Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
'Mr. WrestleMania' Shawn Michaels Talks All About WWE's Biggest Event
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 1 year ago on
March 17, 2023

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

WrestleMania is special, but even more so in southern California.

If anyone knows what it’s like on the grandest stage of professional wrestling, it’s Shawn Michaels. “Mr. WrestleMania” headlined five events, including the 1996 Iron Man match versus Bret Hart in Anaheim.

WrestleMania takes place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, a two-night event April 1 and 2. Wrestling in SoCal and in a huge stadium presents unique challenges, Michaels told OTBR in a Zoom interview.

“When you’re talking about LA … that speaks for itself. It’s a different kind of town for sure,” Michaels said. “The West Coast, Los Angeles, WrestleMania, they kind of go hand-in-hand with everything that is big time in Hollywood and larger than life.”

The SoFi Stadium Factor

The time difference is also a factor. The sun will set at 7:15 p.m. on April 2, about the start time of the main event. Michaels says the mood can be different when its not a darker atmosphere.

“Sometimes that may cause you to be a little bit more reserved than you might normally be,” Michaels said.

But, those differences will quickly melt away.

“You lose yourself in the performance and obviously just do everything you can to enjoy the experience,” Michaels said.

Wrestling in a football stadium also present differences from a 20,000-seat arena.

“Probably the sound is the thing that affects your performance, because it just sort of carries out as opposed to an arena. It’s much more sort of on top of you,” Michaels said.

But wrestling in front of a mega crowd of 70,000 people is something any wrestler “would easily trade” over a smaller crowd, Michaels said.

“Getting the opportunity to perform in front of 60- to 70,000 people is one of the reasons, one of the big reasons, why people get into this line of work … I can tell you, being fortunate enough to do it, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Michaels said.

Main Event Pressures

This year’s main event features Roman Reigns defending the unified WWE and Universal championships against Cody Rhodes.

“It isn’t easy by any stretch. It’s an anxious time. It’s a stressful time,” Michaels said.

Performers have to balance all the demands of the week with preparing for a career making moment.

(Image: WWE)

“The best thing that you can do is prepare. Dot every ‘I’, cross every ‘T’ and trust in your process, whatever your process is that you go through to make these kinds of matches and moments happen. If you’ve done it in the past, you do that again, and then you have to trust the process and then go out there and let it fly,” Michaels said.

What is life like during WrestleMania week? Busy, Michaels said.

“They don’t care about your personal schedule. You have a number of appearances, interviews, a number of different things that you have to do,” Michaels said.

There are the media appearances, charity and school visits, and the additional shows. Smackdown and the Hall of

Fame ceremony take place the day before, on March 31. The following morning, hours before the show, NXT — WWE’s developmental territory — has an event. Both emanate from Crytpo.com Arena in downtown LA.

“We sort of almost take over a city, if you will, and they spread superstars all over the place. So I think more than anything, I’d say it’s different from a schedule standpoint where you sort of have to work. You don’t get a lot of sleep and you have to work your workouts and eating around all of your all of your appearances,” Michaels said.

Michaels on His LA Matches

Michaels wrestled three times in southern California WrestleManias. He says his best match was the instant classic versus Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 21 (2005) at Staples Center (now Crypto.com Arena).

Angle forced Michaels to tap out to an ankle lock in a 27-minute match that included a mix of mat wrestling, high flying, brawling, and a table.

“The time limit, what we got to do, The placement on the show, the story we were in, a number of different elements add to that … just the unbelievable chemistry that he and I had,” Michaels said.

Hart (left) vs. Michaels (right) (Image: WWE)

The Iron Man battle in 1996 receives mix reviews now, as it did 27 years ago. Some marveled at its pacing. Others have criticized it for the same reason. After 60 minutes, neither Michaels nor Hart scored a fall. The match went into overtime, with Michaels scoring the win.

“Hindsight is 20/20, especially for the people that didn’t do it. You know what I mean? Understanding the business now and just the the tempo of the business now certainly was different,” Michaels said. “Do I think (the criticism is) a little unfair? Obviously, I do. I think if it were somebody else other than myself, and Bret was doing it with somebody else, I think they probably might not get quite the hard time.”

Michaels is still proud of the Iron Man match, calling it “fantastic.”

“I always more so appreciated the risk that we were willing to take as performers to go out there and do that hour match at that time, again in the business, that was that was a huge risk from a company standpoint. It’s very challenging from a performance standpoint to do that. For anybody … to knock it, obviously, as somebody who’s never done it,” Michaels said.

Michaels wrestled one other LA WrestleMania match, VII (1991) with Rockers partner Marty Jannetty. In a speed versus power match, The Rockers defeated the mammoth duo of Haku & The Barbarian.

One More Match?

Michaels is no longer an active wrestler, holding a management position as Senior Vice President of Talent Development. That means he oversees NXT, the WWE’s developmental territory.

