Shawn Michaels: “Tell Vince, He Can Come to My House and Try to Take the Belt Off My Mantle!”

Vince Russo

shawn michaelsThe words of Shawn Michaels to me days before WrestleMania XIV.

Nobody has any idea how bad things had gotten between Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels leading into Mania 98’ than yours truly. Why? Because I was named the official “go-between” by both parties when communication broke down and neither side would talk to the other.

The scene had reached a boiling point in the weeks leading up to Mania, and to be honest, I felt that much of it was warranted by Shawn. The months prior, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin had been the “one” anointed by Vince, and it was clear to everybody involved. Austin was the WWE’s new “cash cow”, and he was placed high above on a pedestal by the boss, even though Austin never publicly or privately embraced Vince’s favoritism. Steve just wasn’t that kind of guy. The “Rattlesnake” believed in achieving everything he attained through merit, in other words, working his a** off every single night. The night after Austin won the WWE World Title from Shawn, Vince told me, “From now on your priority is Steve, nothing else matters.” Unfortunately, whether he meant to, or not, Vince had already set that precedent weeks and months beforehand.

In the Kliq locker room, Shawn Michaels was feeling like he was the guy who had been kicked to the curb, probably because he was. Prior to the Attitude Era when the WWE was floundering, Shawn was carrying the entire organization on his back, doing everything that the boss and everybody else in the office was asking him to do. Believe it, or not, Shawn was a company man at that time, as he took great honor, pride and responsibility in being the WWE hood ornament.

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