Felger & Mazz

Felger & Mazz

Felger & Mazz

Shawn Michaels, the first ever GRAND SLAM Champion, the man who started the attitude era, The Heartbreak Kid, The Showstopper, the Main Event, The ICON that can still go, Mr. WrestleMania, the WWE Hall of Famer and the current Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative and oversees the creative aspects of the NXT brand joined James Stewart and Mike Riley on this weeks Stick to Wrestling Podcast.


    Hall of Fame inductee Shawn Michaels attends the WWE 2011 Hall Of...

    Hall of Fame inductee Shawn Michaels attends the WWE 2011 Hall Of Fame Induction at Phillips Arena on April 2, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

  • Shawn Michaels


    Carmelo Hayes



    James Stewart: The current next champion is Carmelo Hayes, who has local wrestling ties here. Mike and I are both huge fans of his. We both know him a little bit. He’s been very friendly with us when he was when he was working locally. I appreciate that Standard and Delivered in L.A. he did whatever it took to beat Bron Breakker. It feels like he was somebody who was targeted by NXT and the NXT scouts to be a franchise player. WWE and NXT have invested in Carmelo Hayes. What did you see in Carmelo Hayes? How do you see him moving forward and did you maybe have like a long-term storyboard idea for Carmelo Hayes when you signed him?

  • Carmelo Hayes works his first match in TD Garden

    Carmelo Hayes works his first match in TD Garden in March 2023

  • Shawn Michaels: Well, look, so obviously when he got signed, you know, it’s one of those things that at that time I was more transitioning from a coach and more major production standpoint and creative standpoint. But I did I can remember going down for what were, you know, just like an internal little lame event that we had. And I watched him wrestle and I just thought that one right there is going to be special. And then I sort of made it my little mission to make sure we got him just after 205 live time. And then he and I had a nice little conversation and I said, look, I just, you know, not that I want to have you, you know, stuck on two or five by any chance. I just wanted to get you into the ring as soon as possible. He’s like, Well, good, because I don’t want to be I don’t want to be labeled as this. And I said, Don’t worry. I said, you’re you know, I’m you know what I mean? I understand about, you know, not being the, you know, the biggest dude on the roster. So not to where Carmelo and I have had an absolutely phenomenal relationship since that point. I mean, he wasn’t here for that long before we got to know each other. And he’s a young man that I think the world of. I think he’s got unlimited potential. To answer your question for the future, I think and anybody sees that, it’s not as if, you know, I’m some kind of what one wonder man that I picked up Carmelo Hayes. And, you know, he saw it so that he had talent. Obviously, he did. He’s also very raw, you know what I mean? He’s got a great deal of passion. What I like is he’s like a wild stallion is short. He got to try to keep him focused. And you know what I mean? And not going off course, but that’s great. And again, I know I love him. I love the relationship that we have. And so, yes, look, I’ll say this, that the match that happened between Raw and Breaker Kamala Harris, that stand and deliver was something that I saw, you know, last year probably, you know, because you could just tell that those two guys were two guys that were sort of going to separate themselves from the herd. And they’ve clearly continued to do that. And now it’s going to be amazing. You know, more than likely, I would imagine it. Near the soggy center on May 28, the battleground. It’s going to be Carmelo Hayes against Brian Breaker, but in two entirely different roles, which I think is interesting because right now Ryan Breaker is a man possessed and he’s just nothing worse than a, you know, a guy with his bloodlines, shall we say, and, you know, amped up and jacked up and angry. You know what I mean? He’s he’s kind of tough, kind of tough to deal with. So I’m thankful that Carmelo Hayes is the one that’s got to deal with him in Lowell on the 28th.

    James Stewart: Melo Don’t Miss

  • Working One Last Match:

  • James Stewart: The Internet says that you’ve got one more match left. Is it AJ Styles? Is it Seth Rollins? Who is it? Come on, tell us.

    Shawn Michaels: Yeah, well, look, you know, all of them would have to work around me, that’s for darn sure.

  • Vince McMahon at the commentary desk:

  • Former WWE chairman Vince McMahon. (Credit: James Stewart/98.5 The Sports Hub)

    Former WWE chairman Vince McMahon. (Credit: James Stewart/98.5 The Sports Hub)

  • “Well, look, honestly, to me and I always tell people this, that’s the hardest thing I ever did was color commentary. To me, that was the most challenging thing. So I have a great deal of appreciation for, you know, Vic Joseph, Michael Cole, all that, you know, the job that they’ve done. I think one of the people that I’ve seen mentioned it, Corey Graves, several years ago, I thought his transition was so impressive because again, that’s really hard to me. Again, it’s one thing to go out there for a couple of minutes, cut a promo, but you know, to have to have 2 hours of, I don’t know, of information, storyline, understanding everything that’s going on, making sure your bringing credibility, but also keeping you true to who you are. So I will say this, whether it was working with Vince or or anyone else of the times, I do it even here and there today. I think the last time I did it was during the halftime show. But it’s challenging, I have to admit. You know, you can go a little ways on who you are, you know, and your credibility. But to have to hang tough for 2 hours or 3 hours every week for 20 years, again, Lawler and them are just you know, again, guys like that are just phenomenal. I don’t know. To me, I think it’s one of the hardest jobs in this line of work.”

