On whether or not he noticed the transition between the Attitude Era and the current generation: "Yeah, without a doubt. Not even being necessarily much older than them, I knew that from an experience perspective and a physically beat perspective that I was much more aged.
"Because, you'd look around and you'd go, 'There's Kane. Cool. There's The Big Show, Mark Henry. Alright, there's Christian. There's 'Taker and there's Hunter.' Then, you're like, 'Huh. There's a kid that was probably in grade eight when I was starting.' Which doesn't make me that much older... but it does. [Laughs.]"
On retiring coming as something of a relief: "Yeah, it's a relief because I knew how I was feeling. I knew how I'd wake up feeling like in the morning and all of those things. It made it easier and it was a bit of relief. ... I had no choice in the matter. What do you say? 'No, I can!' OK. You may think you can, but you can't.
"[It's forever] as far as I know. They wouldn't let me (get physical). 'Well, if I'm going to show up, at least have me do something.' 'Nope, you can't.' 'Alright, well then don't have me show up.' [Laughs.] Why bother?
"That's why I've kind of distanced myself from even watching the product. I can't do it."
On when he realized he was a legitimate main event player: "I think it was (during the John Cena feud) when they said, 'Let's test the waters here and see what he's got.' I think I knocked it out of the park. So, it was like, 'OK. We can depend on him now. We can depend on him to lead Smackdown! while John leads Raw.' That's truly what it felt like.
On his real-life situation with Matt Hardy and Lita being used as a story line: "I understood it from a business stand point. I always try to look at it from Vince's stand point. OK, I get it. I totally get it. I put myself in this position so I only got myself to blame. You reap what you sow. So, let's go sow it or reap it, I guess.
"I tried to commit to whatever I had to do on screen because that was the only way it was going to work. I really did feel like it was her and I against the world kind of thing. We felt that way, so it was easy to portray that on TV. ... It was difficult, without a doubt. That was the most stressful point of my career from a personally taxing stand point. But I was like, 'OK. See it through, get past it. We're here now, so I'm going to use this. If you -- you think you know me -- and you want to hate me, I'll give you reasons."
On his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 24: "That was my personal favorite WrestleMania moment. 'We're closing out WrestleMania, I'm going out against Undertaker.' ... For me, it was like an affirmation of proving it throughout the years. 'There's no doubt now. I'm in here against him and he thinks I belong. The guy who owns the company thinks I belong.'
"It took a lot of proving, a lot of diving through flaming tables with tacks on my shoulders and all those things. That was a validation for me."
You can check out the entire interview below.
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