The Undertaker has broken his long silence over what went down backstage at WrestleMania 14, when he almost knocked Shawn Michaels out prior to ‘The Heartbreak Kid’s’ WWF Championship Match with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.
Between 1996 and 1998, Shawn Michaels and his kliq had become unruly and out of hand behind the scenes. This ranged from the infamous curtain call which to this day many believe exposed the business, to stories of the group trying to convince Vince McMahon to starve Carl ‘Pierre’ Ouellet by lessening his wage.
Shawn had refused to the lose the WWF Championship to Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 and instead decided to lose his smile as a way of evading doing the job and then there’s the Syracuse story which depending on who you believe, was started by Michaels hitting on the girlfriend on a member of the armed forces.
Many wrestlers stayed away from the group for fear of reprisal, while others just couldn’t stand them when the cameras weren’t rolling. One person who had to deal with the man in question was The Undertaker, who worked extensively with Michaels through the latter part of 1997 and the beginning of 1998.
Now, The Undertaker has spoken to the New York Post about his personal dislike of Shawn Michaels in the nineties and shed some light on the infamous story that he was ready to lay a beating on the WWF Champion at WrestleMania 14:
“Early on in my career and when Shawn was there, I didn’t care for Shawn personally. I thought he was an arrogant little s**t. That being said, still no one I would rather get in the ring with it and work [with]. That’s just how good he is.”
As the story goes, even though his back was broken and Michaels was on his way out of the company after ‘Mania, the star had refused to drop the championship to Austin on the night causing The Undertaker to tape his hands in preparation for what would have been a very short fight.
Thankfully for Shawn, he came to his senses and did the job the right way on the night, but as The Undertaker says, he was ready to put down ‘The Showstopper’ if he went into business for himself:
“Shawn, everyone knows the story, is supposed to drop the belt to Steve. Shawn was being Shawn in my opinion and like I didn’t know if he was gonna do it. My intention was to make sure one way or another business was done that night.
I felt so bad because our relationship had changed so much that he goes, ‘Were you really gonna beat me up?’ I was like, ‘No man that’s just all rumor. Taping my hands up and everything, come on.’ He goes, ‘I didn’t think so. I mean that really didn’t sound like you.’
The whole time in my head I’m like, ‘I was gonna smash you if you didn’t drop that belt to Steve.’ But yeah, he’s a completely different person, I love him to death now. But, yeah, that’s the story. I was sitting there hands taped ready to do whatever I needed to be done.”
Since his rehabilitation in the noughties, Shawn Michaels has often looked back with regret at his inexcusable behaviour and the WrestleMania 14 outing which turned out to be just the passing of the torch moment ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ needed.
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker have since made peace with each other and in years passed contested arguably the two greatest WrestleMania matches in history. It was somewhat fitting, if you know the complete history of the pair, that it was ‘The Deadman’ who retired his foe in 2010.
The Undertaker will step into the ring for the final time at WWE Survivor Series on November 22, in what is touted as his ‘Final Farewell.’
Credit for the interview: New York Post
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.