‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels has spoken about his chemistry and history with The Undertaker, ahead of WWE Survivor Series on November 22.
The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels have a decades worth of dealings. From In Your House to WrestleMania via the Royal Rumble, the pair have done battle on stages most athletes could only dream of competing.
Shawn Michaels cost The Undertaker the WWF Championship at SummerSlam 1997, they were part of the first ever Hell in a Cell Match, battled in a career altering Casket Match at the 1998 Royal Rumble, came to blows as the final two in the 2007 Royal Rumble and were the first two entrants the following year, and have had two of the greatest WrestleMania bouts of all time.
The Undertaker even recently lifted the lid on being ready to put Shawn Michaels down for real at WrestleMania 14, should he have refused to lose the WWF Championship as planned to ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.
Now, Shawn Michaels has broken his silence on his opinion of Mark Calaway in an interview with CBS Sports. When questioned about his relationship with The Undertaker throughout their respective career’s and his favourite match with ‘The Deadman’, Shawn Michaels had this to say:
“The perfect one is always going to be 25 to me. But the first time in Louisville [In Your House 17 was special] getting in there with a guy you’ve never really been in there with and you recognize the uncanny chemistry you have with someone.
Look, Mark and I were never friends. We weren’t close, and we didn’t ride together. Usually you have that chemistry with guys who you did do that with where you have at least a little more positive working relationship. Mark and I had just fantastic chemistry without ever really even talking to each other, which is pretty different. My two favorite matches I’ll always enjoy will be the Hell in a Cell and fast forward what feels like 100 years later. To me, that’s probably one of the most perfect things I’ve ever seen or done, and I think there are a lot of people who feel the same way.”
Shawn then touched on The Undertaker’s debut on November 22, 1990 at Survivor Series and recalled how he was in the locker room for the arrival:
“I was a lower mid-card tag team guy at the time. From the locker room scuttlebutt I was hearing, it was this unbelievably cool character. As I’ve told over the years, the biggest takeaway I can recall is everyone thinking it was very cool and a great idea, but we all questioned what kind of longevity a character like that can have. He’s dead. He doesn’t sell. It sounded from the locker room standpoint like maybe a limited character. It seemed like he would be very cool, but it would be short lived. Which, of course, 30 years later, that’s pretty dang amusing if you ask me. But it speaks to Mark’s ability. And then seeing it, it was a hard character not to think, ‘What a cool idea.’
That’s pretty dang simplistic, but trying to recall a time ever seeing anything like that at that time or since — I know it certainly has spawned a lot of maybe offshoots, so to speak. I don’t know, I think it goes down as one of the greatest thought-up characters of all-time. I don’t know how you could argue against that. And again, for him to have it last 30 years and still be unbelievably strong and awe-inspiring when he comes out, that’s pretty dang impressive, and it’s really tough to do.”
Finally, Michaels wished that one of his greatest rivals find some type of peace and contentment in his retirement. Having been retired ten years – with the exception of one return match – Michaels knew how stepping away could be good for the soul.
When asked if he hoped The Undertaker found peace, he had this to say:
“I do. That’s one of the things I sensed that time. Like I said, I want that for him. It’s one of the things that bums me out, that I didn’t know. Mark has never struggled with anything, and if he has, I’ve never known because he keeps things close to the vest. Everybody’s got their kryptonite, too. No matter how much everyone thinks someone has it all together, nobody does. Everybody has a chink in their armor. Every Superman has his kryptonite. I believe he can [be content], but some of that is on you as an individual to allow yourself to find contentment and peace in a situation.
He’s a smart, bright, intelligent man, and I believe that, yes, he will find it. All I know is that in these last few years, I’ve never wanted it for someone so badly like I do with him. Because, again, I feel like s–t for not — it’s one of the things I always say to him when I see him. You know, ‘Thank you so much for giving me that.’ He didn’t know he was giving me that, but he did. To me, that will be the greatest gift that dude or darn near anyone has ever given me, that feeling to be able to walk away from the wrestling ring and not struggle with it because I understand how unbelievably rare and special that is.”
Shawn Michaels will always stand alongside men like Yokozuna, Brock Lesnar and Kane as one of The Undertaker’s most definitive rivals through a long and celebrated career.
Credit for the interview: CBS Sports
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.