Ever since The Rockers split up over 25 years ago, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty have been on divergent paths. HBK became one of the most celebrated wrestlers in history while Jannetty has struggled to stay clean.
Jannetty recently spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast to discuss his physical ailments and how he's holding up.
"I'm having a problem with my ankle and it's a hard adjustment from being a world-class athlete to having to gimp and use a crutch," said Jannetty.
"When I look at guys that are my age like Iron Sheik – man he's in a wheelchair. Duke 'The Dumpster' Droese – from his knee down he's got a titanium leg. I see that and it hurts my feelings because I don't wanna see them like that. I can only think what fans must think when they see us like that."
"Mine's only a gimp, I can get it fixed. I don't have health insurance so it's gonna cost me a little bit. I could do it now, but then I'll be broke. If I don't make money after that, then where am I gonna eat?"
Jannetty realizes that the first step in turning his life around is having the right attitude. But that's where his self-doubt creeps in which keeps him from getting things back on track.
"I'm trying but it's so hard when you have self-doubt. My dad once told me that if you don't have self-respect, it don't matter what you got because you ain't got nothing," stated Jannetty. "It's hard to respect yourself when you can't walk right…Now I can't even walk out to the trash can to put the trash out. I gotta let it smell up the house before I finally do. It's a hard adjustment."
Diamond Dallas Page has helped numerous wrestlers in similar positions to Jannetty, but the conversation between DDP and Jannetty apparently didn't go smoothly.
"I love him to death," Jannetty said of DDP. "I don't wanna say nothing negative, but there was a couple of negative things… His response was not one I liked and I'll just leave it at that.
"I wanna leave it alone because I don't wanna say nothing negative."
Two years ago Jannetty faced Joey Janela in his first ever Spring Break main event. Afterwards Janela and Chris Jericho then tried to help Jannetty by creating a GoFundMe page to help raise money for medical costs.
"I love Joey but he finished me off [laughs]. I love Joey. He offered to help me, him and Chris Jericho to do a GoFundMe…," Jannetty said before mentioning that others like Scott Hall had previously received money from GoFundMe accounts to help them after drug issues.
"Scott Hall had just gotten a sh**load of money from the GoFundMe…. Here I come behind him and the first three or four comments were 'Oh, all these drughead partiers blew their money and now they want us to pay.' I was like 'No. Take it down. I don't want that up there.' Because it does appear that way."
Jannetty has a lot of pride and admits he needs to check his ego in order to reach out for help.
"And when you've been worldwide – it's even harder…. I'm asking people for money that already paid me. When they showed up to the arena that night, they paid me. And now I'm asking for more? It's just hard," stated Jannetty.
"But it's all on WWE. Because if you're making a million off me last quarter, you can't pay $40,000 to get my ankles fixed so I don't need to OD on pain pills? That's why I got in a lawsuit. The Rockers [going into the WWE] Hall of Fame will never happen because there's a lawsuit in place. It can't happen.
"I love all of them. I love Vince. I love Shane. I love Stephanie. I love them all…Linda, she was hardcore. But I love them all. Vince once told me, I think it was about Jesse Ventura when he was suing, 'You have to separate business from personal life. What's going on right now is business.' That's where I'm at and you're the one who taught me it's business.
"I don't like it. But I don't like walking in front of people with a gimp either."
Wrestling Inc's full, exclusive interview with Jannetty was included in a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it Jannetty discusses his infamous match with Kurt Angle on Smackdown, his current relationship with Shawn Michaels and more.