WWE.com interview (3/24/03)
HBK ready for Wrestlemania, and beyond
Conducted by Phil Speer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – March 24, 2003 -- Shawn Michaels says he’s “very excited” about his match with Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XIX this Sunday, his first ‘Mania battle in five years. The Heartbreak Kid says he feels so good, in fact, that he plans on sticking around beyond this Sunday, and that he no longer considers in-ring comeback that started for him at SummerSlam a short-term return.

“I’m as much a staple in this company now as I was before,” said Michaels, adding with a chuckle, “Unless they know something I don’t, I don’t see them getting rid of me anytime soon.”

Last summer, HBK’s tentative plan was simply to wrestle Triple H in a Street Fight at SummerSlam. Then he wanted to have one more match at WrestleMania and officially retire. In the meantime, however, he’s been talked into competing in a small handful of other matches – the Elimination Chamber at Survivor Series, where he won the World Heavyweight Championship; a battle with Rob Van Dam on RAW; the best-of-three-falls match with Triple H at Armageddon, where he lost the title; and a short stint in the Royal Rumble Match.

“Those matches really helped get my confidence back,” he said. “When we talked way back the first time, that was my concerned – I wasn’t sure (if I could do it). It had been so long. Now I’ve got my confidence back.

“I don’t feel like I have to be on the road every day and be on the ring every day. I’ve been given a very special gift. I think I showed that at SummerSlam – that I can stay out of the ring for five years, and wrestle like I have been on the road.”

Michaels says he believes he can wrestle perhaps every couple of months.

“I think if you want to get back-to-back (matches on pay-per-view) out of me, you’re going to have to go with a tag situation,” he said. “I’m going to do (WrestleMania), and then we’ll see where we want to go. I will continue to do my best to write myself into storylines where I can go through one or two pay-per-views without having to wrestle. I know I don’t want to wrestle a match every single pay-per-view. I think Chris and I, and this storyline, have proven that you can work a storyline with a guy through pay-per-views without having to go three weeks and wrestle, three weeks and wrestle. If we’ve done it and we’re sure it can work, it’s something we’re going to stick with.”

There’s been some talk that HBK could team up with his buddy Kevin Nash once Nash returns from a torn quadriceps. “I think that’s a natural place for me to go,” he said. “Kevin and I in a tag (match), or throw someone else in there for a six-man. Whatever it is they want to do.”

The first order of business, of course, is this Sunday at WrestleMania, his first one-on-one battle with Y2J.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s all the stuff it never was before – no anxiety, no pressure, nothing but fun and excitement. And that’s a nice change for me. I’m really looking forward to getting in there with Chris and having a good match. Again, it’s a very fun and exciting time for me.”

Physically, Michaels says he’s ready to go.

“I’ve had a nice rest,” he said. “I haven’t had any of those physical, wacky matches. I feel great. I trained hard for SummerSlam, but after that, no one was really sure where I was going, so I sort of slacked off. Then the Survivor Series thing came up, and the other thing (Armageddon) came up unexpectedly. After that, as I told everybody, I was going to stay away from a major match until WrestleMania. That way I could just rest my back, train, do the best I can do to get into decent shape and physically be well. And I feel that way – I feel fantastic.”

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