Last year at WWE Crown Jewel, Shawn Michaels came out of an eight year retirement to team with Triple H in a tag match victory over The Undertaker and Kane. Michaels had turned down many offers over the years to come out of retirement, but he finally gave in when Triple H came-a-calling.
Triple H and HBK discussed what led Michaels to give in and come out of retirement when they joined Corey Graves' podcast, After The Bell.
"First off, he says he wasn't busy then either but he had a farm and a ranch and he had this hunting show that he was constantly doing," said Triple H. "So, it wasn't like he wasn't doing anything and just sitting on the couch becoming bloated Elvis. I think sometimes when you leave the business – I see it in a lot of guys – when you first leave you just want to get away from it a little bit and put down the everyday frustrations of it. I think that is what a lot of people have to do and Shawn Michaels was away from it for a long period of time; completely disconnected from it and then he came down to the Performance Center. That place is infectious and the youth of it and the excitement and their excitement for it, it's just contagious."
Being back in that wrestling environment caused Michaels to get the wrestling bug again and Triple H made a unique comparison to the urge that Michaels had.
"So, it morphed into him being a little bit part of it and then he was thinking about moving and getting more a part of it, so you just gave him a little bit and then you become like this crack seller. I gave him a taste and I got the hook and then I had it," revealed Triple H. "Next thing you know he was like I will come in and train a few days a week and be part of the TV thing and then it went to I will help with the matches but I don't want to wear the headset. I don't want any responsibility and now he is part of everything. He jumps up and down and gets giddy like a little kid when stuff is good and losing his mind when it's not. He is into it as much as anybody else is so the taste worked."
"I've been a part of WWE since I was 23 and at 44 I retired," stated Michaels. "You do it for so long you just want to have time to rest, take it easy, disengage and all the while I didn't know that I just needed to get refreshed. I didn't have any other experience but pro wrestling and you then begin to wonder whether you still have anything to offer and if so where is that? It wasn't until we took a vacation to Florida and checked out the Performance Center and you start to understand that it's still in you; it's a part of who you are. It's the one thing that I do well that I enjoy doing that never feels like work, but unless you get exposed to it you don't really know if the shoe is going to fit sort to speak.
"As I said, I got the time to come down here and be a part of it and all things lined up, and of course, it enables me again to pour into this line of work that I love so much that I didn't know was available to me simply because I had never done it. I think I actually get more joy sitting next to Triple H, watching these young men and women go out there and tear the house down and enjoying themselves and watch their expressions and their passion along with ours. So, it really is one of those things that I sheerly love to do. I love going to work every day. Clearly, I was built to do one thing and still doing it at 54 and thrilled to be doing so."
Triple H agreed with Michaels' on watching the next generation, saying that working with talent at NXT has been as - if not more - rewarding than his own career.
"You know, it's funny about that comment," Triple H said referencing Michaels' comment. "People often ask me what part of my career I like the most. People would joke and say, 'oh, your NXT kids.' It's hard not to look at it that way sometimes because if I can compare this to something it would be like saying the enjoyment of you having your career or watching your kid go down that same road and have their success. Which one did you enjoy more? It's different and I think that's the thing. Yeah, I enjoyed my career and I enjoyed the things that I did but this is almost more meaningful in some ways and more fun. It's hard to explain in any other way other than watching your kids do something and that pride that you feel for it."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit After the Bell with Corey Graves with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.