Can you describe what it was like to meet with Bret Hart backstage when he made his return?
As he has mentioned, it was pretty brief as far as what we wanted to do out there. That was very brief because we did want it to be as real and as fresh as it could be. In addition to talking to one another about that, it was very open and very honest, and I certainly have to say from my perspective, nice. It was important to me to talk to him face to face. All you can do is sort of bare your soul in front of somebody and let it go from there, and that’s certainly what I did. I remember way back when I first came to WWE and how we used to get along, and it was nice and it was pleasant. And to have that now is nice. I know for a lot of people it may seem strange, but for he and I it’s a nice place to be. I look back on my return in 2002 and so many things have gone full circle, and to be where he and I are at now, it’s one of those things where you say, “Man, second chances are really nice.” Everybody doesn’t always get them. You know me, I’m a little deep and a little goofy about that stuff, but it’s important. In a strange business and in a business that, heaven forbid, you show your heart, you’re going to be called a bunch of stuff and made fun of constantly, but for me, it was nice and it’s a great place to be with him.
What are your thoughts on Ric Flair wrestling again? Are you disappointed? Did he talk to you about it?
He did call me. He called me once to let me know he was going to do the [Hulk] Hogan match in Australia. He wanted to know if it was OK and I of course told him that it was. Then he called me again when he was going to sign with TNA and asked the same thing. There’s nothing you can say. I certainly don’t have what it takes to look at somebody and say, “Don’t go make a living.” I told him that, for me, nothing can take away that special moment. It will still always be to me that I had Ric Flair’s last match. I tried to do the best job I could for him. I think it was a special moment. Anything after that [pauses]. I feel for him, but I’m certainly not angry or disappointed or anything. I would like to think that Ric probably would have liked that to have been his last match, too. The fact that it couldn’t be, I understand. Those are circumstances that I certainly can’t control.
One of the things you have to understand is that if you’re going to be a friend of Ric’s, you sort of know that there’s some baggage that comes along with that. Certainly the older I get the more I’m learning about conditional situations, and the difference between that and unconditional — unconditional friendship, unconditional love. All those types of things we can talk about but it’s a whole other thing to put them into action. I do my best to put them into action. I want what’s best for Ric, even if Ric might not always be aware of what that is, I still want that for him. Nothing will take away from that moment. It’s sill truly special. I still wear my watch every day, so it’s still something I’m really proud of. [Note: Michaels had matching diamond Rolex watches made for he and Flair to commemorate their match.]
I’ve read that one of the reasons you have always wanted to be on Raw and not Smackdown is because the Smackdown schedule would conflict with your bible study group. Is that true?
Yeah. Tuesday nights was my Bible study, Wednesday was mine and my son’s that we went to, and my wife and daughter’s. It would throw a monkey wrench into that, and that’s a big part of our life. You can switch my schedule around but I may not be the employee for you that I’ve been — you tell me which one you want more [laughs]. Yes, that is the reason. I also understand that I get held to a different standard than other Christians do in this business. It isn’t like I’m the only one. But other ones can play bad guys on TV and people can say it’s a character. I do something and they go, “Oh, he’s compromising on his faith.” [laughs]. Heck, I get in trouble with a bunch of church folk every time I do the DX thing. I know that people are as sure as they’re standing there that they know about my life, they know who I am and they know how I am — and that’s cool. All I can do is tell them at the end of the day is, you don’t [laughs]. What you see on TV and even what you see in the airport, when I walk out the door, Shawn Michaels takes over. But unless you’re inside this house every day, you don’t know. And that’s OK. But it’s important that my wife and children get the man that they bargained for.