Shawn Michaels is one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time so when he talks about his career and reflects back at a golden era for fans that watched him come up through the ranks.
Michaels was asked if there was anyone he would have liked to wrestle in his prime past or present who would it be?
“Ricky Steamboat. I would love to have gotten into it with Harley Race. He was such a good wrestler and rough and tough. We wrestled at the same time but never each other. And wrestling Sting would have been something I would have enjoyed. That would have been great at the box office. But if I had to pick, it would be Steamboat or Race.”
How could you not love the prospect of a Michaels vs. Steamboat match? Ironically both were in the WWE during Steamboat’s second go-around and the match could have happened. Michaels was far from his prime but you have to blame Vince a little bit for missing the boat on such a unique match.
Michaels was asked whether he thought that DX had the potential to be something special when the group was originally put together.
“Actually, never. I’m still waiting for him to come around. He’s been hanging on my coattails for 20 years! Just kidding, obviously. It’s one of those things where the Hunter Hearst Helmsley character that he was portraying at the time, a rich, snobbish character, was totally opposite of the way he is. We would ride in the car together and say “My goodness if we could just bring who we are in the car out on TV.” We finally convinced the powers that be to give us a chance. We just went out there and hammed it up, because we naturally bring that out of each other. The humor was sophomoric, but that’s who we were back then. We were bad guys, but after a while it got to a point where people started enjoying it. The great thing about live events is you get an instant reaction, and that was very encouraging for us. People in the back wanted to reel us in, and we wanted to keep going.”
I want to preface this by saying that I am a huge Shawn Michaels fan. That said, I think the legacy of Degeneration-X is totally overblown. DX get credit for being something special, yet WCW was killing the WWE when DX were on top with Michaels. Quite frankly I found it annoying as a fan to see Michaels reduced to a comedy role in DX reunions, bad comedy at that. I never got it and a look back at wrestling history would tell you their impact was minimal at best. Sorry DX fans.
Finally Michaels was asked about what kind of advice he would give to himself as a rookie knowing what he knows today.
“Don’t be afraid to be who you really are. Enjoy it and don’t take it and yourself so seriously. I probably wouldn’t have listened, but if I did, I would have saved myself some heartache along the way.”
Read more over at the LA Times for the entire interview.