Shawn Michaels recently gave his thoughts on his return to the ring at Crown Jewel, admitting that the 2018 bout was a regrettable decision.
‘The Heartbreak Kid’ officially retired from in-ring competition in 2010. Facing The Undertaker in a losing effort at WrestleMania in a Streak vs Career match, Michaels bowed out on the Grandest Stage of Them All, riding into the sunset and cementing his legacy as one of the all-time greats.
However, in 2018 WWE would announce that Shawn would be lacing up a pair of boots one more time. Partnering with D-Generation X comrade Triple H, the duo would face Kane & The Undertaker at Crown Jewel, in Saudi Arabia.
The match, featuring four of the biggest Superstars in WWE history, was primed as a match of the year candidate, prior to the bout. However, the eagerly anticipated main event became infamous for all the wrong reasons. During the bout, Michaels suffered a bloodied nose, Kane’s mask was inadvertently removed and Triple H would tear a pectoral muscle. The bout was panned by fans and critics alike, even winning ‘Worst Angle of the Year’ in CBS Sports and ‘Worst Match of the Year’ in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.
During a recent interview with New York Post, Shawn Michaels detailed his regret at coming out of retirement for the match. However, Michaels admits that although the match could have been better, he is at peace with his post in-ring life:
“I do. I had no idea that from Mark’s standpoint he was looking at it as that might be one he could walk away on. That’s something that I think to myself now, ‘oh my goodness I wish that I’d have known that. For me it was [fun]. It was just a chance to be with my buddies. I think people have always been kind of confused with my peace and joy with the way I did things and that somehow there should be something nagging at me, something left unfinished.
I think it’s hard for people to not always see me as Shawn Michaels and I see the entire picture and I know the guy who started as a 200-pound guy that wasn’t supposed to make it. So for me, I compare that to what I did get the opportunity to do and it’s hard not to be happy about that.”
Michaels would return to retirement following the match at Crown Jewel. In recent years, the WWE Hall of Famer plays a pivotal role in NXT alongside Triple H. Widely regarded as one of, if not the greatest professional wrestler of all time, Michaels legacy is one that few have been able to mirror.
In a recent interview with WWE UK, Ric Flair named Michaels as the greatest in-ring performer of all time. Speaking with Inside The Ropes recently, Shawn feels these remarks are subjective, but is extremely grateful for the recognition of his peers:
“Well, I’m not… Yeah, look, it’s all subjective, right? Ours is not a line of work that deals with stats and things of that nature. I will say this, over the years, when I was younger, it was the drive, it was a passion, it was the desire to be the best or to want to be called, or at least grouped in with, the greatest of all time.
As you get older, you begin to realise that, the guys that I was in there with, I can only assume that in our world here, the Tom Bradys, the Michael Jordans… I never want to ever have it sound disrespectful. I greatly appreciate the people, the fans or even sportswriters or people thinking you’re the best of the greatest, which is very nice. But for me, it means the most to hear from the guys that I was in the ring with – because those are the people you feel truly know the difference, and could feel the difference.
I think that’s one thing that… I don’t know. I always wanted at least to guys’ experience with me inside that ring to be something they’d always remember. That, for some reason, being in there with me was, I don’t know, easy or special and a bit more, I guess, natural and comfortable – and, of course, something that they could look back on and be happy about.
So, hearing it from my my peers is clearly the best thing to me. But I also do know that stuff is here today and gone tomorrow, so it’s not something I really think about that much anymore. It’s just very nice to look back on what I think is a really wonderful career that I feel very fortunate to have had.”
You can see Shawn Michaels’ full interview with Inside The Ropes here.