Shawn Michaels unedited
Like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels spent an amazing amount of time with me while I was writing the WWE Championship book. Much of what he told me wound up in the book, but here are some portions of our conversation that did not make the final edit:
How did you celebrate your first WWE Championship win?
My parents were there. We briefly went to the WrestleMania party that’s held after the event. But to me, it’s the alone time. Fortunately and unfortunately I am way way way too deep about my job and performances, so the real celebration is the alone quiet time feeling accomplishment in the hotel. It’s a very quiet celebration. There’s no champagne, there’s no bubbly, there’s no jumping for joy and things like that. It’s very anti-climatic and it’s probably way too deep and way too unstable for wrestling, that’s for sure.
How did you handle the stresses that went along with your first reign? Was there ever a time went you thought you couldn’t handle it anymore?
Note: This question came after he told me about how difficult being champion was for him. That portion is not printed here, but can be found in the book.
There were plenty of times. But that all took place with me in the hotel room. Even that night, sitting there with the title in my hotel room, looking at it … taking the time to say “holy cow, you did it.” For me, those have always been the times—in my hotel room—where I got to feel the realness, and the joy and the sadness. The pressure always mounts when you walk in the locker room. But the real joy and emotional time (high and low) to me has always taken place long after I left the building, sitting there alone in my hotel room. Even now, the thrills are the performances … and now I get to share it with my family. But back when I had the title, all my moments of real times were back in my room.
What was it like to reclaim the title from Sid in your hometown at Royal Rumble 1997?
That one was fun from the hometown deal. I had a lot of friends from high school there. It was important to me because it was the first real dome show that we had done in a long time and it was important to me to have that place full … Of course it’s always fun to win the championship in your hometown, but I was more enamored doing it in front of my friends in a 60,000-seat dome.
Is it true that only you, Triple H and Vince McMahon knew about the Montreal Screwjob prior to the Survivor Series pay-per-view?
Somebody told me that Vince Russo wrote a book and said that they were talking about it Stamford a while before that. I didn’t know that at the time.
What was the day of the Montreal Screwjob like for you?
The most uncomfortable day ever … Bret and I had a lot of conversations … mending and breaking down, mending and breaking down. And that day we had another one. I never felt lower. We shook hands and I knew full well what was going on. At that time, I was angry so I could do it. I look back at it now and I feel like a scumbag.
Originally, you denied being involved in the screwjob, but later admitted to being involved all along. Why did you change your tune?
The TV show Confidential wanted to come down and interview me. And to be honest, it comes up in every interview I ever do. And this was after I had been saved … the change in my life, so I didn’t want to lie about it anymore. I made a call to the office trying to get a hold of Vince, but he wasn’t around. So I went ahead and admitted it in the interview and told them that they could air it or not air it, it was their choice, but I’m wasn’t going to lie about it anymore.
Have you talked to Bret since the Screwjob?
Note: This interview took place prior to Hart’s return to WWE.
Never seen him since. I was given his number a couple months ago. Everything I ever read is that he wouldn’t talk to me anyways, so I wasn’t sure what I should do.
There are rumors that he will be returning to WWE soon. So you may have a chance to talk to him again.
Life’s too short. If he wants me to take full blame for everything, I will. I have no axe to grind. I’ll say I’m sorry, extend my hand, and apologize. I’ve done it publicly. I guess if I was the one who was wronged, I would probably breathe death too. About him coming back, I said if he wants to do anything with me, tell him I’m on board. I mean it.
Growing up, which champion did you admire most?
Bob Backlund. You know, I was your very standard stereotypical wrestling fan, and he was the good guy. I liked that he was a wrestler. I liked that he was a good guy, but he did the piledriver.