HBK on Explaining Wrestling to His Kids, Where He Would Be If He Wasn’t a Christian, More

– WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels recently spoke with USA Today’s For The Win blog to promote his new “Wrestling For My Life” autobiography. Below are some highlights:



FTW: Do you ever sit and think about where you might be now if you hadn’t become a Christian?

Michaels: I don’t like to be an alarmist or over-dramatize too much, but certainly a number of the guys I used to run around with are dead, and I don’t think it’s a huge leap that I was very close to winding up the same way. Even if had I not gone that far, it’s a very easy jump to be what’s termed as a wrestling tragedy. Being divorced from my wife, alienated from my children, and living alone… the only time you hear from me is when my mugshot pops up on TMZ. Both of those are very realistic possibilities, and I don’t think it’s overstating. My life was literally saved, as far as I’m concerned.

FTW: Whenever I think of Shawn Michaels, I think of Vince McMahon’s famous call from WrestleMania XII when you beat Bret Hart, “the boyhood dream has come true.” In the book you actually note that when you were a kid, you had no bigger dream that to win the Southwest Championship Wrestling title, meaning Vince’s call was a bit of a fabrication. When did you begin to believe ‘I can win the WWF title and be the best in the world?’

Michaels: As a kid, I didn’t have the ability to dream as big as what was to happen. So I didn’t dream of it in the AWA — you always sort of say ‘I want to be the world champion.’ I can remember [the wife of Michaels’ original trainer José Lothario] saying ‘this boy’s going to be a world champion someday.’ And that’s very nice of her, that’s why you say. You don’t say ‘he’s going to be mediocre.’ It wasn’t until I got into the WWE, WWF at the time, and really started my singles career. The dream grew as I was in wrestling… and even now I sit back and I’m amazed at what I’ve accomplished. And I mean that I’m humbly amazed. I surpassed anything that I thought was possible, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

FTW: How do you explain pro wrestling to your children?

Michaels: It’s tough to explain to kids, especially when you’re the guy doing it. Our kids didn’t watch it for the longest time until we felt that they were at an age appropriate time where you could sort of explain it. It’s a confusing line of work. There’s pieces of the real you that are there, and there’s pieces that are not. You’re beating the living daylights out of yourself and other people, but at the same time you get along with all these people. And then in your home life you’re living a life to where ultimately it’d be great if everything didn’t wind up in a fight. It’s a little bit of a tightrope and you do your best to walk it.

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