Posts Tagged ‘Shawn Michaels’

The first World Heavyweight Championship run of CM Punk’s career came to an abrupt end at Unforgiven 2008 when he was attacked backstage by Randy Ortonand Legacy. On a recent episode of Something To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard, the former WWE producer recapped the pay-per-view and shed some light on the situation.

Punk won the world heavyweight title by cashing in his Money In The Bankbriefcase during an episode of RAW. Prichard revealed that the reason WWE put the title on him was because of injuries to top stars John Cena and Randy Orton. Despite not being considered a top star by many backstage officials, Punk had a dedicated fan base that mostly consisted of the younger audience and WWE figured it was the right time to give him a run with the title.

“CM Punk was somebody who was on the rise, and someone from the television studios – which is a much younger group of guys – really liked CM Punk for whatever reason,” Prichard said. “If you were to ask someone like me or Vince McMahon or Michael Hayes what the appeal was to CM Punk, we couldn’t tell you.

“It was until I took him up and sat him down and you actually take the time to know someone. John Cena is out, Randy Orton is out, all these guys are out. You have to make the move. It forces you to pull the trigger to make the move and pull the trigger, and with CM Punk we did that. We felt that this was his opportunity where one door shuts and the opportunity comes your way to make the most out of it. We went with CM Punk during that time, which was all there was to it. It wasn’t much more thought other than necessity that we lost all of those guys at once due to injuries that we had to put somebody else in there, you have to play the game and you needed players which were how CM Punk originally got in there. From my vantage point, and me speaking my opinion, I thought CM Punk deserved it and I thought that Punk would do well in that role.”

Punk was expected to defend his title in a Championship Scramble match during the main event of Unforgiven. However, the backstage assault that included Orton punting Punk in the face rendered him unable to compete in the match, and he was forced to forfeit his championship. Chris Jericho eventually won the title, and Prichard said it was because the WWE wanted to raise the stakes of his rivalry with Shawn Michaels. Prichard said it was a clear mistake to take the title off of Punk at the time because he needed it to elevate his status. Prichard revealed that Punk was not happy about the situation.

“CM Punk was confused. Really confused, and when you look back, to me [Chris] Jericho and Shawn [Michaels] did not need that title. They needed a prop for a ladder match, okay, but they sure as hell didn’t need the championship. I thought CM Punk needed the championship. I thought that the championship helped Punk, but at that point, it was needed for a prop to have a ladder match so as crazy and as many conspiracy theories people want to throw out there it is as simple as that,” Prichard said. “It sucked, and you can see, hindsight being 20/20 you see the interview with CM Punk where they [Legacy] jump him and Punk is not even into it. He’s frustrated and probably upset, all rightfully so by the way, so you feel before he even gets jumped he’s thinking, okay fine, I’m going to do this f**k it. It did suck because it made no sense.”

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Shawn Michaels is reportedly coming out of retirement for one more match, according to Dave Meltzer in the latest issue of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

As seen on RAW this past Monday night, Michaels shot an angle with The Undertaker where Taker taunted Michaels for staying retired, asking if it was out of respect or fear. Taker is scheduled to face Triple H at the WWE Super Show-Down event in Australia on October 6th.

According to The Observer, the internal plan is for Michaels to return to the ring at the next WWE event in Saudi Arabia on November 2nd. WWE had tried to get Michaels to work at the last event in Saudi Arabia, and Meltzer noted that these events are even bigger than WrestleMania financially.

It was noted that Michaels is not scheduled to work a singles match. Given the angle on RAW this past Monday, it would make sense for Michaels to team with Triple H against The Undertaker and a partner. Michaels confirmed on RAW this past Monday that he will be at WWE Super Show-Down in Australia next month for the final battle between Triple H and Taker, so it’s likely that they will setup an angle there for Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with Inside The Ropes last month, Michaels discussed a possible in-ring return and suggested that it may be “more trouble than it’s worth.”

