Shawn Michaels Interview
and throwing Jannetty through the window.
by Jon Robinson
January 28, 2005 - If you only
had eight minutes to interview someone, what would you ask? That's the situation I faced with Shawn Michaels, one of the greatest,
if not the greatest wrestler of his generation as he called me for what I thought was going to be an in-depth talk about his
career, but ended up as an eight-minute conversation (he was late for a personal appearance).
had a range of about 32 questions to ask, which works out to four questions a minute if you do the math. Instead, I simply
let the conversation flow, started with the point his star shot through the roof (throwing Marty through the window) and tried
to squeeze in as much as I could before being cut off (that's what I call a show stopper).
From the screw job to the
Royal Rumble, the man known as HBK lived up to icon status, proving that it's not necessarily the time that counts, but the
IGN Sports: Did you realize when you threw Marty Jannetty through the window that you would become the icon
you are today?
No. [laughs] I don't know what the word icon means, I need to look it up, but I'm flattered that people see me in that light.
Sports: But you call yourself "The Icon", "The Showstopper" on the mic. I know that's on air and you're portraying an image,
but I was wondering where you really see yourself ranked among the all-time greats in wrestling?
Michaels: As you mentioned, on the mic and TV, my industry is based on excitement and unpredictability, so on the mic, obviously
I'm going to tell people that I'm the greatest thing going. But obviously, I have a life away from my job, and when I'm away
from my job and I have a chance to allow the reality of my accomplishments in my industry sink in, I'm humbled by it. You
get in when you're very young, and you hope to achieve success, but the level I've achieved, I never could have possible fathomed.
Like I said, I'm humbled by that, and as far as the future is concerned, I'm just going to continue to keep doing what I can
and hope that I can continue to keep getting the most out of my performances and leave something for the fans to remember
for a long time.
Sports: The Royal Rumble is coming up this weekend. In your mind, what makes the Rumble one of the special pay-per-views?
Michaels: The Rumble itself is special for a couple of reasons. The first, right now, is that the Rumble brings the two brands
together, and that's something that the fans don't get to see on a regular basis. For those of us who are on the Raw brand,
to hook up with the guys from the Smackdown brand is our chance to go in there and get a hold of guys that you normally don't
get a chance to work with. For me, that's exciting. That's one of the things that I really enjoy about this business, and
that's getting in there with different styles and different guys and seeing where you stand. That's the only way to keep yourself
good in this line of work, and that's to be competitive with other athletes. When you're just in there with the same guys
on a regular basis, I think there's a chance to become a little, I don't want to say lazy, but I'll say complacent. So to
get a chance to go in there and mix it up with these other guys is exciting. The Rumble is also big because the winner of
the match gets to move on to Wrestlemania, and it's already time to start thinking about that. Wrestlemania
is the time of the year where careers are made or broken. So that's also a reason to get excited.
Is there a Smackdown wrestler in particular who you want to work with?
Shawn Michaels: I think people would like to
see Kurt Angle and myself get in there and perform with one another. I think he's an amazing athlete, a talented wrestler,
and it's a match people probably don't think that they're going to see. Again, I'm all about new challenges and climbing the
mountains I've never climbed before, as I know he is, and it's something that I think we can bring to a big show that people
IGN Sports: You're actually pulling double duty at the Royal Rumble. Not
only are you in the battle royal, but you're facing Edge as well. How tough is it to prepare for two grueling matches like
this on one card?
It is tough. It's tough to work twice anytime. There are two ways you can take it. You can look at it as a daunting experience
or you can look at it as a challenge. I'm choosing to take it as a challenge. I'm flattered, from a WWE perspective, that
they think I can do it. That they can put me in a match with Edge beforehand, and then still go out and deliver in the Rumble.
Those are challenges that they spent a lifetime putting in front of me before, and I was always quick to jump to that challenge.
I don't know if I'm as quick to jump to that challenge anymore, and they don't challenge me like this that much anymore, but
they have on this pay-per-view, and I've accepted it, and I'll try to get done with Edge, then move my way to the Rumble.
Sports: Do you see any similarities between yourself and Marty Jannetty and Edge and Christian in terms of trying to achieve
singles success after making a great run as a tag team?
Shawn Michaels: I think Christian, and I don't want to take
away from Marty, but Christian and Edge are both above where Marty and I were at this stage in our careers, not only on a
maturity level, but in their desire and passion for the business. Christian is a star waiting to happen, all he needs is an
opportunity. He's good, he's really good, and there will be a time for him. I think Edge, also, is going to step up to that
challenge. I think Sunday is an important match for him, because if he can't run with me, then he's not going to make it.
Is it strange when you go to Canada and the crowd cheers Edge and Christian but boos you? It's like the roles all get reversed
when you cross the boarder.
Shawn Michaels: That's something that has happened there for quite some time now, and it
has become fun. The majority of the fans that I see doing it, they have a smile on their face, and we make the most of it.
We all have a fun time with it. Our business is all about crowd interaction and having the people that come enjoy themselves.
I think they enjoy themselves when I'm out there, and there's no law that says they have to be cheering for you. They just
have to be enjoying themselves, and enjoying yourself can take many different forms.
Obviously, you're historically linked to Bret Hart because of what happened in Montreal. Do you think it's fair to either
one of your careers that that's the match that everyone still talks about?
Shawn Michaels: I think it's more unfair
to him because with him, that is the only match that people talk about. With me, there are so many other matches, from marathon
matches to ladder matches to the Hell in a Cell, so I'm blessed with the multitude of matches people talk about with me. That's
just one of them, that's the one that's controversial, but that's about it. I think it's grossly unfair to his career because
that's the only they talk about with him, but part of that is his own doing because he continues to talk about it. As with
everything with our industry, our industry is kind of a fish tale industry where you catch a guppy, but by the time the news
gets back to you the next day, it's a shark. The incident is even bigger to everyone else than it was to those of us who were
involved. It was pretty much a no-brainer as far as a lot of people were concerned, and obviously when it was done, it was
done. And obviously people are still going to talk about it, it's part of history, so you can't dismiss it, but at the same
time I think people should step back and look at it for what it was.
And that's when the timer went off…my
eight minutes were up and Shawn Michaels left to make his appearance. I'll try to track him down this weekend at the Royal
Rumble and see if I can get through my other 24 questions. Until then, check out HBK this Sunday to see if he can win the
Rumble for the third time.