-La Land, and get a *** star affair out of them. And it would probably get good heat, too! That's probably why the WWF held on to Jannetty for as long as they did... they knew that all they needed to do to rejuvenate Michaels' heat was stick the two of them in the ring together every couple of months to rehash the old Rockers Breakup Feud and the fans would go nuts for it.

I shudder to think about how much more these guys could have done together if they had entered into the WWF when they were supposed to--instead of getting fired the first time around.

Rockers, I salute you!

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