The Miami Herald recently interviewed WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. Here are highlights:
Being difficult to work with during first WWE stint: “If I’m putting on my psychiatrist’s hat and you dig all the way down to the root of it has nothing to do with wrestling or anything else. It just has to do with a young man’s insecurities with himself. Having said that, that can manifest itself in any form and how that’s interpreted obviously depends on the time and depends on the spin. Let’s face it. The ability it takes to be difficult really is to disagree with somebody. Nine times out of 10 mine were usually more creative issues than anything else. The company felt one thing. I felt another. We both feel opposite things, so therefore it’s going to be difficult.
“Nowadays, the same thing can happen and depending on how our media spins it, that can be cool. The are guys who have done the exact same things that I did, and it’s sort of pretty nifty, because they’re fighting against Vince McMahon and the way the company wants to go. I think one guy’s unprofessionalism is like another’s guy’s Attitude Era throwback. One is perceived as cool, and the other is not.
“Jim Ross used to always say to me, ‘Shawn, it’s not because of what you’re saying or what you’re doing. It’s your vocabulary. It’s your delivery.’ When I came back, Jim said, ‘There were a lot of times I would agree with you, but your delivery was so harsh that there was just no way you could jump on your side.’ I think that’s a fair statement. I was a young guy full of piss and vinegar — excuse my language — and I felt I had a very good idea of where the business needed to go and things that needed to be done.
“I never went back and told anybody what I did was justified. I’m not saying that at all, but let’s face it. That is where the business went — to more attitude and things of that nature and to perhaps being a little more truthful and a little more reality based, which I was doing many years ago as well as other guys. Now guys do that, and it’s not really seen as being difficult or fighting a traditional system or unprofessional. It’s more seen as fighting the WWE system, which is in turn viewed pretty cool.”
Why he wasn’t fired during his first WWE run: “The reason I survived it, and the reason I’m still part of the WWE now is because the one guy who loves absolutely every stitch of it, which is Vince McMahon, the guy I argued with more than anybody, understood it. He understood that it wasn’t unprofessionalism or ego that was driving all that. It was a desire and a passion to be the guy and to be the absolute very best that I could be. His only challenge was channeling all that in the right direction, and he did that pretty darn well.
“He tells people all the time the reason he didn’t fire me is because he could see through all that. Ultimately, when it came down to his way or my way, he always knew when he said, ‘This is what I want done, period.’ He knew I’d do it, and I always did.
“I can’t do anything about the stories that are out there. I can only control what it was he said. I was given the right by him to argue and state my case. I could go before the judge, so to speak, and make my argument, and the judge either threw his gavel done and said it was his way or he said, ‘All right. We’ll do it that way.’ The reason I’m still part of the company is because ultimately I never did anything that he didn’t want me to do.”