This week was a special one for wrestling fans of all ages after Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair engaged in an enlightening, humorous, and revealing conversation on Flair’s new podcast on MLW Radio. Make sure to go back and read the Inquisitr articles that detailed how Michaels and Flair first met, first wrestled, who took the lead in the program leading up to their classic WrestleMania match, and Flair’s big regret following his retirement from the WWE in 2008. Or, of course, listen to The Ric Flair Show directly.
In the final installment of the in-depth chat between Shawn and Ric, Michaels took the fans and The Nature Boy back to the 1990s when the WWE had actual competition. HBK, of course, spent his entire (mainstream) 20-plus-year career with the WWE while watching many wrestlers cross back and forth between WWE and WCW. Michaels revealed that he was tempted by the thought of leaving for the Ted Turner-run promotion, but never did (thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription).
“It’s one of those things where you talk about it [and] you fantasize about it, but really, legally and contractually, no. I mean, I could never go. It’s just one of those things where you can, in the theatre of your mind, you can fantasize about it, think about it, wonder what it would be like, but, ultimately, I think I’ve always felt like I was a WWE guy and I honestly didn’t want to be anywhere else and the only reason you’d ever go anywhere else is for money. As badly as everybody feels like I’m a sellout for one thing or another, I guess, ultimately, when it came to wrestling, I just wanted to wrestle where I want to wrestle. And something had to be bigger and more important than the money and for me, it was the time inside that ring.”
Inside that ring is where Shawn Michaels was one of the best ever. Earlier in the interview, he claimed that he probably took his matches too seriously, especially when the spotlight was shining the brightest, including that infamous match with Flair at WrestleMania 24. In WCW, he might not have been afforded the same opportunities as far as telling those stories in the ring. But ultimately it was Vince McMahon’s advice that prevented him from going to the enemy.
“Even when all the WCW stuff did come up and I asked him, ‘jeez, let me go’, he said point blank, he said, ‘you wouldn’t be happy down there’. He said, ‘Shawn, they wouldn’t let you be you’. He said, ‘you’d suffocate – you’d never make it’. But the thing is, that was the day when I realized, again, he gets me.”
Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels certainly had their issues in the past. Vince has stated on numerous occasions that Michaels was one of the hardest superstars he ever had to deal with, and Shawn admitted to the same. Aside from being one of the greatest in-ring performers of all time, Michaels was not shy about being a born-again Christian during his second WWE run and beyond.
One of the more controversial angles in the company’s history featured Vince and Shane McMahon challenging Shawn Michaels and God to a tag team match at Backlash in 2006. Michaels revealed that his friend Triple H, and other WWE officials, thought he’d never go through with it.
“I was like, ‘dude, what do I care? It’s silly.’ The part inside the ropes, the part where people decide if it’s a good match or a bad match, that’s the part that I take very, very, very, very, very seriously and that I respect the most. All the other stuff though is just, it’s just window-dressing and silliness. And so, none of that stuff bothers me. And so, I don’t know. It wasn’t the most intellectually stimulating angle or storyline that we’ve ever did at the WWE, but, look, we used my personal life – we’ve used a lot of guys’ personal lives or real wives and stuff like that to fill up a storyline – mine is no different. Again, I don’t know that it was, honestly, I don’t know that it was one of the best by any stretch of the imagination, but it also wasn’t one of the worst. It was just another in a run of many sort of over the top, maybe too overdone storylines in WWE lore.”
[Image via WWE]