Shawn Michaels Discusses Getting Clean, Calling Nash/HHH, & More


Shawn Michaels spoke with promoting his new book and discussed the “lost years” between his 1998 retirement and his return at SummerSlam 2002, plus more. Check out the highlights:

On the Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy and the Texas Wrestling Alliance: “At first, it started with training. At that time, going from being on the road 300-plus days a year to doing nothing was a big adjustment — and one that I didn’t handle well. Training guys seemed like it would fill that void at the time. And truth be told, it was getting back to the purest form of wrestling before money comes into the equation. As I was doing that, I realized one of the things that would be more help to the young guys and girls coming through was to get them real experience. That progressed to: If you can do that, why don’t you at least try to get them a little experience in doing TV? Then it progressed to getting guys booked out to ECW and trading talent with Tommy Dreamer and Paul Heyman, and also getting some guys some gigs in Japan so they could see different styles. I was sincerely doing my best to give them a decent resume in getting into the wrestling business. Even in a strange sort of way, [the students] realized that this wasn’t something I had a great deal of experience in, and they knew that I was taking it on as it came along. None of it was a big business plan beyond the school. Everything else just sort of grew.”

On his occasional appearances from 1999 to 2002: “They were just random calls — much like the appearances that I have now. Back then, it might have been a little bit more in advance. But for the most part, it was just somebody in creative having an idea and thinking there was a role that would fit me.”

On his relationship with WWE at the time: “It wasn’t great, but there was very little communication. They were thriving and doing well and I was doing what I was doing.”

On if WCW ever reached out to him: “I was always under contract with WWE. There were times when one contract was ending and another had not been discussed moving forward. And yeah, there were talks and opportunities [with WCW]. I remember Jim Ross reaching out to me and coming down to Texas to visit me. J.R. said he didn’t know what the future held for me, but he thought there was a role for Shawn Michaels [in WWE] somewhere. If it wasn’t now, it might be a year or two. Jim always believed in me. I ended up re-signing with WWE with no real plan in sight, but still being sewn up by them.”

On his “final straw to get clean”: “The final moment was when my son was 2 years old and I was half-in-the-bag on the couch, and him thinking I was tired. I realized, “My goodness, he’s starting to notice. This isn’t something you’ll be able to hide from him.” It broke my heart. I just could not bear the thought of this innocent baby being ruined by something he had absolutely nothing to do with. I decided there needed to be a change — and a drastic one.”

On his phone call with Kevin Nash that helped: “Basically, he said, “Look, you need to stop that stuff, and while we’re at it, you need to make amends with Triple H.” Triple H and I had not talked in a year. I had been in not-great-shape the last time I was in WWE. It had been a year since then. It was Nash saying, “You owe him an apology,” the incident with my son and me waking up later that night and thinking this can’t continue. All of these happened the same night. And all of it started the next day. I called Kevin back first, saying, “You’re right, and give me Triple H’s number; I’ve got to call him.” Then I called Triple H, asked him to forgive me, and both of us wept on the phone like a couple little girls. We re-kindled our friendship.”

On stepping back into the ring: “It wasn’t until 2002 when I returned to WWE and until I had physically been out there — it was during the match when Kevin Nash blew his quad [Raw; June 8, 2002]. That next morning, I was sitting on the plane, reading my Bible and the Book of Joshua, and this feeling came over me that I was back here for a reason. God built me to be a wrestler. The words “be strong and courageous for I am with you” jumped off the page at me. That’s when I made the call to Mr. McMahon and suggested a similar-type of match — with hardcore rules — against him. And he said, “Are you serious? Do you really think you can do it? Let me think about this and call you back.” So he called back and said, “Look, if you can do this with me, I’m not very good. Would you think about doing this with Triple H?” In my mind, Triple H was a main-event guy. We were buddies, obviously, but I just didn’t see me coming back into a top role and wrestling a top guy. So [Mr. McMahon] discussed it with Triple H.”

On the hardest part of writing his book: “It’s a look at my faith and more of an autobiography on my second life. I can’t say it was difficult [to write]. It was an opportunity to stay in that place where it’s nice and away from the hustle and bustle of everything. Since 2002, [wrestling] was a great job, enjoyed doing it, worked hard doing it, and did it well, but my family and my faith were a much bigger part of my life from 2002 to 2010 when I left. It was nice to be able to focus on what really was the majority aspect of my life.”

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