WWE.com interview (10/25/04)
HBK: 'I did it for the fans.'
By Anthony Cali

Des MOINES, IA – As Shawn Michaels hobbled into the Veterans Auditorium in Des Moines, a flock of fans yelled in unison, “HBK, HBK, HBK.” Despite severe pain running through his left knee and the hindrance of being on crutches, Michaels made his way over to the group and began signing autographs.

During his Triple Threat match against Edge and Chris Benoit a week ago Monday, HBK aggravated an already tender knee. Upon coming backstage after his match, he was tended to by a WWE physician, and fitted for a pair of crutches. After his valiant performance at Taboo Tuesday, Michaels had surgery on Friday.

“When we were over in Europe, the first night in Helsinki, I was wrestling (Ric) Flair,” Michaels said. “We were going back and forth, and he went to throw me in one direction, but as I started going in that direction, he pulled me back the other way, and when I planted my foot, I felt something pop in my knee. So I finished the match, and as I was walking back, it felt like it was getting a little better, so I iced it down that night, and for the rest of the tour, I competed in tag matches, where I would only have to be in the ring half the time.

“I tried to take care of it by wrapping it up tight and icing it intermittently, and by the time I got back home, it felt pretty good, but when I went and had an MRI done, it turned out that I had torn my medial meniscus. I’d actually planned on getting it worked on, but I had Raw and the Pay-Per-View coming up, and I was going to try and get through those two shows, and then have it worked on after that.”

Unfortunately for Michaels, it didn’t work out that way, and as he packed his things, and headed out of Chicago’s Allstate Arena, it was doubtful that he’d be able to compete at Taboo Tuesday, whether it be in the World Heavyweight Championship match, or against La Resistance for the World Tag Team Titles.

“It was torn only a little bit after the European tour,” Michaels said, “but what I ended up doing by wrestling on Monday, was tearing it all the way through. It got locked inside the joint, which is incredibly painful. You can’t put any weight on it, and you can’t lock out your leg, because that cartilage is stuck there, so you can’t really move it.

“So I told them Monday night, that obviously, I couldn’t wrestle at Taboo Tuesday, and they understood. It was obvious that I was in a lot of pain, and wasn’t going to be able to compete.

Then I got up the next morning, and I couldn’t even walk on it, but I ended up going to the show anyway, to say hello, and to apologize for not being able to compete.”

Upon arriving at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michaels began to rethink his options. Considering the possibility that millions of fans may have voted for him to receive the World Title shot against Triple H, HBK began tossing around the idea of cowboying up, and going on with the show. And just like he did back in 1998, Michaels entered the ring at far less than 100 percent, and still delivered an unbelievable effort.

“What I did at WrestleMania XIV, was about being tough,” HBK reflected. “It was about being true grit, being John Wayne-ish. This one, however, wasn’t. Basically, I did this for the fans, because this was a Pay-Per-View that was built around their choice. And even though I didn’t know if I was going to be selected, I realized that if I was their pick, how could I not wrestle? It would have blown a huge hole in the very concept of the Pay-Per-View. And for us, as a company, not to deliver, that would have been devastating.”

Everyone in attendance, and those viewing at home, could tell, Michaels was in severe pain throughout the contest. Many times, it looked as though the continued punishment from The Game was going to be enough to make the Showstopper submit, but HBK carried on, and nearly won the prize.

“I don’t even know what kind of match I had,” HBK said Monday night while sitting in the trainer’s room with a soft cast covering his entire left leg. “And I don’t mean to imply that it’s not imortant to me – everybody knows I’m pretty passionate about my matches, and where they stand, from a performance standpoint – but for this one, I did the best I could, and I have no idea what the people thought of it. I just know that I did my best, and I was thrilled with the way it went.”

The Heartbreak Kid returned home to San Antonio Wednesday, saw Dr. Jacobs on Thursday, and had the surgery Friday. The procedure involved shaving out the cartilage that was damaged while saving as much of it as possible. It is estimated that Michaels will miss four to six weeks, due to the fact that he is missing his ACL – which stabilizes the knee, and keeps it from going side to side – in his left leg. Had it been just a standard scope, he’d probably be back in two to four weeks.

“Because of my ACL being gone, we need to find out how stable it’s going to be,” HBK said, “and how much it’s going to move around, before my muscles start to adjust, and keep it in place. And when I come back, I’ll still have to wrap it, and brace it when I wrestle. But right now, my first interest is just getting better, taking it easy, and spending some time at home. And then we’ll go from there.”

Back to the Shawn Michaels archive