The SmarK Retro Repost – RF Video Shoot Interview With Shawn Michaels

The SmarK Rant for the RF Video Shawn Michaels Shoot Interview

– Continuing on my need to get some info for the book, I decided to go back and watch this again so I could get Shawn’s side of some things in 1997. The first time I watched it was a couple of days after the apartment burned down, and I was basically without cable or furniture and just needed something to watch to keep myself from going crazy. For those who feel the need to keep track of this stuff, I am heavily biased towards Shawn in the ring, and heavily biased against him out of the ring.

– This would be from late 99, early 2000 I believe.

– He got started when he saw Tully Blanchard’s Southwest Championship Wrestling at 12 years old and decided then and there to become a wrestler. He hooked up with a local promoter at 18, who told him to go to school first. Shawn did as a matter of politeness, but flunked out soon after and went back to wrestling. Jose Lothario trained him for two months and then basically threw him to the proverbial lions in Mid-South.

– On Bill Watts: He was incredibly strict. He didn’t know that you have to show up for TV even if you’re not scheduled (gasp!) and so skipped a show and got fine $50. He didn’t miss another show. He doesn’t bring up Watts again, but when Watts was hired by the WWF in 1995, Shawn ended up getting him fired in retaliation for that fine all those years before. I’m kinda surprised Rob didn’t bring that question up on one level, but on another level I’m not.

– Onto Kansas City, and Bob Geigel, and back to Texas to form the American Force with Paul Diamond. Stayed 8 months, and then went to the AWA.

– Verne Gagne just didn’t understand where wrestling was heading. Can’t argue there. Cute story about how Shawn & Marty wanted to be the Midnight Rockers, but Verne was worried that people might think they were chairs.

– Onto the WWF and their big two-week stay. They had a bad rep as “party boys” from their AWA days and most thought it was best that they didn’t mix with the boys, so as not to be a bad influence, but the agents wanted to do a meet and greet session. So they went down to the hotel lobby and found Jimmy Jack Funk starting some shit, which later got blown into a full bar fight with each new telling of the story. Shawn and Marty met Vince a few days later to sort things out. Shawn was wearing snakeskin boots, and Vince commented that “They’re made for walking, you know”, and the next day they were back doing the indies again.

– They finally made it back to the WWF in 88, working with the Harts.

– We skip all the way to 1990 next, and the Phantom Title Reign. The WWF really had no intention of making them the champions, but they were just so over that they had no choice, apparently. The rope broke and they did a chinlock spot to give the ref time to fix it, but the ref froze and they just had to finish the match without a top rope. Vince later told them that he couldn’t air a match that bad on national TV, although according to Bret’s shoot interview, he asked Vince not to air it as a favor to him.

– Shawn never really met Hulk Hogan, but he did meet him enough to discover that he was rarely truthful and always had an agenda to everything he did backstage. *cough cough*

– He had some great times (Shawn kind of makes a wink-wink gesture here) with Marty and says they lived up to most of the stories about them. Read into that what you will, I guess. They never really fought.

– The Breakup Story: They were doing a photo shoot with the LOD and some other guys, and everyone was getting $5000 each, except for the Rockers, who were splitting $5000 between them. Marty got pissed and gave notice, using vague promises of a WCW contract as the bait, but Shawn saved the day and called up Vince, asking only for another $2500 each to make up the difference. Vince offered him a singles push, so Shawn decided to split up the team, because the whole WCW thing was Marty’s idea, not his, no sir. Marty chickened out and got Shawn to call WCW out of curiosity, and they offered $75000, which was a lot less than they were making at that point. Shawn decided it was time to dump Marty. Marty apparently didn’t take it well, but Shawn gave him a peptalk that sounded like something out of Father Knows Best the way he tells it, and then superkicked him through the Barbershop window.

– Shawn thought that Sherri was great to work with, because if guys wouldn’t sell for him she’d stiff the shit out of them on the floor.

– Shawn liked his series with the Bulldog, although neither guy really got any credit for the matches. Rob skips over a bunch of stuff here, like the first ladder match and the match with Bret at Survivor Series.

– Shawn had heat with guys who had to follow his matches and were apparently insanely jealous of how great they were, and so he ended up shoving it back in their faces years later. Yes, he really said this.

