Rap/Wrestling Parallel: Jay-Z & Shawn Michaels

Posted: July 10, 2008 by danjohns in Music, Professional Wrestling, rap music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thanks to those of you that have already read the “Rap is Pro
Wrestling” blog from last week. At the time, I thought that it would be
a one-shot deal, but several of my readers said that they would be
interested in seeing me break down the parallels between individuals
from the music industry and professional wrestlers. So, I figure that I
need to start at the top…

Jay-Z is the epitome of what we as entertainers strive for. A
true student of the culture, Shawn Carter honed his skills under
respected veterans like Big Daddy Kane, Jaz-O, and later was close
friends with the late (great) Notorious B.I.G. He has released some of
the most important songs and albums of his era, and is arguably the
greatest rapper of all time. His business ventures range from Rocafella
Records to the New Jersey Nets, and have him vastly approaching
billionaire status. For the sake of comparison, I’ll try and focus
primarily on Jay’s impact in the world of entertainment. Now you may be
asking yourself, “what wrestler is Dan going to try and parallel to
Jay-Z?” Some of you that know me well might expect a Ric Flair
comparison, since I feel that both are the absolute best ever in their
respective fields. But Hov’s parallel is…
hbk …The
Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. Arguably the greatest wrestler
outside of Flair, Michaels’ career is a collection of controversy and
personal accomplishment that will stand the test of time. So, let’s get
into it!
While doing promo for “Reasonable Doubt,” Jay-Z would tell interviewers
that he planned to release 2 more albums then retire. After the success
of “In My Lifetime Vol. 2” (which by Jay’s prediction would’ve been his
last album), there was no way that fans, or Def Jam for that matter,
were going to let go of him that easily. To me, this is reminiscent of
how right after Shawn Michaels had ascended to the top of the World
Wrestling Federation, he suffered what was considered a career ending
injury. The difference is that while Michaels didn’t actively compete
for nearly 5 years, he would always pop up on pay per views, and would
never officially say “I’m retired.” Jay-Z kept releasing albums, most
notably “The Blueprint,” and then told the world that he was REALLY
retiring after “The Black Album.” He took a nice desk job at Def Jam,
and seemed to be content in retirement, until he came back with
“Kingdom Come”…
…just as Michaels returned to wrestling after having his first match
in 5 years against
Triple H (who we’ll get to later) at Summerslam in 2002.

When discussing the parallels between the two with other wrestling
fans, one of the common responses was that both men are more popular
than ever, even though both are considered to be in the twilight of
their careers. It can be argued that Shawn Michaels has stolen the show
at every Wrestlemania that he’s competed in since 2002, even when he
was not headlining the event. (the guy even had a good match with Vince
McMahon a few years back). Not many people will argue if you said that
Jay-Z has taken hip hop to the next level of exposure, relevance, and
profitability. And as for stealing the show, we need to only look back
7 months to early December, when Jay’s “American Gangster” stole the
spotlight from the largest selling hip hop album of the year, Kanye
West’s “Graduation.”

That last statement brings us to another point: their allies and/or
business partners. Michaels broke into the business as a part of the
tag team “The Rockers” with Marty Jannetty. He outperformed his tag
team partner, and showed the charisma and talent that all wrestling
superstars need. So, although it was portrayed in a fictional
storyline, in some ways, Michaels did leave the guy that he broke into
the business with hanging in limbo. As his career continued to
sky-rocket, Jannetty became an afterthought.

To sum up the relevance of that last paragraph, all I have to say is
this: Dame Dash is Marty Jannetty. Jay, Biggs, and Dame formed a label,
with Jay as the flagship artist. The thing that Dame & Biggs
failed to realize is that no matter how many times he put their names
into the rhymes, or let them dance in his videos, Jay-Z WAS Rocafella
Records. They all made insane amounts of money during their run
together, but when the Def Jam era of 5-6 sub-labels came to an end,
Jay was the only one left standing when the smoke cleared. Nowadays,
Dame Dash is about as visible as his boy Camron has been after his
run-in with 50 Cent. (hmmm, what wrestler would 50 be?)

Michaels opened a wrestling school during his retirement, giving up and
coming wrestlers a chance to hone their skills. To date, none of his
former students have won singles titles, and only one student has won a
championship (Lance Cade). Rocafella Records became a label that
consisted of Jay-Z and his homeboys, with just about everyone being
given a chance to release an album. From the original core roster, only
Beanie Siegal became relevant. I know what you’re thinking, but hear me

…Kanye West is Triple H! The current heir to Jay-Z’s throne actually
started out producing records for the Jigga man. He had a pivotal role
in the classic album “The Blueprint,” which many will say is Jay-Z’s
best work to date. Some would say that Shawn Michaels best run in
wrestling history was as a part of Degeneration X, where he was
supported by an up-and-coming Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Triple H was
Shawn’s right hand man, lending a hand during vital matches, and help
write some of their most memorable skits. As Michaels seemingly walked
off into the sunset, Triple H began to rise up the ranks, and fill the
void left by Michaels, similar to how Kanye West kept the Roc on top of
the rap game while Jay-Z was calling the shots from the boardroom.

Both men have reinvented themselves, transforming into something
different from their early years. Shawn Michaels went from a
womanizing, manipulative spoiled superstar to a God-fearing,
spirtually-guided passionate veteran. Meanwhile Jay-Z went from a
throwback jersey to a three-piece suit, expanding his reach from Marcy
Projects to Suburbia.

In 2008, sold out arenas are filled by fans that spent their hard
earned money to see one of the all-time greats put on an unforgettable
performance. Both Shawn Michaels and Jay-Z give everything when it
comes to their live performances. Every time we say “there’s no way
that he can top last year,” they find a way to do it. From the U.K. to
Saudi Arabia, both men have left fans speechless, and almost in a state
of awe.

Hit me up with your thoughts

  1. Hayley says:

    Great blog Dan! I’m really looking forward to reading more. This has me so amped for Raw on Monday night in Raleigh!!

  2. zillz says:

    who’d be the dudleys?! 🙂

  3. […] guy even had a good match with Vince McMahon a few years back)…. Source: Rap/Wrestling Parallel: Jay-Z & Shawn Michaels Who Would Be A Worse Mom? Paris or Lindsey? Vote Now And Get A Free iPhone. Vince Mcmahon Used […]

  4. blackhawk says:

    Shawn Michaels was never jumped by marines or 9 thugs in Oct. 1995 in NY. It was one guy, a army mechanic from Ft. Drum. It was over a girl. 1-2-3 Kid never helped either, he was knocked out by another army solider. The British Bulldog did nothing but swing his arms in the air until the bouncers showed up. I was there, I still have a copy of the paper that Mr. Michaels attorney wrote to the Army soldier saying that if he kept his mouth shut, Mr. Michaels would not press charges. I was there, want more details?

  5. I simply love the look and feel of your website! I just stumbled upon your blog on AltaVista. Did you get a blog theme creator to build this theme for you?

  6. Effective submit. Thank for sharing.

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