His only official role at WrestleMania is at NXT Stand and Deliver, April 1 at 10 a.m. Then, it is off to the big show at SoFi Stadium.

“I’m just going to go support my buddy and support the performers who will perform at WrestleMania,” Michaels said.

He has no desire to compete again.

“I have no urge to have any more matches. I’m very, very pleased with the career that I had. And I’m enjoying helping the future stars get themselves to weekends like the ones we’re about to have,” Michaels said.

(GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

Michaels’ SoCal WrestleMania Matches

WrestleMania VII (1991) The Rockers: Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty d. Haku & The Barbarian
WrestleMania XII (1996) WWF championship/Iron Man match: Shawn Michaels d. Bret Hart in overtime to win championship
WrestleMania 21 (2005) Kurt Angle d. Shawn Michaels

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Israel’s Use of White Phosphorus in Lebanon Endangers Civilians, HRW Reports

DON'T MISS

AWOL Councilmembers Latest Twist in Polarized Parlier Politics

DON'T MISS

The Urgent Need to Blow Off Swing Voters

DON'T MISS

Today’s Teenagers Have Invented a Language That Captures the World Perfectly

DON'T MISS

Lawsuit Challenges New Louisiana Law Requiring Classrooms to Display the Ten Commandments

DON'T MISS

UN-backed Contingent of Foreign Police Arrives in Haiti as Kenya-led Force Prepares to Face Gangs

DON'T MISS

International Court Seeks Arrest of Russian Officials Over Attacks on Ukrainian Power Plants

DON'T MISS

Medical Center in Porterville Graduates First Class of Internal Medicine Residents

DON'T MISS

Israel’s High Court Orders the Army to Draft Ultra-Orthodox Men, Rattling Netanyahu’s Government

DON'T MISS

Which Fresno Unified High School Is Getting a Second Gym?

UP NEXT

New Book Explores the Myths, Truths and Legacy of the Macho Man

UP NEXT

Safety? Wrestler Darby Allin Doesn’t Care. He is Partner in Sting’s Finale.

UP NEXT

AEW’s Tony Khan Explains What Pro Wrestling Is All About

UP NEXT

The Sacrifice of Being Record-Breaking WWE Superstar Gunther

UP NEXT

Woooo! Author Talks Writing About Ric Flair.

UP NEXT

Woooo! Author Talks Writing About Ric Flair.

UP NEXT

Fresno Wrestling Promoter Fondly Remembers the Late Terry Funk

UP NEXT

Fresno Wrestling Promoter Fondly Remembers the Late Terry Funk

UP NEXT

Remembering How WWE Arrived ‘Fully Loaded’ in Fresno 25 Years Ago

UP NEXT

Remembering How WWE Arrived ‘Fully Loaded’ in Fresno 25 Years Ago

David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

Today’s Teenagers Have Invented a Language That Captures the World Perfectly

1 hour ago

Lawsuit Challenges New Louisiana Law Requiring Classrooms to Display the Ten Commandments

2 hours ago

UN-backed Contingent of Foreign Police Arrives in Haiti as Kenya-led Force Prepares to Face Gangs

2 hours ago

International Court Seeks Arrest of Russian Officials Over Attacks on Ukrainian Power Plants

2 hours ago

Medical Center in Porterville Graduates First Class of Internal Medicine Residents

2 hours ago

Israel’s High Court Orders the Army to Draft Ultra-Orthodox Men, Rattling Netanyahu’s Government

2 hours ago

Which Fresno Unified High School Is Getting a Second Gym?

2 hours ago

Embattled Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama Resigns: ‘Right Time for Me to Step Away’

2 hours ago

Newsom’s Proposed PAGA Changes Could Limit Employee Claims, Reduce Penalties

3 hours ago

Which Last-Minute Bond Measures Will Make California’s November Ballot?

3 hours ago

Israel’s Use of White Phosphorus in Lebanon Endangers Civilians, HRW Reports

Human Rights Watch has confirmed Israel’s extensive use of white phosphorus in south Lebanon since October 2023, posing significant ri...

28 mins ago

28 mins ago

Israel’s Use of White Phosphorus in Lebanon Endangers Civilians, HRW Reports

46 mins ago

AWOL Councilmembers Latest Twist in Polarized Parlier Politics

1 hour ago

The Urgent Need to Blow Off Swing Voters

1 hour ago

Today’s Teenagers Have Invented a Language That Captures the World Perfectly

2 hours ago

Lawsuit Challenges New Louisiana Law Requiring Classrooms to Display the Ten Commandments

2 hours ago

UN-backed Contingent of Foreign Police Arrives in Haiti as Kenya-led Force Prepares to Face Gangs

2 hours ago

International Court Seeks Arrest of Russian Officials Over Attacks on Ukrainian Power Plants

2 hours ago

Medical Center in Porterville Graduates First Class of Internal Medicine Residents

Search

Send this to a friend