Heading into WrestleMania 32, the only legend who was actually advertised to appear on the show was The Rock. WWE did their best to try to keep the involvement of any other Hall-of-Famers or returning superstars a legitimate surprise. But unintentionally or otherwise, word leaked out that Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin would all be involved one way or another in Dallas. John Cena’s WrestleMania return was a mystery up until the final seconds before he helped save The Rock against The Wyatt Family.
Numerous reports leading up to WrestleMania suggested that although Michaels, Foley, and Austin were booked to appear, WWE officials were debating over their roles up until the last minute. Other reports suggested at the very least that HBK would be serving as the special guest referee for the main event match between Triple H and Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Rumors had Foley getting involved in the Brock Lesnar-Dean Ambrose match and “Stone Cold” making a similar appearance to that of WrestleMania 30.
However, Michaels was a recent guest on Vince Russo’s The Brand podcast and revealed that plans for the legends were much firmer than we were led to believe heading into WrestleMania. According to Shawn, plans for him, Austin, and Foley to run-in following the League of Nations vs. The New Day match were set in place for quite a while. In fact, Michaels told Russo that Vince McMahon called him six weeks prior to the event with the rundown of those plans.
Additionally, some other interesting bit of news comes from the fact that Michaels was not in the best of shape when Vince made that call. Hard to believe after seeing “Mr. WrestleMania” without his shirt on during the spot. HBK said that Vince wanted him to appear in his wrestling gear and that Foley and Austin would be doing the same. Shawn originally opposed the thought, but Vince urged him to start training, and if all three appeared in their gear, it would make it that much more of a special WrestleMania moment.
Obviously, Mick Foley basically wrestles in his everyday clothes anyway, so there was no necessary training to be done there, although Mick did reveal he had lost quite a bit of weight over the last several months. But when Michaels saw Austin the day of WrestleMania, he realized Vince was feeding him some B.S. Michaels had just trained twice a day for six weeks, but when showtime came around, he didn’t care as he had gotten back into great shape and wanted to show off his physique. An extra thanks to Shawn’s wife who was monitoring his diet from the time Vince made the call.
Regardless of how it all came together, Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Mick Foley all certainly provided a memorable moment. They answered the challenge laid out by the League of Nations, taking out King Barrett, Sheamus, Rusev, and Alberto Del Rio, then danced with The New Day before Austin popped Xavier Woods with a stunner. It was clear during the segment that all of the current superstars were trying to one-up each other when it came to selling Austin’s signature move.
Despite his willingness to help out at WrestleMania, Michaels has been somewhat critical of the WWE product as of late. Shawn has mentioned that the shows are “easy not to miss,” and creative is failing in the follow-up to the main events. He argues that the follow-ups are sometimes more important than the actual main events themselves, and WWE is sometimes too quick to turn the page rather than execute a better conclusion the night after a pay-per-view.
[Image via WWE]