The December 2013 issue of WWE Magazine features an in-depth interview with Shawn Michaels, who weighed in on his most memorable matches and how he became one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time. Without mentioning Daniel Bryan by name, he addresses the topic of undersized WWE Superstars being overlooked for main event positions and how he personally responded to Vince McMahon’s perceptions at a time when larger-than-life individuals ruled the promotion.
On fighting an uphill battle to stand out in WWE, Michaels states, “I’m always slightly amused by how people talk about how so-and-so ‘isn’t big enough.’ And how someone is fighting an uphill battle because of his size. You don’t know the first thing about an uphill battle. Try doing it in 1994 and 1995, even earlier than that. Try doing it back when there hadn’t been—with all due respect—me complaining about how size shouldn’t matter. Now there’s a list of guys as long as my arm who complain about getting looked over.
“When I got here, I didn’t have a name. I didn’t have a legacy. I didn’t have a famous family. And there was only one guy who was gonna kick down the door and piss and moan until—quite frankly, and thankfully—the old man finally relented. Ha ha.”
Michael lays claim to being the originator of the ‘pipe bomb,’ which he used to push the Chairman’s buttons in the mid-1990s.
“I also chuckle at the notion of a ‘pipe bomb’ being something new. Back in 1994, 1995, and 1996, those were the original ‘pipe bombs,’ said Michaels. “That’s one of the things we were pushing for back then—bringing more of the reality of the situation to the forefront. I used to say stuff and The Chairman had no idea what was coming out. It’s just different now. We were also privately owned then. That’s why we just got yelled at, not fired. (Laughs)”
Ironically, Michaels doing away with his rebellious personality upon his return to the promotion in 2002 and becoming a ‘model employee’ incensed McMahon.
“Now, my faith and my family are what’s important. I’m not sure Mr. McMahon’s aware there is a life outside WWE. Over the years, he and I butted heads many times behind the scenes. And, honestly, I think there was a part of him that liked those confrontations. So when I came back (in 2002), and had re-prioritized my life, I was actually sort of a ‘model employee.’ That’s what sent him over the edge with me,” said Michaels.