Posts Tagged ‘Shawn Michaels’

One performer from WWF’s Attitude Era who Shawn Michaels believes would have been “phenomenal” in today’s WWE is Chyna.

A founding member of D-Generation X, alongside Michaels and Triple H, Chyna was a former WWF Women’s Champion and two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion. She died in 2016 at 46 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of DX three years later.

In 1999, Chyna became the first woman to appear in the Royal Rumble match, a groundbreaking moment. The WWE did not introduce a Royal Rumble match for the women’s division until its 2018 Royal Rumble event.

In a recent interview with The New York Post, Michaels said he believes the Chyna would have fit in great with WWE’s current roster.

“From a performer standpoint, she would clearly fit in and be phenomenal,” Michaels, 57, said. “I think what makes her the awe-inspiring, innovative and transforming woman that she was was that she did it earlier than all of them.”

Michaels said her style and character “would be a bit more commonplace today.” “She would certainly have an incredible career — but I don’t know that she’d be the trailblazer today that she is if she were currently doing it today,” he added, pointing out her status as a pioneer in wrestling world by competing for titles in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Michaels’ interview comes as D-Generation X celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The group is scheduled to make an appearance on the October 10 episode of “Monday Night Raw” at the Barclays Center in New York City.

Mount Rushmores, which are groups of four, are talked about a lot when it comes to wrestling. That could be who someone believes are the four best in-ring wrestlers, the four best promos, the four best tag teams, etc. Former WWE and AEW World Champion Chris Jericho named who he would put in his Mount Rushmore of professional wrestlers overall.

“I love Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan,” Jericho said on “Superstar Crossover” with Josh Martinez. “Those were my four favorites when I was growing up so those will be my Mount Rushmore to this day.”

Hogan and a man Jericho had an iconic feud with years ago, Michaels, both had extremely successful careers as they are both multi-time world champions in WWE and both two-time WWE Hall of Famers. Steamboat and Hart did not find the world championship success that Michaels and Hogan did, but both men held the Intercontinental Championship, with Steamboat also winning the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship.

Jericho has had quite a successful career, winning major championships in WWE, AEW, WCW, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling over his illustrious 30-plus-year career. Despite the career he has had, Jericho explained why he did not pick himself for his Mount Rushmore.

“You don’t pick your own face to be on Mount Rushmore,” Jericho said. “If that was the case then all of us would have four, four, four of us … The Mount Rushmores and the GOATs and all those sorts of things are such interesting topics of conversation but if you are a GOAT or you are worthy of being on someone’s Mount Rushmore, you probably don’t have to really say it.”

The ‘King Of Rock & Roll’ is indirectly responsible for one of pro wrestling’s most iconic poses.

Shawn Michaels recently told Sports Illustrated that Elvis Presley inspired the wide-legged muscle pose that he performed countless times in WWE rings. Elvis didn’t flex both biceps the way HBK did, but he did stand in a power stance and make himself the centre of attention on-stage.

A young Shawn loved that, and he decided to make it part of his act when he went solo. He’d noticed that Presley would command attention and bask in the spotlight towards the end of his concerts. That’s something else Michaels changed – he flipped the King’s performance on its head and gestured before and after his biggest matches.

It didn’t take long for wrestling fans to associate the pose with Shawn, but few knew that he’d actually lifted it from Elvis. Remarkably, Michaels also asked ring announcers to tell fans that he’d “left the building” before main events too.

That little add-on kept him in everyone’s minds, and was another sneaky little trick that he’d picked up from Presley.

AEW announcer Jim Ross has described Shawn Michaels’ behaviour at SummerSlam 2005 as “unnecessary”.

Michaels famously took the p*ss out of Hulk Hogan by over-selling much of his trademark offence. During the build towards that pay-per-view, HBK also joked around a lot and made light of Hulk’s legacy. Come crunch time though, Ross believes the pair managed to have a “pretty damn good” match.

