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In an interview with WWE.com, Shawn Michaels spoke about the success of Daniel Bryan, who trained at HBK’s school. Here are highlights:
On his early impressions of Daniel Bryan as a student: “Heck, I knew at first glance what a talented young man he was. He came in good, for heaven’s sakes. His work ethic, his integrity, his dedication, all of that stuff was all phenomenal from the get-go. And honestly, he had an understanding that it was going to be tough. He knew it was going to be a long road for him, and none of those things bothered him. He had a fantastic attitude absolutely every day, day in and day out. Our [training] facility — it was no WWE Performance Center. It was dirty, it was hot and there was never a complaint out of him. I cannot remember one time the young man ever had anything other than a good and positive attitude.”
On the stigma of being undersized in WWE: “The thing is it was a stigma then. Now, it’s really just something that everyone’s gotten so used to saying, they keep saying it. But I mean, sure, it’s there in the respect that if you’re 6-foot-5 and 250 lbs, you certainly get a look first. But that sort of mold was broken back in the 1990s and numerous people have been successful since then. And again, I want to reiterate that it’s not there in bits and pieces, but to imply that it’s anywhere even in the overall general vicinity of the same ballpark that it was in the ’90s is, respectfully, laughable, because it isn’t.
To WWE and to everyone who owns WWE, it’s a business, and if you become something to the people, you’re going to become something to the company. It’s just that simple now. Will you be what everyone wants you to be? No, because there’s way too many people with too many different opinions, and it’s impossible for any one person to be everything for everybody. But to become a main player in WWE on a regular basis for a long period of time, it’s anybody’s ballgame. It’s just that, with some guys, it’s going to take longer and you need more patience, but talent always rises to the top.”
On his advice for Bryan: ” I wouldn’t give him any advice. He doesn’t need any. Bryan’s never needed any advice. I’d tell him ‘good luck,’ and it’s like anything else: A lot of things in his career haven’t happened the first time out. That never stopped him before. Regardless of the outcome at SummerSlam, I believe he’s going to be a player in WWE for a long, long time, and that’s when greatness is established — over time. It’s not in one day. Greatness is something that stands the test of time, and I think that’s what he should focus on. I have no doubt that’s exactly what he’s doing right now and I wish him the best of luck at SummerSlam.”