Two-time WWE Hall Of Famer, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, recently spoke with the State Of Combat Podcast about the time he has spent working as a coach in NXT. HBK remembers being impressed by the NXT superstars right off the bat and telling the other staff that the show will be on TV one day.
“I can remember coming into the NXT Performance Center three years ago and seeing what they had to offer, and telling people that this is going to be on TV someday. I don’t know if I wasn’t stunned that it wasn’t on television already,” Shawn said. “But clearly, with the WWE Network and how [NXT] was driving the WWE Network, you knew that it was TV-ready then. And three years later, it’s finally going to come to fruition then on the USA Network. I’m thrilled for the young men and women of NXT. They are going to get an opportunity to show the world and the nation that they are the ‘big deal’, the ‘big cheese’ on the block. I am thrilled and excited to help them in any way that I can.”
Shawn enjoys partaking in the creative process of NXT and NXT UK, and he mentioned how the experience reminds him of the days when he would travel with Triple H and brainstorm creative ideas. He’s trying his best to allow the stars to do what they do best inside of the ring without limiting them with creative input from the NXT staff.
“In the creative process, it’s such a blast for us to do, to be perfectly honest. It’s the same type of stuff that Hunter and I used to do when we would be driving around in the car. And now I guess it’s sitting in a board room or on a conference call and kicking around a lot of ideas with everyone else involved,” Michaels explained. “It’s about enjoying the process; keeping those stories and all of that intact and, of course, combining that with the unbelievable athletic ability.
“I have no nobility to be that bitter old-timer by any chance and say that these kids are doing too much of this or that,” Shawn continued. “I remember people feeling that way about me, and I remember saying that I would never do that. I think what they do now is unbelievable. I love their athletic abilities. We try to do our best to allow them to grow and take the wrestling business and athleticism into the future, but try to temper and balance that with the continued storyline, character development, and the storytelling process that has been the hallmark of NXT.”
Michaels took some time to comment on All Elite Wrestling and any other competition that WWE NXT will see after their premiere on USA Network this Wednesday. He explained how the NXT roster considers any performer from any company as their competition, and they will use their elevated platform of the USA Network to show why their product is best overall.
“Not to minimize the other guys [in AEW] at all, but certainly from a talent standpoint, they are in competition with everybody. Again, all of them across the board, every one of them has friends much like we did back in the day,” Shawn said. “But we were all still competitive even when we were sharing the same locker room and that hasn’t changed in the wrestling business. Everybody that has gotten in the ring is competitive with every other person that gets in that ring, and NXT is no different.
“They are going to compete with every wrestling genre that is out there as far as they are concerned. It shouldn’t be any other way,” HBK continued. “I think everybody should be doing that, and I think the biggest winners are all of us that get to watch. Make no mistake about it – the men and women of NXT look at the entire world as their competition, and want to go out there and show everybody why they think they are the best, and why you should be watching them. And now, on Wednesday nights on USA, you are going to get that opportunity, and they’re going to let it all hang out. It’s going to be a blast, not only for them but for every wrestling fan walking God’s green earth.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit State Of Combat Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.