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Everybody wants to know...
Michaels, Van Dam and Guerrero tackle the tough questions
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


The following contest is scheduled for one question. There is no time limit. Passing is not an option. Please tip your waitress.

Everybody wants to know...

Rob Van Dam, I'm amazed WWE hasn't fired you because of the things you say in interviews. In a business built on half-truths, how come you're such a shining beacon of honesty, especially with your fans?

Van Dam: "That's what I enjoy out of it. I get this positive energy from the fans. They all tell me 'Yeah, I heard you're a really down to earth guy and you're really honest', and it's the truth. If they ask about these other wrestlers, saying 'so and so is an asshole', I tell them. Some of these guys ARE assholes. Even if they didn't have money and weren't on TV, I think it's in their nature. My nature is to be straight and to say these things that other wrestlers won't."

Eddie Guerrero, you're extremely open about your personal demons on the DVD (Cheating Death, Stealing Life). Are you comfortable with such deep personal problems being on the public record?

Guerrero: "The very first time I saw (the DVD), I was a little nervous, but I was really happy with the way it came out. The people that made it, Heather and the production crew, did a phenomenal job. They put across what I really wanted to come across, and they didn't change it up. I said a lot of stuff. I was really open with my life. That's what I'm doing with my book too, but it's more in depth and more detailed. They gave the message that I wanted, so I'm very happy with it."

Shawn Michaels, now that the crotch chopping and Playgirl covers are a thing of the past, are you comfortable being looked at as a role model?

Michaels: "I'm obviously MORE comfortable, but I don't know how all those words work. I guess there's been a lot of role models who were just that, they were playing a role."

Lance Storm, do you keep an eye on that new generation of talent that came from the Dungeon? Are you familiar with the Harry Smiths, Teddy Harts and T.J. Wilsons of the world?

Storm: "I think Harry has the brightest future because there is limitations on people due to size, and Harry's a big kid. T.J.'s a little shorter which doesn't rule out a successful future but does make it a harder road. I think all of them just need to gather more experience Unfortunately now, I find there's very little bridge between the independent level and the WWE level. It's really hard when working guys with similar experience. You need experience working other people and getting other knowledge. Harry can only learn so much from wrestling T.J. a hundred million times."

Edge, they say you never fully recover from a serious neck injury. Do you think it shortened your career, or do you think it extended it by making you work a different style?

Edge: "You get neck surgery in this industry, it's going to shorten you career. The discs on either side of my neck are now going to be slamming off of that plate. The disc on either side will take more abuse. If I wanted to do this for another twenty years, it'll be another fusion, but once that happens, I'm done. You can only have one fusion in your body and keep doing what we do.

"I had pretty much gone eleven years without anything. It's pretty good in our industry and I was always proud of that fact. I was doing these crazy TLC matches and ladder matches. Sure, I got steel rods put in my teeth, but you work through that stuff. Tore a ligament, in my shoulder, worked through it. Tore a ligament in my knee, worked through it. The neck hit me dead centre. It was like my body was refusing to do it.

"I sprained my foot, so my mind was ready to hop right back in, but my body wasn't. My first day back, I had a cast on my hand, which limited what I could do. From there, I ruptured my groin. My whole body wasn't as flexible as it used to be. And by that point, I had already started the style I'm into now, which is physical, but smarter, but my body was still revolting on me.

"It definitely shortened my career, but that's why I have a lot of intensity. If anything, I'm more intense, but I work smarter now. I don't have to do TLC and ladder matches all the time. I can tell a story, like Ric Flair and Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels do. It took a while for guys like that to even learn it. You watch early Shawn Michaels stuff and it took a while for him to realise that telling a story is a lot easier on the body and a lot easier on the audience. Bret's one of the best storytellers ever in the business. It's not something you get right away, and for me it took a neck surgery to realise it. I'm not indestructible."

Catch the WWE Smackdown! stars at the Great American Bash, June 24th on pay-per-view

T.J. Madigan writes a weekly pro wrestling column for the Calgary Sun, which appears every Saturday. This column is exclusive for SLAM! Wrestling.




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  • Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story DVD