Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels Talk Vince McMahon, The Kliq, Ric Flair, Retirement, More
– Tonight’s previously recorded WWE Network podcast with host Steve Austin opens up from his Broken Skull Ranch in Texas. He welcomes Shawn Michaels back to the ranch as they had a hunt there about a year ago. Shawn talks about how he’s also in Texas but it’s a lot colder where he lives, about five hours north of where they’re at in South Texas now. Austin has a handful of papers with Shawn’s accolades and accomplishments. Austin says if Michaels wants to turn it around and question him, feel free. Austin says this is the podcast that could save his job and says he wants HBK to be himself. Austin asks about the MacMillan River Adventures show Shawn has on The Outdoor Channel. Shawn says he only wants to take jobs he really enjoys being a part of. He says he’s going to a lot of rural places around the country and meeting some of the greatest people ever. The show is a real joy to him.
Austin asks how what Shawn is doing now fulfills his needs, coming from a guy who has always been an entertainer. Shawn understands the feeling and it’s awesome but things changed in 2002, and the thrills he got from being in front of 60,000 didn’t compare to family time. He talks about his 15 year old son wanting to enlist and being interested in the recent terror attacks in Paris. Shawn says his son wants to work with computer design but sees what is going on around the world. He says he’s proud of what his son wants to do but petrified at the same time. He has a whole family full of military but it’s different when it’s his own son. They both talk about being protective of kids. They shift the talk to wrestling now.
Austin brings up the WrestleMania 24 match with Ric Flair and asks if Flair was the greatest. Shawn says he doesn’t get caught up in that but he will always say Ric and Ric will always say him. They both agree Flair is the greatest ever. Austin says Flair’s job was to go to a territory, make it better and still leave with the title, and he did it all the time with everybody. Austin asks what Michaels said to Flair when he pinned him. Shawn says he was there in body but in mind it was him as a 15 year old kid. He thanked Flair for giving him the honor and said he loved him for it. They talk about the matching Rolexes and Shawn going to have the watches designed. He wanted Flair to have something to remember how special and important the moment was to Shawn. He talks about Flair picking up his tab on the first night they met years ago. Austin brings up the Montreal Screwjob and asks how competitive the dynamic between he and Bret Hart was. Shawn was it started not very competitive, they were friends. Shawn says he was happy for Bret when he won the WWE Title because they felt it was a turning point. Bret would tell Shawn that he was the next guy. From Shawn’s perspective, him being the next guy happened sooner than Bret thought it should. Shawn understands being on the other side, that it’s a tough pill to swallow having to face that there’s a guy doing better and drawing better than you.
They talk more about going into the Screwjob that night, really stuff we’ve all heard 100 times. Shawn says what bothered him more than anything is how Vince McMahon was adamant Shawn deny everything, Vince wanted to take responsibility for what happened. Shawn said nobody would blame Vince and if they did, they would blame him quietly. He couldn’t convince Vince otherwise and knew everyone would blame him, thinking he was on the take. Austin asks about The Kliq and asks how they were formed. Michaels says they were really just hanging out. He was working with Scott Hall and brought Kevin Nash in as a bodyguard. The three of them started traveling together and that’s it. Austin says Hall is one of the smartest guys he’s ever talked to. Shawn says the business was all they had then and figured they might as well have fun doing it. Austin asks how Sean Waltman and Triple H came in. He talks about Waltman coming in and Hall taking him under their wings. Austin brings up the Curtain Call incident at Madison Square Garden and says he was in the back watching with big eyes like when The Undertaker’s Streak ended at WrestleMania. Austin says Shawn stayed in WWE and was the world champion, Hall and Nash went to WCW, so Triple H was left to “take it on the chin” from Vince. Austin tells people in the business that it’s very important to forge a relationship with Vince. He talks about before he had a relationship with Vince, after the incident, Vince approached him in a parking lot and told him he’d be winning King of the Ring in two weeks. Austin says he no sold it but went on to create Austin 3:16 and win. Austin says if The Kliq never got together, if Curtain Call never happened and if he didn’t get the chance to win KOTR because the heat was on Triple H, he don’t know if the rest of his career would have happened. Shawn says it’s crazy how things works out and jokingly thanks Austin on behalf of The Kliq.
Austin brings up everyone being out of the business except for Triple H. Austin asks what are Shawn’s thoughts on Triple H’s in-ring accomplishments and where he’s headed with NXT. Shawn isn’t surprised with his accomplishments in or out of the ring. Shawn says Triple H is a bright, hard working dude. They talk about how he was always a student of the game and good in the ring. Shawn says he and Austin don’t have patience to deal with some things in the business but Triple H does and can take it in stride. Shawn says Triple H has always had that ability. They talk more about Triple H and then Vince McMahon. Vince doesn’t see the business like “the boys” do but Triple H does and he’s experienced the rest from Vince so he has a well-rounded base. They talk about how Vince has played many roles including father figure. Austin admits Vince has had to “talk him off a ledge” several times. HBK says thew same and says the one person Vince never had to save from himself is Triple H. Triple H had the one puzzle piece, seeing the business from the other side, that Vince didn’t have and that is good for WWE’s future. They go on and Austin talks about how it’s always good to talk to new talents when he comes to TV and Shawn is always brought up. Austin says HBK has inspired a whole generation of wrestlers and asks how that makes him feel. He says it’s nice and it’s how Ric Flair was for him. He says it’s very flattering. HBK says this all turned out bigger than he ever dreamed and Austin agrees. Shawn’s thankful it turned out better than he imagined.
Austin asks if there’s anyone in NXT or WWE that reminds him of a young HBK or has a lot of potential. He names Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler. He also likes Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt. He was watching Wyatt’s entrance once and thought Wyatt is this generation’s Undertaker. He says Ziggler does a little too much with his own patterns and the one thing he would encourage younger guys to do is let people’s influence get fans to talking but when they make the comparison, go with your own style and refresh yourself. They talk about how Pat Patterson is just as passionate about the business as he was when he first came to WWE. Austin brings up DX and asks what HBK thinks when he looks back. HBK says some makes him cringe for different reasons because he knows where he was at personally. Austin asks how Michaels’ ride has been. He calls it phenomenal. He doesn’t know or where he ranks but every now and then he’s in the conversation. Austin asks if Shawn is good with everything that’s gone on in his life and he is. Being honey and daddy is what he works on now and everything else that comes is a huge bonus. Austin asks what’s next for Shawn. He goes back to filming MRA and making appearances here and there. He’s looking at other projects. He says that’s what he has enjoyed about retirement more than anything else, seeing what else is out there and giving it a whirl. Austin thanks Shawn, they shake hands and that’s it.
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