“Let’s just say I did it and the match is phenomenal,” Michaels said. “The reality is this hairline is still what it is — like it’s all hot and sweaty — and even if the match is phenomenal and everything else, you’re still gonna bust my chops because I’ve got no way not to expose to you that I’m 53. That’s the thing — and I don’t mean it in a bad way — but you want me to kip up and everything look as if it was 1996, ’97. That’s not gonna happen because father time waits for no man.

“There’s a lot of stuff like what do you do and even does the young guy benefit when all is said and done. I don’t know, it just seems like more trouble than it’s worth.”

Michaels hasn’t wrestled since losing a retirement match to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI in 2010.

Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter

Jeff Hardy spoke with The Kingston Whig-Standard on wrestling The Undertaker, going easier in the ring at 40, matches he still wants to be in, and his most painful bump. Here are some of the highlights:

Working with The Undertaker in 2002:

“[The Undertaker was] a huge influence. I mean he is the living legend of WWE. … He is the man. To be a young, up-and-coming Jeff Hardy in the ring with The Undertaker, having that underdog-versus-the-main-eventer match was just great storytelling as far as me almost becoming [a singles] champion for the first time in my career. … Every time I got in the ring with him, it was a learning experience, and every time I watched him, I learned something. I’ve kind of molded myself by watching guys like The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle and kind of taking a little bit from each of them and creating myself.”

Taking it easier in the ring, especially at house shows:

“I’m 40 now and I’ve been pretty banged up lately. Four nights a week is a lot of matches — I mean they add up. And doing that Swanton [Bomb] every night is just rough. I’ve actually cut that out of a lot of events and I’ve just been using the Twist of Fate as a finish and it’s helped my lower back out a lot. I pretty much now save the Swanton for television unless I’m feeling really good at a live event. … I’m a little beat up, but my back is a lot better than it was a few weeks ago. I’ve been having this issue with my elbow, like a nerve issue, and my hand was asleep for probably seven weeks and it’s finally woken. But overall, I mean, I’m 40 years old, I feel pretty good to be wrestling the way I am today in 2018.”

Which matches he still wants to do in his career:

“I definitely want to be in a Hell in the Cell match. That’s one match I’ve never been a part of. And definitely I want to be in a ‘Deletion’-style match, like Matt and Bray did the Ultimate Deletion on our property. Hopefully we’ll get to do another one, one of these days. I can bring Brother Nero back to life.”

Most painful bump in his career:

“By far, it was me and RVD, I forget what year it was, but I had this idea I wanted to go through a table vertically, like long ways and I think it was a 14-foot ladder. I did a swan dive off [the ladder] and he moved and I crashed and burned and the table exploded, and I knew, ‘OK, this is the one. I’m not gonna get up from this.’ I thought I had broken my lower spine. It hurt so bad and it knocked the wind out of me.”

Hardy also discussed goals for his current WWE run and working with Shinsuke Nakamura. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.

Shawn Michaels returned to WWE Raw this week to hype Triple H’s upcoming Super Show-Down match with The Undertaker, but it may not be the last time fans see him in 2018.

Per Bryan Alvarez on the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Live, Michaels is currently being advertised as the special guest referee in Australian media, with his Raw confrontation with ‘Taker acting as a set-up.

WWE are yet to announce anything, but could conceivably do so when Triple H returns to Raw next week. He’s got some serious work to do, though: the Undertaker/HBK segment had the internet more hyped for a potential match between them rather than anything involving ‘The Game.’

If it happens, the format could ape WrestleMania XXVIII, when Triple H met ‘Taker inside Hell In A Cell. The bout was touted as “the end of an era,” Michaels was the referee, and the trio embraced at the top of the ramp afterwards, seemingly bowing out on top together.

This obviously wasn’t the case, but with this latest HHH vs. Undertaker match being sold as their last singles match, could WWE go for a recreation? Chances are high.

The Undertaker will return to Monday Night RAW next week, according to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.

The Deadman is rumoured to make an appearance on next week’s show in order to promote his highly anticipated ‘Last Time Ever’ match with Triple H at WWE Super Showdown in Australia on October 6th.

