Not shaking Shawn Michaels’ hand after their WrestleMania 14 match: “Proper etiquette is if you work a match with somebody, whether you’re working heel, baby, it doesn’t matter, new to the territory or been around, you always thank the guy you work with.” Austin explained, “that’s just what you do.
“Whether you knocked it out of the park or whether you s–t the bed, you always go thank the person that you worked with. So there wasn’t any animosity between me and Shawn. Me and Shawn we always cool. He just wasn’t in a good place and we just didn’t know if he was going to get in the ring.
“And there were a couple of stories about The Undertaker taping up his hands and stuff like that. Shawn was late to a few things, but there was never any heat between me and Shawn. Man, as long as I’ve known Shawn, we’ve never had heat. He was just in a bad place in that time in his life.
“He had a bad back and he wasn’t thrilled about dropping the [world] title, but he certainly did and he was a complete pro about it. But I do not remember getting a chance to shake his hand or talk about the match.”
Always getting along well with Michaels when they worked together: “I had worked with Shawn at house shows many times before that and we had absolutely ripped the roof off of these places having these matches, just calling it on the spot, calling it on the fly. Shawn was always cool with me calling the matches because 90% of the time, he was calling his own matches because that’s how Shawn worked.
“And I was used to calling my matches, so he was like, ‘dude, you want to call the match?’ It gives him a night off. You’re talking about hands down probably the best worker in the history of the business, and he’s going to let you call a match, so he can take the night off and just do his part, he’s down for it.
“I don’t remember shaking his hand after that match.” Austin added, “but never any heat, but that’s what you do. You shake people’s hand after. You’re trusting this person with your life, basically.”
If he had heat with HBK after the WrestleMania press conference incident: “Anyway, he shows up at the press conference that was for me, and Mike Tyson, and Vince [McMahon], or whoever it was, to answer questions.” Austin recalled, “and Shawn left, but Shawn was totally cool after that. And Shawn is probably one of the people I keep in contact with most.
“I mean, we don’t call each other everyday, obviously, but I give him a call every three to four months just to see how he’s doing, what’s going on, how the ranch is doing or if he’s able to get out and enjoy the woods anymore now that he’s down there working in Orlando [Florida] at the [WWE] Performance Center. And he’s doing really well and he’s happy. But I keep in contact or regular contact just to shoot the breeze with one of the guys and he’s one of my all-time favorites.
“I really think from bell-to-bell, Shawn Michaels was probably the best to ever do it in the business of professional wrestling. That’s my opinion. When it comes to well-rounded, athletic, storytelling, psychology, everything, performance, Shawn is the guy.”
H/T Wrestling Inc. for the transcriptions