WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels has opened up how he came up with the iconic “I’m sorry, I love you” moment with Ric Flair, telling Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy how he was initially worried it might have been “the dumbest thing he’d ever seen” before sharing the ideas with the 16-time World Champion and Michael PS Hayes.
The Heartbreak kid recalled waking up at 2am to scribble down his thoughts on the match, getting emotional in doing so.
“When I know what I’m doing at WrestleMania, there’s always a point to which [clicks fingers] it’s something just, it comes to me. So I just woke up in the middle of the night, at home, at two o’clock in the morning, and I just had all these thoughts – so I started writing it down. Truth be told, you get very emotional writing it down because it started flowing from this 15-year-old wrestling fan and what this guy’s impact was on my life and then ending up in being my career and then a friendship and everything else, so it just got really, you know, emotional at the end of that.”
Mr WrestleMania would go on to say how he initially worried about the idea, but was told it was “beautiful” when he presented it to Flair and Hayes.
“I was sitting there to myself and I’m looking at it, and I thought, ‘I don’t know if this is spectacular or if it’s just the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen,’ because it’s a grown man writing a love letter to another grown man. So I just gave the overall concept to Michael Hayes and to Ric, and they both just got very quiet and they’re like, ‘It’s beautiful.'”
As for the actual words uttered, Michaels disclosed that they weren’t scripted as such, and that he was actually trying to convey that story throughout the match, so decided to explicitly verbalise his thoughts.
“It was more conveying the emotion of all of that than ever actually saying it. It wasn’t like in my notes, “And then at the end, I’ll say, I love you, I’m sorry,” and kick him. A lot of that was again, it really was just a combination of – that’s what I was saying in my in my thoughts and then it just occurred to me, “How about I actually say it?” I honestly can’t remember if I recall telling anybody I was going to say that or not.”
The WWE Hall of Famer went on to speak of how emotional the occasion was, saying that was one of those aspects of wrestling where they’d gotten “old and soft” – and it played out perfectly on-screen.
“As you can see, Ric was crying in the match, he was crying right after, we were crying before. It was an emotional time anyway, so there was a great deal of realism to that because, again, it was taking me back to the 15-year-old guy that was watching him on TV and now having the opportunity to have his last match in the WWE. There are some aspects of this stuff where we get old and soft, and that was one of them.”
You can watch WrestleMania live on the WWE Network on April 10th and 11th, as the Show of Shows emanates from the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.