Shawn Michaels Reflects On First-Ever Iron Survivor Challenges At NXT Deadline 2022

Shawn Michaels believes the Iron Survivor Challenge has legs.

At NXT Deadline, the first two Iron Survivor Challenge Matches were held, with Roxanne Perez and Grayson Waller winning their respective bouts, becoming number one contenders for the Men's and Women's Championships.

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Following the event, Shawn Michaels conducted a press conference during which he reflected on the execution of the matches.

"First of all, I thought it was executed phenomenally and one of the challenges with matches like this is making them different, and we did that. I will say that I had one person come up to me that was in the match and said, 'Man, that is one of the coolest things I've ever been a part of. Don't ever put me in one of those again.' So look, it's a lot mentally on the talent. There's a lot that is required in those types of matches. From a developmental standpoint, one of the things back when I was coaching, one thing I would always try and tell talent is when you get up to the main roster, you're in WrestleMania moments, you have a number of different things you have to remember out there. There's the match that you got, there's also the huge entrance for you that's also probably going to be very overwhelming, you're going to be dealing with the crowd, you got camera angles, and commercial breaks. I used to tell people that it's like spinning plates and you have to keep all these things in your head while keeping in character and keeping the psychology of what you're doing in the match. That's one of the reasons we wanted to challenge them with this match because that's sort of a developmental tool you could say that we can use this match for," Michaels said.

He would continue on to say that he believes there is longevity to the concept but noted that it will take time to evaluate whether or not it was a success.

"I'll say this, I think it has legs. I guess that's one of those things that after this we'll gauge and see if we feel it's a success. I feel it went really well. I think there were a lot of people that weren't sure about it. There were a lot of people that expected it to flop and we didn't know either. That's what I love about here. We're allowed to try a lot of stuff and we're going to continue to do that. This is one of those things we did, and the talent really delivered on it, but we have to look at this concept and go, 'Okay, are there ways we can still continue to mess with it, and can we make it good and exciting on a regular basis,' and I think once we sort of figure that out, then you can make the better-educated decision as to if its something we want to do annually or something we pull out every now and then. At first blush tonight, I think it was a real success and so that bodes well for it being something regular or something more consistent in the future of NXT," he said.

As for whether the Iron Survivor Challenge was born out of WarGames' relocation to the main roster, Michaels admitted that it did force them to get creative, joking that one talent suggested he let Triple H have it too due to its degree of difficulty.

"I'll say this, that's what the individual said, 'If you want to give that one to Hunter because I don't want to be in that one again.' First of all, WarGames went to the main roster and then we had the opportunity to have a premium live event in December, so that caused us to get a little creative and think of something as opposed to just having an un-themed premium live event. WarGames is a tough act to follow, so we wanted to make sure that it was something interesting and also coming off of Halloween Havoc, we didn't want it to feel stipulation based, which obviously WarGames is, so we wanted to try something a little more technical and that's how we came up with the concept of the Iron Survivor Challenge," Shawn said.

Michaels concluded by sharing NXT's busy schedule and detailing how talent and coaches had roughly 48 hours to put their Iron Survivor matches together.

"Our talent and coaches here get that stuff done in a couple days. In this particular situation, what we're looking at going into the holidays, we had our show Tuesday and then we had Deadline tonight, then we have a day or two off but then we have the Tuesday show and Wednesday we have two shows we are taping. We had a lot creatively that we had to take care of to convey what we were doing to the coaches and producers. So they got that information probably on about Friday. Conceptually, I felt like we had a pretty good idea of what it was we wanted to do and were looking for out of those matches. We gave those concepts to our coaches and they gave it to the talent and we go from there. But I would say 48 hours. That's the thing, they did an amazing job because that is a lot to try and get. Again, the story and psychology out there were told exceptionally and I think that's what I'm most proud of," he said.

If you missed any of NXT Deadline, you can catch up by checking out Fightful's live coverage and post-show review.

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