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“The Undertaker’s not a bad example” — Shaun Michaels

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Shaun Michaels and Undertaker main-evented three pay per views together during a critical five-month period for WWE that spanned from September 1997 to January ’98, which included the first-ever Hell in a Cell match.

 

Michaels plays a big role in this Sunday’s installment of WWE’s Last Ride documentary.

Following Michaels’s return to full-time wrestling in 2002, he put together a string of unforgettable matches against talent that included Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle and Ric Flair.

shaun michaels

But his most iconic pieces of work were back-to-back masterpieces with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25 and 26.

Michaels connected with Sports Illustrated to discuss the evolution of his friendship with The Undertaker, covering both the highlights and lowlights together in the ring as well as providing additional detail regarding their work together from the Saudi Arabia show in November 2018.

Justin Barrasso: The bond between you and The Undertaker took time to develop, especially considering there was never a particular fondness for one another early on during your time together in WWE. Why, initially, was there friction?

shaun michaels.jp

Shawn Michaels: At that point in my career, there wasn’t anybody I didn’t have friction with except for Hunter, Nash, Hall and Kid.

When Taker first came in [to WWE], he was certainly more of a top guy. He stepped right into a pretty darned decent position, I was building my way up.

But as we finally got on the same level, there was really never a particular incident between the two of us that made us decide we didn’t like each other.

undertaker near death

He didn’t care for me, and honestly, this might sound silly, but my reason for disliking him was because he didn’t like me.

We were polar opposites. He had his segments and I had my segments as we shared a locker room together over the years, but we always had a great deal of respect and admiration for what each other did in the ring.

We also always had unbelievable chemistry when we got in the ring together.

The undertaker angry

I will say this—I can remember a number of years ago, there was an incident when we were in Canada.

Me and somebody else were out one night, something went down, and whatever happened ended up pouring outside.

It wasn’t going to be good for anybody, but a big ol’ Cadillac came pulling up.

Yoko, the Samoans and Taker stepped out, and everybody who was on the opposing side of me scattered.

Shawn Michaels WWE Legend

So Taker didn’t like me, but it was another thing altogether for somebody from the outside to mess with me.

It’s well-documented that I gave everybody a reason to dislike me. I just chose to dislike him because he didn’t like me.

Barrasso: I think of the Ground Zero show from September ’97, which had an entertaining no-contest between you and Taker in the main event.

During the show, you delivered the memorable line that you’d never rest in peace because you never slept.

Shawn Michaels Wrestling Legend

Especially at this point, even though you’re close in age, were you and Taker just two contrasting personalities?

Michaels: That’s exactly what it was. I was brash and outward and obnoxious, and he wasn’t.

Taker led by example. It’s so ironic that we had this dislike for each other outside the ring. We got in the ring and recognized it was so darn easy and special together.

the undertaker

There was a chemistry that wasn’t comparable to what we had been doing with a lot of other people, and we both recognized that right away.

It’s hard not to admire and enjoy that. So it’s amusing to think that we didn’t care for one another, but we understood that, in the ring, we were really good together.




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