Speaking on a media call ahead of NXT Halloween Havoc, Michaels was asked how his past self from 1992-1997 would have dealt with the pressures of being a WWE star today. It’s well-documented that Michaels struggled with addiction throughout the prime years of his career as an in-ring competitor. He noted that he’s willing to let his past be a cautionary tale for the young talent he works with in NXT. The WWE Hall of Famer emphasized that he wants to help these young men and women however he can. He went on to state that he doesn’t care if this mindset produced a “softer generation.”
“Well look, all I know is I didn’t cope with it great in that day, but that’s one of the things I certainly try to use here. I’m not afraid to be a cautionary tale to the young men and women that come through this place,” Michaels said. “If there’s anything that I can do to help them, I absolutely do that. One of the most important things to me is for them not to feel like they can’t express what’s going on inside their heart, inside their mind. Tolerance is a huge thing here. We have to have it for one another. I know the struggles that I had mentally sometimes going on, and I don’t want them to have it.
“So I just think that an open line of communication, nothing is silly, nothing is unimportant. If it’s a big deal to you, then it’s a big deal to us, and let us try to help you through it. I recognize that, for my generation, you know, back in my day, I don’t want to foster that, I don’t want to feed that. I think it’s okay, I don’t care if we’re a softer generation. I gotta be honest, I don’t care if that’s how everybody sees them. It’s gonna get hard enough when you get up to the main roster and the pressures and all that kind of stuff. I’m not doing it here.”
Michaels then described how he wants working in NXT and the WWE Performance Center to be a great experience for the talent, and he made it clear that the team is there to help the performers work through anything they might be struggling with. He expressed that he doesn’t want to see them follow the path he did
“I want them to be comfortable. We’re gonna do everything we can to prepare them. We’ll let them know it may not be the same, but at the same time, I want this to be a fun experience. It was mentioned earlier, it’s like the college atmosphere. That’s what we want here. We want this to be a great experience. When you get into the pros and you go to the main roster and it becomes about business, I understand that. But here, I want you to know it can be fun, we want to be there for you. If we have to be part-psychiatrist or help in any other way, or parents, that’s fine. That is the role here. That’s why I stay here.
“I love that. I’ll be more than happy to be a cautionary tale and help people through whatever it is they might be struggling with down here because that was the greatest thing about my Kliq buddies, I guess, is that I could at least tell them. Hell, obviously everybody on this phone call knows it didn’t help me that much. I still managed to screw it up. So I just don’t want that for any of the young men and women that are coming through this place.”
The full media call is available here:
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