At the tail end of 2016, Seth Rollins and AJ Styles were lining up for the right to fight Shawn Michaels at some point. There’s just one small problem with that: Shawn Michaels is retired, and has been for several years now. And although he popped up at WrestleMania 32 looking in tremendous shape, he’s gone on record in the past that his retirement means a lot to him.
On episode 117 of the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, Michaels laid it all out on the line: he doesn’t plan on coming back, and probably won’t come back for any amount of money, and he has very good reasons for that. Oh, and also, not a single person in WWE has ever discussed that possibility with him.
“I’ve got to be honest, what kept me accountable, again, last year, six months out of WrestleMania, them calling and going, ‘we’d like you to come down with your shirt off and your gear,’ and I was like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me!’ Yes [the shirt off was WWE’s idea], and I’m like, ‘oh my goodness, you’ve got to be kidding me!’ So, from that point on, I kind of just decided that I think it’s probably better if I just stay relatively TV ready, just in case.
” … I can still remember [when I was] a talent, sort of somewhat being offended [when the older guys would come in and] take a big payoff or whatever. And so, and the thing is, I at least can say without a shadow of a doubt, I’ve never booked myself. I’ve never called them and said, ‘hey, I’d like to do something.’ Everything is a call, is [an] offer, to me.
“Literally, no one has talked to me about [coming back for another match]. I recognize, again, you guys have a field day with it and you guys talk about it and you say that they’ve talked about it and talked to me, but no one has. And I don’t say that because, and again, I’m also past that.
“My wife doesn’t understand either. She’s like, ‘why don’t you just go back and ba-bang, make the payoff?’ and, honestly, the greatest thing about those matches is the after. Okay? It’s the doing it, it’s the doing it in the ring, and then, it’s the after when it’s phenomenal to go, ‘that was awesome,’ sitting there with Taker and Michael Hayes and just basking in that moment for whatever. But the whole process up to it is just … even just last year, I sat there and all I did is walk out there for five minutes and my wife sat there and looked at me and she goes, ‘oh my goodness,’ for the first time the light went off. And she goes, ‘I understand it.’ She goes, ‘it’s the whole process going up that you don’t want to go through.’ She said, she goes, ‘I’ve seen you do it. All you do is walk out for five minutes last year and kick somebody, you can do that with your eyes closed and you still went into that place where you’re focused, you get quiet, and there’s the six weeks of training.’
“If I’m doing something, I want to put 100 percent of my time into it and make it good. I know the reasons why I wrestled [and] why I don’t. And, look, I would be doing it just for the money now and I don’t want to do that!”