The men put each other through hell all throughout 2008, competing in increasingly epic and dangerous matches in order to inflict the most pain in the other that they could.
It was masterpiece in storytelling, pitting two of the all time greats against one another. Chris Jericho played the character of his life as the smarmy heel who the fans could not help but hate with every fibre of their being.
Meanwhile The Heartbreak Kid was one fire and more animated than ever seen before, avenging not only his own pride, but his families in his battles against Y2J.
Their rivalry began when Chris Jericho tuned heel by smashing Shawn Michaels’ head through the Jeri-Tron 5000 (A TV hung inside the wrestling ring) during an interview on Jericho’s talk show “the Highlight Reel”. It was a shocking moment and it looked incredibly brutal. It was so iconic that it was reference by WWE years later, when Kevin Owens did the same to Jericho himself.
The assault put Shawn Michaels out for a number of weeks. The injuries he sustained couldn’t be exaggerated and the eye injury he suffered were thought to have forced him into early retirement. He appeared at Summerslam that year, accompanied by wife, with many expecting him to announce his retirement during a segment with Chris Jericho.
Chris Jericho Punched Shawn Michaels Wife
Seeing Shawn Michaels and his wife Rebecca Curci in the ring together signalled to fans that something was really wrong.
He had never been shown with his partner on TV before and it definitely frightened fans into thinking that we’d seen the last of The Showstopper in a WWE ring. The segment was interrupted by Chris Jericho, who came out to embarrass HBK in front of the crowd.
The pair traded barbs on the microphone. Jericho told Michaels to admit the reason he had to retire was because of him, because Michaels shot back, telling Y2J to go home and tell his children that he’d never be as good as the Heart Break Kid.
This hit Jericho hard. He had been a childhood fan of Michaels and based his wrestling style off him, according to his book “A Lions Tale”. He idolised the former WWE Champion and it clearly hit a nerve for the current AEW star.
Unable to keep his composure, he swung a haymaker square at the head of Michaels. Luckily he ducked, although his fist kept travelling. Chris Jericho punched Shawn Michaels’ wife square in face.
This was planned and he wasn’t meant to really hit her, but “wrestling” hit her. However he misjudged the distance and hit the woman full force in the face, knocking her to the ground.
The spot had been rehearsed a number of times, with Jericho be aware of what to do to not hit her. She was not trained as a wrestler to the onus was on the former world champion to pull his punch correctly and not make contract.
Unfortunately, the timing was not as perfect as it needed to be. Shawn Michaels moved slightly late, causing an issue with the timing and Jericho not pulling his punch in time.
The arena was silent in shock. Michaels flung himself to the ground to protect his wife as Y2J slithered away, ashamed of himself. Curci was stretcher backstage to receive medical attention, while Jericho apologised profusely.
Both men blamed themselves, with Shawn Michaels angry at himself for putting her in danger.
Luckily, the damage was only surface level. Curci rose from her stretcher almost immediately backstage and quipped to her attacker “Is that the best you got, Jericho?”.
Her joking eased the tension, but the punch managed to extend the rivalry and increase it to nuclear levels of heat. During the week, Jericho sent her flowers and called Michaels to check on her and the pair soon hashed out their differences.
The rivalry became one of the most memorable of all time. It won the PWI award for 2008 feud of the year and was maybe the last great rivalry in Shawn Michaels career.
All because Chris Jericho punched Shawn Michaels’ wife.