In the few years that led up to Shawn Michaels‘ brief in-ring return at last year’s Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Saudi Arabia, he was already helping WWE’s up-and-coming talents prepare for the big time at the company’s Performance Center. This aspect of his wrestling career hasn’t often been touched on in interviews, but recently, both “The Heartbreak Kid” and his D-Generation X stablemate Triple H opened up on the events that led to the former’s decision to come back to the wrestling scene — albeit mainly as a trainer — after so many years away.
As quoted by Wrestling Inc., Triple H explained to Corey Graves on the latest edition of the After the Bell podcast that Michaels, despite his claims that he wasn’t exactly busy while enjoying his retirement, was living a productive life away from the ring, managing his farm and ranch and hosting a hunting show. After positing that his longtime friend may have retired from wrestling to “get away” from the industry and the stress that comes with life as a professional wrestler, Triple H said that Michaels seemed rejuvenated by their visit to the Performance Center, where he’s worked as a trainer since 2016, per Forbes.
According to Triple H, all he had to do was to give Michaels a little “taste” of the modern WWE training environment for him to join the Performance Center.
“Next thing you know he was like, ‘I will come in and train a few days a week and be part of the TV thing’ and then it went to ‘I will help with the matches but I don’t want to wear the headset.’ [He originally didn’t] want any responsibility and now he is part of everything. He jumps up and down and gets giddy like a little kid when stuff is good and losing his mind when it’s not. He is into it as much as anybody else is so the taste worked.”
For his part, Michaels told Graves that his current job reminded him that, after all that time away from the squared circle, wrestling is a part of who he is, and the only thing he’s good at that doesn’t feel like work. The WWE Hall of Famer added that prior to joining the Performance Center, he wasn’t aware that such a job would be available to him “simply because [he] had never done it.”
While Michaels did not drop any hints regarding the chances of another in-ring comeback, he stressed that now that he’s nearing his mid-50s, he “[gets] more joy” seeing the passion of his young trainees as they learn the ins and outs of working for WWE. This was something Triple H agreed with, as he also admitted that helping up-and-coming talents is “almost more meaningful” than his own storied career as a wrestler.