WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels will be taking part, along with Triple H, in a special panel celebrating their group, DX, at Club Nokia at L.A. Live on Saturday at 7 p.m., the day before WWE's SummerSlam PPV at Staples Center. Michaels talked to Sports Now editor Houston Mitchell on Monday to discuss DX and his legacy.
When DX started, when did you first realize that you and Triple H had something special?
Actually, never. I'm still waiting for him to come around. He's been hanging on my coattails for 20 years! Just kidding, obviously. It's one of those things where the Hunter Hearst Helmsley character that he was portraying at the time, a rich, snobbish character, was totally opposite of the way he is. We would ride in the car together and say "My goodness if we could just bring who we are in the car out on TV." We finally convinced the powers that be to give us a chance. We just went out there and hammed it up, because we naturally bring that out of each other. The humor was sophomoric, but that's who we were back then. We were bad guys, but after a while it got to a point where people started enjoying it. The great thing about live events is you get an instant reaction, and that was very encouraging for us. People in the back wanted to reel us in, and we wanted to keep going.
A lot of people consider DX and the Four Horsemen to be the two greatest groups in wrestling history. How would you compare the two?
They are different in the respect that the Horsemen were classier, more high-brow. The Four Horsemen were limousines and Lear Jets, while DX was trailer parks and outhouses. One was white trash, one was upper crust. I always saw DX and the NWO as the natural rivals at the time.
Did you ever think you would see grown men get into near fights to grab a neon-green glow stick that you have tossed in the crowd?
The fans over in Europe get the credit for that. We were on tour over there, and they were making their own glow sticks. That triggered the idea. Then I would throw some in the crowd, and it would be like fans going after the guitar pick of Eddie Van Halen. Here we are, four years after retirement, and people are still talking about us and I'm a Hall of Famer. I didn't have the ability to dream that big when I started out.
Q. You will be taking part in the DX panel as part of SummerSlam weekend. Is there one question you are tired of answering and hope no one asks?
No. I have done a panel with Bret Hart, and of course I always get asked about the Montreal thing. Asked and answered many times, but they ask about it anyway, and I'll be glad to talk about it again. But that's more from my career. From a DX standpoint, no. Hunter and I haven't had the chance to do these types of panels together. DX spans so much time, and it hasn't been thoroughly vetted, so there are really no DX questions I have been asked too often.
You are used to entertaining people in the ring. Is it harder to sit down in a room full of people and talk about yourself?
For me, if there are cameras on, then you have to bring the salesmanship and bravado. If I'm appearing on "Raw," then I'm usually there to help sell tickets to something, and that's when you see the "HBK" Shawn Michaels come out. At panels, I can be more open and honest and show some more humility. They don't want me talking about my family on TV, but I can in a panel setting.
If you could go back in time to your prime and wrestle any other past or present wrestler in their prime, who would you pick?
Ricky Steamboat. I would love to have gotten into it with Harley Race. He was such a good wrestler and rough and tough. We wrestled at the same time but never each other. And wrestling Sting would have been something I would have enjoyed. That would have been great at the box office. But if I had to pick, it would be Steamboat or Race.
If the Shawn Michaels of today could go back in time and give Shawn Michaels, first-year pro wrestler, some advice, what would you tell him?
Don't be afraid to be who you really are. Enjoy it and don't take it and yourself so seriously. I probably wouldn't have listened, but if I did, I would have saved myself some heartache along the way.
Other SummerSlam panels this weekend include Hulk Hogan on Friday at 7 p.m., the "WWE 2K15" video game roster reveal hosted by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin featuring Sting, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Roman Reigns, Sheamus and Cesaro on Saturday at 10 a.m., and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin on Sunday at noon.