Recently on The Ross Report, professional wrestling veteran 'Good Ol' J.R.' Jim Ross spoke with fellow WWE Hall Of Famer Shawn Michaels. Among many other things, Michaels talked about his hunting show, Shawn Michaels' MacMillan River Adventures, coming to an end, what professional wrestling shows he watches regularly, hammering out a deal to become a coach at the WWE Performance Center, and working with young talent.
According to Michaels, 2017 will be the final year of his hunting show. 'The Heartbreak Kid' said that he would rather being doing "easier stuff" at this point in his life.
"We are going to wrap up MacMillan River Adventures this year. This is going to be our last year. It's the seventh year. It has just become a little busy, and, again, I'm, I guess, way too lazy to travel that much now. And having enjoyed this warm weather so much, the thought of going away to a bunch of faraway, cold places, and live in a sleeping bag, and things of that nature… it was fun to do for a while just to push myself and to see if I could do it, and go on hunts that I've never had the opportunity to go on, so I'm so blessed and so fortunate to be able to go and do that, but now I'm so fortunate that I've got a ranch in Texas and if I want to hunt I can go there and do it, so Keith [Mark] and I are going to wrap up our final year, 2017, on MacMillan River Adventures and I'm going to just focus on just doing some easier stuff and, honestly, just see where the wind blows me to that."
Michaels divulged that when he watches pro wrestling, it is usually either NXT or 205 Live. 'The Showstopper' claimed that he watches those shows to inform him in his role working with younger talent.
"I watch a little bit. I mean, the majority of it is to… honestly, I watch more NXT and the 205 Live more than anything else, to be perfectly honest." Michaels continued, "I do that because, I mean, that's something that I'm interested in. I think in terms of, again, being here and being able to contribute and see what I can do, if anything, to help the younger wrestlers. That's the part that I enjoy, so, clearly, if you're going to do that, you've got to know about the product, and you've got to watch it, and you've got to be informed with the talent and the people that are there."
Michaels shared that he helped out talent at the most recent NXT tapings and at the NXT TakeOver: San Antonio show as well.
"Yeah, it is. I mean, I think everybody knows at this point we've certainly talked about it. We've been down there a fair amount of times. I've been at the last few NXT tapings. I'm going to be going to the one Wednesday night down here. I went to the San Antonio TakeOver show, and, again, I was at the other NXT tapings."
Michaels indicated that he has not ironed out a formal deal with WWE to be a coach at the PC, but 'The Main Event' is confident that he will be working at the PC on a regular schedule imminently.
"We'll sort of discuss it, but for the most part, it's something that I'm going to be doing. I just don't know that we've… you know me, Jim. I mean, I sort of fly in and fly out and stuff like that and I know that's often times that's confusing to everybody. And, honestly, it's more of a situation where I think I probably Hunter and I need to sit and need to sort of decide that I want to go ahead and have a schedule and do that schedule. And, honestly, as you know, I don't know that I've ever done a schedule. I haven't had a schedule or a job since I was 16 [years old] for heaven's sakes."
Apparently, MacMillan River Adventures and other commitments kept Michaels from committing to a position with the PC sooner.
"A lot of it had to do with wrapping up the hunting show and things of that nature. But I think very soon here, it will be something that I can commit to. I had previous engagements, so to speak, that I certainly wanted to make sure I finished up."
In Michaels' view, the PC is an interesting place and there are many trainers able to teach different styles and learning different styles is how a professional wrestler gets good at the craft.
"It is fascinating what they've got going on there, just the entire setup is pretty remarkable and they've certainly done everything they can, that you and I, and heck, you, me, and Steve, Taker, all of us who grew up in the territory days continually talk about that time and how valuable it was to all of us. And they've certainly done what they can there to sort of [encapsulate] all that under one big roof, which you know is pretty tough to do. They've got an array of people there, so you have the opportunity to mesh with a number of different styles, which I think was one of the biggest benefits we had way back when."
Michaels said that he sees a lot of innovation and passion from the young talent at the PC, but there are many fundamentals that are missing. Also, speed remains an issue to the four-time world champion.
"Well, I think the thing you definitely see is the excitement and passion, which is phenomenal, and innovation, I mean, guys, they're just coming up with new stuff, and they hustle. And we all have to go through it, but as everyone says, and again, I know that the NXT brand is great, there [are] still a ton of fundamentals that sort of get jumbled up, things move a little too fast, things don't get sold, things of that nature. But again all of those things come with time and experience, and some of it, with age and wisdom."
Michaels stated that he tells the talent at the PC the story of 'Macho Man' Randy Savage telling him to slow down.
"I tell everybody the story about Savage telling me to slow down and me saying, 'no way - it isn't going to happen; it's the only way that I can compete with you guys; the fact that you guys don't hustle and I do is going to make the difference' and of course, once I got there, what you do is you slow down and you learn how to tell a story and learn about psychology and things of that nature. That's a part of youth. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing."
In Michaels' estimation, success in professional wrestling should be measured in longevity. Moreover, 'The Headliner' argued that talents do not last as long these days because of their style.
"What real success is, is lasting 25 to 30 years and that's going to be tough for a lot of talent to do given the style, and the speed, and all of that, that they're trying to compete at. There's a reason guys aren't lasting as long as we did and it isn't because they're doing more or working harder. I don't mean that in any way to be critical of them. That's not it. You know the schedule and things of that nature [were] a lot more intense. You worked through injuries and all that kind of stuff. You didn't take days off, so clearly that wasn't what it is. I think a lot of that has to do with the style and certainly maybe trying too hard."
Interestingly, Michaels suggested that he had to explain to a WWE prospect what it means to slow down.
"He said, 'well, slow down, does that mean at the beginning, or in the middle, or at the end?' And I said, 'alright, the next time I see you, I'm going to answer that.' It was just a brief meeting, but I wanted to go and see if I could find an example of what I was talking about and I did. I came back, put on the [WWE] Network, watched this match, it was a TV match, but anyways, all there is, is there are three spots. Three different spots in this match, at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end, where I'm going to show them. Again, if he had just done this here, sold that, and then, somewhere in the middle, come back to that, sold that, now here at the end, if he had sold that somewhere in the beginning, sold that, taken his time, not rushed on, counter, counter, counter, continue to do stuff. But sold it there, sold it there, that would've eliminated a couple of these other spots. You would've had to have slowed down there. Here at the end, how much more would that have meant when he locks on that finishing move?"
Michaels posited that talents today do not know if things are going well in a match unless there is a chant going on.
"Heck, if there isn't a chant going, they're not sure if they've got them or not. Some of this isn't even the talents' fault. It's just very hard to actually get the people emotionally involved when they're going off on their own chants. They're completely disengaged and that's not a knock to anyone. That's just sort of something that happened."
Michaels averred that everyone can go fast, but not everyone can go slow while still hooking the crowd. Moreover, 'The Most Honored Champion In WWE History' said that smaller guys getting into the main event scene need to know how to work slower because bigger opponents will flat out refuse to do certain spots.
"There are some guys at that upper level where you're not going to be able to do all that. They're going to say, 'no way dude'. Do you know what I mean? So certainly know how to do it, for sure know how to go 100 miles per hour because you never know. But I think the thing is everybody knows how to do that. What they don't know how to do are slower ones and still get them. Do you know what I mean? And still have them enthralled and have them emotionally invested in the match."
Check out the show, quick as a hiccup, here. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit The Ross Report with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.