AJ Styles vs Shawn Michaels: Who Will Prevail in This Intergenerational Battle?

Published 12/08/2020, 11:12 PM EST


No wrestler defines the word ‘workhorse’ better than AJ Styles. The Phenomenal One is one of the most hard-working, creative, innovative and flat-out awesome wrestlers in the world.

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His body of work rivals some of the most iconic wrestlers in history like Ric Flair, Harley Race and Hiroshi Tanahashi. However, the one wrestler that he is often compared to is the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.

AJ Styles vs Shawn Michaels is the most eagerly anticipated dream match

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AJ Styles vs Shawn Michaels is a dream match that will never take place. Michaels wrestled his final WWE match at Crown Jewel 2018 which tarnished his original retirement match against the Undertaker. Michaels and Taker tried to recapture the magic of WrestleMania 26 but fell pathetically short of that goal.

AJ Styles, on the other hand, dragged a perfect match out of the Undertaker at WrestleMania 36. Keeping in mind that Taker was two years older than what he was at Crown Jewel 2018, Styles and Undertaker’s Boneyard Match will go down as a WrestleMania classic.

Anyways, their matches against Undertaker aren’t what determine which wrestler is better. Styles and HBK have wrestled some of the most scintillating matches, the likes of which we might never see again. It is understandable why the comparisons between the two are often made.

Which Superstar is better than the other?

Shawn Michaels was WWE’s poster boy in the late 90s. Until he suffered an unfortunate back injury, and his problems with drugs and alcohol, Michaels was the best wrestler in the world.

The man managed to make a simple Superkick look like the greatest finisher of all time. Only the greatest are able to achieve something of that magnitude.

AJ Styles belonged to the next generation of professional wrestlers. Earning his stripes on the independent scene, Styles became the most dependable wrestler on the planet.

He could drag a four-star match out of a broomstick. His incredible performances are a highlight of TNA’s glory days. Along with Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels, he wrestled TNA’s first five star rated match in 2005.

HBK, however, has wrestled two 5-star classics against The Undertaker and Razor Ramon. In terms of championships, Styles has won titles in TNA, Ring of Honor, NJPW and WWE.

Michaels wrestled solely for WWE, where he was a four-time World Champion. Michaels has won the Royal Rumble twice, while Styles has failed to win the G1 Climax on two occasions.

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AJ Styles is great, but HBK is legendary

Styles’ achievements and accolades outweigh HBK’s by a mile. However, Styles’ legacy in professional wrestling is nowhere close to HBK’s. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes Shawn Michaels the superior wrestler amongst the two.

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No disrespect to Styles though, as he is still building his legacy in WWE and on Monday Night Raw. The curtains haven’t been drawn on AJ Styles’ career, and there is surely more to come from the Phenomenal One.

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Nathan Fulgado

1054 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.

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