WWE.com interview (6/09/03)
HBK most proud of match with Y2J
Conducted by Phil Speer

Out of all the career highlights for Shawn Michaels -- the three reigns as WWE Champion, the classic Ladder Match at WrestleMania X, the first Hell in a Cell -- he is most proud of his WrestleMania XIX match in March against Chris Jericho.

“Things are very different now,” the Heartbreak Kid said during an interview for the WrestleMania’s Greatest Moments magazine, due out later this year from WWE Publications.

“The Ladder Match has stood the test of time. Winning the World Championship (for the first time at WrestleMania XII) was very neat. At that time, being the World Champion was my top accomplishment. But the match that gives me the most satisfaction now was my match with Chris at WrestleMania, because it’s 16 years (since I debuted) in WWE. It was coming back to my first WrestleMania after five years, and putting on a really good show.”

Michaels also said he enjoyed the entire storyline -- the entire buildup to his match with Y2J at WrestleMania XIX.

What was particularly satisfying, HBK said, was that the match was a regular contest with no stipulations, in an era in which the perception is that Hell in the Cell-type matches are the best way to attract fans.

“The match was really good and really sound, in a time when throwing on a wrestling match -- just a plain wrestling match -- and having it be really good and really get over at a big show like WrestleMania is really difficult to do,” he said. “All the hoopla goes on around a WrestleMania, and we were dealing with a Hogan-Vince and a Rock-Stone Cold and all these huge, huge matches and hype. And we’re in a time in the business where tables, ladders and chairs and cells and hardcore and -- I don’t even know all the names of the crazy moves -- are the fad of the week. And so-and-so that’s doing them is the innovator of this or the hardcore that, or whatever.

“(Jericho and I) both put together something that I think is going to stand the test of time. It was a good, sound wrestling match -- the best match on the show, a lot of people said. To do that after having back surgery, and a time when people thought, ‘Well, he’s good, but he’s not the same,’ and to have been able to have done my part … When I came back, it felt like a lot of people were going to have to work around me. Chris didn’t have to do that. He worked with me. We worked with each other. And we both contributed to the entire storyline and the entire match. So that one is real special in that group of pretty special matches.”

Asked for his reaction to the fact that HBK called their match his No. 1 career highlight, Jericho said, “It’s a pretty big honor to hear that from him because he’s had a lot of classic WrestleMania matches -- off the charts. For me, that was my first classic WrestleMania match. I mean, I’ve had a couple good ones. But that was the proverbial five-star classic match that I think stole the show at WrestleMania. That’s another one of my goals that I had in wrestling that I can cross off. If you’re going to steal the show, WrestleMania’s the place to do it.

“One of the reasons why the match worked was because it had so much of a buildup. It was a three-and-a-half-month buildup in an age when no matches get built more than a month.”

Jericho added that the match was one of his all-time favorites, and that he looks forward to a rematch.

HBK’s Ladder Match with Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X, his Iron Man Match against Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII and his WWE Championship defense against Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV are all scheduled to be included in WrestleMania’s Greatest Moments.

“I’m pretty jazzed at the fact that there are a couple of matches in there,” Michaels said. “When people talk about putting ‘greatest matches’ together, you can’t pick just one. I think that’s cool. I’m very happy to have had the chance to work with that many talented guys and to have brought that much quality to this business. That’s something that’s very cool to be a part of.”

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