WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels has had a storied career in the professional industry and will go down as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
Michaels headlined major pay-per-view events between 1989 and 2010, closing the sports entertainment company’s biggest event of the year, WrestleMania, five times.
He has held every big championship that WWE had to offer and had some classic matches as well as a feud with the biggest names in pro wrestling. Those names would include The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Triple H, and Ric Flair.
Although he turned his life around when he returned from hiatus in 2002, his final match before taking time away from the WWE was interesting, to say the least as he was dealing with some issues that have been well documented.
During the first episode of WWE Network’s Something Else To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, the long-time WWE producer reflected on the issues that Michaels had leading into his WWE Title Match against Steve Austin at WrestleMania 14 in 1998.
Prichard talked about whether people believed Michaels back injury was real and how difficult Michaels was to work with at the time (transcript courtesy of Wrestling Inc).
“There were definitely grumblings and I would venture to say that there were far more skeptics than there were sympathetic ears at this point because of the timing and the fact that a year [before], his knee was injured and while talking about dropping the title due to a knee injury, he brings up losing his smile.” Prichard continued, “so I guess it was ‘suspect at best’ as my friend, J.R., would say. People doubted it. People didn’t know if it was legitimate, which, by the way, it was a legitimate injury and it was a very bad injury. The timing of it though, didn’t help. And it certainly didn’t help that, Shawn being Shawn, wasn’t talking to a lot of people and I think that he didn’t allow anyone to feel sorry for him, really.”
“At this time, during this whole run, earlier, you could deal with people who were assholes and people who were difficult because you knew what you got and how to deal with them. You can figure all that out. That’s not that difficult. Shawn, at this point, going into WrestleMania, and probably from January on, the injury on, he was a good 9.5 to deal with. Yeah, he was there.” Prichard recalled, “Shawn had made a lot of demands. Shawn wanted security when he arrived in Boston. And he felt that the unruliness of the fans at the [public] workout [where Michaels was struck by a battery] and in general he had a lot of heat on him in general. Steve [Austin] was so red-hot as a babyface that Shawn wanted protection 24/7, and he got it, and we got it for him. We had the police escort him everywhere that he went leading up to WrestleMania and all the way till WrestleMania and after, so that’s the reality and that’s something that we did do.”
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