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Shawn Michaels on the B.S. Report: No Chance I Will Return for Another Match


I couldn't be a bigger fan of Bill Simmons. His articles on ESPN have always been entertaining. One thing about Simmons is that he's always been a mark for pro wrestling. On the B.S. Report, which is a podcast that he does, he had Shawn Michaels on yesterday for a 48 minute interview. Among the things discussed are HBK's retirement, the back injury and match at WrestleMania 14 and of course Montreal.

On the WrestleMania match and back injury that nearly ended his career:

It's funny, you hear people say like, "Oh geez, he retired lots of times," and uh, for me, and this is for me personally, there's a huge difference between being told you're never gonna wrestle again and walking away of your own free will. That's why to me, I've only retired once and that was this time. But to be told that you can never do something again when you know in every ounce of your being that your still good at it and you can still do it....physically I was broken but I was more broken spiritually and mentally at that time. I was given a beautiful unique gift and I didn't really honor it or take care of it and so I got taught a lesson.

Simmons then asks him how much pain he was in during the match with Austin on a scale of 1 to 10 and HBK says that it's easily a 10. I've read a ton of books about pro wrestling and a lot stories suggest that Michaels almost refused to job the title to Stone Cold that night. When you watch the match it couldn't have been any more different. While it wasn't a 5 star classic by any means it was still a great match. Some of the things Michaels did in that match were insane, like his patented flip against the turnbuckles that hit him directly in the small of his back. You could see the pain he was in without him actually having to sell it. It's matches like that one that make me view him as the best worker in the history of wrestling.

On what it was like when Bret Hart returned in January:

All of it was, you know, none of that would have happened if Bret wasn't ready for that to happen. For whatever reason he came to a place where it was like, "I can't let that ruin the rest of my life or their lives." You know it was a phenomenal thing. It's one of the things that I'm the most proud of. I remember thinking the whole time when I came back know it's like two rivaling cities and they are going to keep being rivals until the two leaders come together.

Simmons also asked him if he knew how big the Montreal incident was before it exploded into what became the Attitude Era:

Oh yeah. I knew it was gonna be heavy. It's funny, even then I could put on the veneer of, I'm doing the right thing but underneath, you know, a gut wrenching, you know it's one thing to get up there on a podium and go, "I don't care what anybody thinks." It's another thing to sit in your hotel room by yourself and sit there and go, "gosh, everybody is gonna hate me." It wasn't fun to be him and I can assure you it wasn't fun to be me.

I remember the whole thing being a sticking point amongst fans...some believed it was a work and some thought it was totally legitimate. To this day there are a lot of people that I've talked to that believe it was an elaborate work. That's part of what makes pro wrestling so intriguing. You never can tell. In this instance though, it was as real as could be, at least in regards to the way Vince took the title off Bret. One of the amazing things I always thought of was that had Owen Hart not broke Stone Cold's neck then this whole thing never happens. Hard not to be at least somewhat happy that it did though if for nothing else then what came out of it.

More in the full entry.


Simmons really was killing it in this interview. On who Michael's favorite guy to work with was over his tenure in the business:

I have absoluely zero ability into narrowing my favorites down into just one but I have to say I gotta go between Undertaker and Triple H for the sole reason, well, other than all the obvious reasons, they're the only two guys that I could make a mistake and it would be okay. They are the only two that I could put the trust of the match in their hands and let go of my control freak attitude with them when it comes to being out there. Those are two guys that I could let drive when I let go of the steering wheel.

Not much of a surprise to hear him say those two names. The very first Hell in a Cell match between him and the Undertaker was a thing of beauty. It's amazing that the first ever match of it's kind is still easily the best match of that particular series. No one has been able to do as much. And don't say Mankind-Taker from King of the Ring '98 was even close to as good but because taking crazy ass bumps does not a great match make. As far as Triple H goes, before the quad injury he was a beast. One of the better workers in the business. After the injury he just never quite got back to that. After the second quad injury his matches are even more stock. Still, it makes sense that HBK would choose him considering the relationship the two had.

Guys from the newest generation that he has the highest hope for:

Depends on what everybody means by new generation but for me, number one is Randy Orton. You know, Randy is as talented as the day is long. One of the things he and I have in common is there is a deepness to him to where he almost takes the job too seriously. I did the same thing and I don't think that's a bad thing. It can get you in trouble but once you get a handle on it, it can be a great thing and he's there.....another guy I'll take on my team any day is John Cena. Nobody works harder than him.

These are the two most obvious choices and I'm sure if you asked any of the old time guys this is the answer you would get. The top heel and the top babyface. There is only so long you can roll with the same guys on top though and I wonder how many miles Cena has left in him. He sells merchandise like crazy, sure, but he's been the main cat for over 5 years now. Even Hogan couldn't sustain that kind of run, at least not consecutively. Orton, because of the way he has been booked, is much more fresh but even he has been in so many main events the past few years, you have to wonder if that's why the PPV numbers aren't any good.

Of course, the inevitable question, is he going to come back:

No. I understand the skepticism with that but I wouldn't have left if I didn't know I was ready. I actually made the decision a month before WrestleMania 25. I knew that 26 was gonna be my last one. Didn't know how it was gonna look or what it was gonna be but I knew it was my last one.....The ending, the story, was beautiful. To come back would taint that moment. That, in and of itself, is enough reason not to come back.

And finally, what are his thoughts on Vince McMahon:

Greatest boss in the world to ever work for. I know the real man. I know the text that he sent me after that (WrestleMania) special. He's a good man and that's, you know, people don't know him. That's why I walk through fire for him that's why I walk through walls for him. There is a decent dude there. He's got tough decisions to make. I've watched him make them and weep and struggle and to make those decisions; let those who haven't sinned cast the first stone. I've walked with him for 25 years and that's my opinion of him. I will always be a WWE guy and proudly say it. I'm a former WWE superstar and damn proud of it.

It's recently been reported that Michaels is in the doghouse with Vince but that sure doesn't come through in what he says here. Then again, what reason would he have to bash him in any way. This is actually pretty typical of what you hear when former wrestlers talk about Vince. Some of them will blast him but most of them give this kind of answer.

This was a great interview and I strongly encourage you to read Bill Simmons if you don't already. I'm not the biggest fan of the 4 letter network and the fact that they push personalities as opposed to sports reporting but Simmons is well worth heading over to their site for. Here is a link to an article he wrote that was a running diary of WrestleMania 26. It's a great read.

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