Adding more intrigue to Taker’s alleged return is the fact that Shawn Michaels is on RAW next week to give his opinion on HHH v The Undertaker, leading to further rumours of a confrontation between the two.

The last time we saw the Deadman on WWE TV was in April when he defeated Rusev in a Casket Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. He subsequently teamed with Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman at a live event in July in Madison Square Garden against Elias, Baron Corbin and Kevin Owens, which concluded with Taker pinning Owens, having an intense staredown with Reigns and Strowman, then shaking their hands.

One of the reasons why WWE are adding numerous legends to RAW, is that next week is the final Monday night before the NFL season starts, which traditionally reduces viewership, so the company will want to entice as many eyes as possible to the product before the competition from American Football returns. An appearance from The Undertaker will certainly do that.

Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa headlined their third NXT TakeOver special in a row on Saturday night and the Barclays Center was captivated by the story they told in their last man standing match for the NXT Title. Triple H spoke on a post-TakeOver conference call where he discussed Gargano and Ciampa’s growth as competitors from sheepish newcomers without contracts to the men we see headlining specials on the WWE Network.

“Watching them grow as performers because of this and take it to another level than the ones that you’ve done before — that’s difficult when there’s an art form to that,” Triple H said. “I’ve watched them grow and that is the thing that’s, I don’t want to say it’s surprising. It’s just really cool watching them go through that.”

Shawn Michaels started working as a coach for the WWE Performance Center in 2017 after many attempts to bring him into the creative fold from his long-time friend Triple H. Through his teaching, he is able to not only help wrestlers like Gargano and Ciampa enhance their in-ring attributes, but athletes like the former Team #DIY are always impressing along the way which is something both HBK and Triple H have enjoyed watching.

“I think when, Shawns [Michaels] works with them a lot and as you watch them grow as performers it’s the part that Shawn and I talk about the most is that the nuance of storytelling that they do. Some of it is even missed when you watch it, but knowing where they were going and how they get there, it’s just that little nuance to me that is the magic of what we do and watching them do that and grow is impressive.”

During the conclusion of the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn main event, Gargano suffered an injury which made them switch up their plans as the action unfolded. While this wasn’t the desired outcome, Triple H went on to praise Gargano and Ciampa for executing the finish without anyone being the wiser except for the few people who were aware what was really taking place.

“Clearly I wasn’t planning on Gargano injuring himself in the last sequence of that match,” Triple H discussed. “Did it play into it? Yeah. Technically it was supposed to go slightly differently than it all did.

“We kinda had to make a call on the fly and change a few things in the actual moment. So it ends up being different because only the people putting it together know what they were doing and that’s the beauty of what we do and they get there.”

Triple H said the twenty minutes on television only makes up a fraction of what we see out of a Superstar. Once a Superstar earns trust from the office, they must keep it which is a daily task. Gargano and Ciampa walked into the WWE Performance Center without full contracts because the money wasn’t in the budget for them, but they were able to work something out.

“From two guys walking in the door and at first without having full contracts with us,” Triple H said, “I didn’t have the budgeting room to have them as full-time contracts. But I said, ‘guys I like you I really wanna work with you — let me one-off you and I’ll kinda structure something around that and do what I can.”

The two NXT newcomers soon proved themselves and worked their way into full-time NXT contracts, but as singles competitors, they have also become locker room leaders in the process. Gagrano and Ciampa are now considered locker room leaders which is an attribute Triple H values as he gave one recent example during the Mae Young Classic where Ciampa’s actions spoke volumes on his progress as a Superstar.

“They’ve been a pleasure to work with,” Triple H continued on Gargano and Ciampa. “Seeing that level of guys walking in the door sheepishly trying to find a place for themselves to guys who are probably leaders of a locker room of 100 talent or so that are of all different levels of skill.

