Shawn Michaels is the best one of the best wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of boots; he's won 14 WWE championships, took part in two of the best matches in WrestleMania history with his series against The Undertaker in 2009 and 2010, and was part of one of the most prolific factions in sports history in D-Generation X, who had their 25th Anniversary celebration on the season premiere of RAW.
Though he took some time away from wrestling to pursue other ventures, and even dabbled in the movie-making world, with appearances in The Marine 6, 90 Feet From Home, and Avengers of Justice: Farce Wars, where he played the role of “Incredible Master Yoga” – watch the trailer here, it's nuts – at his heart, Michaels is a wrestling man who will never be able to divorce his life outside of the squared circle from his career in it. Fortunately, one of Michael's best friends is none other than Paul “Triple H” Levesque, the man who once ran NXT and now runs creative for the entire WWE Universe, and as a result, the “Heartbreak Kid” has been working for the company in one form or another since 2016.
Now in place as the Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative for WWE, with the former three-time Intercontinental Champion tasked with running NXT both day-to-day and long-term. Normally, that would be a tough task for anyone, even a 14-time champion, but HBK has taken the opportunity in stride, as he detailed to David Shoemaker on the latest edition of The Ringer Wrestling Show.
Shawn Michaels has embraced his new role in NXT.
Now, you'd think a man who comes out to the ring to a song called “Sexy Boy” would be a wealth of charisma forever looking for positive affirmation and attention, but in a move few saw coming, the “Heartbreak Kid” opened up about how the prospects of being an on-camera promoter didn't come as naturally as it did to his former tag team pattern, as transcribed by Fightful.
“Usually Hunter’s the one that’s out there in front of the cameras and doing all the talking for NXT,” Michaels said. “But obviously as you know, his responsibilities have grown, and it also means that clearly mine have grown. The image of NXT still needs to be represented, that falls on me. Clearly I’m thrilled to be able to do that and be out there supporting NXT and trying to get it the recognition that it deserves. But it is a new role for me. I usually am more comfortable behind the scenes and doing my job. But look, this is an exciting new time. I love the men and women in NXT. I love helping them out, love producing the television show. We’re excited about Halloween Havoc. I’m thrilled to have this kind of responsibility.”
“Look, I think is the hardest aspect of the job for me, to be perfectly honest, is getting out there and promoting NXT and making sure that we keep this brand alive and well. It’s intimidating to have to follow in the footsteps of everything Hunter created here, but in certainly up for the challenge, and I’m very thankful that he put together a great team to help me out in the process.”
“From my standpoint, I look at, we have to combine putting on obviously a two-hour entertaining wrestling show every week, but at the forefront of all of that, to me, I usually try to focus on the development aspect. It is my job and our job collectively at NXT to bring these young men and women growth and experience and help them to encounter things that they may encounter on the main roster. So honestly that’s what I put at the forefront is repetition in those types of things, from s television standpoint, whether it be storylines, promos, just television time, certain spots. I don’t mean spots in a match. I mean spots on the card, so to speak. Opening the show, the middle of the show, a personal storyline, a championship storyline, being on top and understanding the pressures and the dedication and the lack of time off that one may to go through. So there are a number of different aspects that we try to bring to this. But for me, I always try to put development at the forefront. Look, sometimes that makes it challenging to put on the absolute best wrestling show that you can.”
Considering just how many fantastic young stars have jumped from NXT to the main roster over the past six months, from Solo Sikoa, to GUNTHER, Imperium, Dakota Kai, and IYO SKY, it's clear his efforts are working well and will only become more impactful when the likes of Hayes, Nikkita Lyons, and Bron Breakker become main roster mainstays.