Shawn Michaels continues to hold significant creative power as part of NXT. However, there was a time when Michaels also wielded a lot of backstage political clout during his heyday. Along with other members of The Kliq, including Triple H, X-Pac, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash, Michaels had considerable influence behind the scenes.
Recently, Ahmed Johnson shared some insights into his time in the company during an interview with WrestlingNews.co. He recalled the pivotal moment when he was signed by WWE and received an unforgettable call from Vince McMahon himself, which marked a turning point in his career.
During the interview, Ahmed Johnson also opened up about his aspirations to become a World Champion in WWE. However, he revealed that circumstances and hurdles emerged that derailed those plans and altered the trajectory of his career within the company.
According to Johnson, he believes that Vince McMahon had a change of mind about pushing him as a potential World Champion, influenced by Shawn Michaels and some other wrestlers. He claims that Michaels and others convinced McMahon that the fans were not ready for a black champion, despite Johnson’s Intercontinental Championship win, which demonstrated his talent and readiness for a higher position.
Johnson pointed out that Michaels had significant influence at that time, being considered the head dog backstage, and his opinions carried weight with McMahon. Johnson recounted a moment when Michaels called him into the office and advised him to stop performing high-flying moves in his matches. Johnson was taken aback by this instruction, asserting that he should have the freedom to perform moves of his choosing, especially since he was not given the opportunity to showcase his full potential in the first place.
“I believe Vince had a change of mind. All the junk that Shawn Michaels and some of the other boys put in his (Vince’s) head, you know, ‘They’re not ready for a black champion’, but you’re just seen me win the Intercontinental belt, so you know I’m ready. You know the fans are already. But Shawn Michaels man, he kind of ran the coop back then. He was like the head dog back then, so whatever he says, you know, kind of went. I remember him calling me to the office one day after maybe my third match, and he tells me, ‘Ahmed, I can’t let you do them high flying moves anymore’. I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ You ain’t let me do nothing first of all. I’ll do it if I want to do it.’ He said, ‘Well, what happens is when I do it at 190 pounds and you come do it at 355 pounds, it doesn’t look as great when I do it.’”