Posts Tagged ‘triple h’

WWE’s Shawn Michaels on Brock Lesnar: ‘I’m Not Afraid to Take a Cheap Shot’

April 6, 2013

Triple H and Shawn Michaels (WWE)

Quick Note: Wrestlemania season is heating up and XFINITY has you covered! We’re going to have interviews and insights from top WWE Superstars, on-location tidbits from Wrestlemania weekend, and more. Order Wrestlemania here. And be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute details.

When it comes to nicknames, the only person who can hold a candle to Rocky Balboa’s buddy Apollo Creed is WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. “The Headliner,” “The Showstopper,” “The Main Event,” and “The Icon that Can Still Go” have all been tossed around over the years, but the most important one has to be one he earned by having the best matches on the industry’s biggest stage…“Mr. Wrestlemania.”

The now-retired Michaels finds himself taking center stage at Wrestlemania once again as he’s scheduled to have his buddy Triple H’s back as he seeks revenge against the monster Brock Lesnar.

I spoke to the “Heartbreak Kid” the day before Wrestlemania XXIX and asked about his role in the big show, his pick for the evening’s sleeper hit, and his place in the history of the Undertaker’s streak…

Gordon Holmes: So, I understand this is a pretty big weekend for you guys.
Shawn Michaels: I guess if they’re grossing $150 million, then that qualifies as a big event.
Holmes: That’s not too shabby.
Michaels: (Laughs) Not too bad at all.
Holmes: $150 million comes with quite a bit of pressure to deliver. What are you and Triple H doing to prepare?
Micheals: He and I, we were just talking last night to one o’clock in the morning, just talking and chatting. And one of the things that we’ve always done with each other is we’re able to keep each other loose. We’ll spend a little time talking some serious stuff, but when you’ve got a big, heavy burden on yourself like he does, I think the best thing I can do as his buddy is to try to keep it light. There are enough people around him that make him painfully aware of all of the big, heavy, dramatic things going on in his life. We give each other a welcome time away from all of the serious issues.

Holmes: I watched your Hall of Fame induction to prep for this, and Hunter was really giving it to you. It was almost like a roast. If you get to do the honors for him, there’s got to be some kind of payback coming, right?
Michaels: (Laughs) More than likely, but I’m not nearly as funny as he is. And I have to tell you, he’s been doing that for years, in the car, in the dressing room. That’s one of the reasons I’ve hung around with him for so long. He makes me laugh. I’ve got a 20-plus year relationship with Kevin Nash because the guy makes me laugh. I’ve been married to my wife for fourteen years because she makes me laugh. (Laughs) I have a tendency to gravitate to people with great senses of humor. And Hunter has a wonderful time at my expense. And I’d love to take offense to it, but it’s just so darn funny. If I’m fortunate enough to induct him, I’m sure there will be quite a bit of humor and some serious stuff…which he won’t like. He’s more reserved than I am, he doesn’t put his feelings out there. That’s how I’ll embarrass him by showing that there is that side of him.

Holmes: At Wrestlemania Hunter’s in a match with Brock Lesnar. As you’re well aware, Brock Lesnar is built like a house. Now, I’m no master strategist, but this is a No DQ match. Why doesn’t DX just reunite and take this guy out?
Michaels: (Laughs) That’s sort of always on reserve. That could be a game plan. If Brock’s still breathing, that’s not good for anyone. I’m not looking forward to him getting a hold of me. And Hunter is a prideful dude, I think there’s a part of him that it would bother him if he couldn’t run with the guy one-on-one. That being said, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to stick my nose in there. That’s what I’m there for. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not afraid to take a cheap shot.
Holmes: (Laughs) A cheap kick.
Michaels: Yeah. It’s Wrestlemania.
Holmes: And if Paul Heyman doesn’t mind his own business…
Michaels: Yeah, I can take him for sure.  (Laughs)

