WWE.com interview (12/02/03)

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Dec. 2, 2003 -- Remember when Shawn Michaels returned to WWE last year and said he’d only wrestle one or two matches before retiring from the ring for good? These days, it seems the Heartbreak Kid is wrestling once or twice a week.

The more HBK competes, the more confident he becomes that he can wrestle more often without putting the health of his back in jeopardy. So Michaels went from agreeing to wrestle another match or two, to occasionally on pay-per-view, to occasionally on television, to now several times a month.

In fact, Michaels has been competing on select non-televised live events. On Friday, Dec. 12, he’ll do just that at Madison Square Garden, facing off against Ric Flair in what’s being called a Legend vs. Legend Match. It’s the first time the two have battled one on one at the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“That’s big,” Michaels said. “That’s going to be very big. That’s going to be a lot of fun for both of us. I haven’t wrestled Ric one on one at the Garden ever. You can’t ever beat the Garden. The Garden’s awesome to be in all the time.”

WWE.com caught up with Michaels on Monday, moments after he battled in the main event on RAW, a six-man tag team match.

Asked why he’s wrestling so much more frequently these days, the multi-time World Champion said, “It was a situation where (Triple H) left to go make his movie. It’s only one guy, but at the same time, it seemed to put a dip in the roster. I just told them that I’m back, I feel great – colored by the blood of the lamb – so to just go ahead and use me every week if they want. And you don’t have to ask twice around here.”

Michaels said he plans to continue with his aggressive in-ring schedule.

“They’re still fairly judicious when it comes to putting me out there,” he said. “Like the last week before a pay-per-view I might not work. I just told them to go ahead and use me. I’m going to be fine. That’s what faith is – stepping out there and knowing everything’s going to be alright.”

That said, Michaels added that he does take precautions to help protect his surgically repaired back, which was what originally forced him to retire after WrestleMania XIV in 1998.

“I stretch as much as I can before each match,” he said. “Sometimes the show goes so fast I don’t have the luxury of stretching as much as I want to. But I pray – that’s the biggest part. I know if I pray I’m going to be fine. Afterwards I try to ice it.

I just take so much better care of myself than I use to. Before, it used to just be going out there any way I was. I try to stretch, get heat before I go out –wear a heat pack during the day to try to loosen it up. Just try to be smart about it.”

Michaels also said that he’ll continue to appear, and wrestle, in a small handful of non-televised events each month.

“I discussed it with my wife,” he said. “It’s a situation where I’ve got no problem going to work, I just want to bring my family with me. They understand that. In a couple of years, my son will be in school, and he won’t get that opportunity. I just told them if they need me, give me a call. And whatever works with my schedule – because I do other stuff at the church and stuff; I just need it to jive with that. They’ve asked for maybe three live events a month, which is doable.”

Back to the Shawn Michaels archive