THE SHAWN MICHAELS SHOOT INTERVIEW
Unrelated note: I'd be negligent in not mentioning that in this part of the interview, Shawn has a BIG chew of chewing tobacco in his mouth. I guess you really can't take the country out of the boy.
Rob Feinstein's questions/comments in is
What was the first Hell In A Cell like? Also that was the day Brian Pillman died. Was it hard to work that day?
Shawn says that it was very hard. He says that he can remember seeing Brian the night before in Minneapolis in the locker room and he looked bad. He says that Brian came in to the locker room after his match and was taking pills and drinking a beer that he had in his bag. Shawn says that the next day when he heard the news that it was one of those things that you see it coming, but you still feel bad about. Shawn says that Brian did that all the time, but how did anybody know that this time would be his last.
Do you think that any of his friends could have helped him?
Shawn says that there were several people doing the same things that Brian was doing and nobody told him that he was going too far. He says that you can't tell people in this business what to do if they don't want to do it. Shawn says that he knew Brian but he wasn't one of his close buddies like the guys from WCW were. Anytime one of the boys passes it's a sad day. He says it put a dark cloud over the whole evening. But the match with the Undertaker was one of the more memorable matches in his career and was a lot of fun. Shawn says that Mark Calloway was the best professional that he has worked with in his 16 years in the wrestling business. He says that, just like the ladder match, for many people to go and copy it was very flattering. Shawn says the idea for the Hell In A Cell his and Triple H's. He says that he wanted to use a mesh cage with a roof on it because you just couldn't work with the old blue bar cage. He says that he likes his match better than UT/Foley because it was longer and told a story rather than revolving around two big bumps. Shawn says that he can remember Mick telling him that he couldn't wrestle as long as Shawn did so he just threw himself off the top. He says that he told Mick that "you're crazy. You won whatever it is that you wanted to win."
Then from there you started your program with Bret again.
Shawn said that the winner of HIAC would go to Survivor Series and face Bret and they knew that he and Bret would face each other. He says he didn''t think anybody knew but, secretly behind the scenes, Vince was trying to push Bret out. He says that if he didn't know, nobody knew because Bret kept all those things to himself.
Did you ever have any offers to go to WCW?
Shawn says that he always has offers. But even when he was "supposedly trying to get fired", he never wanted to go anywhere else.
Tell us about your match with Bret.
He says that day was a very weird day. You could feel something that day. Bret showed up very late and people were wondering if he was going to show up. Shawn says that after he showed up, they had a long talk. This was after he spoke to Vince while he was wearing a wire for the documentary. Shawn says that they didn't show any of his conversation because they wanted it to look like he was part of the whole scam. He says that the conversation with Bret was very nice. Shawn says that he was very taken back by the things Bret had to say, but he didn't think that was the way things went down on Bret's biography. Shawn points out the part in the biography when Bret was in the limo talking about how "he wasn't comfortable calling me a homo. Infact he was very comfortable. He did it all the time." He says that was Bret acting for the camera and it was a lie.
Did Vince ever call you and ask you to put Bret over because he was leaving?
Shawn said that Vince called him and told him that Bret was leaving and asked him if he'd but Bret over. Shawn said no because it was "fucking stupid." He said that if Vince wanted him to do it, he would have, but he didn't think it was smart to put over a guy that was going to WCW. He says then he started to figure out what Vince wanted. Vince wanted Shawn to say no so Vince could tell Bret that he wouldn't do it and they need a finish. So the day of the show Shawn hears a different story. He says that now the match is supposed to be a DQ and Bret is suposed to come out the next night on Raw and relinquish the belt. Shawn says that this was the first time that he was getting the belt without being told that he was getting it. He says that Bret was a heel than DX got so over as heels that they just passed Bret for the top slot. He says that Vince had no intention of putting the belt on Shawn when DX was first formed. So Bret and Shawn work out a match that would end up in a DQ. Shawn says that the Sharpshooter spot in the match was Bret's idea and it was very ironic and symbolic that Bret was beat in his own hold. He says that Bret was going to reverse Shawn's sharpshooter, Shawn would reach the ropes, and Triple H and Chyna would come down and then the Hart Foundation would come down and it would be a big shmozz.
What were your thoughts when this happened?