Holmes: Speaking of Paul Heyman, he did an impersonation of the recently deceased Paul Bearer this past Monday. I’d imagine you and Paul Bearer knew each other well as you were both a part of the WWE for so long. Some people take offense to Heyman’s impersonation; others say Bearer would’ve loved it. What’s your take?
Michaels: Well, I can only give my perspective of Paul and how much he loved and cared for the business. Whatever offends someone, that’s in the eye of the beholder. There are people who put pictures of Jesus in urine and that’s art. Obviously that’s offensive to me, but to other people it’s art. I don’t think Paul would’ve been offended, I think he’d be honored to do anything to further the business or a storyline. Certainly, the Paul Bearer that I knew had nothing but the utmost love and respect for the WWE. He’d be honored to know that after his passing that he was a big part of a Wrestlemania match.

Holmes: I’m a big believer that a title is only as important as the people who are chasing it. You had a big hand in making the Undertaker’s streak the major deal that it is now.
Michaels: Yeah, but I think the streak was really an entity of it’s own before I ran across him. It turned into something that became an event in and of itself. Almost on the same level as a championship. That was done by Wrestlemania, the WWE, and the Undertaker. I can’t take any credit. It was more important to me to go out there with a buddy of mine and do something that people will remember for a long time.

Holmes: The legends really seem to get behind CM Punk. They see some old-school traits in him. Is he someone you enjoy?
Michaels: Yeah, he’s also a young man I enjoy talking to. The term “old school” gets tossed around so much that it’s amusing. I think he’s a young man that has a ton of drive and an opinion. And because so many people are used to towing the line and the narrative of the day, that when someone gives their opinion honestly, that that’s some kind of awe-inspiring thing. (Laughs) So, for those of us that give our opinions on a regular basis, we appreciate it.
Holmes: As a member of the media who gets a lot of canned answers, I certainly appreciate it.

Holmes: We’ve got the Rock squaring off against John Cena in the main event for the WWE Championship. What’s your take on that match?
Michaels: I’m hoping they’re going to go wild and give a clinic. I look at this card and the Undertaker/Punk match, there’s a personal thing there. With Brock and Triple H you’re looking at a fight. So there’s two matches that can really be something special. But the Rock and John Cena, they really can do something more than just a marketing, merchandising, materialistic match. They can have a ton of substance. I’ll be honest, I have no clue what it is they’re doing. But I would love to see a phenomenal match. It doesn’t have to be technical, but I’d like it to be artistic. And I think those two can do that. The stage is set for these guys to rip the house down.

Holmes: We’ve got a stacked card on top. What’s your pick for an under card sleeper?
Michaels: I think the sleeper of the night is going to be Jericho and Fandango. That’s one I’m looking forward to seeing. I know Chris is a hustler, he’s a hard worker. I think when you put him in a situation like this where people have maybe forgotten about it, I think that’s when Chris is at his best. This Fandango kid coming in, his first match at Wrestlemania, they’re both going to work very hard.
Holmes: Fandango’s intensity on Monday was pretty impressive. That seems to be missing from a lot of today’s guys.
Michaels: Yeah, I have not seen a lot of him, I’ve heard a lot. But I’m going to sit down and watch that one. For Jericho, it’s what he’s used to doing. For Fandango, it’s a make-or-break sort of match. You can come in and really get a ton of focus on you in a good way or a bad way.

