The 2023 Royal Rumble coming up in in January and fans are already speculating which WWE legends could could up at the event. Last year saw the one-off return of Shane McMahon to the company, although fans were hoping for more of a variety of legends coming back for their WWE swansong in the iconic match type.
Previous years have proven to be the stomping grounds for the legends of wrestling making their one-off returns to the WWE. 2021 had Christian, Carlito, Kane and The Hurricane making huge appearances, while previous years have given legends like Kevin Nash, The Boogeyman, Mickie James and Mick Foley the chance for one last appearances and one final huge pop from the fans that grew up watching them on TV and imitating them on the playground every Monday morning.
One man who has been long rumoured to be wrestling one more match is Shawn Michaels. The Heart Break Kid has been retired since 2010 (sans one match in Saudi Arabia), so is long overdue a return to the ring in front of the exciting crowd at the 2023 Royal Rumble. He is one of the few men to win two Royal Rumble matches, having won the match in both 1995 and 1996.
Will Shawn Michaels Be At The 2023 Royal Rumble?
Shawn Michaels has not been announced for this years Royal Rumble, although he would be the perfect candidate for a legend making their surprise return and one off appearance in the WWE. The two-time WWE Hall of Famer last appeared in the Royal Rumble in 2010 when he eliminated by Batista en route to his Wrestlemania match with The Undertaker.
With this years match being in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas it would be the perfect to see him make one last return. He appeared at Wrestlemania 32, which took place in Texas, in part of a segment where he helped Mick Foley and Steve Austin attack the League of Nations. This would give him another chance for a huge pop and a final send off in front of his local crowd.
It would also give him a chance to make up for his final match in WWE. He had the perfect retirement in 2010 when he lost a five-star match to The Undertaker to doom him into retirement. However, the stipulation was rescinded in 2018 when Shawn Michaels teamed up with Triple H to face Undertaker and Kane in Saudi Arabia, in what became one of the worst matches in WWE history.
Appearing at the Royal Rumble would allow him one more chance to go out with dignity, even if it was in a battle royal. It also could, if he felt in the right shape to, lead to one final match at this years Wrestlemania. He has long been rumoured to face off with Daniel Bryan in WWE (given the fact that Shawn Michaels trained Daniel Bryan), however with Bryan now wrestling for AEW, this match would be impossible.
Another match that has been rumoured is Shawn Michaels vs AJ Styles. Pitting the two former WWE Champions against each other has been a dream match for the past 15 years and Styles would be the perfect man to help cover up any deficiencies Michaels has had crop up over the past 13 years since his first retirement.
However, Shawn Michaels laid to bed any speculation about him returning to the ring in an interview last year with Inside the Ropes. The two-time WWE Hall of Famer rejected any idea that he would return to the ring and stated he had no desire to wrestle again, despite his 2018 return.
“Even that second one, it felt like its own entity unto itself. It had nothing to do with, really, to me, “one more match.” It was about going out there and having an experience with my guys.
“I mean, it was sort of like just a… I don’t know. It’s like somebody saying, ‘You graduated high school?’ ‘Yes. But I’m going to go back to my ten-year reunion,’ and I’m still going to do that, but it doesn’t mean I’m going back to high school and I want to go through it again. So, I guess that’s how I looked at it was, it was an experience that I just wanted to have – special – with these guys.”
However, he said similar things before he wrestled that terrible bout in Saudi Arabia, so anything can happen at the Royal Rumble!
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.