Shawn Michaels is, of course, the stuff of legend in WWE. He wrestled for many years and even though he stepped away from the business between 1998 and 2002, he came back in full force, his legacy being cemented with all of his contributions. He now contributes on a different level for the company in NXT and he recently spoke about the transition from the Black & Gold brand of NXT to 2.0.

There were evidently many mixed reactions to what was brought forth by the roster on NXT. In truth, even the Black and Gold era of the brand had its critics, but overall, he and Triple H built something…something that HBK was such an integral part of. Especially if you listen to Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano talk, which you would do very well to do. After all, they worked closely with both men for the duration of their time there.

Michaels has transitioned even from his position as coach with NXT, which he recently went into with Denise Salcedo on her show, Instinct Culture by Denise Salcedo (link to video below). He also attacked the difficult subject of how hard it was for the fans to accept the transition of NXT from the Black and Gold to 2.0.

“It’s dealing with the reaction from that change. To be perfectly honest it’s like ripping a band-aid off, it was very sudden and to your fanbase that’s very tough. It’s like anything, change isn’t easy…For me that was the hardest part, to at least let your fanbase know ‘we’re going to do everything we can to make this your NXT again, it’s just we’re having to do it all over and different.’


I think a lot of the blowback is because I feel like people are angry, {laughs}, people are angry at us sometimes and there’s not much we can do about that. I understand that. It’s a very emotional type business and we have that sincerity with our fanbase…I think they took it out on the brand, and then, of course, the new and young talent. They are just sitting there going like ‘hey we just want to be in this line of work too, is that so bad?’

That was the hardest thing, is having to help everybody through that. I’ve had a lot of people say a lot of bad stuff about me for a long time {laughs} but for this brand to have to go through that was new and I think that was the one thing that at least having me steering the boat in the respect is something I can help everybody understand, not take it personally….

I’ve now stepped out of the physical coaching aspect and into the Vice President of Talent Development and focusing more on television, the live show, and creative. The {talent} pool has gotten very big. To me, the biggest advantage of all of that is the freshness, the newness… When I went from a tag team to a single’s competitor, I wasn’t given a cookie-cutter ‘this is your character, this is what you’re gonna do,’ I was able to have some time to find ‘The Heartbreak Kid.’

I didn’t know who he was at the time but I had an opportunity to evolve this character and make it mine. That’s the one thing we’re allowed to do now with these new athletes coming in; is have time to sit down, to talk with them, to find out who they are, to get their insight, it really is a collaboration. It’s all of the stuff that I feel like people loved about NXT is that we’re not forcing things on people, we’re having them find it themselves…

We really got a nice little system, a nice little organization going on to where we are allowed to go through these different steps. But then it comes to getting them ready, in-ring ready, and sometimes it’s trial by fire, I have to be honest but the fact that they are former athletes that have been challenged before that have to worry about discipline, focus, going in there on game time, pressure situations.

That is something that at least they come into the WWE having done a little bit…even at a young age they’ve had opportunities doing that so it’s amazing how disciplined and focused they can be and the athlete in them doesn’t like to fail. People like Hunter and I, we’re sort of the same way {laughs} we love being put in the toughest spot possible and see if we can succeed.”

In reality, the product has stayed true to its original form, which was the development of young talent on say a larger stage than just an old rusty ring in a warehouse. It is on NXT that stars are born and charisma and talent shine through. Whether on the Black and Gold, where legends like Cole, Gargano, O’Reilly, Ciampa (and others) were made and sculpted. Yet now too, with 2.0, that is quite evident. The fans need to perhaps all get on board or be a tad more patient, but 2.0 will undoubtedly get there in time.

H/T Fightful

Domenic Marinelli

Domenic Marinelli is an author and freelance writer/journalist. Some of his work has appeared in The Sportster, E-Wrestling News, Pro Wrestling News Hub, The Recipe,, Guilty Eats, Par Ex News, CFL News Hub, Daily DDT, XFL News Hub, as well as other print and internet publications. He is the author of Generic V, Summer of the Great White Wolf, His Old Tapes (stories & poetry), and so many others. He lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He's an avid reader and loves hiking.

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