  • Any Active Conversations with Vince McMahon:

  • “I do not. I mean, I will say this. I mean, I get direction here every now and then, But I’ll be honest with you, He’s you know, he’s even when he was, again, more sort of involved with them. He was always, you know, phenomenal with me. Again, I think he’s always, you know, again, I’m pretty good about I don’t know, stay in my wheelhouse. I think that’s one of the things. Believe it or not, I feel like I’ve learned pretty well. I wasn’t great at it when I was younger, obviously. But I think I think, you know, they have sort of I understand the idea of what an act is and what we want. And I seem to be I understand both Hunter’s vision for next year as a whole and its foundational principles and what they were built on. But I also understand, I think, you know, whatever the impact that Alexi has on, you know, on a brand that is global, you know what I mean? And understanding where we’re at. So, again, I’d like to think I do a pretty good job of that. And I try to keep I know everybody’s really busy, so I try to make sure that I’m, you know, not one of the things that I have to worry about.”

  • Transition from the wrestler to VP of Creative:

  • “It’s one of those things that can be very surreal at times. On one hand, we I don’t know, we kind of laugh and joke about it that, my goodness, can you sort of believe that? But at the same time, we you know, I think we do a really good job balancing, again, the again, the sincerity and the seriousness of we understand what we’ve been given and we want to be good stewards of that and we do what we love. And you hear it a lot, you know, to love this business and, you know, to love the WWE. But look, we have so much of ourselves. You know, we’ve now, you know, both of us have been more with this company than we have anything else in our lives. And that’s never going to change. I don’t know unless, you know, the company were to fire us and then we both we, you know, exist until we were 120. You know, I mean, so, yeah, right now we spent more of our adult lives and more of our lives with the WWE than anything else. And so we take that very seriously. We want to be good and true to this company and this line of work and the sport in general, because it’s given so much to us. And so whereas one hand we can be funny and immature and joke about it, on the other hand, there’s also again a very serious attribute to it that makes us want to do everything we can to, you know, to the best of our ability to make sure, I don’t know, we keep these visions, you know, in, you know, in our in our line of sight, but also know that the really the vision of the WWE is to go forward, is to grow, to be innovative and to continue to expand and make, you know, the WWE and obviously Alexi bigger and better as we go forward. So look, it’s a lot of fun. At the same time, I got to be honest. But look you know it doesn’t lose its, you know, seriousness just by any stretch. But it’s it’s for me it’s great to be down here. And Alexi, I love being down here and helping and being a part of these young men and women’s future and getting them to again, have the same experiences or more or better than we had. And that’s why we, you know, that’s why we’re so into it as we are.”

  • Talent go from being a wrestler in WWE to becoming a WWE superstar:

  • “There is a difference. You know what I mean? There’s there’s so much more to being a WWE superstar than than I don’t know than just what goes on in the ring. And it’s just all the other aspects of it. And again, I’ll even say this because there’s the potential, you know, whether it’s transitioning into the role that I am now, whether it be, you know, multi-million dollar movie deals, whether it be multimillion dollar television deals or again, now in this era of podcasts and so many different, I don’t know, spring offs of what it is that we do here in the WWE. You only kind of get that here. I mean, because again, this brand, the WWE is is so big. It’s so it is and it’s global. And the thing is, look at again, I’m never trying to stir up a hornet’s nest or anything but man, when you go out there at WrestleMania and you watch this place sell out these huge stadiums, take over an entire city and arguably sometimes an entire state, and people are coming from all over the world and they do that for two nights. You recognize really just how big it is. No, you know, no mistake about it. There are number twos and threes and. Absolutely. And I am thrilled about that for the business as a whole. But the reality is there is such a huge gap. You know what I mean? And it really stands out when you see what goes on in a WrestleMania weekend. And I guess that’s the thing. That’s what being a WWE superstar is, is just that it encompasses so much more. And look, that’s that’s why all these young men and women are here in that team. You know what I mean is should try to have those moments and those experiences where, yes, you’re going out there or eventually to perform in the ring, but you’re out there for an entire week and you do, you know, 20, 25 different things again that you didn’t know you were ever going to do when you were watching as a kid said, hey, I’d like to be a pro wrestler. You know what I mean?”

  • NXT having a unique match at BattleGround:

  • “I’d like to see maybe in the next couple of weeks is the first ever defense of the Heritage Cup happening there, you know, at Battleground on the 28th. So I think, again, that is a very unique, different kind of match. And the way, again, not everybody can just do that. It’s a rough match. It sounds like something that doesn’t, I don’t know, work as well. But it is amazing what those two U.K. guys did, you know, in those in those Heritage Cup matches. So feel like that’s something we’re going to have. And I also I got to believe I don’t know what’s going to happen with Ilja Dragunov and Dijak.”

  • When he found his love for wrestling again:

  • “2002. What did all that change? You know what I mean? I have to be honest. I can. I still came back and did it. But again, I don’t know. Honestly, I it was. I don’t know that I was ever doing it from. You know what I mean? From a place of enjoyment. Because I don’t honestly, I don’t like a lot of stuff that get overly, you know, too much into the you know, we’ve all heard it a million times. But I will say this and I know everybody thinks that stuff happened to me just because I was a prick. That’s a believe it or not, addiction is not a great thing for anybody and all the stuff that you go through. Again, that’s what it is when everything is said and done. You want to you know what I mean? Again, you can pick and choose. But everybody else had addictions. Somehow I didn’t. But let’s face it, you know very well I did did a lot of work on myself. Since then, just because I don’t tweet about it everyday doesn’t mean that it isn’t something that I don’t work on every day. And I’ve done it since 2002. And honestly, my life inside the inside, the ring, outside of it and everything else is done in a whole new different way.”

  • Working in Lowell:

  • “I do have to also say there were a lot of great moments. I love that building. That little auditorium was one of the best places I ever performed in. They were right on top of you. I remember that’s the first I mean, that the losing your smile happened there. But the European championship, the course of a match happened there. Like it was a classic, you know, the D-X Christmas, you know? First time D-X ever got flashed was there. Oh, amazing moments in that building again. That’s why. Again, Lowell, Mass. That is not just a, you know, a cliche line from from for me. So many great moments.”

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