For years, fans always wondered what it would be like to see The Rock vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania. Michaels is retired so that ship has sailed and we’ll likely never see that match but the question fans have wondered is why the match never happened.
On Sunday’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer answered a fan question about the heat that caused Rock to refuse to work with Michaels. Their issues started in the 1980’s.
Meltzer said, “There was a time when the Midnight Rockers were on a show in Hawaii and Rock’s grandmother was the promoter and I guess there were problems in the dressing room and Rock wanted to beat up Shawn. I think Shawn was acting like a d*ck.”
“Then when Rock was on his ascension [in the WWF in 1997] … there were certain people, and Shawn being one of the key ones wanted to protect Hunter.”
Meltzer continued, “Hunter and Rock were vying for the same spot. A lot of people saw that Rock had a lot of friends and he had a lot of potential. They wanted to make sure that he didn’t get there and he was smart enough to see that it happened. When he got to where he was a really big star, he didn’t want to work with him.”
There was a TV match in 1997 booked between Rock and Bret Hart and the finish that was pushed by Triple H and Michaels was for Bret to beat Rock with the sharpshooter so they could keep Bret strong and then Triple H could later beat Bret. Bret had more stroke so he refused to do the pin and he refused to beat Rock with the sharpshooter because he felt like Rock had so much potential.
Meltzer also told a story about the WrestleMania 15 main event. Triple H and Shawn Michaels were tried to get Mick Foley into the match and not because they wanted to help Foley. Meltzer noted that they were trying to keep Rock out of the match with Steve Austin.
Many years later, Rock and Michaels buried the hatchet.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit the Wrestling Observer website with an h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription.