Shawn Michaels has addressed filling in for Triple H as the lead of NXT and admits he didn’t always know who he was answering to in The Game’s absence.
The autumn of 2021 was a turbulent one for NXT. The brand underwent a complete overhaul as the “2.0” era was born complete with a new logo, a new look, and new talent.
All of this came amidst a backdrop of Triple H – the previous leader of the brand – having to take time away from his WWE duties due to serious health issues that saw him undergo heart surgery.
That left Triple H’s old running buddy Shawn Michaels steering the good ship NXT and as he revealed to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, he found the situation very challenging and admits he didn’t always know who he was answering to at the time:
“Nothing sucks more than to have to follow in those footsteps and then have all these abrupt changes that you have to take over. I will say this, for my knowledge at the time, for instance, the logo that came at the last minute, even from Hunter’s standpoint, from the best of my understanding, it was ‘this is what it is.’ That’s maybe something that, I saw the interview you did with Hunter where he said there were a lot of things that people thought that he wouldn’t have done or decisions he didn’t make, but they actually were.”
“There were some things that he did know about, but then there were others, especially as it started going and he wasn’t there, that were very different and difficult to deal with.”
“Me, having stepped in from the outside, you can be in Orlando, but not have any idea what’s going on from a corporate standpoint in Stamford. That’s where it was difficult for me. I stepped in and was no longer answering to Hunter, I was answering to other people, and quite honestly, I wasn’t sure who that was because it was different people at different times. It was very challenging.”
Shawn Michaels went on to add that Triple H wanted to take the brand back to its developmental roots but says the changes that occurred were more drastic than what he or his DX partner would have wanted at the time:
“The one thing in this company you must adjust to is change. Things can change overnight, but it was my understanding that Hunter did want to get back to the developmental. I don’t think we would have done it as drastically, for instance, starting out on the first shows with 75% new people, we wouldn’t have put anybody out there before we were ready.”
“There were some things sort of insisted upon that we couldn’t control, I certainly couldn’t control, and Hunter because he wasn’t here had no say. It was challenging and it wasn’t fun trying to be that guy to balance both sides. Putting on a two-hour live wrestling event with people who have never done it before is not easy. What this crew has been through over the last year really brought us closer together and the fans got to watch the progression of these young men and women over the last year and over time, I think you respect what they went up against because it wasn’t easy for any of us.”
“You do what you’re told, you take that hill whether you should be taking it, and that’s what we’ve certainly tried to do. When everything is said and done, I think we’re all better for it, going through the challenge. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say it was rough.”