“Even to the point where we were just at the Mae Young Classic and Tegan Nox has a tragic accident and blows her knee out and they take her through the back door and the doctors are there with her and by the time I come around to the back a lot of the other women are around her, and as I walk into the back the person holding the icepack on her knee is Tommaso Ciampa.

“He’s a leader. Gargano is a leader. Aleister Black is a leader in the locker room to those people. That will resonate here. I look for those things in talent.”

Bret Hart’s exit from the WWF after the 1997 Survivor Series is a legendary story. After the Montreal Screwjob cost Hart his WWF World Heavyweight Championship, he had a conversation with Vince McMahon backstage in a closed office. This meeting resulted in Hart punching McMahon in the face on his last night with the company. Hart recently spoke to the In This Corner podcast about that fateful night in Montreal where Hart said he considers it a defining moment in his career.

“In some ways, I’m not so proud of that moment but in a lot of ways, I think it was the single defining moment of my lifetime,” Hart said. “You know I often second guess a lot of what I did that day punching Vince and you know I think it made me feel good a few months ago when Chris Jericho was on a podcast and he was talking about Bret Hart should have done this or Bret Hart should have done that, but all these people who are talking about me they don’t know my circumstance. They don’t know what rights I had in my contract that gave me legal precedent. I had creative control for my last sixty days right there I was legally in the right to do the things I stood up for.”

Hart said what it came down to was Shawn Michaels telling him that he wasn’t going to put The Hitman over. He said it was a professional discourtesy and many other people would have taken the same tact as he did. Hart also said it was a “bunch of bad guys that were up to no good” before continuing to explain the situation he was in.

“It kinda stings when I think of how much I gave to WWF and how they just wanted to stab me in the back that day and sweep me out the back door and have nobody ever hear from me again. All that I did meant nothing, all those years taping up injuries and working sick and I’d worked for WWF for at least three hundred days a year for at least sixteen years and it meant nothing to them in the end.”

A lot has happened in WWE and Hart’s life since he punched McMahon. He continued to open up about the situation where he said he has gotten over the Montreal Screwjob because all the other struggles that have happened along the way took precedent.

“You get past it when you go through other struggles in your life. When I deal with my brother Owen getting killed, and Bulldog, so many other wrestling friends of mine that have passed away. You know to having a stroke and almost dying from a stroke years ago and having my brush with prostate cancer two years ago. It’s like I don’t have time to worry about what happened with Shawn Michaels or Vince McMahon almost thirty years ago.

“If I had to do it again I would have probably done the exact same thing again. I have no regrets on my behavior. I look at it myself in some ways as my crowning moment. My moment to stand up and say I’m a businessman and I’m gonna protect myself and you don’t have the right to destroy me. You might have a contract that employes me as a wrestler but you don’t have the right to destroy me, rape me. When I look at what I did, what I stood up for I believe I stood up for all the boys in wrestling.”

Hart said he sees a little bit of himself in CM Punk. After Survivor Series ’97, there was talk that McMahon might press charges against The Hitman for punching him. Hart continued to comment on how he feels Punk stood up for not only himself, but the rest of the locker room when he walked out of WWE after the 2014 Royal Rumble.

“I think the same could have been said about CM Punk as an example. You know his standing up and saying, ‘hey I’m doing all the work around here, you’re gonna give Batista and Brock Lesnar and Triple H all these guys who are part-timers who are home every day, they’re getting all the main event matches at WrestleMania and I’m the one pulling the wagon around here and I wanna be in the main event.’ They tried to smooth it over and sugarcoat it and offer him everything but a main event spot so he quit like he held them up on that.

“I heard some guys talking bad about CM Punk in the car about he wasn’t one of the boys or something like that. I’m thinking, ‘he gave up so much to prove a point for the wrestlers.’ You know that the wrestlers are doing the work, put the wrestlers in the main event spot. He stood on those principals and he lost his job, gave up a lot to make that point but he was right and he took a bullet for the industry. I’m glad he won that case a few weeks ago because I’m sure that there was a lot of pressure on him to wear him down and break him in that case.”