Shawn says that he knew that he would be in the same position that he always was in. He says most of the time he put himself in that position, but this was the first time he was involuntary put in that position. He says he knew that he would be ths scapegoat and that everything would be put on him. Rob asks Shawn if he has talked to Bret since then and he says that he hasn't. Shawn says that he can remember talking to Bret before the match and Bret told him that a lot of the guys told Bret not to let Shawn put him in a submission hold. So Bret was aware of what could happen. He says that a lot of guys were questioning if Bret would even show up on Raw the next night. He says that by this time he was tired of the whole Bret/Shawn thing and he wasn't on anybody's side but his own. So the finish occurred and Shawn was stunned. It's one thing to think about what could happen, but to actually do it is big. Shawn says that he didn't like to be the scapegoat, but he can remember talking ot Vince who told him and a room of others that "Whatever happens... if he comes at me to just stay out." He says that's why so many people thought that it was all a work because Vince even knew he was going to get hit. He says that he was standing right there when Bret hit Vince and that Vince took a dive. "He sold it like he sells on tv. It was just brutal"
What about the midget skit?
He says that Hunter and him were just joking about it and not being too serious and that out of nowhere Vince Russo writes it.
What was your relationship with Vince Russo?
Shawn says that he liked him but he didn't like that he forgot where he came from. He says that he can remember Russo as a DJ in Nassau and now he thinks he's "King Shit." He says that he didn't like the fact that Russo thought that he knew Shawn's character better than Shawn did and that he knew the business better than all the boys did. Shawn says that if you didn't like any of his ideas, he got pissed off. Shawn can remember the night after St. Valentines Day Massacre when Austin beat McMahon in a cage and the next night Russo has Austin booked in a three-way. Shawn says that Steve asked him what he thought of it and he told him it stunk and Russo got mad.
Did you see the pheneomenon that was Steve Austin coming?
Absolutely. Shawn says that he didn't see wrestling in general getting as big, but he saw Steve leading it wherever it was going of go.
What's your opinion of The Rock?
Shawn says he likes him alont and is very entertaining. He says that Rock showed him another side then he was on SNL. Shawn thought that was great.
Are you surprised at Hunter's success?
Not at all. He's not surprised that anybody is where they are. He says that he doesn't think that there is anybody in their position today that shouldn't be there. He knew that Hunter would be a world champion some day.
When Owen came back after leaving the company for a short while, he quickly feuded with you and was then put with Hunter. Why was that?
Shawn says that the company wanted Hunter and Owen to work with each other and Owen was upset by that. He says that Owen was always the smart one of the family because he put his family before everything else. Owen kew that there would only be one match with Shawn and then he would be put with Hunter. Owen always wanted to work with the main event but Vince only used Owen to get Hunter over. Shawn says that Vince didn't think that Owen was main event material. He says that Owen fit in the same mold as the British Bulldog. They had good matches together, but could never put together that main event program. Shawn says the one thing that Owen and Bret didn't have in common is that Owen always asked what they had for him instead of telling them his ideas for his career. Shawn says that he thinks that is one of things that hurt Owen is that he wasn't forceful enough with his career.
Where were you when you heard news of the tragedy?
Shawn says that he was in Hawaii taping an episode of Pacific Blue. He says that he can remember coming off the set one day and one of the crew members asking him if he heard that Owen died. Shawn says that he and his wife watched CNN until they saw it and watched Raw that night and cried like everybody else. He says that he wishes he was there at Raw to say something because he wasn't there a lot of peple started saying that he hat heat with Owen and that's why he didn't give a tribute.
What are your thoughts of your match at Mind Games with Mick Foley?
Very cool. Shawn says one of the regrets of his career was not being able to do a long program with Mick. He says they could have done some great stuff. Shawn says that match was just thrown together because at that time Vince was doing PPVs every month and occasionally he runs out of ideas. Shawn says that Mick comes up with some very nifty spots. He said Mick came up with this one spot for their match hat he had seen a month earlier in Shawn's match with Vader. Shawn had gotten mad after Vader was out of position for an elbow drop, so Mick wanted to make it look like he had messed up and Shawn had another tantrum.
You did a program with Jim Cornette. Did you guys have any heat?
Shawn says Cornette was a traditionalist and didn't like that Shawn was saying that the WWF should move forward. Shawn says Cornette was burying him behind his back and whatever Cornette had to say, say it to his face.
What do you think about wrestling becoming more entertainment than actual wrestling?