– We jump to mid-93, skipping over the Sherri split and Marty’s personal problems, as Vince brings Marty back for the second time. Shawn loved the match. We skip over Kevin Nash coming into the promotion and move to late ’94 and Shawn’s disappearance. Basically, Vince told Shawn that he had failed a drug test for steroids, and Shawn was AGHAST that such an accusation would be made about him. He suspected foul play from one of the boys. Vince told him to either confess and have it be forgotten, or he could say “Fuck you” and take six weeks off. So Shawn chose the second one.

– Shawn was never a big steroid guy, but he did take a lot of pain pills, for obvious reasons. He thinks they’re a big part of wrestling and always will be. Vince was really strict about drugs, though.

– Onto the program with Hall, as he came back and had the match that made him famous.

– Onto the Clique: Biggest misconception about them was “The Power”, which Shawn says is just a bunch of guys making suggestions to the boss, all of which happened to be taken. They used to make “suggestions” for other guys, too, like Candido and Bret Hart, and Shawn is confused as to why they didn’t accept them with open arms. At any rate, all the other guys were just paranoid, because Vince had the last word. Lex Luger coined the actual “Clique” name, according to Shawn. Shawn didn’t really stop and think about the whole situation at the time, simply thinking that they were all just jealous and paranoid.

– Shane Douglas accused Hall of making him look bad during a tour of Europe. Shawn wasn’t there, but Shane blamed him anyway in order to gain more attention for his gripes. Shawn doesn’t think Shane was any good, and that’s why he failed. Hunter tried to float various ways to make the Dean character work to Shane, but he wouldn’t listen. Gotta agree with Shawn there – The whole situation was mostly Shane’s fault. Rob completely ignores (or forgets to ask about) Syracuse, however, and just moves on.

– Onto the “strike” rumor, where the Clique held up a house show until Vince flew out to take care of things personally. The gist is that the Clique decided it was time to tell Vince that his product sucked and it was time for a change. Vince gave them a list of wrestlers and they told him who could work and who couldn’t. Shawn credits himself for thinking of WWF Attitude and convincing Vince to go in that direction. Specifically, they got Lex fired for being lazy and unmotivated. Well, there’s one thing in their favor. The Clique were just guys who “took the initiative”.

– They briefly jump to Shawn’s matches with Flair.

– On Sid: Not a great worker, but he had some decent matches with him within his style of match. No heat between them, apparently, even though Shawn once called Sid the biggest piece of luggage in wrestling during a PPV broadcast. Rob doesn’t bring that up, of course.

– On Losing His Smile: Vince never asked him to do a job to Bret Hart, he says. He then cleverly covers his tracks by saying that Bret might say differently because he thinks Vince told him one thing and Bret another. A doctor told Shawn that his knee was f*cked and even James Andrews told him take some time off. Since he had no opponent for WM at that point, he decided to take a few weeks. He then elaborates that Bret *might* have been his opponent, but he was worried that Bret would “f*ck him up” during the match, so that led to his declining, and besides which, the finish wasn’t gonna be Shawn laying down for Bret. Even though he claims earlier that Vince never asked. Shawn looks REALLY jittery and confused during this whole portion. In Bret’s shoot interview, he claims that Shawn was on drugs the whole time and probably couldn’t remember any of it. I’ll do Bret’s side of the story next week and you can draw your own conclusions.

– On accusations of having a great match on a supposedly-bad knee: Fuck ‘em, he had great matches all the time. He was “superman”.

– The fight with Bret: Okay, better get comfortable. Bret told him just before WM12 that they were gonna work an angle to fool the sheets, and if Shawn read stuff there where Bret was dogging the shit out of him, don’t worry about it. Shawn went along with it, until Bret started taking shots at Shawn’s family, thus annoying Shawn. The sheets on biting on the “feud” bigtime, however, so Shawn went along with it. The boys, however, told Shawn that Bret was just working HIM in order to slag him in the sheets and get no retaliation from Shawn. Bret apologized for the shots at Shawn’s family, but Shawn believed that Bret still blamed the Clique for a lot of stuff. They were still kinda buddies, though. This led to an interview on RAW where Bret would dog on Shawn until the end of the show, at which point Shawn would superkick him out of his wheelchair, but Bret talked too long and time ran out. Bret apologized, but Shawn thought he was lying and told him so. Shawn threatened him with vague promises of a fight and then let loose with the Sunny Days comment, which he says was just him being a smart-ass. Bret, for reasons unknown to Shawn, got offended by Shawn’s insinuations and blew up, thus sending the entire locker room into fear of a huge fight breaking out. Shawn’s reponse: “Hey, it’s not my fault that he f*cked Sunny”. Shawn says that Bret turned into the backstage politician after that, shaking hands and getting people onto his side, just in case.