Even so, Jim could see that Shawn was only acting up because he could get away with it and knew Vince McMahon wouldn’t do anything to stop him. That power flex, one which conveniently happened vs. ex-poster boy Hogan, is the bit JR found “unnecessary”.

Ross told fans listening to his ‘Grilling JR’ podcast that Michaels “needed to realise [he] wouldn’t be in this position making all of this money if it hadn’t been for a guy named Hulk Hogan steering the course” beforehand.

Basically, the Hall Of Fame commentator believes a little more respect was due to Hulk for how he had revolutionised the industry one generation prior. He added that “a lot of guys didn’t want to admit that” due to jealousy.

During his time as the WWE Champion in 1996 and ’97, Shawn Michaels cultivated a negative relationship with talent, many viewing him as difficult to work with and running the show as champion. One of the talents who agrees with that sentiment would be the first-ever Africian American Intercontinental Champion, Ahmed Johnson.

As Johnson rose to the top of the WWE card in the mid-90s, many viewed him as a potential challenger to Michaels and someone the company could put the title on. But when the time came to have him fight for the belt against “The Heartbreak Kid,” plans suddenly changed.

“In the beginning, I really thought that he was behind me and going to give me this great push, but as I went on, I found out it wasn’t Vince that didn’t want to give me the world title, it was other wrestlers like Shawn Michaels,” Johnson stated while interviewing with Gregory Iron of Iron-On Wrestling. “They didn’t want to see me pushed that high. I don’t know [why], personal reasons? I was green, I’ll say that. I was still green and learning, but I think I was ready for the world title shot. Because Shawn had the belt and everything, he basically got to pick who he was going against, he was running the show back then and he was basically picking who was going against him.”

Johnson continued to make a very bold claim as to why “HBK” didn’t want him to be the World Champion.

“From my understanding, what I heard, he didn’t think it was time for a black man to be World’s Champion. I didn’t hear him say that when I was Intercontinental Champion and popping the house everywhere we went.”

At the time, Michaels was a member of the legendary wrestling group “The Kliq,” which featured Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, and Triple H. The group was rumored to have had a major influence on storylines and creative during that time, and of all the people “The Kliq” messed around with, Ahmed Johnson was not one of them.

“They didn’t mess with me for some reason,” Johnson said. “They probably did behind the scenes, like I told you. I didn’t become world champion because Shawn Michaels didn’t think I was ready for whatever reason, but they never messed with me. They never tried to ‘ha ha’ me, or bully me, or any of the things they did to other guys. They knew their place, and knew who to mess with and who not to mess with.”

WWE icon Shawn Michaels doesn’t believe his good pal and former running buddy Scott Hall ever “needed” to become World Champion.

Michaels told Sports Illustrated that he’ll always cherish his lengthy friendship with Hall. Career-wise though, HBK doesn’t think the one-time Razor Ramon ever needed a belt to validate his status as one of wrestling’s best. In fact, according to Shawn, “Scott generated his own excitement and made himself an attraction”.

Hall used to tell Michaels that he “didn’t need to be number one – I just need mine”. That selfless approach is something that always struck a chord with HBK, and it’s why he’ll never forget just how good Scott was at simultaneously making others and himself look good in-ring.

Summing it up, Michaels also said: “Creatively, he wanted to be free”. Shawn believes that the World Title sometimes “puts you in a box” and dominates how a wrestler is presented to the audience. He doesn’t think Hall wanted that for himself.

Would he have agreed to a World Title reign? Obviously, but Scott didn’t need the championship to get over. That’s a fair point.

In January of 2018, WWE celebrated Monday Night RAW’s 25-year anniversary episode where the show featured many legends including The Kliq, Chris Jericho, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. During their appearance on the show, Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler (The Revival at the time) were beat down by Triple H, Shawn Michaels, X-Pac, Scott Hall, and The New Age Outlaws.