Holmes: We’ve got three really solid main events, but only two of the six talents are full-time WWE Superstars. I spoke with Dolph Ziggler and he expressed some frustration with this. I was reminded of Wrestlemania XI when you and Kevin Nash had to take a backseat to Laurence Taylor. What advice would you give to the younger guys who find themselves in situations like this?
Michaels: I went through it. We went through Wrestlemania IX and Wrestlemania XI. Maybe from a match standpoint we weren’t taking a backseat, but whatever their stories were got a lot more focus. It’s one of those things that does happen. You get angry at it, but at the end of the day Hogan helped. Laurence Taylor helped. All of those things added to the Pay Per View. There are probably seven guys on this Wrestlemania card that weren’t even a part of the company last year. So, the idea that they’re not integrating new guys? Those guys are new, they weren’t here. From that standpoint the other talent is getting a chance. And if Rock and Brock weren’t on the card, would you rather wrestle in front of 700,000 Pay Per View buys instead of 1.3 million?
Holmes: Good point.
Michaels: So, I understand their frustration because I went through it. When I was their age I thought it stunk too. I used to say, “Get those guys out of here.” When they get to be my age they’ll look back and think, “OK, I get it.” They ought to use it, which I’m sure they do, as motivation. And at the same time, do their best to take advantage. Fandango, The Shield, these guys can make an impression in front of 1.3 million Pay Per View buys. You have to transition from old to new, and it’s never a transition that goes fast enough for the younger guys. And I am very understanding and sympathetic. I was there, but it’s the reality of the way this business is…and honestly a lot of businesses are. If Michael Jordan wanted to come back right now, they’d be throwing money at him.
Holmes: And if Shawn Michaels wanted to come back right now?
Michaels: (Laughs) If Shawn Micheals wanted to come back right now they’d be throwing money at him. I can promise you. And they’d be right to. I could go out there tomorrow with Dolph Ziggler and give him the best match he ever had.
Holmes: I need to have a follow-up with Dolph when he comes back from his sitcom to work the main event of Wrestlemania 40.
Michaels: Dolph’s going to turn into one of those guys, CM Punk is going to be one of those guys. It’s not going to be a question of if they can draw money, they’ll just know that they do. And that’s growing. And they’re coming along. But like I said earlier, it’s not going to happen fast enough for them.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Don’t miss WWE Wrestlemania, Sunday April 7, 2013 at 7 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler Breaks Down Wrestlemania’s Top Matches

April 4, 2013

Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

Quick Note: Wrestlemania season is heating up and XFINITY has you covered! We’re going to have interviews and insights from top WWE Superstars, on-location tidbits from Wrestlemania weekend, and more. Order Wrestlemania here. And be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute details.

There isn’t a physical “Road to Wrestlemania.” But if there was, the next sign would read “This Exit: MetLife Stadium.”

With the industry’s biggest show just a few short days away, I had a chance to chat with Mr. Money in the Bank, Dolph Ziggler, to get his thoughts on the evening’s top matches…

Gordon Holmes: Alright, let’s start this off with the most important match; Zig-E and Big E vs. Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Titles…
Dolph Ziggler: You’re really trying to get that to catch on. (Laughs)
Holmes: I’m still trying to make “fetch” happen. Now, whenever I see one of my girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends, they tend to be smarter and better looking than me and I get depressed. Is it weird to face off against two of AJ’s exes in Kane and Daniel Bryan?
Ziggler: It’s only weird if you make it weird. But me, realizing that I’m pretty much the trophy that I am compared to a little garden gnome guy and a deranged monster, either way I think I have the upper hand here. Those guys are really good performers, but I’m known for being one of the best. And when it comes down to that Wrestlemania match, I won’t be thinking if it’s uncomfortable, I’m going to be thinking about doing whatever I can to steal the show and show off to AJ that she made the right choice.
Holmes: Have you had any conversations with Big E about the difference between Wrestlemania and smaller events? Any concerns about nerves?
Ziggler: Of course there is, and honestly even for me, I’ve been around and been at Wrestlemanias and been in front of 70,000 people, it’s not something you can prepare for. The last couple of weekends I’ve been sitting him down and having some good talks with him. This is a big deal just to be on this card. There are a lot of deserving Superstars who aren’t going to be on this Wrestlemania. I feel like I should always be in the main event, but I am excited and happy to be in a match. Just to be there is a big step. Now I have to get it into his head that you don’t want to freeze up, you don’t want to freak out. It all comes down to having me as a mentor for him, and he’s been listening.  I think he’s going to be great out there.

