Shawn Michaels, the man widely recognized as the greatest WWE superstar that ever lived, is thoroughly enjoying his life outside the ring.
His new television endeavor, Shawn Michaels' MacMillan River Adventures, is a success, with the Outdoor Channel offering the program a multi-year deal. Michaels and company are currently filming more episodes.
Michaels recently entered a sponsorship agreement with Deuce Brand to be the face of and creative force behind the "Showstopper" watch, an HBK-themed wrist piece.
Yet despite having many irons in the fire, Michaels still finds his way back to WWE, even if only sporadically. Tonight on Raw, Michaels will make his second appearance in the past three weeks. "Mr. WrestleMania" was part of the DX reunion at Raw 1,000, and now, in his hometown of San Antonio tonight, will partake in "HBK Appreciation Night."
"I honestly don't know [what to expect]," Michaels admits. "I have probably less information than you guys do, which is [WWE's] doing. I do my best to always take that as a compliment. I like to feel that they basically know that they sort of let me know what's going on that day, then we can go ahead and get it done."
It would be safe to assume that his long time friend Triple H will somehow be involved. Hunter inducted Michaels into the WWE Hall of Fame, and was front and center with "HBK jokes" at Raw 1,000. Michaels almost expects his buddy to be behind the planning for the evening.
"If this turns into a one-time roast for me, I enjoy that as much as everybody else does," Michaels said. "That's the reason I've hung around [Triple H] for all these years -- it's because he's always made me laugh. So if that's what it entails, then that works for me."
The timing of these two events were likely coincidental, with Raw 1,000 and a Raw event in Michaels' hometown falling within weeks of each other. Barring any coincidence in the future, it would be safe to say that we will see HBK in a WWE ring far less, though he won't ever be too far away.
The new sponsorship with Deuce watches is special to Michaels, because it bears his favorite nickname of the list.
"In all the years with WWE, I never really got to really establish the branding of 'The Showstopper' as well as I would have liked to. When you're calling yourself 50 different names, it's tough for them to focus on just one of them. Of all the nicknames I had that was my favorite, so obviously I wanted to have that on [the watches]. It's one of the things, certainly for me anyway, I'm learning to take a bigger role in the things that I'm associated with. You know my years in the WWE, a lot of stuff came out that you're not even aware of because they come out with it so fast and there's so much of it. It's tough, certainly, to have any hands-on association with it, so I was happy to be able to have some input into the 'Deuce Brand' watch."
Michaels was heavily involved with the creative process, including picking the Red/White/Black "HBK" color scheme for the watch. There is also a charitable component. Five percent of proceeds from sales benefit the Children's Hunger Fund. Michaels noted during our interview that it was imperative that there be a charitable component to the sponsorship agreement, particularly with this charity that he feels strongly about.
In our 25-minute interview, HBK also discussed being impressed with Damien Sandow during Raw 1,000, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan being talked about as this generation's Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, how MacMillan River Adventures is allowing him the opportunity to show sides of him he never could while being the "Heartbreak Kid" in WWE, the reason and inspiration behind his many nicknames (Showstopper, Headliner, Mr. WrestleMania, etc) and much more.