Q and A with ... Shawn Michaels

Q and A with ...

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August 18, 2005|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Sun Staff

Shawn Michaels hasn't achieved the mainstream recognition of other World Wrestling Entertainment superstars such as Hulk Hogan, The Rock or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. But among pro wrestling fans, Michaels is considered one of the greatest wrestlers ever, because of his highly athletic style and fluid moves.

On Sunday, Michaels, 40, will face 52-year-old Hulk Hogan -- whose legendary charisma overshadows his lack of wrestling technique -- in the main event of WWE's SummerSlam pay-per-view show at MCI Center.

You've accomplished so much in your wrestling career, but you've never wrestled Hulk Hogan. What is it like for you to be working a main event on a pay-per-view against him?

Obviously, I'm excited about it. Hulk Hogan's the biggest name in this business and it's a thrill for me to be in there. But this is my opportunity to let him know that, in one respect, I may not be in his league, but in another respect, he is not in mine. When I come to work, I want to work and I want to work hard. And he goes about it differently. I want to go out there and make sure he remembers me.

Does playing the heel [a wrestling bad guy] in the current story line with Hogan conflict with your religious beliefs as a born-again Christian?

It was something that I did have to pray about because I don't have any malice or anger in my heart. There are lines I don't want to cross. I don't need to cuss; I don't need to do anything raunchy -- and I'm not going to. There have been things that have been suggested [for me to do] during this and I just simply said no. What I've found is that all I have to do [to incite the crowd] is tell the truth. Sometimes that makes people angry. People have asked me what I have against Hulk Hogan. I said, "I really don't have anything against Hulk Hogan. You're the ones who put him there. The question I want to know is, why?"

You've been back wrestling for three years now after undergoing back surgery in 1998 and retiring for four years. How are you holding up physically?

I feel wonderful. When you're in the center of the Lord's will, nothing can happen to you, and I truly believe that I am. I'm still sore when I wake up, but I've come to realize that when I had that back surgery, if I was the man I am now, I would have been able to handle that injury and keep going. It was more of the emotional and mental fatigue and frustration and weakness that made it worse. Now, I've blown out my knee since I've been back, but I just start training again.

Have you given any thought to how many more years you want to wrestle?

I signed another five-year deal not too long ago. I think Hulk and Ric Flair [age 56] and some other guys can attest that some of us don't ever really retire, we just do it less. I think that's what I would like to do. I enjoy the creative side of this business, and I would love to help out with younger talent in any way that I can. But we'll see. Maybe in three years I'll feel like the Lord wants me to do something else, and I'll tell Vince [McMahon, WWE chairman] and he'll look at me like I have two heads like he always does.

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