Holmes: What is your take on The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship?
Ziggler: I hope all the fans boo them out of the freaking building.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Ziggler: I don’t want the cheers and the boos. I hope it’s 90% boos letting them know that this “Once in a Lifetime” match is happening again and that I or someone else should be the main event. But, that’s the great thing about the WWE Universe. They get to voice their opinions, they get to show their signs. And whether they like something or hate it, you’re going to hear about it. I’m excited to hear it.
Holmes: So when the “We want Ziggler” chant breaks out, it’s not going to break your heart.
Ziggler: No, I’m used to it. Especially in New York.
Holmes: What’s your take on the new championship belt design?
Ziggler: I think it’s pretty cool. For a long time people wanted to get rid of that Cena-recognized belt. As a championship I think it looks pretty cool. Like I try to do myself, I think it mixes a little bit of old school with a little bit of shiny bling. It gives you the best of both worlds.
Holmes: Have you had any interactions with The Rock since he’s been back?
Ziggler: We’ve had a couple of quick talks here and there. He’s usually pretty busy just like all of us when he gets here. He’s been pretty cool about everything. And it was pretty neat, he told me he liked my work which is a pretty cool deal because you know he’s watching the shows when he’s traveling. Like I said, having him back, it makes me a little mad. But, I love the business sense of it, having him come back and getting the crowd behind him. When he’s promoting movies, we’re holding down the fort, waiting for him to come back.

Holmes: Triple H is putting his career on the line against Brock Lesnar in a career-ending match. Who do you like there?
Ziggler: I don’t know. Brock is a legitimate UFC guy who has beaten the crap out of some pretty tough fighters and I think Triple H was lucky to get out of it alive last time. But, Triple H is obviously motivated, his career is on the line and that’s a huge deal. But, he’s also an office guy, so he always has that as a backup. I don’t know if Brock has any other plans but to go out there and destroy opponents. I’m assuming Brock will come out on top of this one.

Holmes: Undertaker vs. CM Punk…does the streak continue or does Punk prove he’s the “best in the world”?
Ziggler: You know what? That streak is one of the biggest, majestic pieces of what makes Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania. Every year you start to question it, and as we get closer to the match you think maybe this new guy, this young kid, is he angry enough, is he going to be the one to break the streak? And you never know if it’s going to go to 30-0 or end at 20-1. That’s the awesome intrigue and that’s one of the matches I’m looking forward to watching. If CM Punk were to win, that’s bigger history than anything else that happens on that entire card.
Holmes: Is that how it’s viewed now? The streak is more important than the championships?
Ziggler: Yeah. Honestly, it’s such a staple of the Wrestlemania Pay Per View. It’s such a big deal that I wonder if you were to ask someone like me, “Do you want to face Cena for the title or take a crack at the streak?” I might lean toward the streak because Cena’s been champ a bunch of times, Punk held it for over a year, but that’s twenty one years there. It’s such a big deal that it’s bigger than the championship in some sense. To me it would be.

Holmes: This match might have your attention; Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Ziggler: I could care less, I hope they beat the crap out of each other and whoever is left gets laid out by the other one. I’ll be walking down the aisle and stealing the show with my cash in.
Holmes: I thought that was going to be a big secret, I was going to try to get you to confess that that was your plan. They knock each other cold, then cue Ziggler’s music.
Ziggler: You know, I’ve seen it before where it wasn’t exactly quite how I wanted it yet, so I can’t guarantee that’s going to happen. Cause when I cash this in, I’m not cashing it in to maybe win. It’s going to happen. So, somebody has to be out pretty cold for me to get back in there.
Holmes: Clearly you’re leaving Wrestlemania with two belts. And some guys will wear one around their waist and have the other over their shoulder, or both over their shoulders. Have you given much thought as to how you’re going to do it?
Ziggler: I honestly haven’t. Sometimes I’m old-school tradition. I like when the champion wears the title around his waist, so maybe both around the waist. But, I’d really hate to cover up these abs for all the girls that watch the show for me.
Holmes: I don’t have that problem, so I never would’ve thought of that. What if you snapped them behind your neck and wore them draped over your shoulders like a boxer would?
Ziggler: Oh…that’s very interesting. How about one facing the front, one facing back, I do my entrance facing out. That might work too.
Holmes: The clock is ticking, you need to figure this out and fast.
Ziggler: It’s not on the top of my list, but I’ll give it some consideration.
Holmes: I don’t mean to stress you out.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Don’t miss WWE Wrestlemania, Sunday April 7, 2013 at 7 pm ET on Pay Per View.

