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Interview

An Interview With Shawn Michaels

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An Interew With HBK

Shawn Michaels Interview

Rumble, Montreal, 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).

I literally 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 content.

IGN Sports: Did you realize when you threw Marty Jannetty through the window that you would become the icon you are today?

Shawn Michaels:
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.

IGN 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?

Shawn 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.


 



IGN Sports: The Royal Rumble is coming up this weekend. In your mind, what makes the Rumble one of the special pay-per-views?

Shawn 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.


 



IGN Sports: 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 will enjoy.

Shawn Michaels Interview

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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?

Shawn Michaels: 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.

IGN 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.


 



IGN Sports: 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.


 



IGN Sports: 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.

 

ALL RIGHTS ARE ENTITLED TO EITHER SHAWN MICHAELS HICKENBOTTOM OR THE WWE INDUSTRY ITSELF.