Almost a decade after his retirement match at WrestleMania 26 against the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels is once again in the WWE fold. Oh, it's not as an active competitor but as a leading coach of the WWE Performance Center, spearheading the NXT UK brand and being heavily involved in NXT as they have transitioned it to the USA Network.
Speaking with Corey Graves on WWE After The Bell, Triple H spoke about the slow process it took to get his best friend interested in contributing to wrestling again and how quickly he took on more responsibility with the black and gold brand.
"I think sometimes when you leave the business, I see it in a lot of guys, they kind of get away from it at first. When you first leave, it's so overwhelming. Maybe when you leave, you just want to get away from it for a little bit and put down the frustrations of it and the everyday stuff of it. And I think that's what a lot of people have to do, I think that's what Shawn did," Hunter began. "He was away from it for a long time. Completely disconnected from it. And then, he came down the Performance Center, that place is infectious in the youth of it and the excitement and their excitement their passion for it is just contagious. I don't know, it just kind of morphed into him being a little bit of a part of it. And then he was thinking about moving and getting more part of it. Next thing you know, he was like, 'I'll come and I'll train a few days a week and I'll be a part of the TV thing. I will help with the matches. But I don't want to be on a headset. I don't want any responsibility.' Now, he's a part of everything. He's jumping up and down right next to me like a giddy kid when stuff's good and losing his mind when it's not. He's into it as much as everybody else is."
Shawn spoke about how he feels still contributing to the industry at the age of fifty-four, and how fulfilled he feels being a creator.
"I've been a part of the WWE since I was twenty-three and at forty-four, I retired. You do it for so long, you just want to have time to rest. Take it easy, disengage. I didn't have any other experience and that wrestling. And you then begin to wonder, well I mean do I still have anything to offer," said Shawn. "It wasn't until we took a vacation here in Florida and came down to the Performance Center. And you start to understand that, you know, it's still in you. It's a part of who you are. It's the one thing that I do well that I enjoy doing that never feels like work. You know, unless you get exposed to it, You don't really know if that shoe's gonna fit, so to speak. And then, as I said, I got the time to come down here to be a part of it and just all things lined up. And of course, it enables me to again, pour into this line of work that I love so much in a way that I didn't know was available to me. I think I actually get more joy, seriously sitting next to Hunter, watching these young men and women go out there and tear the house down and enjoy themselves and watch them express their passion for this business along with ours. It's one of those things that has just been a sheer joy to do. And I do enjoy going to work every day. Clearly, I was built to do one thing. And still doing it at fifty-four and thrilled to be doing so."
Shawn and Hunter continue to lead the black and gold brand into Wednesday nights in 2020. NXT can be seen on the USA Network every Wednesday at 8 PM Eastern.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit WWE After The Bell with an h/t to Fightful for the transcription.