‘SummerSlam’ Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H: WWE Superstars Share Their Picks

August 14, 2012

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H (WWE)

The Cerebral Assassin is all set to square off against the Next Big Thing in the main event of this Sunday’s Summerslam. We had a chance to touch base with some WWE Superstars to get their thoughts on this dream match-up…

Brodus Clay: It’s establishment against the rebel. Triple H is the heir apparent to the WWE crown and Brock Lesnar has done everything his entire career to not be a part of the establishment. He’s always done his own thing. One guy is a cerebral assassin; he’s mentally destroyed guys for two decades. And Brock has just destroyed everything in his path. Even in his match with Cena, Cena got the win, but did he really win that match? Brock was toying with him at points. It’ll be interesting.  A gun to my head? I like Brock.

Zack Ryder: It’s definitely going to be a fight. You’re not going to see headlocks and armdrags. And if I’ve got to pick a winner, I’m going to go with Brock Lesnar.

WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson: I never thought I’d say this about Triple H, but I’m a little bit afraid for him. John Cena is a Neanderthal and I wasn’t worried about John getting hurt. But John got beat up pretty good. Lesnar’s an animal. And if Triple H isn’t prepared for an animalistic-type fight, there’s a chance he could get hurt. We’ve already seen that Brock is dominant in several different arenas. If it’s under ten minutes, Brock Lesnar wins. If he can last more than ten minutes, I’ll go with Triple H.

Daniel Bryan: I think Brock’s kimura was awesome. I’d rather it be me and Brock, I think we could have a different match than any match in WWE history. But I’m going to have to go with Brock.

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus: Ya know, If Cena didn’t have that chain at Extreme Rules, I don’t know if he could’ve beaten Brock. But Triple H is different, he has a lot more experience, he’s more of a street fighter than Cena. Brock’s more of a ground-and-pound guy. I honestly don’t know who’s going to walk out the winner, but I’ll tell you what; both of them are going to remember that fight for a long time. Their bodies are going to remind them. As for a winner, I’m going to go with Triple H, fella.

WWE Divas Champion Layla: That’s going to be a match that I don’t want to miss. It’s going to be exciting and fun. People are going to be glued to their sets. I’m going to go with Triple H. Even though Brock Lesnar is a butt kicker, Triple H is the business. He’s got all of the psychological tools. He knows what he’s doing

Watch WWE: Summerslam, Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Four Cheap and Effective Ways to Improve Pro Wrestling

June 12, 2012

The WWE has found itself in a bit of a rut recently. Injuries and suspensions have left their roster depleted, storylines and characters aren’t quite popping like they used to, and nobody on the undercard seems prepared to grab the reigns and make a name for themselves. And worst of all, these problems are sure to become more pronounced when Raw moves to a permanent three-hour format.

Now while most proposed solutions tend to delve into specifics (“Turn Cena!” “Push Ziggler!”), I’m more interested in the little things the creative team can be doing to help turn the ship around…


How Do You Solve a Problem Like John Cena?

March 30, 2012

Hulk Hogan headlined his first Wrestlemania in 1985 when he was 32 years old. He went on to perform at the main event level until Wrestlemania 19 in 2003.

John Cena is 34.

Maybe the Hulkster is an extreme case, but it’s absolutely conceivable that the former Doctor of Thuganomics could be hustling, proving loyalty, and providing respect for another seventeen years. I’m sure Vince McMahon is cool with this as Cena has proven to be a reliable merchandise mover and squeaky clean front man for the company, but you have to wonder what’s next for him creatively.


Wrestling Posters

August 31, 2011

I snagged a Wacom for my birthday and I’ve been obsessed with it. As in, I sit down on the couch with it when I get home after work, then crawl up to bed seven hours later. So, here are some of my early efforts…

CM Punk Promo Poster Wrestlemania X-Seven Poster Wrestle War '89 Poster

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