As a special guest on the latest episode of The Sessions with Renee Paquette, Harwood joined the show to speak about the transition he made from WWE to AEW, his battle with anxiety and bulimia, and revealed why Bret Hart was his favorite wrestler growing up. While talking about Bret Hart’s feud with Shawn Michaels, Harwood revealed a bad experience he had with Michaels at RAW 25.

“For a lot of guys it’s like ‘oh, it’s a paycheck, who cares,’ but not to me,” Harwood said, when talking about how upset he was following The Revival’s beat down that night. “There’s a legacy I want to leave. But that happened and I talked to Shawn [Michaels]. That was the first time we had talked since the [Performance Center] days.

“I told him, ‘Man this happened, tore my bicep, went through a really dark period and thought I was going to quit but thankfully I have the greatest wife in the world and she has supported me and brought me out of this funk and out of this dark place and I’m here now, I’m super happy.’ He said ‘I was the same way, I was in this very dark spot that my wife, she’s beautiful, she pulled me out of this dark spot too. You and your partner are way too talented to be doing what you’re doing tonight, you are way too talented to stay at this point. Just keep your nose to the ground and keep grinding and you’ll get over.’ I said ‘oh Shawn, thank you so much.’

“We had this bonding moment, and then we got in front of his friends,” Dax Harwood continued to say. “X-Pac, Hunter, Billy [Gunn], Road Dogg, Scott [Hall], and as soon as we got in front of his friends, he started making fun of me and making fun of my situation and what happened with my bicep. I was like man I just poured my heart out to you and as soon as we get in front of your friends, cause we’re going over that they’re going to beat the shit out of us, you decide to take all of that stuff and make fun of me about it?”

Recently, Dax Harwood spoke about having contact with Bret Hart and what the WWE Hall of Famer had to say about FTR being the best tag team in the world. Continuing to talk about his frustration with the situation at RAW 25, Dax Harwood revealed that the only person to contact FTR about the situation was Sean Waltman.

“I never ever forgot it and as soon as we were done with the business at RAW [that night], one person said thank you to us and that was Sean Waltman,” Harwood said. “Everyone else was so cold to us and treated us just like we were the shit on the bottom of their shoes, except for Sean Waltman. I’ll never forget that from Shawn and I hope there’s a day that comes that we can have a conversation and I can ask him why he did that and we can reconcile if he wants to. If I love you, I love you and if I don’t, I don’t.”

On this week’s episode of the Grilling JR Podcast, AEW Commentator, Jim Ross, sat down to discuss the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in 1997 with host Paul Bromwell.

Back during this period, Bret “The Hitman” Hart was scripted to deliver a somewhat homophobic promo. Jim Ross revealed who was behind the idea.

“It certainly was Vince, and Shawn had Vince’s endorsement. Shawn had a free pass and Vince kept Shawn happy, as happy as he could,” Jim Ross explained. “So, you know, that was basically Vince, Vince knew what he wanted there. And whether it was good or bad, that was what he wanted. Bret tried to make it work and tweak some of the creative so that he could, at least, tolerate it in his own mind.

“A lot of guys are just uncomfortable with the homosexual issues. And now, today, in today’s world you would say, ‘well, how could that be such a big deal?’ It shouldn’t have ever been such a big deal. Someone’s sexual preference is what that is, that’s their sexual preference. Today, you wouldn’t say much about it. Good Lord, look at AEW, we have a very diverse roster and so that’s where we are with that.”

On the subject of AEW, Jim Ross discussed the inaugural TBS Champion, Jade Cargill, and her current rise and development in Tony Khan’s promotion.

“I said, ‘you’ve got a lot of work to do’,” Jim Ross began. “Talked to her about this yesterday and I said, ‘you know, in basketball, a sport you did really well in, you gotta learn things that go along with the game, for example, in basketball you gotta learn how to shoot free throws. In wrestling, there are certain things you gotta learn how to do that are critical in the maturation of a pro wrestler. Taking a flat-back bump, doing crisp strikes, not being stupid, that type thing’. She’s really smart and she wants to be really, really good.

