Shawn Michaels is one of the most popular and influential professional wrestlers of all time. His in-ring style was a perfect blend of athleticism and showmanship, and his natural charisma carried him to the top of the wrestling world. It’s no secret that he was inspired by some of the all-time greats. In a recent interview, Michaels named the wrestlers who he drew inspiration from during his career.
Michaels appeared on the latest episode of Impaulsive, where he discussed his wrestling career with Logan Paul. When asked who he drew inspiration from during his wrestling career, he named Wahoo McDaniels and Tully Blanchard. Both of them were big names in the Southwest Championship Wrestling promotion.
For me, it started with Wahoo McDaniels and Tully Blanchard. They were in Southwest Championship Wrestling. They were the big guys there, but then—of course I’m dating myself—cable television comes along. WTBS out of Atlanta, and then I see Ric Flair for the first time. I’m like, ‘Oh, my goodness. He’s cool.’ You get exposed to so much more, and you go, ‘A piece of that, a piece of that.’ That’s how you begin to mold who you are.
Michaels said that he was also influenced by Ric Flair, Ricky Morton, Ricky Steamboat, and other luchadors. HBK explained that he tried to take the best aspects of each wrestler’s game and make them his own.
If I were to answer the question, look. I probably stole [from] a guy like Ric Flair more than anything. But I would also throw in the Rock ‘N Roll Express—Ricky Morton out of those two. Ricky Steamboat, he’s, you know, what we call selling. He did that really well. Because I was raised in Texas, there’s a luchador style obviously that I felt was flashy and cool. You begin to piece together pieces of people you like and try to make that your style.
It’s clear that Shawn Michaels is a student of the sport. He’s taken the time to study the greats who came before him and learn from their successes. That attention to detail is one of the many reasons why Shawn Michaels is considered one of the best wrestlers of all time.
What are your thoughts on Shawn Michales’ influences? Tell us in the comments!