Shawn says that it is very hard to argue with success and he was one of the people to say that the business should go that way. He says for his wrestling he watches mostly Benoit, Jericho, The Hardys, and Edge & Christian. Shawn says that wrestling know is getting back to the days when he was a Rocker when you looked to the mid-card for good wrestling and the main eventers mostly punched and kicked and made more money. He says that was the stuff that motivated him to get to the top. Even when he got to the top he found himself doing the punch/kick routine even though he tried to stay away from it. Shawn says no matter what you do, you have to change with the times. If you don't you will get left behind.
What were the extent of your injuries that you suffered from your casket match with the Undertaker at Royal Rumble '98?
Shawn says he alyays had back problems and the disc that he had to get operated on, he hurt when he first started his singles career. During the match, Taker backdropped him to the outside and he tried to clear the casket and caught the corner of the casket with his back. He was just a little stiff that night and the next night on Raw, but he went home the day after Raw, went to sleep, and the next morning he couldn't move. Shawn says he called his parents who called the hospital and by the time his parents got to his house, Shawn had only moved 12 feet on his side. Shawn said his doctor told him that the discs in his back had just had too much and burst. The doctor told him that his career was over and Shawn said that he had one match he had to get to. So Shawn called Vince and told him the news. Shawn wanted the February PPV off so he could train the best he could, and drop the belt to Austin ant Wrestemania. Rob asks him if it was a freak accident and Shawn says his back was already in bad shape and the casket bump was the last straw. He says wrestling against Steve at WrestleMania didn't make it any better. Whatever damage he had, he only made it worse by wrestling that match. Shawn says if you watch that match, you will notice that he's slow, his right leg is dragging, he couldn't even get up after his forearm, and his timing was off on his Flair bump. Shawn says he tried to rehab it for 6 to 8 months, but he realized he had to get it fused. So Shawn called Vince and told him it was over. He says that you can always wrestle if you have to. You can always punch and kick, but Shawn didn't want to do that. He didn't want to be the guy who stayed too long. Vince even told him he could do it but Shawn said no. He said if you make him, he will do it because Vince was the boss, but he didn't want to be remembered for that.
How did the TWA come about?
Shawn says he taught and helped lot of people in the WWF and he realized how much he liked teaching and that was the motivation behind the TWA. Shawn didn't want to be one of those promoters that taught his students and just sent them on their way. He wanted to give them a few matches on video to show to potential employers because it's hard to tell how good some one is from a picture. Shawn says he wanted to help people get their foot in the door because that was the hardest thing when he started. Shawn said that he never had the intention of getting on tv. He just wanted to show his guys around south Texas and get some matches on video and when that came about he jumped on it. He says that most of wrestling today is tv and for his students to tell potential employers that they have tv experience is a big plus.
What do you think of Rob Van Dam?
Shawn says he likes him, but the only thing that will keep him from reaching the top is that he has to make what he does in the ring mean more. He says Rob does things so fast and so crisp that is starts to look choreographed. Shawn says if he slows down and uses a little more psychology he could be big.
What do you think of ECW in general?
Shawn says he likes it because it's a good place for guys to start out, but he thinks that they're going to stay where they're at because a lot of people are going to be afraid of some of the stuff they do. Shawn says that the WWF pushes the envelope in such a way that Vince can maneuver around that people get upset, but only in a way that makes them write about him more.
Where do you see your self in 5 years?
Shawn says that he still wants to be running his school and become the farm league of wrestling. He wants to be what ECW used to be. To just help guys get started in wrestling. He says that his role in the WWF will probably be spokesperson. He says that he wants to just show up on tv every once and while and be the person who goes to Europe and other places to work out deals for the Federation. Shawn thinks that the WWF will eventually get into movies and television and eventually they will need someone in Washington ans Shawn wants to be a part of that. Shawn says even though wrestling is as big as it is, it's still refered to as "the bastard son of entertainment" and the country needs to be educated on that.
Also included on this tape are The Midnight Rockers vs Playboy Buddy Rose and Pretty Boy Doug Sommers, which is the New Years Eve match that Shawn refered to earlier in the interview, the rematch between the two teams in the cage, the Midnight Rockers first title win, and some various clips of the Rockers against the Midnight Express and Bad Company. Plus the Rockers in Japan. All very good stuff, but I don't do play by play. :)
Reflections: What an interesting two hours that was. Shawn has a reputation as an outspoken guy and this inteview didn't disappoint. Shawn's ego was in overdrive with this one. I'm still scratching my head over his comment that his match at WMX was the only one people remember. But I guess that's Shawn Michaels. Still, this was a very good interview and one I wholeheartedly recommend.