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Jim Ross On Shawn Michaels’ Legacy, Shawn Losing His Smile, Vince McMahon’s Relationship With Him

December 28, 2020 | Posted by Blake Lovell
Shawn Michaels

In a recent edition of Grilling JR, Jim Ross discussed Shawn Michaels’ legacy, Shawn losing his smile, Vince McMahon paying him to sit at home for four years, and much more. You can read his comments below.

Jim Ross on Shawn Michaels’ legacy and where he ranks among wrestling’s greats: “It’s generally the discussion comes down Shawn or Ric. One of the hardest questions I get when we’re doing our Q&A’s is these Mount Rushmores. I could theoretically give you three or four answers, and all of them would be pretty damn good. So, my point is, it’s so subjective. How do you say? But I think the general argument that it’s Ric or Shawn is pretty much a consensus. That leaves out guys like Bret Hart, Stone Cold, and The Rock, and on and on and on. We’re leaving out an All-Star cast and a whole wing of the Hall of Fame if there was one. But I think it’s the consensus that if you’re gonna do the best ever, it’s that Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels would be in that conversation very deeply.”

On Vince McMahon seeing himself in Michaels: “Vince told me one time, ‘I see so much of myself in Shawn Michaels.’ He gave all these descriptions. He’s defiant, he’s creative, he’s high strung. I wanted to continue this list with, ‘Yeah, and both of you are insecure, both of you are paranoid of your own shadow, both of you are wondering when the other shoe is gonna drop.’ So, yeah maybe you’re right. Shawn just had so many issues…..he could take a smaller issue like [Vader]’s gear and make a deal out of it.”

On Michaels relinquishing the Intercontinental title in 1997 and the losing his smile promo: “He was volatile. He was polarizing, and he was volatile. Anything you heard about Shawn was not gonna be a total shock. You kind of got used to it. But surrendering the title, I don’t know if he lost his smile because he was injured, or if he lost his smile because he couldn’t handle the pressure, or if he was influenced by outside sources. I don’t know. But I know that day, I was very uncomfortable with it. The dressing room facilities, so nobody ever really got out of sight. We were constantly bumping into each other all day, so once you get the message of what’s gonna happen in the production meeting, it was like, ‘Geez, that’s pretty extreme.’ Maybe something’s really wrong. I always thought his feelings were hurt more than his knees or back, but I don’t know exactly why. He had a hard time handling and accepting the responsibility of being the top guy in the territory.”

On Vince paying Shawn to sit at home for four years: “Vince loved him. We paid $750,000 a year for about four years to do nothing because he was Vince’s guy. And every time, we would go over the budget and things, ‘What do you want to with the Shawn contract?’ He said, ‘Well, nothing. Leave it alone.’ That’s just Vince. Vince didn’t have to do that. But here’s the deal, all Shawn wanted to do was go play with Kevin [Nash] and Scott [Hall]. So, that would’ve been nice for WCW to get Shawn, don’t you think? So, he took good care of him.”

If using any of the above quotes, please credit Grilling JR with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.