HBK a changed man after discovering God By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
"Jesus Christ changes people's hearts. He did it 2,000 years ago and he did it to me." It's not exactly the type of quote you expect to hear in a wrestling interview, certainly not from a guy who is more famous for obscene TV segments, nude Playgirl photo shoots and the infamous Montreal doublecross of Bret Hart.
But the new Shawn Michaels is a completely different person from the man he was eight years ago and it's a change he's anxious to reveal to the world.
"I think it's safe to say it was a major transformation for me," the Heartbreak Kid told the Sun. "It goes to show that none of us are too far gone. God had his hand on me all these years and was tapping me on the shoulder but I was just too busy to notice."
When reminded of some of his more controversial TV moments, Michaels concedes the edgy antics were important parts of his career.
"If I look at it from a business standpoint, some of what I did was very innovative so I'm proud to have been a part of what was groundbreaking in our industry. But as a Christian man, I wouldn't do it again."
Even if Vince McMahon proposed a heel turn, simply as part of a storyline?
"If it compromises the word of God, I won't do it and WWE is aware of that. The Lord will forgive us but it's not a free card to go back and sin again and again. I understand that I'm not allowed to say I can't do a storyline because of my faith, so I'm okay with being overlooked because of that decision.
"I have no problem stepping aside and letting someone else do something I wouldn't want to."
Strong words from a guy who was notorious for never letting anyone else share the spotlight.
Of Michaels' 11 title reigns in WWE, more than half of them ended without him cleanly dropping the belt. He had a reputation for being selfish and manipulative.
At Wrestlemania 14 where Michaels was supposed to get pinned by rising star Steve Austin, The Undertaker took him aside before the match and threatened serious repercussions if he didn't go along with the planned finish.
Looking back, Michaels admits he did a lot of things of which he isn't proud but insists he never crossed a certain line.
"I never committed a fire-able offence," Michaels said. "After all the things I supposedly did, I'm still here. Vince McMahon and I have always had the understanding that I'm allowed to fight to the bitter end but ultimately it's his company. When he drops the hammer down, both he and I know that is it."
So how much of his bad reputation was deserved?
"It's tough to put a percentage on it," he said. "I'm actually in the process of doing a book and there's a lot of stories out there that I just wasn't aware of. But most of the stuff about me being difficult is true, I definitely was."
But now, with religion in his life and his wife and kids as his rock, Michaels is finally at peace with himself.
"For me to have learned and grown from all of this, I think I've done exactly what I'm supposed to do," he said. "I'm not a biblical scholar and I haven't been walking the walk for the past 20 years. I'm just doing the best I can.
"I'm a willing servant and I only have to answer to one judge."
Michaels comes to Calgary May 30 for a live broadcast of Monday Night Raw from the Saddledome. Tickets are on sale now.