“She realizes that her look is her meal ticket right now. But it won’t always be, because once your look is exposed for several weeks and what have you, it becomes not as special. So you gotta bring things with your game and that’s her charge right now. She’s gotta be able to do that, that’s not going to happen overnight, I don’t even know if it’ll happen in 2022. It’s got to be constant work to be good at what you do and that’s where we are with her.

“When she walked up that stage with her little girl in her arms, that got me. That’s real, it got me and I was really proud for her in that moment. You know, being a single mom, even though her ex was there, it was cool that he supported the mom and the little girl even though they’re not together any longer. So, yeah, that was the moment for me that kind of defined Jade and started separating her from the pack. Having a child made her a little more real,” JR said.

Eric Bischoff just torched Shawn Michaels’ legendary ‘Sweet Chin Music’ finisher during an appearance on the ‘NotSam Wrestling Podcast‘.

Bischoff told Sam Roberts that Shawn’s superkick “couldn’t crack a fucking egg”, and described the strike as “horse shit”. No, Eric isn’t one to mince his words these days – the Bisch says exactly what’s on his mind, which is probably why his own ‘83 Weeks‘ pod has become so popular.

That’s not the only reason, of course. Bischoff and cohost Conrad Thompson do have some spirited debates about old WCW shows, TNA, the current products in both WWE and AEW, and (naturally) Eric’s distaste for all things Dave Meltzer.

Some wrestling fans won’t take kindly to his comments about HBK’s kick though.

Eric, who has a legit fighting background in karate, has never liked the way Shawn leans away from opponents when delivering the final blow. He said the superkick “deserved to be criticised”. Bischoff has nothing against Michaels at all, but he hates ‘Sweet Chin Music’.

“When all of your bodyweight is leaning away from your intended target…that ain’t a kick”, he added. Twitter will have their say on this too, no doubt.

Jim Ross spoke on the latest episode of the Grilling JR Podcast about Shawn Michaels during the late ’90s and the issues he had during that period. The AEW Commentator said a lot of people backstage in WWE at the time would always make excuses for Michaels given his in-ring ability.

“Shawn was in a tough time,” Ross said. “We all started making excuses for him, ‘well it’s this, he was on too much medication, he was drinking too much, he was influenced by the wrong people.’ Somewhere along the way, we had to stop and look in the mirror. Shawns made great life changes since that time by 180 degrees which is wonderful, but he was not so easy to be around. He was just so freakin good, he was in that Flair conversation when you say ‘Who’s the best two workers you ever saw?’ Shawn at that time was as good as anybody who laced boots and used that cachet to his advantage.”

Ross continued to talk about Michaels and his issues with Vader during their match at SummerSlam 1996. During the match, HBK yelled at Vader to move out of the way during a spot. The problems during the match reportedly led to issues during Vader’s time with WWE because Vince McMahon took Shawn’s side during the argument. JR recalled the reaction backstage on that night.

“Well, nothing good,” Ross said. “You don’t have to use your cool like that, Shawn had the license to lose his cool because of his influence with the office and Shawn knew that Vince was going to back him no matter what he did. Shawn overplayed his hand in my estimation, it was very unprofessional and he’s just lucky Vader didn’t beat the shit out of him because Leon could have. Leon was hungry, Leon wanted the opportunity, he needed an American base and now he’s in the main event of a major pay-per-view wrestling for the biggest title we have. Leon had traveled a lot of miles, had lost weight and showed a better commitment to what he was doing.

“I just thought it was totally uncalled for, Shawn had the deck stacked cause he had Vince in his back pocket. Vince often told me ‘You know that goddamn Shawn Michaels reminds me of me when I was younger.’ Did you do a lot of super kicks when you were younger Vince? But he was talking about Shawn’s attitude, demeanor, that type thing. It wasn’t good and the damn match got four stars and could’ve been five stars if some of that childish bullshit didn’t happen.”