JBL has recalled being consumed by self-doubt, and contemplating a return to Japan after seeing Bret Hart clash with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12.
The WrestleMania 12 showdown between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart is the stuff of legend. After winning the 1996 Royal Rumble Match Shawn Michaels was set on a collision course with WWF Champion Bret Hart.
While the rivalry between the pair hadn’t quite reached out-right animosity by the time they met at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, they were far from friends. Despite the issues, Hart and Michaels put on a performance that is still revered to this day, a quarter of a century after it took place.
The match itself was a 60-Minute Iron-Match which went to sudden death with Michaels eventually picking up the win and the WWF Title with Sweet Chin Music. Ahead of the match HBK had also repelled to the ring on a zip wire from high up in the arena.
Speaking on the Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling podcast, JBL described the match as the “greatest spectacle” he had ever seen, revealing he thought he didn’t belong in the WWF as a result.
“I remember watching that match and literally thinking, ‘I don’t belong here.’ It was the greatest spectacle I’d ever seen. When Shawn repelled from the ceiling, he and Bret had that incredible 60-minute match, went overtime… it was one of the greatest events I’d ever seen,”
Expanding further, JBL said that after the match he contemplated returning to Japan, believing that he didn’t have the ability to be in the WWF at the time.
“I just remember thinking, ‘I shouldn’t be here. I don’t have the ability to be here. I don’t have the talent to be here. I need to go back to Japan and finish up my career.’ That’s a very distinct memory. In fact, I can almost feel it today when I was sitting there at the Arrowhead Pond [WrestleMania 12 venue] watching that,”
Despite his reservations, Bradshaw remained with WWE for the remainder of his in-ring career, winning the World Championship in 2004. The former Tag Team Champion later worked as an announcer before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2020.
H/t to Sportskeeda for the transcription.