Time and greater context have left Shawn Michaels regretting coming out of retirement to take what turned into a disastrous tag team match between him and Triple H against the Undertaker and Kane in 2018.
“I do,” Michaels said during a Zoom interview. “I had no idea that from Mark’s standpoint he was looking at it as that might be one he could walk away on.”
The 55-year-old Michaels, currently a producer for NXT, had said in the past that he had no regrets about the match at the Crown Jewel show in Saudi Arabia. But Undertaker, whose real name is Mark Calaway, said during the “The Last Ride” docuseries last year that “if that match came off the way that it was intended and the way that we wanted it to, that might have been enough for me.”
It appears it has changed Michaels’ feelings about his decision.
“That’s something that I think to myself now, ‘oh my goodness I wish that I’d have known that,’ ” he said.
It was Michaels’ first time wrestling since his retirement match against Undertaker at WrestleMania 26 in 2010, which is among his best at the event. The one in Saudi Arabia saw Triple H tear his pectoral and Kane lose his mask along with a number of other botched spots that showed the performers’ age and ring rust. Triple H told The Post in June the Undertaker was “in a really bad headspace” because of family issues and that the match was something Michaels “got talked into” as a way to have some fun in the ring one more time.
“For me it was [fun],” said Michaels, whose performance was a bright spot. “It was just a chance to be with my buddies.”
He has been able to break off the match from the rest of his career, saying it “lives in a separate world to me.”
“All I can do is apologize to the guys,” Michaels said.
He knows other people can’t compartmentalize in the same way, but it has allowed him to be at peace with the match and his career. Don’t expect the Crown Jewel debacle to haunt him and lure him back to the ring.
“I think people have always been kind of confused with my peace and joy with the way I did things and that somehow there should be something nagging at me, something left unfinished,” Michaels said. “I think it’s hard for people to not always see me as Shawn Michaels and I see the entire picture and I know the guy who started as a 200-pound guy that wasn’t supposed to make it. So for me, I compare that to what I did get the opportunity to do and it’s hard not to be happy about that.”