As previously noted, the E&C Pod Of Awesomeness returned from hiatus with special guest WWE Hall Of Famer Shawn Michaels. Among many other things, Michaels talked about his role with WWE NXT and the WWE Performance Center. Specifically, Michaels discussed how he got his start at the WWE PC, what he enjoys about his work now, and working with up-and-coming talent.
According to Michaels, he began working at the WWE Performance Center on a limited basis, but has since become consumed by the creative process.
"When we came here, when we came to Florida just to visit, it was just this unbelievably infectious, positive environment. And then, we ended up moving here and I was around it a little more. And then, you have people asking me questions. And then, all-of-a-sudden, you're back in, you are in this give and take and throwing stuff around, and yes, getting back into that creative process that we all enjoy so much." Michaels continued, "it's all of this preplanning that drives you. Performing it is great, but so much of the fun is just coming up with it and the process that you go through to come up with it. To sit there with your buddies and throw a bunch of stuff out there, and 'this is good - let's do that', 'no that doesn't work', and then, all-of-a-sudden, when you all hit on it, and everybody looks at each other like, 'ooh yeah, that's it.' And that's certainly what I've found as I kept going in and out of there is that this generation was very into that, and even better is that desire to take it to another level."
During the interview, Michaels shared that he loves working with NXT Superstars because there is such a focus and drive with these young talents to get to the next level.
"I love the NXT, and, again, that's where I get to go to work darn near every day and it's a blast because they're taking it worldwide. Heck, we're over in the UK now and it's a-whole-nother group of young, hungry guys and when you're constantly around all these young, hungry guys scratching and clawing to get their shot. And them being in NXT they know it finally got real to them. They know the next step could be to the main roster. And good, bad, or otherwise, they know there's a chance. Do you know what I mean? Everybody can complain like the wrestling fans do now, they complain this guy getting used here, or getting used there, or whatever, but the only way to have a chance is to get there. And so, that's what they all focus on, not whether they're getting used well." Michaels explained, "they're just focused on, 'if I get there, I have a chance' and that's very infectious to be around and it's a joy to be around on a regular basis because we've got a group of great and talented young men and women in NXT and obviously in the UK now as well."
Although Michaels is "all in" with NXT at this point, he divulged that it is Triple H's "baby". 'HBK' went on to say that he even helps write NXT TV now.
"To [Triple H] and I, clearly, [NXT] is his baby, but I mean, I'm all in. Yeah, they've got me hook, line, and sinker. And it's funny because he kind of hired me like, 'just stick your big toe in and see how you like it. Just do a couple of times a week.' And then, of course, whatever it is, two years later, I'm full scale helping to write TVs and doing it all!" Michaels admitted, "I'm so far in, there's no way I'm getting out and I have no desire to get out because it's a blast. It really is."
In Michaels' learned view, young talent need to be exposed to as many pro wrestling minds as possible because borrowing components from others and mashing them up is how one makes a unique presentation for himself. 'The Showstopper' suggested that his skillset, like Christian's, works more for talent such as Johnny Gargano and NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa than some others.
"Their coach is someone who looks at them everyday and says to them, 'look, I've stolen everything!' Do you know what I mean? Nothing I did was [original]. Right, exactly. And so I said, 'the more guys you can get that've been there and done that, because the more information the better.' It's better to hear it from as many top guys as you can and find something in there that works for you." Michaels added, "and again, I've mentioned it, and as [Edge] knows when he went down there and even [Christian], I said, 'look, [Christian] and I are a little more similar and our styles are going to lean a little more towards maybe a Johnny or a Ciampa."
While Michaels may have some ideas for the likes of former NXT Champion Aleister Black and Lars Sullivan, he often calls Triple H for assistance because his DX stablemate worked a different style.
"I was never 6'5", 235 [lbs.]. Do you know what I mean? And a guy like Aleister [Black] or a guy like Lars, I can help them to a point, but I've never been a bigger type [of] guy. Many times, I have to call Hunter and ask him because he works a different style. And I don't know. I can throw some junk out there for you because I worked with big guys, but at the same time, I know my limitations. I've never been a 6'8", 300-pound dude. And so, I had Mick [Foley] in there a month or a month-and-a-half ago. And it's just about getting them as many different ideas. It doesn't matter to me where they come from. As long as they get better, I don't care if it comes from the dude next door." Michaels continued, "if they advance, and they get better, and that gets them an opportunity at the main roster, that's what we're there to do, to help these guys move on."
Check out the interview here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness