Shawn Michaels’ behind-the-scenes work at WWE may be more important to his reputation than his wrestling career. People think the two-time WWE Hall of Famer is one of the best. His many victories and classic moments make it hard to disagree with him. Since retiring in 2010, Michaels has helped WWE build its future through NXT and other avenues.
The 57-year-old has an advantage in this field because he is an inventor
Due to WWE’s unique deal with Candy Digital, Michaels is the first superstar to receive his own NFT trading card. The Heartbreak Kid said, “Because of the network, the Peacock deal, and now NXT, Shawn Michaels can still be watched by a new generation of WWE fans.” “The NFT trading card is new, different and has not been tested before and I am the first person to receive it. I didn’t grow up with cable. I’m curious.”
WWE’s new line of NFT cards will look a lot like the trading cards from the 1980s and 1990s. They will include a silver statue of Michaels posing in the ring while his entrance music plays, a 3D NFT card that turns into a carousel of images of him from three different eras in the career and more. The winner will be Michaels’ guest at a future NXT show and will receive ringside seating, a backstage tour, meet and greets and autographed items.
A change in Michaels’ NXT fuel
Michaels could have easily retired from wrestling after a great match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26. Until 2016, when NXT hired him as a trainer and creative consultant, he hadn’t been seen on WWE TV in years. Since then, HBK has added his great ideas to the brand. He knows how important change is because he led WWE into its New Generation phase in the mid-1990s, breaking the mold for headlining.
“I pride myself on being one of the guys that’s been around a long time but also understanding and appreciating the business that’s evolving and changing and being a supporter of that,” Michaels said. “As with anything else, the athletes get so much better, whether it’s in our discipline or another, and continue to innovate and push the envelope.” WWE never shies away from doing these different innovations and combining them with what we do.”
When Triple H had heart surgery a year ago, Michaels was the only creative leader left in NXT.
Even though rumors said otherwise, the Heartbreak Kid confirmed that he has been in charge since the brand launched in September.
Michaels: “When Hunter first left, it became all me, and certainly from a TV perspective,” Michaels said. “Matt Bloom is the head trainer and handles everything from a computer training standpoint, but when it came to NXT 2.0 TV, that’s something that my team and I took on creatively. I know a lot of people thought Vince and Bruce were doing it. I can promise you, they didn’t have time to make NXT TV. If it’s good or if it’s bad, it’s mine.
“It’s been an immense pleasure to run this show and work with this talent. Again, everyone was put in a really tough position, we all were, but that’s where you learn to do things in WWE. That, to me, is a form of talent development, which is understanding that things can always change … around here and you have to adapt to it. The show always goes on. It was an ordeal for many of us, but it’s been a really great experience.”
Michaels thinks that having studied the game for nearly 30 years and knowing that anything can happen in WWE has prepared him for this opportunity. Even though it wasn’t what he signed up for, he’s done well in his newfound fame and enjoys the challenges he faces every day. Michaels started as a trainer and then moved on to more creative work. “I always followed Triple H. I never thought I would be the one to have the final say on the schedule, what we do and don’t do and how we move forward.”
The founders of DX want to find creative ways to connect NXT and the main roster. Michaels takes chances, even if they don’t always work out.
Part of getting better at pro wrestling is getting out of your comfort zone. Over the past year, this technology has led to several potential NXT 2.0 concepts while others have failed.
Fans worried that no matter how well someone did in NXT, Vince McMahon would change what worked for them on Raw or SmackDown.
After Vince McMahon retires on July 22, Triple H will be in charge of making decisions. Michaels has promised more brand synergy to protect the future of WWE.
“He and I have always thought about things the same way,” he said. “That’s what we’re hoping for.” We want things to continue to evolve and improve and evolve, but I think it will be a more natural transition. And look: We also understand that it is our job down here to adapt to everything else. It’s Raw and SmackDown that really pave the way for this company. We get it.
“I like the fire drill in this job. I know it’s challenging at times and I know people get upset when we have sudden changes and changes in direction and it can be nerve-wracking, but it’s also incredibly exciting and challenging. I guess it’s something I still enjoy. At 10:05 on Tuesday night we’re going to have a live show and if it didn’t go perfectly, don’t worry, we’ve got one next week and it’s a good problem to have.”
Fans have seen a lot of changes since Triple H took over Raw and SmackDown. Dakota Kai, Karrion Kross and Dexter Lumis are all back.
Kai and Iyo Sky (formerly Io Shirai) worked with Michaels in black-and-gold. He feels good about the future of Raw and SmackDown with the two original members of D-Generation X at the helm.
I like Dakota Kai and Iyo is one of the most talented women in the world,” Michael said. “Our lists are similar. I think like Hunter. We have a list that we think about sometimes, so I’m happy with what he’s done and what he’s going to do in the future and we’ll help him along the way.”
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