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THE PATRON SAINT OF WRESTLEMANIA
Shawn Michaels reflects on his ownership of the Show of Shows, closes the door on any future ladder matches, and shocks us with a potential request for a very personal favor from Bret Hart.
Shawn, in honor of The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, if you had to bestow the title on anyone, whom would you pronounce as the new Mr. WrestleMania?
I said "Mr. WrestleMania" as a line once in a promo and, just like "The Showstopper," it took on a line of its own. To anoint someone new would imply that I'm not Mr. WrestleMania anymore, and that can't be the case, It's still me.
It's been 20 years since your first 'Mania match, and back then, pay-per-views were relatively now. Did that make WrestleMania V more special?
It made it huge! I remember missing the first-ever SummerSlam not long before getting to WWE, and I was just devastated. The fact that there were only four pay-per-views a year made each one gigantic. So to miss a WrestleMania would feel catastrophic. I don't mean this to sound arrogant, but today, it's not a question of if I'm going to be on the show. I mean that in the most humble way. But back then, you had to scratch and fight just to get on a show, and when you did, it was a huge accomplishment.
Last year at No Mercy you were in your first ladder match in six years. When you're at home cleaning the gutters, do you have flashbacks to old matches?
No. I'm on a ladder every now and then, fixing bulbs or leaks, but it's a conservative six feet off the ground. Other than that, I no longer enjoy ladders. I used to feel very at home on top of them, but that's not the case anymore. When I came through the curtain after that match with Jericho, I felt that was the last one. Don't expect another ladder match from me; it's not going to happen.
Speaking of Chris Jericho, things got heated between him and your wife in the ring at SummerSlam 2008. Did you get household detention for bringing her to the pay-per-view?
Heck no! I married the coolest woman in the world. She's tough. She can get down and be a redneck, and the next day she can homeschool our kids, run our business and be a lady. I know people say they have a great wife, but mine is a phenomenal woman.
Th Miz & John Morrison recently took some shots at DX. You replied by saying, "You can mock my kids, you can punch my wife in the face, but nobody mocks the chaps." What makes the chaps so sacred?
Nothing. It was a stupid line. Whenever I'm in DX, it's about being as stupid as I can possibly be, and that's it. Every now and then Triple H will say I look like a Village People reject or something like that--sometimes you just have to make fun of yourself.
Your sense of humor carries over into matches, too, apparently. WWE referees told us you're pretty talkative in the ring. What's up with that?
[Laughs] Now that I'm older, I'm more relaxed and I like to have fun every now and then. Obviously there's a difference between a live event and WrestleMania, where I'll take things very seriously. But at live events I have a tendency to be very over the top. I'll usually do my own commentary. I'll say things like, "Oh, my God! How can he take all this pain?!?"
We always watch your matches in awe. When was the last time you watched one of your matches and said, "Wow, I can't believe I did that?"
Probably never. I'm a nitpicker. It's one of those things where, if you played the perfect game, it's time to stop playing. That's probably what keeps me coming back. I always find things that I can refine. Everyone goes on and on about that ladder match [at WrestleMania X], and I understand all the praise, but I look at that match and feel, [Shrugs his shoulder] "Eh, it was all right."
All right?! We're shocked to hear that! When the times comes, whom do you want to induct you into the WWE Hall of Fame?
My instincts say Triple H, or Ric Flair, but I'm always looking for something different. I've thought of my wife. I've thought of Kevin Nash, or my son, when he's older. I thought of Vince--he could talk about how it was to have me work for him. I'm sure I was difficult. It's funny; I've even thought of Bret Hart.
Seriously, the Hit Man?
I sometimes think, "Will he ever make peace with me?" I'm not in denial about what happened in Montreal. I'm OK that I was that way, but that doesn't make it right. It's still wrong, but it is what it is. There's nothing I can change about that, and I don't want to pretend it didn't happen. It's something that really bothered me. But in the end, I want to be inducted without all the fluff. I want the truth.
When you worked for JBL. All day, it must have been a drag. Did he ever stop talking?
I did my best to fly underneath his radar and avoid him until it was time to go to work.
Did you learn anything from hanging around JBL?
Like most of us, he's got two sides. There's a real good side to him, that of a very disciplined well-mannered gentleman. The other side is ruthless, brutal and tought to deal with. He controls both of those sides at his will.
JBL hails from west texas. You make your home in San Antonio. What are the differences between you two lone star staters?
I'm more country. He's more metropolitan, like Dallas or Houston, what with him being a tycoon. I'm more regular Texas. I don't want to say that I'm a redneck, but I'm a positive redneck.
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