2008 saw a classic feud between Chris Jericho and ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels hog the limelight in the WWE. In this latest ‘A Moment in Time‘ piece, we look at one of the most memorable moments of that feud: when Chris Jericho punched Michaels’ wife.
When we talk great rivalries in pro wrestling, we look at such classics as Ric Flair versus Ricky Steamboat, Magnum TA versus Tully Blanchard and Bruno Sammartino versus Larry Zbyszko. All great rivalries and so many countless others we haven’t mentioned…but one in recent memory sticks out as being completely underrated.
No, I am not referring to John Cena versus Randy Orton, but Chris Jericho going head to head with the ‘Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels. As a matter of fact, many have called it the feud of the year for 2008. It wasn’t just because both were extremely gifted wrestlers…there was a level of hostility and tension that bubbled over backstage that gave it that extra bit of spice.
The feud began innocently enough during a match between Michaels and Batista at Backlash where Chris Jericho served as special guest referee. Michaels won the match, but the aftermath led to a new and much better program for HBK and Y2J.
Jericho began accusing Michaels of feigning a knee injury during his match with Batista allowing HBK to defeat him. The feud took off from there with Michaels super kicking Jericho and later Jericho smashing Michaels face through a TV monitor on Jericho’s talk show the Highlight Reel. Michaels sold the injury until Summerslam of that year.
It was being pushed as Shawn Michaels retiring due to his injury and he brought his wife Rebecca with him, but of course Jericho got involved. Jericho wanted Michaels to admit that it was he who ended Shawn Michaels career. Shawn Michaels then said, “I want you to do me a favor…I want you to go home sit your wife down, your kids down..look them in the eye and tell them that daddy will never, ever be Shawn Michaels.” As Shawn turned to walk away, Jericho grabbed Michaels and threw a punch at him. Michaels ducked and hit Rebecca in the mouth instead.
That moment set off a feud for the ages…which doesn’t nearly get talked about as much as it should. The reaction from the Summerslam crowd seemed real and genuine. It was a mixture of boos for Jericho and shock for what they just witnessed.
In reality, Jericho legitimately punched Rebecca by accident knocking her down. Once the segment was over, Jericho and Michaels met up in the back with Michaels red hot with anger. He was upset with Jericho for the punch and upset for himself for allowing his wife into an angle. Jericho apologized profusely and wanted Michaels to retaliate as he felt awful about it. Things between the two wrestlers continued to get tense backstage until Rebecca herself broke the tension.
While she was sitting down getting medically attended to, she stood up and screamed at Jericho jokingly…”Is that the best you got?!?” Chris Jericho said that right then and there he thought Rebecca was the coolest wife ever. Jericho continued to call Michaels during that week and apologize also sending flowers to Rebecca.
In the end, Rebecca suffered a bruised lip, but was happy with the outcome as it elevated her husband’s feud one thousand percent. Shawn and Chris were able to patch up whatever differences they had behind the scenes and continued to put on the feud of the year.