1996 was essentially the second-last year of the New Generation Era. While he was a featured star consistently, 1996 would prove to be Shawn Michaels‘ true breakout year as he won the WWF Championship for the first time. It was the culmination of an incredible journey and he truly represented what a “smaller” superstar was in WWF at the time, a place that was known as the land of giants.
As a whole, the product wasn’t its best in 1996, but it was still a huge improvement from 1995 – a year that saw WWF reach record-low ratings. Diesel was the central figure around then, but by 1996, WWF decided to pull the trigger on Shawn Michaels. As you can probably imagine, The Heartbreak Kid takes up a good part of this list, but that’s a good thing because you can witness some of the best HBK classics of 1996.
It would be a year before they began shifting towards edgier content and two years before the Attitude Era would officially begin. Here were the best matches of 1996.
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