March 20, 2010
Shawn Michaels prepared to win -- or lose -- at Mania
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
Shawn Michaels is prepared for life after wrestling.
That doesn't mean he's going to lose next Sunday's Streak vs. Career match, when he once again goes toe-to-toe with The Undertaker, who boasts an undefeated Wrestlemania record. But if The Undertaker's hand is raised in victory, Michaels is prepared to ride into the sunset, head held high.
"To believe Shawn Michaels won't still be part of my life (when I retire) is naive.
"I took four years off and I think almost as many people recognized me during that time.
"Every day I step through the front door, (leaving wrestling) is not as far away as it once was. When it happens, I look forward to the rest and spending time with my family. Few guys get to go out the way I want to."
So how do the wrestling legends one-up last year's Wrestlemania classic?
"That's the million-dollar question," says Michaels. "I've got to be honest, I don't know. With the stipulation, Career vs. Streak, there's certainly more on the line. There's some finality, so you have to take everything into context.
"After having done what we did, this has to be different. And how do we do that? Both guys have to be ready for either result.
"Either way, it's good. I'm in a situation where there are a lot of questions and they're tough to answer."
"I've always tried to make sure that whatever I did, it was good. The only downside is the finality. Something good has to come to an end.
"For Wrestlemania, the nerves, the anxiety are still very much there. But once I get in there, instinct takes over. As I've gotten older, I'd tried to live up to whatever reputation that's mistakenly been created. It's a nervous excitement."
His allegiance with Triple H as DX has been put on the backburner in recent weeks, but Michaels says it may not be over.
"I don't think DX will ever die," he says. "As far as WWE goes, DX will always be the ace up their sleeve."
As a face, a guy who the fans have been solidly behind for much of his career, Michaels says he's had to adapt to the times.
"It's changed," he says. "The way our fans view it has changed, too. And as they change, you have to adapt to what they think or feel.
"It always comes down to drawing a connection with them. I might be able to get away with more than Triple H. And Triple H may be able to get away with more than John Cena.
"I mostly come in and do what I'm told. You need to have trust and faith in the folks who are helping you do all this. I enjoy playing different emotions."
And with all of the emotion put into his character -- everything from torment to goofiness, Michaels is proud of what he's done in 25 years.
"One of the things that makes The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels, a good character is there's no set diagram to what he is," says Michaels.
Maybe that's what's made him such an icon, truly The Showstopper.
Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.email@example.com.