– Three months later, Bret wants to talk. Shawn tells him to go f*ck himself, and a fight erupts. It spills all over the backstage area, hair is pulled out, and eventually the boys break it up. Shawn went to Vince and accused Bret of being an out-of-control maniac and then walked out. He came back a couple of weeks later and Vince made them shake hands and play nice.

– We gloss over D-X and Undertaker and talk a bit about Pillman’s death.

– Shawn thought Hell in a Cell was a lot of fun, and of course the cage was his idea. He liked his match better than Mick’s version.

– Back to Bret again after that, and You Know What. Shawn says he didn’t know about all the secret contract stuff going on behind the scenes, and thus he assumes that no one else did, either. He had offers to go to WCW, but says that the WWF was always his home.

– Onto Montreal: Everyone was weird that day. He had a conversation with Vince, which he thinks that was omitted from Wrestling with Shadows because it would prove his innocence and then the movie wouldn’t have a bad guy. Shawn also addresses the stuff from the movie that contradicts the earlier parts of this interview, saying that Bret was lying and they were taken out of context.

– Shawn first denies refusing to do the job for Bret, and suddenly remembers that he did in fact refuse to do the job for him because Bret was leaving and it would be “f*cking stupid”.

– Says there was no intention of making him champ again as a result of D-X, but the million dollar question became “could you trust Bret not to show up on Nitro the next night?” and he ended up with the title as a result.

– Says the Sharpshooter spot was Bret’s idea, and blames Pat Patterson for stooging the spot to Vince so he’d know where to do the screwjob. Shawn was upset after the match because he just knew he’d get blamed for the whole thing, as usual. He suspects that it may have been a work, because Vince took a dive for Bret’s punch.

– Onto the midget skit: It was all Russo’s idea. Shawn didn’t like him much because he’d throw a tantrum when he didn’t get his way and forgot that he was just a smart mark who happened to make it big.

– Shawn was proud to put Vince over at WM14 and likes him because he doesn’t get caught up in all the political BS. On the Eyada show before it closed down, Dave Meltzer actually related a story from that WM where Undertaker had to threaten Shawn with violence in order to get him to do the job. Just saying.

– Onto Owen Hart, and the aborted program. He admits that the bookers just wanted to use Owen to put HHH over, and there was never any intention of doing an Owen-Shawn program. Shawn thinks Owen just wasn’t forceful enough with his own career path.

– Back to 1996 and the match wit Mick Foley, as Shawn regrets not doing a full program, but the stars just weren’t aligned right. Talks about the “worked shoot” bit within that match.

– Talks a bit about the heat with Cornette over tradition v. new style.

– Likes guys like Benoit/Jericho/Edge/Christian/Hardyz now because they still try for the more athletically-based style of match, rather than the kick-punch crap Shawn was forced to resort to late in his career.

– Onto the back injury, as he didn’t feel anything right after the casket match with Undertaker, but two days later he woke up and couldn’t move from his bed. He agreed to do the job to Steve and then call it a career. He was very disappointed in the actual match. He rehabbed the back for 6 months to see what would happen, and then realized it was time to give it up and had his vertebrae fused to finish his career for good.

– Onto the TWA for a bit, as he talks about teaching the new kids and acting as a feeder system. They wrap things up from there.

Classic matches:

– Nothing exciting, as you’ve got the three matches with Rose/Sommers that I covered in the “Best of the Midnight Rockers” AWA PPV, plus a couple of Rockers matches from the WWF’s tour of Japan against guys I don’t recognize offhand.

The Bottom Line:

I happen to think he’s entirely full of shit on almost every count, but this video is certainly good for comedy value if nothing else, especially when he’s talking about the Clique and how they didn’t really have all that power. Shawn has always been a pretty good talker, and it’s an interesting interview to actually listen to, but I’d highly recommend getting the Bret Hart interview as well in order to get BOTH sides of the story for much of this stuff.

Next week: The Bret Hart RF Shoot interview.