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  Jan 9, 1999

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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Michaels faces toughest foe

By GLENN COLE -- Toronto Sun
Reality and theatre are interwoven in professional wrestling, though there are those who will say it is theatre only.

And while Shawn Michaels is one of the best athletic actors in the business, what he faces on Tuesday is quite real.

Michaels will be in hospital to undergo surgery on his back, surgery which likely will end his career in the ring after 14 years.

What doctors will try to do is fuse the discs in Michaels' back. It's not a five-and-dime operation, as many who have undergone back surgery will tell you. And even though Michaels otherwise is in good shape, it would be folly for him to enter the ring again and risk further damage.

It is expected he will continue working for the WWF as its commissioner, though people have been known to change their minds. His absence in the coming weeks will be explained by that "beating" he took in the parking lot on the past Monday Night Raw.

Like him or not, and there were many who couldn't handle Michaels' ego, there is no doubt he delivered the goods as a performer wherever he went. Thirty-three is far too young to retire, but sometimes a bitter dose of reality slaps the wrestling's theatrical world right in the face.

In Michaels' case, the pain stabbed him in the back.

HOGAN RETURNS: Imagine how Jay Leno must feel.

Here he devoted a great deal of air time to announce Hulk Hogan's retirement on The Tonight Show only to find out that Hogan unretired on Monday in a sham of a match against Kevin Nash and was given the WCW heavyweight title. Let's hope that's it for Hogan's bogus run for the U.S. presidency.

One would have thought that the WCW could have been a little more imaginative in its approach to things after Nash took the title away from Goldberg in a less-than-impressive Starrcade on Dec. 27. Is the WCW bankrupt for ideas?

BODY SLAMS: A few fans who attended the CWA show Dec. 28 were miffed that Rob Van Dam was a no show. You can't promise people that wrestlers are going to be on the card and then have them not show up ... The AWF show featuring Abdullah the Butcher against The Iron Sheik has been pushed back a week to Jan. 17 at Cactus Pete's, 462 Birchmount Road. Bell time is 4 p.m. ... AWF champion Squeegee Kid, Pretty Boy Simms, Big Daddy Adams and, Sheik Muhammad Mustafa also will be on the card ... RWA has a card at the G-Spot night club, 290 Richmond St. West, tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. It also has a show Friday in Waterdown at the Lions Club, 317 Dundas St., at 8 p.m. before a noon show next Saturday at the Appleby Mall ... Tito Santana will be part of an EWF show set for Carmen's Convention Centre in Hamilton next Sunday at 7 p.m. Call 905-387-9490 for details ... Chris Benoit has agreed to a new three-year deal with WCW and may feud with Bret Hart ... Eddie Guerrero suffered a broken hip and other injuries in a car accident Dec. 31.